We continue to follow Roger and Glenda in India…

March 20 2013

We continue to follow Roger and Glenda in India…

We are now in Bangalore, in the south of India. 89 church planters have come from three states. Because 20 more people than expected came, things became a bit chaotic with the logistics of finding more lodging and another training hall down the street! Never mind, you either learn to be flexible here or you probably won’t come back. Unfortunately, my body is struggling with some kind of bug. I am trusting God to touch me as I rest tonight. Your prayers would surely be welcomed! Glenda has written a summary of our final couple days in Bhopal. Hope you enjoy!

Following the Bhopal training we took the opportunity over two days to see God at work around the city. You may remember that almost 30 years ago an industrial explosion occurred on the outskirts of Bhopal with more than 16,000 killed by poisonous gas. Because of this tragedy one would expect a dusty, depressed and demoralized city. However, there are areas of beauty in the lakes and gardens as well as evident economic growth. More than that, though, we caught glimpses of inspiring growth of the church! 

Pastor Amos is the T&M coordinator for Madhya Pradesh. In recent years he has been working closely with Abdul M., training him to be a church planter. Through their ministry, five people were ready to be baptized that day. When we arrived at the church, only two of the five had arrived. One of them, an undergarment salesman, couldn’t come on time because his bicycle tire was punctured. He had been instructed to bring dry clothes to put on following the baptism. He thought he was being asked to bring his merchandise. He bundled up a huge assortment – so much the bike’s tire couldn’t handle the weight! While waiting for him, we interviewed another two candidates who were present. Our co-worker, Jim Hogrefe, pointed out a rat that was near a drain. Soon after I felt little feet scurrying across my foot! Afterwards Jim and Roger made several witty suggestions as to the name of my “pet rat!”

Both of the men who were lovingly baptized by Amos, as well as a farmer who was baptized later that day, were all faithfully discipled by Abdul. He travels several hundred kilometers each month to encourage and train new believers. We are so impressed by this humble, hard-working, dedicated servant of God. 

We drove past the remains of the Union Carbide factory on our way to visit a middle-aged couple who now follow Christ. A house church regularly meets at their home. Not long ago they sensed God was calling them to build an “upper room” on top of their existing house so that more people could attend. It will seat over 100, Indian style! Stepping out in faith, they took out a loan and construction is well underway. We were privileged to be asked to help dedicate this room for the glory of God. I am SO thankful to God for the opportunity to have my heart touched by God’s people in this land.

Who will fulfill the great commission? Is God calling you to give financially, go in faith, or pray fervently?

Tags: answered prayer, church planting, faith multiplied, God's provisionmissions in India

Hello Again!

March 14 2013

Hello Again!

Let me introduce you to 3 of our ECC church planters. We are in awe of what they are accomplishing for the kingdom of God!

Of the 64 who participated in the training, two were women. Narinder, is around 45 years old, and has been a widow for nearly 10 years. She lives in the village of Kaler, in the state of Punjab. She has started up 2 house churches and is training two others to reach 2 more villages. Kashmiro is somewhat younger than Narinder, but has also been used by God to plant one church group. Fifty people meet weekly in her home for worship. Kashmiro, from a Sikh background, was wonderfully healed of an emotional/mental condition 6 years ago. Now she is known as a prayer warrior with a great burden to serve the Lord. 

Whatever she learns she applies immediately. Glenda and I challenged Kashmiro to pursue regular meetings with a person of peace in the neighboring village. She will pray for needs, share Bible stories, and has a goal of starting a house church there by June. Both ladies hear Bible stories from their T&M trainer and then pass them on to their people. We encouraged them to keep in touch weekly by phone along with monthly visits to pray together and celebrate what God is doing! They live 30 km away from each other.

We also spoke with Ujjwal Sardar, a 40 year old man from the Sunderban Islands, in West Bengal, near Bangladesh. He loves to write and sing songs that tell stories of God’s grace. He does so with great emotion and dramatic gestures. He was a farmer who was earning only $3 dollars a day and trying to support his wife and 3 children. His father got very sick and the family was desperately seeking help from the Hindu gods as well as medical people. 

Nothing changed. 

