Last Days in Sunderban

July 11 2013

Last Days in Sunderban

Saturday...

We took a boat to another island today. We met with 25 believers in a village house owned by a businessman named Haren, who owns 4 gold shops. He serves as the pastoral worker for the small congregation. Later, we had spicy jumbo prawns for lunch, loudspeakers echoing into our small room. We tried closing the window shutters, but it was very challenging! It was cooking hot and my shirt was totally drenched with sweat. We ended our day with a 1½ hour needless drive through many remote villages on almost impassible narrow bumpy roads to see a crocodile farm, but never got there! We turned around before darkness got us stuck there.

Tomorrow I preach at a Sunday service and then return to Calcutta to catch a plane to Patna early Monday am. Thanks for praying. My stomach is settled now.umm good! Next, we taught 12 students in another location, all from a Hindu background. They will each be taking the Gospel to a different village without any church. The training took place while a political rally outside blared their speeches through loudspeakers echoing into our small room. We tried closing the window shutters, but it was very challenging! It was cooking hot and my shirt was totally drenched with sweat. We ended our day with a 1½ hour needless drive through many remote villages on almost impassible narrow bumpy roads to see a crocodile farm, but never got there! We turned around before darkness got us stuck there. Tomorrow I preach at a Sunday service and then return to Calcutta to catch a plane to Patna early Monday am. Thanks for praying. My stomach is settled now.

Roger

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

Tags: training, pastoral workermissions in India

Seeds on an Island

July 10 2013

Seeds on an Island

Friday...

We crossed over to another island this morning on the ferry boat. Almost 300 people were jammed on the boat with many standing. I didn’t get a seat, but sat on a box of Bibles we were bringing to pass out to the church planters. After docking, we rented another taxi and off we went to a small house church. Most vehicles live by the horn here. The air is filled with a cacophony of sound as different vehicles warn each other as well as pedestrians that they should get out of the way! Ponds dug out in front of most houses here in the Sunderban Islands are prevalent. On average they are 60 x 40 feet in size and 10 feet deep. As the dry season soon ends and the rains get ready to fall, many ponds have a low water level. The water gets used for raising fish, watering gardens, washing clothes, and maybe swimming for teens. Honestly, the ponds look very stagnant and uninviting. This part of India is quite tropical, with banana trees, coconut palms, and bamboo everywhere. As you go through a village the main road usually passes the market place where vendors of all sorts present and peddle their colorful fruits and vegetables. The mangoes are plentiful right now and so very sweet! The ladies seem to prefer bright red and orange colors for their saris. This helps eclipse the drabness of the faded buildings, the dirt & dust, and rubbish strewn about everywhere. Mangy dogs lie sleeping on the crowded roadside and a cow stands with his head inside a shop that sells sweets. By contrast, our roads and highways seem almost plain and boring!

In one village we met a couple of brothers who wanted to donate a piece of land next to their home to build a church. Before we went into the house they cut a hole in some coconuts so we could enjoy a drink. Next to the house was a bamboo structure with 75 baby chicks they raise for food and to sell. The family came to faith when our ECC church planter shared the Gospel, explaining the death of Jesus on the Cross to forgive our sins. The message rang true in their hearts and they put their faith in the Savior. Their lives now exude enthusiasm and determination to serve the Lord. We met with a group of 20 or so new Christians that meet weekly in their house for worship. Young and old sat on the dirt floor covered with straw mats. I really enjoyed sharing the story of Jesus when he calmed the violent storm on the Galilean Sea, after his disciples woke him up in the boat. He asked them why they were so afraid, when they should have had faith.

Often Satan tries to take our eyes off Jesus by enflaming our fears. Later in the afternoon one brother and his wife joined the training session we gave at another location. We were welcomed with flower garlands around our necks and young girls doing graceful dances portraying God’s love in Christ. Greg and I have been using the life of Nehemiah to teach them principles about wise and godly leadership. Today we trained 27 men and women. So far 16 house churches have been established on this island. I challenged them to each find a person of peace (see Luke 10) in a new village by June 30 and multiply 100 churches in the next 2 years. Greg has also been presenting Bibles given through ECC with money his church provided. It is heart-warming to see how they treasure their first Bible with both the Old and New Testaments.

For lunch we ate at a rundown looking restaurant near the beach where hundreds of thousands of Hindu pilgrims come at a certain festival time each year to bathe in the head waters of the Ganges River. The owner, Ratan Panda and his wife seemed so pleased to have 2 Americans eating the preparations of their humble kitchen. He kept bringing out different dishes of food and then standing nearby to see how we liked it. His smile was contagious and showed his reddish teeth, stained from chewing beetle nut. 

