2017 India Mission Update 2

2017 01 06 india mission web 06It was hot and stuffy in the small yellow auto. They are commonly known as a 'tuk tuks' in other places, and here in India they are seen on every corner. With several people crammed into the back, I sat next to the driver, trying to squeeze into the small space as much as possible. We were leaving the house of a sister in Christ in Narsapur, Andra Pradesh. Just as we set off on our journey to go to the next house, listening to the now familiar 'chug chug' of the small petrol engine and feeling every bump and hole in the road, the auto stopped and we found out we had arrived after driving 50 metres down the road. Thinking we should have just walked, the team piled out. Walking down the small dirt path past buildings which were half destroyed. Left to decay by the mercies of nature. The rubbish strewn and weed covered ground on either side of the path. I wondered what this house would be like. Possibly a tent made with whatever could be found, maybe a brick hut which was called home for ten people. However upon arriving, I was surprised to see a row of small houses side by side. Each one no bigger than the common lounge room in Australia. As we approached, a woman ran towards us. To chase us away? To tell us we weren't welcome? Her arms waving in the air and she was yelling. Did we have the wrong house? A cat sitting on a near by rock heard the noise and quickly ran off. Should we do the same?
As she got closer I could see her face and a feeling of thankfulness overwhelmed me. It was not a look of anger. But rather a face that portrayed a journey over many years. A kind, loving, peaceful and joyous face. The words she yelled weren't hostile, telling us to leave but rather were, "PRAISE THE LORD". At the top of her voice. "PRAISE THE LORD! PRAISE THE LORD! PRAISE THE LORD!"
Welcoming us into her shoebox home, she showed us around. The hard, cold, stone floor on our feet and the stuffy smell that had become familiar in homes similar to this one.
She said in broken English and pointing to her feet and the ground "This small." Quickly followed by her hands raised in the air and the words "BIG JESUS!" "PRAISE THE LORD!"

Later, I learnt her story. For months she could not walk. Her legs were in pain and didn't work properly. After much faithful prayer, she was healed in Jesus' Name. Now all she can do is rejoice and offer praise to The Lord. She told all the people she knew. Despite not having much, being a poor lady with no husband, she knows she has everything she needs in Christ. God has provided and continues to provide all she needs.

A day of home visits left us as a team feeling encouraged as we prayed for brothers and sisters in Christ.

Our time in Narsapur has been a blessed time. For many of us it feels like visiting family and friends again. We are welcomed with open arms and smiling faces. It is a delight to encourage and spend time with the very poor. Praying for them and leaving them them with small gifts.

At Holland Wharf Girls Hostel we spend time with the girls, playing games and laughing lots. We joined them for church on Sunday morning whilst some of the team also went to a small village church. Throughout the week we have spent time at the Bethesda Centre. Visiting and praying for patients with leprosy and AIDS as well as the children in the various hostels on the site. This was a special time for each team member. It brought many of us to tears as we wept with the patients in their pain but also brought joy as we prayed and reflected on God's goodness. We have also spent time at special meetings where we have shared our testimonies and from God's word.
Spending time at the George Mueller hostel is also special as each of the children there have HIV/AIDS. It brings us joy to see them excited and joyful to see us. Playing games with them and telling stories to them is a time enjoyed by all.

It is has been a confronting but also encouraging time for the team. Many have been pushed outside of their comfort zone as we have sought to serve, love and share the Gospel.

Please continue to pray for our health and safety, particularly as we soon travel via train to Bangalore. Pray also for the ministries here in Narsapur and for the children we have spent time with. Pray for the staff at Holland Wharf Girls Hostel and at Bethesda, for those in management and also for those who fill a multitude of different roles. Ultimately, praise God for the work of the Gospel here and for how He has worked over many years.

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