What a Woman I’ve Never Met Taught Me

Last year The Coffee Guy took a trip of a lifetime to India. Anyone who followed the trip updates knows that within the first few days, hearts were already being changed. My husband was already taking in the beauty in India along with the contrast of life here in the US. The hearts of pastors in India may have been changing but the pastor I sent over allowed God to work in his heart as well. He taught pastors, visited tribal villages with those on the ground and preached church services.


One of the stories that moved both of us involved this young boy and his mother. It humbled me. It inspired me. It is still moving me.

This woman (I don’t even know her name) brings her son to their place of worship. In this case it is a small house where they meet. He was born severely disabled and just that fact that she is still caring for him is a testimony of her love and devotion.


You see, it’s rare to see a child with disabilities in India. From what I’ve been told, when a child is born with special needs, the child just “disappears” with no questions asked. They are not spoke of again.
If a woman chooses to keep her child, the husband will usually leave. He is then able to select another wife, the wife is seen as damaged goods and is not allowed to remarry. If she chooses her child, she chooses to be a sole caretaker of a child with multiple complicated needs.
This woman brought her young son to church, laid him on the floor among the rest of the worshipers and along with the child’s grandmother, sought the Prince of Peace. She (like many others there) came for prayer, to sing praises and hear the Word of God preached. She found fellowship. In this particular congregation, she found love, acceptance and understanding.


I can’t even really begin to understand what this woman’s daily life is like. There is a part of me that can imagine. After all, The Princess completely relies on us for everything. The emphasis here is on us. I don’t do this alone and for the three weeks that I did, I was never completely alone. I still had emotional support and although it was more difficult than usual, it didn’t scratch the surface on what this woman deals with every day.
What we have in common is that we both raise children outside the realm of typical needs. Our differences are glaring when you examine the obstacles that we both face. My Sunday morning looks completely different from hers. As I thought about what it took for her to get her son to church, I was humbled and saddened by my own reactions.
This woman carries her son to a small home where this church gathers. She brings him in, finds a place on the hard floor and lays him down in the middle of other worshipers. It is hot, it is dusty and it can’t even begin to be comfortable. She asks for prayer, sings the songs and listens to the message, looking for hope and faith.
My Sunday is a stark contrast. The drive from my home to the church building is around 10 minutes. When I arrive, I sometimes have found myself frustrated by the lack of handicapped parking spaces in our paved church parking lot. After dropping off my daughter at children’s church, there is an entire team waiting to minister to her in the same service as the rest of the children. I head to the air conditioned sanctuary where I seat myself in a padded chair. I remind myself to check the number system in case The Princess is having an off day and needs my assistance. While my child is cared for, I worship and listen to the Word being spoken. On occasion (about 3 times a year) the number will flash notifying me that I need to check on her because she is either crying or needs to be changed.
We both fiercely love our children.
We both seek strength through our faith in God.
We both need support.
Neither of us need pity but we do need understanding.
We both do whatever it takes to give them the best of what we have.

In this past year, when things get tough or when I get tired, I think of her. I try to remember to pray for her. It is so easy to focus on ourselves. I’m ashamed to admit it but this morning I found myself grumbling that I had to take diapers to the school. A three minute drive but having to change out of my jammies earlier than I wanted to made me grumbly. Then tonight, I thought of her again. I thought of her strength, her grace and her endurance.

Once again, I prayed for her. Will you pray for her too? How has God used someone else’s circumstances to humble you?

Always,

Hope

Joining Emily again today for Imperfect Prose. Click on this to join me.