It was as that time that he met our ECC team leader Patra, who shared with him the Good News of Christ. Ujjwal began to anoint his father with oil and pray for healing in Jesus’ name. His father improved dramatically. As a result, Ujjwal and his family grew strong in faith and he began sharing his faith story with others. However, one day while doing ministry, his son called him to say that someone had set their house on fire! Ujjwal quickly turned to God in prayer asking for divine intervention. Within ½ hour his son called back to say a sudden rain storm had put out the fire and the house was not destroyed! Since then, the arsonist has asked forgiveness and begun attending the house church started in the village.

Much to our amazement, Ujjwal is teaching the T&M strategy to 15 pastoral workers who are each establishing house churches on 5 different islands. Many have become followers of Jesus and in April, 500 new believers from ECC outreach around the islands will be baptized! When we asked Ujjwal, “Why such abundant fruit?” He replied, “Continuous prayer.”

Who will fulfill the great commission? Is God calling you to give financially, go in faith, or pray fervently?

Tags: answered prayer, church planting, faith multiplied, train and multiplymissions in India

One Life Shared and Multiplied

December 10 2012

One Life Shared and Multiplied

Endla and Tamara have been believers for a long time but were not active in the church other than filling a seat each Sunday morning. In fact Tamara had become so bored with church that she spent most of the time looking for people and things to criticize, and eventually she had stopped attending altogether. 

That was until they started attending the women’s small group led by Piret Saard. As Piret quietly and steadily fed into their lives, they saw that God had work for them to do and that the Christian life could be one of dynamic service. Each week they were led not only to study the Scripture together, but also to apply it in concrete practical ways. This resulted in life change for both of these women. They came to understand that God had given them a life and relationship with Him that needed to be shared with others. Together they asked God to open the doors to non-believers that they could pray for, care for and share with.  

God answered their prayers and inspired them to approach the Rapla care home to see if there was some way they could help there. This home houses both pensioners and others who have fallen on hard times or have some kind of disability.

They were not sure exactly what they should do there, but God again answered their prayers and gave them the idea to take along a cassette player and some Estonian Christian music. This was a great hit and gave them the chance to discuss the meaning of the songs with the 6 or so who come regularly. They have also found other ways to serve by baking cakes to help celebrate birthdays or other special events. The word has gone out around the home that these ladies love us and pray for us and care when most feel that there is no one in the world who needs them.  They are slowly getting the message that it is not just Endla and Tamara who care, but that God their Creator also loves and cares deeply about them and seeks a personal relationship with them.

Who will fulfill the great commission? Is God calling you to give financially, go in faith, or pray fervently?

Tags: dynamic service, life change, answered prayerperson of peace

Mountaintop Experience

December 3 2012

Mountaintop Experience

360 degrees of God’s Grace or The Rest of the Story

Jesus says that we can worship God anywhere when we worship Him in spirit and in truth. The city of Azogues rests high in the Andes Mountains in southern Ecuador. Outside of the city, high on a mountaintop, a statue of the Virgin of the Mist was recently erected. Pilgrims visiting this statue are promised blessings from God when they petition the Virgin to mediate for them. Located on another mountaintop near the city are Inca ruins, where the sun and moon were worshiped many years ago. 

One morning Pastor Sergio and Every Community for Christ workers Pablo and Jacob took us up another mountaintop north of the city to tell us how God is answering prayers to reach every household in this area with the message of Christ’s salvation. As we drove up the mountain, we followed many switchbacks; each one seemed to reach the top, only to turn a corner and find another one. Finally, we came to a stop and got out of the car. There before us was a 360 degree view of the surrounding mountains and valleys. Although the sun was shining, the breeze was brisk and cool at roughly 9,000 ft. above sea level.  

Sergio began showing and sharing God’s story. “See that village half way up that mountain?” he would ask. “There is a Bible study group meeting in a home there.” Then after a slight turn, “See that group of homes down in the valley? God has raised up a person of peace who is being discipled.” Looking back toward the other side, “A house church meets in that town, and up there on that mountainside lives a family who has recently asked for more information about what the Bible says.” We were overwhelmed as he continued to share with us how the ECC team has been working to reach rural areas with the Good News and how God is responding. We had a prayer time together praising God and asking Him for wisdom for these young men. It was a mountaintop experience that will remain in our memory for a long time.

Who will fulfill the great commission? Is God calling you to give financially, go in faith, or pray fervently?

Tags: spirit and truth, answered prayer, person of peacehouse church