Saturday, December 30, 2006
There were 250 of them. Please pray for there to be some response to the letters that basically say, we are here to pray for you, talk with you, visit you. Church timing and pastor office hours and phone number are all there.
I'm praying for some kind of response from at least 100 of the 250 letters we sent out.
I'm believing God for a net full of fish!
Friday, December 29, 2006
These guys work for all kinds of big events, its' their job. So one of them asked O. how many people O. thought had attended the program.
O. said, "Oh, maybe 3000."
The security guy looked at O. like he was insane and said, "Over 9000 people attended."
I guess there were about 3500 who were inside the whole time from beginning to end, but the amount of people who showed up for some or part of the program passed 9000! Wow.
We've gotten a lot of great feedback from Christians and non-Christians alike. Several people have told us that they could never put on a program like this in their town. There'd be riots.
In fact, in O.'s village they could not even celebrate Christmas this year in the church there because of the persecution going on. There have been other reports of programs similar to ours in other parts of India that were disturbed by rioting.
In our own city, a catholic school's Christmas program was disturbed in some way.
God is so good and we knew we had the power of prayer with us. It was/is really a miraculous thing.
My sister-in-law was in the room when C. started waking and so she said, "Good Morning! C."
C., without opening her eyes, responded: "I have a headache and my feet hurt."
Monday, December 25, 2006
You may not know about this project but churches, friends, kids, loved ones, and all kinds of people in the US have been collecting gifts for our Children's Home kids, co-workers' children and our pastors' children for the last few months.
We packaged up the toys, school supplies, undies, socks, toothbrushes, candy, and lots of other stuff and gave the kids their bags tonight.
We had a room full of very happy children and moms and dads.
Our pastors who live far away will get their kids bags when they come for a conference in January.
On behalf of the kids I want to say:
Thank You from the Bottom of Our Hearts!
We love you.
Friday, December 22, 2006
Actually, it was a fun and relaxing night and by God's grace and your prayers everything went smoothly. Except the crazy crowd at the Bible table on the way out.
Here's some of what happened. The following is a picture of our guest speaker. He spoke in the local language, Gujarati, and when I heard it I was really disappointed because had he spoken in Hindi, everyone would have understood the Gospel message. Gujarati was not spoken by a large portion of the crowd there last night.
However, as the night went on I came to realize that it can only be God's will even if it's not what we would have chosen. Many Gujarati people come every year to our program and this was the first time they heard the Gospel message in their own language. I'm just trusting the Lord for results.
Pastor Johnny giving the message. The crowd. I estimate that there were around 3500 people there, at least.
Here are some more statisitcs. We gave out (these are estimates): 1200 New Testaments in Hindi and Gujarat (we actualy ran out of Hindi), 150 comic book style tracks for kids and 500 cassettes called "The Story of Jesus" in Hindi.
We received 262 reponse forms! We were hoping for 100.
Pray for us as we need to be very deliberate to follow up with all of these people. Each person will get a letter withing the next week with all kinds of info. Also, we're attempting to personally call each person who gave a phone number. That will be over 200 phone calls. Lot's of work, three languages are invoved.
Pray for us. This last 10% of work is often the kind that can slip thru the cracks and it's the most important.
Many people asked for prayer for peace and for healing on their response sheets. Keep praying for them along with us.
Lastly, Thank You For Praying!
Go on to the next 2 posts for some program pictures (we had 17 dances, skits, songs...)
This photo is the one I wanted in the following post. It's E.'s program. She is center right in side view.
Five girls from our Children's Home. They were sad because their dance got cut short for some reason. They'll perform it again for us on Christmas day at that service.
This first picture is not the one I wanted to load, but it's up here now. As a mother, my biggest tension last night were my own daughters programs and they both did GREAT!. This is E.'s. Our older Sunday School Children performing "Walk in the Light". I put this one up for those who made and donated the T shirts that they're wearing.
Our ladies program. They worked hard and it payed off.
Our younger Sunday School Children. C. is center in the white dress. She did so great. I thought she would cry. I thought she'd do nothing. I thought she'd run off the stage. She didn't do any of those things. She was the star of the show. More ladies. (nothing ever loads in order.)
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
I think we're feeling pretty relaxed. We weren't yesterday, but everyone must be praying because now we are.
Just keep those prayers coming.
We are praying for a good response to the Gospel and good follow-up. We have created a follow-up sheet that we will distrubite and people will return to us as they leave.
At that time they will also be offered a New Testament.
Pray for the Glory of the Living God to be in that place and for everyone to know it.
Martha and Amar exchanging rings. Both get one. This is not a marriage ceremony ( that will occur in October 2007) but it is a binding contract. Sort of like Mary and Joseph - see I got a little Christmasy there. It gave me chills.
