South Asia- Week 4

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Philippians 4:4 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.” this week I have had to fight through the exhaustion and rain to rejoice in the Lord. Looking back on the last week I can see how sweet God has been to me and my teammates. He has answered so many prayers, and He has loved me in my weakness.

At the beginning of this week Kaycee and I went to the mall to get lunch and run some errands. Once we finished we realized we had half an hour before we had to leave for a meeting. We prayed that God would let us share with some girls during this time. Before Kaycee finished her prayer, I saw two girls sitting in the food court. We went to see if we could sit with them and talk. During this time we got to share the gospel with these girls, and it was amazing how the Holy Spirit gave us the right words at the right time. We also got to pray over the girls before they left. When we finished the conversation we checked the time, and we saw that it had taken exactly half an hour. God answered our prayer down to the minute.

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When we left the mall we took a rickshaw to meet with some of our friends for a Bible study at a coffee shop. Three of our non-Christian friends met us at the coffee shop to read the Bible and talk about it. Since the tables were so small, Austin and I sat in the back to pray while Kelsey and Kaycee led them in reading the Bible. Towards the end of the meeting, Kelsey had to leave because she wasn’t feeling well. I stayed with Kaycee to finish the discussion. It was awesome to see how God was giving them understanding about the scripture, and how they were able to repeat the gospel back to us. Two of the three girls want to meet again to read the Bible and talk more about Jesus.

On Wednesday we had our team D-Group meetings. During this time the girls were studying Philippians 2:12-18.

Philippians 2:12-18

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,  for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.

 

In this passage Paul reminded the Philippians that their salvation is through God, and God alone gives them the will to do His works. He also tells them that we should look different because of our salvation; we should stand our from the darkness and “shine as lights in the world.” This is not done through us but through the power of Jesus Christ. At the end of the passage Paul tells the Philippians to hold fast to God’s Word. He also tells them that even if he has to pour himself out as an offering to God, he will rejoice, and the Philippians should rejoice, too. This is reminder that I need to be willing to give up everything for God; I need to be willing to pour out my life as an offering to Him. I can praise God and rejoice in Him for these truths!

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Thursdays are our sabbath. During sabbath’s we try to do things that are fun and where we get to spend time bonding as a team. This week we took the train to the southern part of the city. From there, we boarded a ferry to visit and island off the coast where we could explore ancient caves. The ferry ride was a little over an hour and was absolutely terrifying. There were moments when I thought the boat was going to tip over because it was rocking so much. It probably wasn’t the best idea to take a small ferry during monsoon season.

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When we got to the island the entire walk up to the caves was a market. There were so many people trying to sell us things as we made our way up to the caves. When we finally reached the top of the hill we saw tons of baby monkeys! They were so cute, but the larger monkeys were somewhat intimidating. When one of my teammates had a sprite, the monkey growled at him, baring his teeth, and chased him until he eventually threw the Sprite. A different monkey stole another one of my teammate’s water bottle. On the ferry ride back it started to rain, so we were soaking wet by the time we got home that evening. All in all it was a good day, and it was fun getting to spend time with my team.

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On Friday morning I led devotion. God led me to read some scripture about worship.

Colossians 3:16-17

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Hebrews 12:28-29

 Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.

Isaiah 12

You will say in that day:
“I will give thanks to you, O Lord,
    for though you were angry with me,
your anger turned away,
    that you might comfort me.

“Behold, God is my salvation;
    I will trust, and will not be afraid;
for the Lord God is my strength and my song,
    and he has become my salvation.”

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. And you will say in that day:

“Give thanks to the Lord,
    call upon his name,
make known his deeds among the peoples,
    proclaim that his name is exalted.

“Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously;
    let this be made known in all the earth.
Shout, and sing for joy, O inhabitant of Zion,
    for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.”

Our life should be a song of worship to God. Whatever we do should be for His glory and in praise for who He is. After talking about these verses we sang songs of praise to God. God created music so we could praise His name with beautiful melodies. After worship, we spent time in prayer as a team.

Friday afternoon, Austin, Kaycee, and I went to the mall to share since it was rainy. On the way there our Uber driver spoke good English (which rarely happens). Our ride to the mall was pretty long since traffic was bad, so we had time to talk to Him about Jesus. It was awesome sharing the gospel with Him, and he even said he would read the book of John in the Bible. When we got the mall all of us were pretty tired, and we didn’t really want to talk to anyone. We took some time to pray, and we asked God what we needed to do while we were there. We also asked God to give us people to talk to while were there. Kaycee reminded us that our purpose is to be with Jesus, so she suggested we go to a coffee shop in the mall to read the Bible and spend time in prayer.

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After we had been there for half and hour, Austin started a conversation with a woman sitting near us. Austin is truly gifted in making friends and starting conversations. Her friendly personality and loving nature makes it easy for people to open up to her. After they talked for a few minutes I jumped in the conversation, too. We both got to share the gospel with her and talk to her about Jesus loves her.

After that woman left, two more women sat down and we got to talk to them. God was literally putting people right next to us that spoke English and were willing to hear the gospel. It was amazing how He was able to provide in our weakness. Even though we were tired and did not feel like talking to people, God provided the people and the words to say. When we were leaving the mall, Kaycee told us she was praying while Austin and I were talking. She said she would pray specific prayers about the conversation and God would answer them almost immediately. We were working together as the body of Christ to share with these women, and it was all possible through our mighty God.