This fit Ann’s link up too

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Another India Update



Day 7 Salem Pastors Conference
With 150 pastors in attendance the Conference was a success. The feedback we received was as good as the Sathy Conference 3 days before. A group of area pastors networked together to host the first ever Real Hope Pastors Conference here in Salem. They were able to secure the old YMCA building which had western style restroom accommodations which was a blessing.
Salem is a larger city than Sathy and the pastors that came from the surrounding area were a bit more educated in the Word as well as the English language, as evidenced by the nodding of heads and scattered “amen” throughout the hall even prior to Ravi translating what I just said. By the end of the first session as lunch was about to be served, the weather had become hot and humid, almost as hot as the food. Ravi told me one of the pastors came to him concerned that they should not be feeding me what they were eating…I appreciated the concern; I counted it as love for the brethren!
The Basic fundamental doctrine of the faith is what was taught and it was exactly what was needed. I am grieved and amazed of the need of the pure milk of the Word. But at the same time I am grateful that we were/are here at a critical time. Basic biblical truths—the foundations of the faith is what is so desperately lacking and they must learn to teach their people.
The response to the segment on False Teachers was almost as unnerving. For those that spoke with us they had not heard of the danger of false teachers or any instruction on how to deal with them. Lord help us. I mean it Lord help us to instruct where the need is and help protect your people till we return.
Day 9 Family Conference New hope Revival Church
Weeks before arriving in India I asked the Lord, “what do you want me to teach them—what is your message?” He directed me to Genesis 20:3-11; The 10 Commandments. My first response was, “Are you sure?” not questioning the Lord, but really my hearing Him properly.
The message, “Abiding in the Blessings of God and His prescribed plan for family life”.  A simple message beginning in Psalms 19:7” The Law of the Lord is perfect converting the soul…”; then a basic expositional teaching on the 10 commandments . Starting with the first 4 commandments how and why our obedience or disobedience affects our relationship with God. Then explaining the next 6 and our choice to abide by them or not effects our relationship with one another and our neighbors.
That if we abide by Gods perfect law we Honor Him and we honor one another. But if we choose not to, in fact if we break just one, there is a strict penalty, which opened the door for the Gospel Message and how Gods perfect law was lived out in the Perfect Man Christ Jesus.
Being able to show how the Law reveals Gods perfect pure character at the same time revealing in us our wretched character—convicting us of our sin and driving us to Jesus was new to many.
We ended the 1.5 hour teaching with Matt. 22:36-40”Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus said to him, “‘you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. The second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
To abide in the Blessings of God we must abide in Christ John 15:9-10
“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love
Day 10 Real Hope Revival Church Dedication
What a glorious day. From the street you would never know there was a church there. In fact it is only a door way sandwiched in-between 2 store fronts in the midst of other shops and businesses on this heavily traveled street. When I say busy I mean extremely busy and noisy; horns are continually honking in their varying pitches and tones. The only indicator of a church in this predominantly Hindu neighborhood is the large sign, “Real Hope Revival Church”
As you come into the foyer the first thing you notice is the orderly pile of sandals on the floor pair by pair. Once inside the Church there is a door directly ahead of you which leads to Pastor David’s house, the stairs to your left lead up to the sanctuary. This building serves as both their family’s residence and the church, a blessing for both the pastor and his people.
You can hear the sounds of worship echoing down the narrow staircase, and as you ascend you hear the excitement of people’s voices. Then you enter the Sanctuary…it is hard to fathom they only moved in 6 weeks ago! All the work that had to be done to get to that point is amazing. You we have to view the before and after pictures. It is wonderful what can be done without needing permits.
It is very bright and colorful; the thick green cloth covering the concrete floor and the red runner going up from the center rear of the sanctuary to the pulpit. The multi hued Saris that the women wear to the back drop on the front wall, all is very lively and inviting—it shouts New Life and Real Hope!
Starting at 9:00 with a very uplifting 15 minute call to prayer leading into a worship time that I will not soon forget, 2 hours had pasted BEFORE the Word was preached. As the message was delivered the temperature rose until I finished at 12:45! But church is not over yet—we are in India my friends. After a couple more even quicker paced songs in which there were MUCH rejoicing! We finished with corporate prayer the likes of which are only experienced in Pentecostal churches. Now is the time that people come forward for healing and a personal touch from the Lord—it is now 2:00! 5 hour church service, that was before lunch was served!
The Lord is assembling a great team of men and women to serve alongside Pastor David and his wife. The team served a lunch fit for a king to the 150+ people that came for the dedication service of Real Hope Revival Church. All said and done we left to go back around 6:30 for the 1.5 hour back to Sathy… Before we left we had a great time of prayer for the work that has begun there, for pastor David and his family and for the dedicated group for men that are serving with him. Ravi and I both said to his brother, “You will be going to 2 services soon” and he will. This is a great work that I am thankful to be a part of…much more to follow.


Day 11 Pallipalayam Pastors Conference
This was day 3 of the 3 day push starting Saturday with the Family Conference, Sunday with the all day Worship and dedication service now it was Monday. The Pastors Conference here was the last of the three Pastors conferences that were scheduled.
The drive from Sathy to Pallipalayam is 1.5 hours but seemed longer during the Monday morning rush hours—traffic, driving in general is a matter of faith here. As I’m going through my notes in the back seat I’m praying.  As we walked back into the church that we left 9 hours earlier I caught myself saying’, “Ok Lord, 7 more hours…we can do this…”.
Pastor Bibbin led us in worship again which is a blessing, he truly is gifted. (I told him he looks like Benny Hinn’s brother, he really does—Bibbin and Benny Hinn).
The teaching time flowed very well. Ravi and I both sense it was the best out of the three. This was the third time in 7 days that Ravi and I had taught the material and we were more in sync with one another. 140+ pastors were able to attend and stay through the nearly 100 degree heat—they pulled in a couple of big fans to help out.
In fact Ravi said that many of the pastors which he has a relationship with told him it was exactly what was needed and they want more—more solid biblical foundational truth. Pastor Mani from Sathy pleasantly surprised us when he showed up. He was so encouraged with the Conference the prior Monday he wanted to get a double dose. That is one godly man who has fought the good fight.
The new Church building is a blessing in so many ways; hosting Pastors and Family Conferences, hosting missions’ teams as well as the weekly services and out reaches that will occur. Real Hope Revival Church is making a stand and proclaiming the Risen Savior—Halleluiah!  
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Reese’s Ministry to India



