Saturday, August 30, 2008

Back To Chicklee

If you are looking for Orrisa - see following posts...

Today we head back to Chicklee to ordinate 2 pastors tomorrow (Aug. 31st).

We were going as a big group but since we are planning the Rally on Tuesday we scaled it way down. We'll be back tomorrow night.

Pray for us.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Update On Orrisa

Today, Friday, August 29, 2008, Christian schools all over India declared a school holiday to protest the violence against Christians in Orrisa. Our schools were also closed and we spent the morning in prayer.

Yesterday O. contacted several of the churches here in our city to see how we could work together to do something. He didn't get much of a response at the time, but today during our prayer time the pastor of the local Church of North India church walked in. He shared that his church had a committee meeting last night and they were all for holding a Prayer Rally through the streets of our city on Tuesday, September 2nd. This was met by applause by all of us who were praying for something just like this.

O. and a bunch of others are out right now personally visiting the church leaders of all the local fellowships and asking them to participate on this day where we walk though our city together and pray for Orrisa AND our own city. Hallelujah!

I'm praising God because after 10 years in India this is the first time I have ever seen this kind of UNITY among Christians. I am praying that it is just the start of ALL of us working together to see our nation transformed by the Gospel.

The following post is an email we received from the head of the Evangelical Fellowship of India, which is an organization to which we belong. It tells clearly and concisely what the current situation is in Orrisa and what the church in India is doing.

NUCF Condemns Violence In Orrisa

Subject: Christian organizations call for national shut-down
National United Christian Forum
( CBCI , NCCI and EFI Churches )
Archbishop’s House, 1 Ashok Place , New Delhi – 110001
NUCF condemns the violence in Orissa
National United Christian Forum (NUCF) denounces the communal violence that has erupted over the gruesome murder of a VHP leader and four others in Kandhamal district allegedly by Maoist groups. While condemning the dastardly act of murder we appeal to one and all to maintain communal harmony and peace.
The Christians were not at all involved in the incident. Nevertheless, there have been already over forty five instances of violence, including the burning alive of at least five persons and over three hundred homes in Rupagaon, Kandhamal.
Appealing to the Christian community, Archbishop Vincent M. Concessao, President NUCF, said, “As a mark of our solidarity with our suffering brothers and sisters and as a protest against all acts of communal violence and atrocities on the Christian community and other innocent people we request all our Christian schools, colleges and other educational institutions to be closed on Friday, August 29, 2008, and we wish that everywhere peaceful marches/rallies be conducted with black flags’ demonstration in a truly prayerful spirit.”
We also declare Sunday, September 7, 2008 as a Day of Prayer and Fasting and we hope that all our dioceses, our churches, parish communities and all church institutions/organizations will hold prayer services and memorial gatherings on this day, highlighting the need for our solidarity with all the victims and pray for all our Missionaries in India, who are facing most trying and difficult times for the sake of the Gospel.”
We appeal to the Central and State governments to take strong measures to curb violence caused by any group in the country and urge all political, social and religious organizations to desist from spreading communal hated which has already taken a heavy toll in our country.
Rev. Dr. Richard Howell
Secretary Evangelical Fellowship of India

Agraj And Jeetu

Front and Center of the following picture is Agraj, one of our Bible students from the state of Orrisa. Hearing him cry out to God today on behalf of his mother, brothers, sisters, pastor, and friends being persecuted in Orrisa broke my heart.
The man in red standing in this picture is Pastor Jeetu. He is from Orrisa and he works with our ministry planting churches there. We got news yesterday that he was being forced to abandon his home because of the communal violence all around him. He was taking his wife and twin baby boys with him into hiding.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Orissa, Bihar

The following is part of an email we sent out today requesting urgent prayer for some states in India that need it. I'm posting it here for anyone who prays but doesn't get my emails.

Orissa and Bihar are in Eastern India.

Pease pray for the state of Orissa. Since the month of December the Christians there have been severely persecuted. In the last few days the persecution has flared up once again. Numerous churches have been burned. Churches of people we know personally. Many Christians have fled into the jungles and are surviving there in hiding.

Please pray for this state and for this situation. Pray for the persecutors as well as our brothers and sister in Christ who are suffering. Please also pray for the local and national government leaders to take right action.

Pray also for the state of Bihar. There is major flooding in 15 districts, hundreds of thousands of people are homeless due to the flooding. Hundreds have died.

Finally, several Indian states that have instituted anti-conversion laws, making it very difficult for people to openly accept Christ. This law is being challenged currently, pray for victory. However, no matter what the outcome we thank God for the persecutions and trials, knowing He will be glorified through it all and will call many more to Himself.

Phil. 3:7-11 “But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.”

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Whole Clan

Last night at the Birthday Party we had all of O.'s family together in one place so, of course we took a picture.
A nephew and a niece are missing but I've only ever met them once. They're somewhere in the village...

Juliana's 1st

O.'s brother's daughter, Juliana, had her first Birthday yesterday and we had a big party. Here she is ready to cut the cake.

Digging out the food.

