(Day 5 will have to be posted later - sorry!) suffice it to say Day 5 was filled morning to night with all kinds of travel... air and land... and the land travel was characterized by one of our team as a "300 mile roller coaster'. A very apt description. think of an old unused logging road with potholes that would make Buzz Aldrin jealous ;)
Yep. rough. and it was a full 4 hours...
Anyway on to today:
To say that today was powerful and life changing for every member of our team would be a vast overstatement.
We traveled to EI-187, our Church 2 Church partner and the Compassion Project site.
We were greeted by a flowing stream of children wanting to greet us with "hello", "good morning", and "Nomoshkar" - the local greeting. Tears flowed freely and our hearts were incredibly touched by the unconditional love shown us by the kids and the adults.
We then joined the church for worship. Again, it may sound like an overstatement to say it was a piece, or glimpse of heaven, but also very, very true. One of the young men shared how he had come to Christ from a Hindu background, in a village with strong demon oppression. only the prayers of visiting pastors drove the demons away and he (and his family) now believe in Jesus. They honored us all publicly during the service and by the end both a group of men and a group of women were dancing to praise songs of Jesus. We're hoping to post video at some point, but just to be here and experience the strong, heartfelt adoration of Jesus by our Indian brothers and sisters was more moving than words can articulate.
Part of our team then split off the main service to teach Sunday School, which again ... powerful. Jane W, Sara H, Rob M and a few others taught the kids lessons as well as teaching them "Jesus Loves Me This I Know' for the first time they had ever heard it. They caught on very quickly.
After this the church held a dedication ceremony for the new playground Woodlands helped build. Pastor Brian cut the ribbon and the children got their first opportunity to play on the playground. Pastor Brian described it best as "pure unadulterated joy." We had so much fun playing with the kids on the slides, merry go rounds, swings, teeter totters and monkey bars.
Next we shared a wonderful Indian lunch which was soooo good and we got to know the pastors better.
After lunch our team sang, "Here I Am to Worship" for them and then Pastor Rajib shared stories of how God is moving among them, including some truly miraculous stories. Real miracles - not just cool stories. genuine miracles.
Next we were part of their jr/sr high time. These kids are from the village and not necessarily part of the church. I (Doug) shared "Glory to God Forever" with them and then Paul Otto shared an out-of-the-park message that had us all moved deeply. We then taught these students the chorus to "Rescuer' and sang together of our God Who is 'mighty and strong to save.'
After this time several of us shared our stories of how we came to faith in Christ and the time ended with Pastor Rajib and Pastor Praveer giving an invitation for the kids to place their trust in Christ. Six responded for the first time. Six children of India, now six brand new children of God! What an awesome God we serve!!!!
Next we "took tea" and we then surprised to meet our sponsored children well ahead of when we thought we would be able to. This was a very deeply moving experience and we are very excited to continue the ministry we are here for!
Please continue to pray for us for the work ahead. We miss soft beds, hot showers and real burgers... scratch that last part - we are all in love with Indian food now. Yes, even Jane W and Dara H.
We miss aspects of home, but this is 'just the way we like it.'
For the team,