Here they are. Yes, he does look like a comic book character. I think it's the hair.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
As you can see by th pictures there was a lot of "mosh" like dancing going on and at a few homes where the gathering of neighborhood children was great (as in huge) our Bible students would have to stand in front of me and my 7 month protruding belly to protect me from the crazed lilliputians.
Here are pictures from my house. They're not great, but I'm a person who'd rather experience the moment than capture it on film, so they're all you get.
Both teams came to my house on Sunday so that's why there were 2 Santa's with us. After that we split into our prospective groups. Only 1 Santa each, please.
Singing, or more acurately, shouting Christmas songs. O O O so much dancing and drum beating.
From our group alone we collected about 14000 rupees to be used for our Christmas program on the 21st. That's about $320. It may not seem like much, but when you consider the average donation is 10, 50 or 100 rupees, it's pretty astounding.
I don't know the whole total from the other group yet, but we'll probably pass 25,000 rupees!
Tomorrow is Martha's Engagement Ceremony and her family is in, or at least 5 members.
The groom's side informed us they'd be coming with 25 people. O. had our pastor call him back and say to just bring only 10. We'll see tomorrow.
Anyway, the program is at 11AM and the groom et al. are arriving at 8:00AM that same day. Hope their train's not late.
I'm feeling amazingly relazed. I think it was the 3 nights of carol singing til midnight. I feel better than I have in weeks. Or maybe I'm just delusional from lack of sleep.
Monday, December 18, 2006
And anyway, Day 5's prayer request probably needed 2 days.
Pray for all the little details to be completed and and for all things to go smoothly in the next few days. There is A LOT to do.
Saturday, December 16, 2006
Friday, December 15, 2006
Pray today for the New Testaments and tracts we'll be handing out. We are giving them freely in Hindi and Gujarati to anyone who wants one. Not forcing them to take it, but being clear about what it is and just wrapping them with thin ribbons so it is visible what it is.
Pray that people will accept the New Testaments and READ the Word and the Gospel offered therein.
We combined the teachers at both of our schools and did them together then 2 big van loads of people were going to another city where our school is and our pastors work.
I skipped that one. I'm saving my energy for when we carol in our own city.
It was already pretty much like every year. They start the songs too high and the ladies can barely sing along.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
We're praying for 4000-5000 people to attend. People who do not know Jesus personally.
We'll have about 14 different Christmas programs of all types and from all age groups. Most of our programs are performed by our school children who are not from Christian families. All songs/dances/skits are Christmas oriented and Christ focused.
The main part of the night is the Gospel messge that will come inbetween the special programs.
Pray for that.
Pray for the seed of the Gospel to fall on Good Soil.
Pray that Satan will not steal the seed. Pray against all kinds of satanic attacks.
Some good news, we have sufficient Gujarati New Testaments to give but we still need Hindi. (please pray)
More good news, we obtained permission from the land owner to use the empty ground in front of our school for the program! God is good.
Our school children are getting ready for the program on December 21st and I was watching them practice some dances yesterday. I don't know why, but I kept getting teary watching them do their synchronized dance to Feliz Navidad.
It's the horomones.
I mean, I ALWAYS cry when I see the little Indian Mary and Josephs in Nativities, but kids dancing to a Spanish song in India is just ridiculous. Cute, but crazy somehow.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
He'll be home tomorrow night.
We'll all be glad to see him. Sadly, his brother Ramesh and his wife are coming with him. The wedding in her place didn't work out since her family was determined to marry her to the man she was initially engaged to. So, Ramesh and Aruna left there and met up with O.
They are offcially married, I think we need to just move on...
As I was writing this post I got a call from O. who has been with Pastor Samuel for the last few days and they've been traveling and preaching the Word in the city and surrounding villages where our pastor works. There are no churches there and the people are very poor. O. said: You won't believe how poor these people are.
One of our Bible Students, Narsing, is currently with O. for the wedding. He is from the same place as Pastor Samuel and O. says Narsing's family is literally dirt poor. Nothing.
It's been good for O. to have the opportunity visit this pastor where he works. It's quite far from where we live and not any place we would get to on a regular basis, although our Mission Director does.
The best news is that through the last few days of meetings and visiting that 3 people have accepted Christ!
Wouldn't you know it... the market was closed. Hundreds of shops of sarees and chuniya cholis and shoes and hair clips, underwear and toys, Closed.
Stinking rottin is all I have to say.
A good friend and I are selling some Indian "wears" when I'm in the US, so I'm required to BUY. Not a hardship for a gifted shopper like myself, but when the stinkin' stores are closed. Well, it just put me out of the mood.
I was able to get half of what I needed as well as Christmas dresses and sandals for my girls. They also got to eat at McDonalds, which - to them (and mom) - made the whole trip worthwhile.
