Pray BFF #98 September 10-18, 2006
Dear Prayer Team,
Below is a summary of the prayer reports sent out from the journey to Singapore and India. They are written more roughly. The prayer letter after Paul reached home, will be the next prayer letter.
The Indian Journey
THE WAR WAGES ON!
September 10th, Sunday evening in India
The first pastor's conference is past. We squeezed more than 200 people into a small space. Everytime I entered the room, it felt like an oven. It was on the top floor. We stopped registration at 167 because that is all we felt we could accomodate but more people came and used up all 220 chairs.
God was really working in a very special way. Many of these people are evangelists up in the jungles while others are pastors in the towns. All face opposition. This state is considered North India. At the end the moderator stated that this event became a significant part of the church's history there with over 200 convening together. Because of the threats and attacks, there are no other pastor training conferences held there. So they were very appreciative. The first night we let out around 7 and people complained so we added another suggestion.
Pray for our team as we work together. I see the brothers travel the 5 hours bus with all the cooking equipment, do the cooking and cleanup and then come back. All voluntary. Very touching. Pray for Roger who has come and preached one message each day.
But also pray especially for me. 0, 2, 4, 4 What are these numbers? It shows you how many hours I slept each night the first four days here. Last night I woke up and realized I had a fever. I didn't notice earlier even though I was really weak. My legs felt like putty. But I noticed when in a very hot room I was cold with a chill. THen the diarhea came on and still holds on. A ferocious kind. I hope you can join the church in India as they pray and fast for these conferences.
Just in less than 12 hours, we will enter a busy week. We will travel to this other city in the north for M-W and then travel and meet for the last conference on th-Sat. May God give strength. I have taken some medicine for this disentery. I can see why hundreds of thousands of people have perished from such a thing.
I am not sure I will be able to email before the end of the conferences. God is strengthening His church. They are being renewed. Many many brothers told me how they were help and encouraged. May God renew many others.
In Christ's Love,
September 14th, India, Thurday 10 am
We are about to start the third conference.
Praise God my health is fully restored and actually went back to sleep around 3:30 after waking up at 1.
It is amazing how I could travel that monday morning 3 1/2 hourse over that road without having stomach problems. If you have to go, you just go on the side of the road!
We had 200 attentive and very appreciative pastors come to the second conference. I was very weak at first but with fruit juices, I slowly got better and saw much improvement. I need to go now as our conference is starting. But I wanted to let you know I am better and with health, safety and much blessing on the pastors, everything is fine.
Please pray that we get money transfered here on time for the needs of the conferences.
Linda said that the family is doing well. Hope to write again soon.
In Christ's Love,
September 15, 2006 (India Friday Morning)
Tucked away in some small entrance is a doorway leading to a room with 8 computers set up with slow contact to the internet. Outside in the dusty and hot streets, where rickshaws and bare-footed people walk on roads littered with cow dung, but inside is a nice shop with a ceiling fan. In one corner incense for one idol is given. On the main wall is another idol. Praise God I can do His work in the midst of all the idolatry!
Last night while speaking, the evil one was trying to discourage me by way of a lower evening turnout. Because the pastors are more local, they feel responsible to their church duties. Turnout is lower. (we still had about 60). But over all the conference is going well.
As I struggled, I sensed God really working and helping me to pray to righty prepare my heart. Thanks so much for your prayers. The messages were greatly used of the Lord.
I also praise God that last night I had a full night sleep. Amazing, though I feel more groggry today than usual. I think I am finally getting used to India time now that I am leaving!
Today I have 4 long messages. Tomorrow 2 and then the last seminar ends. Sunday am, 1 message and then to airport where I meet someone in Chennai.
Meeting great people. Pastor Paul was sick with high blood pressure yesterday but fine for his testimony this morning. Roger also was not to well later yesterday but is fine today. We praise God!
The special truth God is teaching me this seminar is 'Christ in me.' It is awesome.
In Christ's Love Forever,
Singing in Singapore!
September 18th, Monday 2006 from Singapore
Thank you so much for your gracious and kind prayers. Your prayers were joined by many Indian brothers and sisters. Many in Pastor Stephen's church were fasting and praying for these three seminars. I was so touched to see those in his congregation working as chefs, clean up, serving, admin, etc. to keep costs down and quality up. Truly the kingdom moves forward through the love and devotion of His people. Thanks for your prayers and giving!
I felt much better this trip into India despite that one bout of sickness. No headaches and earaches. My mind was clear. My sleep finally normalized on my last two days there. My stomach felt better. I tried not to eat those many big pepper corns put on my rice. I usually had no problem with the hot curry.
The last seminar again touched many pastors. The testimony time afterwards showed how God's pastors were renewed, more devoted to God and their ministries. During one pastor's testimony, he started going off trying renew others! 80 registered for the last seminar. It is true that some were distracted because they were close to home and needs of ministry, but those that regularly came were greatly helped. One man in the second seminar came up to me (only about 2 in 200 can speak some clear English in this place) hugged me and held me tight. I knew God deeply worked in this man.
People ask if we are going to go back. Several districts already are asking for me to return. This would consist of a group of pastors in 3-4 districts. A number of other individuals have requested me to speak. But because the north area is more hostile, my team is asking that I get a missionary visa. I don't see it as necessary since I am staying inside and working with Christians rather than nonChristians. But it seems important to them.
It is very possible that India will not give this kind of visa (experienced man says). Perhaps if I can get that visa, then it confirms the Lord wants me to return. Also, because it is further away, it will cost more money. We would have to hire a local group to do the cooking and cleaning. God will provide for His work. By the way, praise God that on the very last day I was able to transfer that money.
The discussion with James in Chennai (Madras) was very fruitful. We saw where St. Thomas was martyred and buried as well as the beach where the tsunami swept over and killed many.
I flew through Sunday night (and lost 2 hours sleep) and arrived early on Singapore Monday morning and greeted the traffic from the end of the international IMF congress. I am being well cared for by some old OMF and church friends. I even got to go swimming in a beautiful swimming place with a wave pool (my first). Very restful. A hot shower was very much appreciated.
I will spend these 2-3 days in Singapore editing, working on notes from the seminar, teaching one class today at 4 pm. and seeing friends.
Looking forward to returning Thursday.
In Christ's Majestic Service,
Serving Together for the Glory of God,