It has been over a year and a half since I introduced you to Reese. A sweet little girl who was born with the same genetic disorder as The Princess and lived on this earth exactly one year. She passed from here into eternity on her first birthday but she has left a legacy that cannot be measured. Her ministry still goes on and reaches farther than any of us may ever know.
The last couple of weeks I have attempted to keep everyone updated on the trip that my Coffee Guy has been on for the past two weeks. The Lord has used many lessons, people and experiences to get him there. What I can’t leave out is the part that Reese and her beautiful family played in getting us to this point.
As I mentioned in the above linked post,At the time I found them, I was discouraged. The wife of a former pastor who had no church home. A woman losing hope in the things of faith and especially people who were suppose to help advance the kingdom. I was so parched I was unable to take in the Living Water. I felt that every attempt resulted in a run off with nothing ever soaking in. Then I found her. As I read their updates, their prayers and thoughts began to gently, quietly lead me back towards my loving God. My Savior that has a plan for every life, even mine.”
Oh how far we have come from those days of discouragement. Those years where we had not only drifted from our calling but from an intimate relationship with the God we had been serving. Here we are, serving in a healthy, growing church body. Finding a deeper relationship than we had ever imagined possible with a God who at one time seemed so far away.
We still praise God for the life of Reese Renee and the faith of her beautiful parents who chose to share her with the world. Their testimony that every life has meaning and every life serves a deeper purpose has left ripples that are touching lives on the other side of the world. The only regret is that I haven’t told them recently. I thought I would start by telling all of you. Who knows who Reese will touch next?
Always,




Hope

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India Journal Continued

The Coffee Guy has been writing down his thoughts about this trip.


Day 4 Sathy Pastors Conference
Months of planning and prayer brought us to Monday and the first of 3 Pastors Conferences presented by Real Hope Ministries and hosted by local Pastors. By 10:45 the rented Conference Hall above the local bar in downtown Sathy was nearly full with fervently worshipping Pastors and church leaders from the surrounding area. Most all came by bus and some as far as 3 hours away. The conference which was scheduled to start at 9am really didn’t get going until 10ish, which I am told is typical to Indian lifestyle. (Plan something for a particular time knowing that it won’t happen or start ½ hour to 1 hour later).
Pastor Bebin, a Pastor from a surrounding area with a wonderful voice led us in corporate worship—these people love to worship! Though I don’t understand Tamil yet, certain words already stand out; YEASU—Jesus also RAJA—Lord, so as we have been worshipping in different places I hear these most often.

Because of the time delay Ravi and I improvised on how best to deliver the scheduled three 1.5 hour teaching segments. So just prior to the teaching time, we decided two sessions would be best. The first lasted two hours which covered the basic fundamental doctrines of the faith. Beginning with Genesis 1:1 showing that The Creator declares Himself to be the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—the God of the living not of the dead—no others besides Him. Using only the Word we exhorted 100+ Pastors to teach and preach in their churches using just Word of God. The responses and comment we received were almost overwhelming. Some had tears they were so thankful.

The second session covered the man of God being in the Word of God, and the characteristics of a servant leader. I spoke to them as a fellow pastor that we are called to shepherd the flock of God, not to lord over them that we are to lead, not drive them. We also touched on false teachers and to be on guard for the flock. This particular part was received very eagerly.

Pastor Mani (pronounced money) was the first pastor in this area that he had not heard teaching and preaching like that in over 40 years! A whole generation. A whole generation of pastors not equip in the fundamental doctrines of the Bible…I am grieved that the need is so great.