Martha and I are going out this AM to get her saree for her engagement. May as well just shop in our hometown... by they way, our first REAL super market opened last week. Snif, my little city is getting all grown up. Snif, again.
* PS, if you are interested in any Indian wears, comment and I'll get back to you.
Exhausting? Usually. But still fun.
Our carol slinging* program starts on Friday night and goes through the 20th. Martha's engagement ceremony is on the 20th also. The 21st is the Big One Program.
Then there is a small break when we all frantically try to recover, shop and do all those things we didn't do during the previous week.
We start relaxing around Dec. 24th when we have a gift exchange in church. It's a pollyanna where we all put our names in a bag and then choose someone else's. We have a lot of fun getting our names called and opening our gifts in front of everyone. There are gifts for all the children too.
Christmas Day starts with a church service and lunch together with all believers. Then we spend the evening giving our children's home kids their gifts as well as to our co-workers and nearby pastors and Bible students.
We get a small break before New Year's Eve and New Year's Day services, and lunches.
Hopefully, we'll spend this time in follow-up of the people who respond to our Christmas Program Gospel Invitation.
* I realize I mistyped "singing" but "slinging" just seemed funnier and somehow - more appropriate.
Friday, December 08, 2006
The first says that archaeologists believe they have found the remains of Paul in Rome. This one didn't really excite me. Bones not really being my thing.
The second article was of interest to me only because it seemed so ridiculous. You can read it here: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6743472/
"Archaeologist says she's found site of Jesus' first miracle" is the title of the article.
Here's a line from it:
"...archaeologists have found pieces of large stone jars of the type the Gospel says Jesus used when he turned water into wine at a Jewish wedding in the Galilee village of Cana."
Uhhh, so like there wern't a 1000 other weddings in Cana circa that time? And nobody is even sure were the Biblical Cana is... Dream on lady.
But what really interested me/(ticked me off) in the article was this paragraph:
"Christian theologians attach great significance to the water-to-wine miracle at Cana. The act was not only Jesus' first miracle, but it also came at a crucial point in the early days of his public ministry -- when his reputation was growing, he had just selected his disciples and was under pressure to demonstrate his divinity."
Mr. Associated Press: Who are you and where did you get that wacky idea?
The 3rd article is from 2004 apparently but is actually truly fascinating to anyone who may be interested in Biblical Archaeology. It's about the discovery of the Siloam Pool. You can check it out here: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6750670/
The first of the men comes back today and then 4 more on Sunday with O. and another man arriving back on the 13th or 14th.
The first free night we went shopping for sarees for our dance on the 21st. Fun!
The 2nd night we had practice with NO rushing home to make dinner for our husbands.
Wednesday we went to a fair in town wih the kids and then out to eat.
More practice yesterday and then today is our regular weekly ladies meeting.
We need to enjoy this while we can, because as of next week it's gonna get CRAZY!
Thursday, December 07, 2006
I got 2 emails telling me that my Uncle Don is in the hospital and then when I went over to MSN.com I was saddened to discover that James Kim had been found dead in the Oregon Wilderness.
I think I'm just going to turn off the computer and go upstairs for a while.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Anyway, she saw me decorating and said:
C: Who's birthday?
C: No, it's mine.
Me: It's for Jesus' birthday but don't worry, you'll get some gifts too.
C: Jesus isn't even here. I am!
C eventually discovered some crosses on the tree and let the matter drop. When I tell her that Jesus lives in our hearts she gets into a discussion on what color our hearts are. According to C, her's is pink.
Saturday, December 02, 2006
So, I took her to a real pediatrician today who says E. has an upper resp. infection. We're not sure if the weird body rash is due to a virus or a reaction to the medicine. Anyway, as of this afternoon she is much much better. Praise the Lord.
O. and all the other men leaders will head out Monday AM for a conference in South India and right from there will slide over to another state to attend the marriage of one of our pastors. (Pastor Samuel S.)
The only male leader not going is our pastor, but he leaves on Sunday afternoon to host and translate for a team of Americans who are friends of his. He'll return on Sat. AM.
Til then, it's just us ladies. Since it's December all our weekly meetings have been postponed til January, except our Ladies Prayer - which ends next week.
However, every night is full of practices for dances, dramas, action songs and the like for our Christmas program on December 21st (hint- remember to keep praying).
O. also agreed to set an engagement date for Martha - he chose December 20th. Yeah, the day before the Big Day. I've got a feeling that might be pushed back a pit.
Regardless, I have loads of shopping to do, so I think I'll take this opportunity to shop.
I'm also on "maternity leave" from teaching at the Bible College as of December, so I have 3 more mornings a week free. Of course, I also have plenty of computer work that has backed up and other stuff I need to get done, - like decorating. ( I usually do this on December 1st, but since E. has been sick, I've had kids around all day and decorating for me - is Definitely - an alone job.)
Next week - woohoo - it's all getting done!