I thanked him and took a photo of him and his wife. Then I mentioned that I wanted to tell him about someone who loves him very much. I went on to share in very simple fashion, the love of Jesus who died on a cross and rose from the dead to forgive their sins. He didn’t comment, but listened and then went back to work. I am praying for the seed planted to take root in his heart.

Tags: chaos, evangelism, missions in Indiaperson of peace

He is Faithful and We are Spoiled!

July 8 2013

He is Faithful and We are Spoiled!

Thursday...

Here I am in a small village in the Sunderban Islands south of Calcutta. It is surprising that there is even a hotel here. Nevertheless, Greg’s and my expectations were different than the reality! Our Indian co-worker Patra had proudly assured us that it was a very good hotel and newly built. However, we discovered the outside looked quite dilapidated and the lobby was dark with 3 young men sprawled on the floor sleeping with a small TV blaring. As we climbed the stairs the first floor rooms looked like nowhere I wanted to stay! By the time we reached the 2nd floor, there seemed to be some hope. We opened the room and discovered a single bed 4 foot wide for us both to sleep on. We discussed our options and found out another room across the hall was available as well. At $15 a room per night we took them both! They just dropped off a top sheet for my bed. It is quite damp with holes and stains a plenty. Best of all, however, there is an air conditioning unit. Now if only the electricity keeps going! This will be home for three days. God’s provision reminds us that He is faithful and we are spoiled!     Roger

 

Tags: expectations, God's provisionmissions in India

Strength in the Heat!

July 5 2013

Strength in the Heat!

Monday...

Tonight we ate in the home of Adam’s family. He is a doctor who lives in a very humble home by our standards, serving the poor here in the city of Thirupati, Andhra Pradesh. Adam, along with his wife Shamah and two children, live with Adam’s parents. Our ECC coordinator, Pastor Sundar Raj and wife Marysha (Adam’s sister) were also there. It was a delight to be with them eating chicken and rice with yogurt. Food is eaten without utensils, using only the right hand! Another room in the house is used to give his patients 24 hour emergency treatment. Adam went to care for a poor working woman who had suffered heat stroke. She was on an IV drip, receiving her 2nd bag of fluids. I went in and prayed for her as she lay there with two family members nearby.

The temperature here was 107 degrees today. Yes, it felt like an oven. Yet, as we ate, I asked Marysha to sing a song she teaches the children she often reaches out to in the village. The joy of the Lord shines with a pure twinkle in her eyes and a bright smile on her face. As she sang, her voice expressed a purity of faith that almost seemed angelic. I have no doubt that God was listening and smiling! These people have so very little, but are enriched with love and joy as they serve the Lord. I fear that many of us have lost the essence of real life. Sadly, we think that acquiring more “stuff” or experiencing some pleasure will make us happy.

After 12 years of marriage, Sundar Raj and Marysha, have no children. However, they are building a house where they can take in orphans and nurture them with Christ’s love. After we give training tomorrow to 40 ECC church planters, we will participate in a free medical clinic where Dr. Adam, Sundar Raj and Marysha will treat 150 poor villagers. It will be a full day of ministry with 3 hours drive each way. May God give us strength!

Blessings, Roger

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

Tags: missions in India, train and multiply, T&M, servant, outreachorphans

Hello from India!

July 3 2013

Hello from India!

Wednesday...

Since arriving here a week ago it has been a whirlwind of ministry and travel. It is hard to put into words the uniqueness of this nation that God has called me to serve. It is at the same time exhilarating, exasperating and exhausting! The heat has been well over 100 degrees. The blessings come in abundance, but the challenges show up alongside them! I am burdened by the human suffering all around me in the midst of what has become to me a familiar chaos. Yesterday I spent time with a leper lady without fingers and toes who is homeless and wanders around with her cane hoping for mercy and help to stay alive.

In the same village, a truck driver named Pencalakumar sat on his cot outside his home, unable to move because his leg was maimed in a horrific accident last year. The sober reality of his new limitations was written plainly across his face. After listening and then sharing the story of my son Wade, I shared the story of God’s Son who lovingly suffered and died to forgive our sins. Finally, I had the joy of praying with him to receive Jesus!