The Following Photos May Frighten You

E.'s Teeth
E. is 7 1/2 and her teeth are just now reluctantly coming out. She apparently, has no desire for the old to go and the new to come. You may remember an earlier post "Shark Shark Baby" where her 2 bottom teeth turned into 4 bottom teeth when her adult teeth came in and her baby teeth remained.

As you can see in the following frightening picture of E.'s mouth, her left front tooth remains and behind it her adult tooth has already come in. When E. was 1 1/2 years old she fell off a bike and landed on her mouth. That front baby tooth was knocked loose, shoved back inside by her mother and I think I may have cemented it in her gums for all eternity, 'cause it ain't comin' out.
I'm reluctant to take her to the dentist to have it pulled, seems kind of traumatic, but may be necessary. The tooth is actually loose, hence why I haven't taken the dentist step yet.
C., on the other hand, has gorgeous teeth; we just need to work on the hair in this picture...
E.'s front tooth on the right came out because she was drinking from a bottle of water in the car on the way to our Conference this month and we hit a bumb and the bottle hit the tooth and the tooth fell IN the water bottle...

Saturday, August 23, 2008

This Present Darkness

You really can't search inside... Go to Amazon for that.

A friend of mine sent me this book recently, which was wonderful because I LOVE books, never have enough of them, and it came in a package. It just doesn't get much better than that.

I actually read this years ago - like 15-20 years ago - but I enjoyed it just as much this time. As always it led me to more prayer and especially to spiritual warfare prayer for my city. There can never be enough of that.

Not Counting The Days Yet

I am getting very close to my departure date for my "September Tour." My train leaves at 2:55AM (I know, right) on the 9th and I return on the night of the 27th.

I'll be gone over my birthday. I guess it's kind of like a 35th birthday present to myself. I like that.

Friday, August 15, 2008

61st Independance Day

Today is India's Independence Day. As an American, it's always kind of weird for me that Independence Day falls during the school year. If that happened in the US, what would we do? Have school and sing National Songs? That's what they do here, we'll sort of.

They hoist the flag up early in the morning and then the students perform some songs and dances. After that there is a parade of little kids dressed up like Mahatma Gandhi and other national leaders and then we all eat sweets. When we come home we watch Superman dubbed in Hindi.

At least, that's what we did.

Here's the weirder thing... You can only hang the Indian flag on two days a year, one of them being today. It is illegal to hang an Indian flag anywhere on any other day. You can go to jail.

We hung our flags on our three schools, carefully getting them up in the right direction, (Saffron MUST be on top). We removed the flags well before the appointed time, yet...

Someone still called the police and gave a false complaint that our flag was hung upside down. So, a bunch of our people had to go to the police station and give a report, even tho over a thousand people must have seen the flag today and seen it was correct, and even tho the person giving the complaint left no name, etc...

The police were polite and it wasn't a big deal. But O. is not here, which I think is a good thing since one of the policemen apparently hates us and started shouting, "Where is O.? Put him in jail!" Later he said, "You're not converting anyone are you?" Whatever.

We just pray for our enemies and thank God for the opportunity to be brought before the police.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Prayer For India

Foot Washing

At the end of out time together, we washed each other's feet.

Prayer Time

I feel a little bit like the "Little Engine That Could" while trying to get these conference pictures up, but we're getting there...

One of the most special parts of the 3 day conference were the times of prayer.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Small Group Discussions

Several time we broke into small groups to discuss various topics. I had a discussion planned in relation to my talk we but we ran out of time and couldn't do it.

Special Programs

Our Children's Home and Bible College students performed special dances.
Two of these girls are students from our school who come from Hindu families but they are involved in our youth program and their parents let them come for the conference.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Discipleship Conference Is Over

We got home late last night from the Discipleship Conference and O. leaves tomorrow for 12 days in South India, so there was a lot of clothes washing going on today.

I have loads of pictures and stories from the conference that I want to post and I should get to them in the next day or so. In the meantime, I posted some lite photo posts from the conference for your enjoyment.

New Uniforms

We finally got uniforms for our Bible Students and they wore them for the first time during the conference. The Bible College principal actually organized a special ribbon cutting for them.
I cut the ribbon.

Eating And Chai

We ate well. The food was good, but oily. I'm glad to be eating at home again.
Those pastors sure can stuff their faces.
Of course, we cannot live without chai.

Cute Kids

I handed my camera over to someone else for the Discipleship Conference this week and he did a great job taking millions of pictures. It took me most of today to delete the blurry ones and ones I don't want, yet I still have a plethora to choose from for the blog.
Why do my children appear disgruntled?

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Discipleship Conference This Week

Tomorrow night we leave for a four day retreat/conference with all our pastors and co-workers. We're looking forward to it being a great time of fellowship and growth in the Lord.

Please pray for us all. We've been disturbed all day by different things and even knowing it is Satan attacking - it's still disturbing.

Please pray for O. Praveen, Suresh, and myself who are speaking and pray for Anoop and Amar who are leading - as well as the many other people involved in this program.

Our prayer is that it will be a time of transformation into Christ-likeness in all our lives.

I'll have Internet access so I'll try to keep you updated.