We are praying on a more comprehensive teaching for next year…there is NOTHING like this for these dear faithful men and women. God protect them till we return… 






Day 5&6 Ooty and Coimbatore
Ooty
The drive to Ooty was amazing. Another steep hairpin laden mountain assent to the once occupied British colonial resort took 2.5 hours. At every turn the scenery was breath taking, truly amazing. I exhausted the battery in the camera. This area is well known for its tea farms/orchards/plantations. I am not exaggerating when I say they stretch for hundreds of sq miles. Pass after pass, valley after valley, stretching as far as you eyes will let you see. Nestled inside these well manicured forests are tightly packed colorful villages of the tea pickers. Dozens and dozens of villages checkered among thousands and thousands of acres of incredible beauty. When you see it from the vantage point of mountain, it must be the world’s largest well kept garden.
(Bebe Tea Leaf) 



I am not used to seeing monkeys when I drive…but here its normal, cracks me up.

When we got to Ooty I was surprised how big the city was, seeing it was such a treacherous drive…but this is India…there is no small city. You see the remnants of the British Empire at its zenith with its pronounced red and white architecture and deteriorating wrought iron fences and gates.

We came to shop and we did, fast and furious. We also came for food…Chinese food. It was a quaint and clean restaurant that once housed something Britishy. Ravi asked, “Well how is it?” to which I replied, “Tastes like Indian Chinese food” But it was the hottest Chinese food I have ever had, ask Ravi!

Coimbatore
Coimbatore is a Huge city. Ravi said, “When we in India talk about traffic, this is what we mean.” It is off the chart. I have taken photos and videos that will only explain half at best. One way to describe it is orderly chaos. How it is that road rage isn’t a serious problem here is amazing. Mere inches between you and traffic—on both sides and front and rear. Ask last year’s team.
Shopping was intense. Ask last year’s team.




Real Hope Ministries started in a small corner of the globe in one forgotten village, ministering to their most basic needs in the hopes of reaching them for Christ. With the Love of Jesus and obedience to His Word they are fulfilling the call to “go to a place that I will show you” and “if you have done it unto the least of these you have done it unto me.”

I believe we are witnessing a possible new chapter being written for Real Hope Ministries. To help train and equip these pastors to be obedient to 1 Peter 3:15 and Ephesians 4:11-12 that they may disciple many to do the work of the ministry. We pray to the Lord to send workers into the field…


Day 8 Tribal visit
I awoke to the sounds of the Hindu call to prayer at 6 am.
By 8 am we were ready to head over to the first village that Ravi visited almost 6 years ago. I was instructed to sit in the back seat with the window up for the 45 min drive to Tribal visit. Ravi informed me of the strong Hindu strong hold on a stretch of the road leading to the village. It’s Friday, which for Hindus is their holy day and as we drove you could see and hear celebrations in and around the many temples large and small. (I have been here for 7 days and in every city, town and village I have been in I have seen dozens in each. Ranging from the most ornate and elaborate to the simplest. In one tribal area a huge tree in the center of 3 or 4 villages serves as their temple. This tree is amazing—it has to be 200+ years old—older probably.)

As we pulled up you could see group of thatched huts surrounded by a fence of vertically woven sticks and twigs; this was straight out of National Geographic. The kids began to come out with the biggest smiles and most joyful expressions. It had been a month since the Real Hope team had been there last and the whole village was eagerly waiting faithfully scheduled visit—this time I was with them.

They greeted Ravi and I with flowers around our necks and a joy that cannot be put to words. Ravi and the team have been faithful to keep coming back as well to not promise them anything they could not do or perform. They have been faithful to the call of ministering the least not expecting anything in return. In being faithful in the small things, they have garnered the trust and love of this all but forgotten community.
The Tribal Indian culture is strange, if you can gain access to a village, which is nearly impossible they will allow you to interact with their children. Though the village parents won’t be with the kids while you sing, play games and talk to them, they are watching very closely to what you are doing. The strategy is to love these kids with the love of Christ. By providing for their physical needs—schooling, clothing and hygiene and faithfully visiting them every single month; reach the kids—win the village.
Today I was able to share a simple message; Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God…” I talked simply that this all powerful God loves them very much and He knows them all by name and He has made away that they may know Him. I asked the question and Ravi translated, “do you want to know His name?” to which they all responded, “Yes”. I said, “His name is Yeasu”. Pastors David and Stephen then led them in prayer followed by continued singing and snacks.
I also had the honor of putting the knitted caps that Dorothy made for these dear ones on their little heads. They were so filled with joy not only at that but the entire visit. This village is different than the other villages that Real Hope reaches only in that it was the first one. This Village is where the Lord led Ravi to first, with that he and the team has been faithful to return time and again. They have won the village. This is where the Tribal Center enters the picture if you will—it’s time to win this generation for Christ and see how far He wants to reach.
Remember it all started with one village won to Christ…
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