Dear e-pray friends, We wanted to share a few prayer requests and then we are happy to share some thoughts from a few more team members this month from their experience in India.
Please continue to pray for everyone who attended the Pastors’ Conference and the Young Adult Conference in January, that they will continue to seek the Lord in growing in their relationship with Him and in sharing their faith with others, and then growing & serving together.
Please pray as John continues to make progress on all that needs to be done for the Teacher Training School to get started. This includes some construction and the government paperwork, along with meetings with those who will be moving to the area of the Training Center to work as managers, administrators, and teachers. I am not sure of the starting date they are hoping for yet.
Please praise the Lord for a wonderful time of encouragement that John & the Pastors shared with our Pastor from Milwaukeelast month and pray that they will continue to grow from what they learned together.
Thanks for praying! We are so grateful for all of you!! His joy, Much love, The Nanda’s :)
Thoughts from Joanne Memories from India January 2016 Lord thank you for taking me to India. To a place so foreign and colorful and beautiful and poor and freeing and loud. To trust you when my luggage didn’t arrive for 6 days. Thank you for my team to provide for all my basic needs with love and generosity. To travel with John Nanda and see that SERVE India is about loving and serving others and making more and better disciples for Jesus Christ. To trust and not worry when a group of us were dropped off on a street corner in the midst of a Hindu celebration at night and several hours later found by Rick and John. To visit orphans, lepers, widows, pastors, families, school children and outcasts. To hug them and hold their hands and sing and worship Jesus with them. Hallelujah x3! To hand out sarees and rice and blankets and slippers and t-shirts and make gospel bracelets and tie them around children’s wrists. To accept their generous hospitality of a hot cup of Indian coffee or tea or hot sweet milk or a coconut cut off with a straw and many delicious meals of rice and curried chicken or tuna. To trust in You and the power of prayer that we did not get sick and were able to visit so many places-even though our transportation broke down repeatedly. To trust Your plan for the youth conference- they came and the books were printed and the chairs arrived and the interpreters shared our words about being a disciple of Jesus. You provided for every detail in your timing and perfect faithfulness. Thank You for bonding us as a team of believers in Jesus to SERVE India. Thank you to all the friends and family who prayed for us and this trip. Taking the gospel to the Nations has a whole new meaning to me now. Matthew 28:19-20
Thoughts from Seth & Mer As we reflect on our time in India, we can't help but thank God for the gifts you gave and the prayers you lifted to make this trip possible. India is so difficult to explain with all its sounds, smells, streets, and people. It is very different than anything we have experienced here in the US but so captivating and even beautiful in its differences, displaying the beauty of our King in ways we had never seen. Within its beauty and through its people it has impacted our lives in ways we would have never anticipated. We went there to serve India but we had no idea the things India would teach us or the ways it would serve us.
The sweet girl wearing the yellow dress in the photo above taught me more about generosity in 15 minutes than I have ever been taught in my life. While we were walking through her village, away from the beach she kept asking me "Chocolate?" which just means candy to the children there. I thought was asking me for candy so I just up my empty hands to show her I had none. After the third time she asked, she dug in her pocket for a coin and ran to a convenience store of sorts. I thought to myself, wow she really wanted some candy, but I was stopped in my tracks when she ran back to me with a small piece of candy and handed it me saying "Friend, chocolate".
Even with a language barrier I was able to share about God with a couple young men who had never heard about the Bible. They asked if Jesus was a guy who lived in the next village. It makes me think of Romans 10:13-14 which says "For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?" I shared about God's love for them shown through Jesus and that He sent Jesus to save us from our sin so we could have a personal relationship with Him. We talked for a while, and I could tell that these guys were hearing this kind of news for the first time. They were thrilled and intrigued that the true God of the universe would actually pursue them. When it was time to say goodbye one of the guys looked at me and said "relationship" (referring to the way we can know Jesus) while smiling and waving goodbye.
The mountains in the distance are beautiful yet a reminder to the people who are apart of the Church in this area of the persecution on the other side of them (the state on the other side of these mountains has much more religious persecution). We had a chance to listen to many pastors' and bible women's stories from this area in a meeting. Some even told their testimonies of how God got a hold of their hearts while they were persecuting Christians in their area and now they are traveling from village to village in these mountains, amidst the constant threat for their life and reality of suffering. But they know God is their solid rock through it all, and persevering for the sake of others knowing God is worth the sacrifice.