Some of you know that Pastor Greg DiMeolo from Ohio is traveling with me. His companionship is a great encouragement to me. As Ecclesiastes 4:9 says, “Two are better than one, because there is a good return for their work.” After returning late last night on a bus to Chennai, we took 2 flights to get to Calcutta early this morning.

This afternoon we drove 2 hours each way to a village in order to train 20 people in a house church. When we arrived, I had to fight back the tears. What a holy privilege to encourage and train these precious followers of Christ to reach into new villages with the Gospel. Tonight, like every night, I am weary. Nevertheless, I am thankful for Greg and for you who pray. Please ask God for a healing touch upon my stomach which has been in rebellion the past 2 days!

Thanks, Roger. (the next post is an entry I made 2 days ago)

Tags: suffering, chaos, homeless, evangelism, missions in Indiatraining

A New Day Dawns Upon the South Pacific

July 1 2013

A New Day Dawns Upon the South Pacific

Wednesday on an island in the South Pacific 

How do you reach 150 million people dominated by a religion that often opposes the Gospel and seeks to intimidate the followers of Jesus? Let’s start with prayer, and lots of it! Prayer is all about what God can do, and there are no limits with Him.

In his book, Touch the World through Prayer, Wesley Duewel says that “God has ordained to work through the prayers of his people. Prayer releases God’s power. He is waiting for your intercession and mine.” Why then do we hesitate and sometimes even avoid time to seek God’s face? It has often been said, the Devil trembles when he sees, God’s weakest child on his knees. So, let us pray! 

Many people here have learned to pray. I spent some time with Budi, early this morning. He teaches at the Bible seminary OMS started here many years ago. His wife recently finished chemo treatments following her surgery for breast cancer. It has been a rough road for them to travel. Nevertheless, the fire in his heart burns brightly for his fellow countrymen still without the Savior. He has successfully given leadership to a growing movement of 16 house churches that are connected to a mother church he is pastoring. By training ordinary believers to lead these groups, the light of Christ is penetrating the darkness. His own life and prayers bear witness to the fact that faith is the victory! 

Pastor Adi is another national co-worker with vision and tireless determination to share the Good News. This dynamic servant of Jesus is small in stature but speaks with a booming voice. He is helping empower regular men and women to plant and shepherd satellite churches that are touching and transforming lives. Since January, 54 persons have met the Savior through his commitment to train and equip others. So far he has supervised the starting of 4 satellite churches. One meets in a room on a university campus dominated by another religion! He has two other new areas where groups are meeting and will soon become satellite churches. One is situated in a military compound. . . . Onward Christian soldiers! 

Thursday, in Singapore travelling on to India 

As you can see, my time spent with key church leaders in the South Pacific is bearing fruit. My co-worker Dean and I are thrilled to see God beginning to move among our OMS related churches in fresh ways as they learn to reach lost people through the multiplication of new churches. Our 3+ days of training and warm fellowship was time well invested in God’s kingdom. After 48 hours of travel to get there, my body is weary, but my heart is rejoicing in God’s goodness. 

Now I move on to India, anticipating the challenges and blessings that await me there. Will you join me in prayer before the throne of grace? I am depending on your intercession to uphold, strengthen and anoint my ministry with Jesus. Thank you! 

Sharing Christ, the Hope of the world, Roger

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

Tags: prayer, missions in south pacific, satellite church, train and multiplyT&M

Pray for IGLEICO Children Evangelism in Colombia

June 27 2013

Pray for IGLEICO Children Evangelism in Colombia

This weekend IGLEICO is holding its annual assembly when all pastors gather for worship and denominational meetings. Our ECC Coordinator for IGLEICO, Richard Herrera, has planned an evangelism event with the children who will be attending. They will be trained to use several evangelism methods and then put them into practice in the community while their families are attending the convention. 

We were so excited by Richard's plan because it goes beyond providing the usual children's program to showing the pastors how children can be used of God to lead others to Christ. At the conclusion of the convention the children will present each superintendent with an evangelism kit including each method they learned. 

Several OMS donors responded to an invitation to participate by sending soccer balls with the colors of the wordless book and 100 special children's Evangecubes. Richard sent this photo of Remberto Barrios pictured with one of the soccer balls and an Evangecube. 

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

Tags: missions in colombia, prayerchild evangelism

A Grand-daughter Church in the Lowliest of Places

June 4 2013

A Grand-daughter Church in the Lowliest of Places

In August 2010, an intercessory team began walking the streets of Medellin in faith, praying for the beginning of a house church that would saturate a neighborhood in Antioquia, Colombia. The physically and spiritually impoverished area supported the local economy through the sale of marijuana and cocaine. 

Colombians began sharing the Gospel door-to-door by explaining the Evangecube, a pictorial presentation of the Gospel. God answered their prayers as people began giving their lives to Christ. Rocío did. She welcomed us into her home to begin discipling in her new faith in God. Within the week she introduced us to two members of her family and her neighbor Martha who wanted to know more about the Jesus Rocío now spoke about. 

Martha confessed, “I am a slow learner and never understand anything,” but after studying what it is to be saved through faith in Christ, Martha and her friend surrendered to Jesus! The following weeks we studied the Bible with them and what it means to obediently follow Jesus. After several months the ladies were baptized, learned about the Lord’s Supper and celebrated communion in their home. The group began to grow as more family members and neighbors attended weekly meetings with Rocío and Martha. 

God was evidently Lord of Martha and Rocío’s lives. They continued walking throughout the El Tapón district asking God to touch lives. As they walked, they saw many drug addicts living along the stream. Compassion broke the ladies’ hearts, and they began to take meals to the addicts. One day they noticed a 12 year-old girl who was devastated by drugs and living under the bridge. Martha and her friends offered to help her and took her to Rocío’s house. They bathed her, gave her clothes and something to eat. She told them her name was Valeria and that her mother prostituted her to get money for drugs. She pled with us to help her get out of her destructive lifestyle. 

We took Valeria to a residential treatment facility and continued to visit her during her rehabilitation. Valeria also prayed to receive Jesus as her Savior! She introduced us to her Aunt Leydi who lives with her four small children in a shelter made from cardboard and plastic. She is under house arrest for drug trafficking. We shared the Lord Jesus with Leydi and her children, and they accepted Jesus and began working slowly through the discipleship studies. Today Leydi is preparing for baptism! 

When Martha and Leydi studied what it is to be a cheerful giver, Martha immediately put into practice what she was teaching. On several occasions Rocío’s house church had sent food and medicines to Martha. The local government had donated groceries to Martha in her impoverished situation, and from these groceries, Martha then shared her meager supplies. 

Several months later we celebrated an agape meal with Martha and Rocío’s combined house churches! Through a mom, an uneducated woman and a drug addict, God has sprouted a mother church, a daughter church and a grand-daughter church for the saturation of Antioquia, Colombia. And they noticed they were uneducated but that they had been with Jesus.

Greg & Shirley Carlson

ECC Church Multiplication Facilitator

Tags: joy, life change, outreach, victory over darknesstransformed

Vision for South Pacific

May 17 2013

Vision for South Pacific

OMS is blessed with wonderful partners around the world who have been planting churches for a long time. It has been my privilege to work this week with our partner in the islands of the South Pacific. 

Our agenda is to pave the way for traditional churches that meet in church buildings and have seminary trained pastors to plant simple, multiplying churches that meet in homes and are led by bi-vocational pastors who, as life long learners, receive on the job training.  Sounds daunting doesn't it?

But the joy and the passion of these pastors to empower their members to do great things for God is very encouraging. They have cleared the way for bi-vocational leaders to be authorized to baptize and serve the Lord's Supper: a very big deal in Asia. They greatly appreciate OMS' help in providing Train and Multiply training. And there have been some breakthroughs lately in places where the traditional religion has held sway for years. 

I leave here with a great appreciation for the deep love that national church leaders have for OMS and OMS leaders have for them. And I have every confidence that in the South Pacific as in the Caribbean, traditional churches who love the lost can empower their members to multiply disciples, leaders and churches, even in the face of oppressive social pressures. It's ahoy to partner with these dear brothers and sisters!

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

Tags: church multiplication, church planting, house churchtrain and multiply

How does the church progress?

April 30 2013

How does the church progress?

The two legs shown below symbolize the church advancing. Her work has two activities: evangelizing unbelievers and building up believers.

The two legs must walk together, with good coordination and balance. Evangelizing unbelievers and building up believers should not be separated.

Doing one without the other leads to a lopsided church in which new believers fail to grow, and believers fail to win others to Christ.

As with the two legs of one body, the church evangelizes the world and builds up the believers.

To carry out these two duties, elders share practical tasks with church members, such as visiting and evangelizing, teaching new believers to obey the Lord’s commands, supporting missionary work, encouraging others, and helping the needy.

  ... from Train & Multiply
Pastoral Leader Training Booklet - 23
Organized as the Body of Christ
© Project WorldReach © SEAN

 

Tags: train and multiply