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On Sunday we went to a new church. During the sermon, the pastor talked about not only sharing the gospel, but training people to be disciples of Christ. It was really awesome! We then went and met our team for lunch and rested during the afternoon. That night we went to share near where we live. Austin, Kaycee, and I got to share with two girls and three of their guy friends. It was really awesome getting to tell them all about how God loved them enough to take the punishment they deserved and die on a cross for them.

While I have been tired this week, it has been awesome trusting that God with give the strength and energy I need. We saw God move as He answered prayers and guided us in conversations as we shared throughout the week. Even in my exhaustion I have been able to rejoice in the Lord!

Prayer Requests

  • Pray for the people we shared with this week to come to know Jesus.
  • Pray for the believers in South Asia to share their faith boldly.
  • Pray for my team to glorify God in everything we do, and that we share the gospel boldly.
  • Pray for me to fight to know Jesus more everyday, and for me to be joyful when I spend time with Jesus.

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South Asia- Week 3

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It’s been another crazy week out here in South Asia! Thank you so much for your prayers for my health! God answered them, and I have been much better this week! We have spent a lot of time meeting people and sharing the gospel with them. We also got to work at another VBS. I have really loved growing in community with my team and learning more about Jesus.

This week we had a lot of time to pray for people and share about Jesus in the areas near where we live. Some days it was very hard to find women who speak English to talk to. We did get to make new friends this week, and some of them were Believers!

Last Monday night we got caught in our first monsoon rain. We were meeting with a friend who is a Believer, and near the end of our visit it started pouring. We found cover at a nearby coffee shop, but eventually we had to brave the storm to get home. We managed to flag down a rickshaw, and we were soaked to the bone by the time we got home.

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On Tuesday we had breakfast with some of our field partners. We had a great time fellowshipping while enjoying pancakes, eggs, and bacon. After breakfast the girls got pedicures. That night we went sharing near our home. We got to pray for a few young women in the area.

On Wednesday we had D-Group in the morning. This is a time for our team to break into small groups (guys in one group, girls in the other) to confess sin, read scripture, and encourage one another. After a lunch at our favorite salad place, we went out to share. Austin and I went to check out a local college, but they wouldn’t let us go inside the gate. We tried talking to some people outside the school, and we got to pray with a few people. We also got to share the gospel with at some hangouts down the road from the college.

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On Thursday we had our Sabbath. I finally got a day to sleep in, and then we went to the mall to see a movie. It was nice to have a day to rest and spend time with my teammates. On Friday afternoon and evening we went to share the gospel near where we live.

Saturday we went to a VBS for street kids. This group reaches out to street kids to help provide for their basic needs and teach them about Jesus. Many of these kids live at the train station, and they come from abusive backgrounds. This VBS meets once a month, and the volunteers have worship, lessons, crafts, and games for the kids. They also feed them lunch. We taught them some songs from Summit Kids worship, and the kids loved them. We also did lessons on the birth of Jesus, the crucifixion of Jesus, and Jesus feeding the 10,000. For crafts, we had the kids color pictures from the stories. It was awesome getting to spend the day showing love to these kids, and getting to serve them. The leaders really care for these children, and it is encouraging that they have people who are sharing Jesus with them. When the kids left, they each got a brand new raincoat. This will help shield them some from the monsoons.

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On Sunday we visited a new church. This church reminded me a lot of our church back in the U.S. It was awesome getting to worship and listen to a gospel centered message. Everyone was so friendly and kind. After church the youth (remember they are really what we would consider young adult) went to the pastor’s house for lunch. The food was wonderful, and meeting new people was so much fun! Some of the youth were musicians, and they sang and played guitar, drums, and piano. It was so much fun making music and worshipping with them. Sunday evening we got together as a team, and we had dinner. I appreciate the times we can have the whole team together, especially since we split up more when we go share, meet for follow ups, and go to church.

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God has been teaching me so much during my time in South Asia! Living in a place where plans are tentative and things change at the drop of a hat has really taught me to trust in God. I am learning to be flexible and trust God’s plan is better than my own. Also living in a place that has so few Christians has been eye opening. While reading through the book of Acts, I can see so many parallels to what is happening now in South Asia. It always amazes me how many people have never heard that Jesus came and died for them. Please be praying for God to move in this city, and that Believers would share their faith with their friends, families, and neighbors!

I have also been reading the book, The Insanity of God, by Nik Ripken. This book is about missions in places of great persecution. Through this book and some of my scriptural studies, I have been learning more about what it means to suffer for Christ’s sake. Philippians 1:29 says, “For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in Him but also suffer for His sake.” In Ripken’s novel I read about times of great persecution for Christians in Russian, China, and other unnamed countries. Christians in these places risked so much to say they were a follower of Jesus. Many expected to be imprisoned at some point in their lives. It makes me question how much I would be willing to suffer for the sake of the gospel. Many of these people told that their suffering brought them closer to God.

While we have four more weeks here, it feels as if time is running out. Between our time sharing and following up we are pretty busy over the next few weeks. Plus, our last two weeks here, a City Project team will be joining us. We will be helping guide them to share with people in the city.

Thank you all so much for your prayers and support! I am truly grateful to each and every one of you!

Prayer Requests

  • Pray for God to give me joy during my time with Him. Pray He teaches me things through His Word. 
  • Pray for the people we follow up with to come to have a personal relationship with Jesus. 
  • Pray for God to prepare the hearts of the non-Believers we share with this week, and for God to save the people in this city. 
  • Pray for God to prepare the City Project team for their time in South Asia. 

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South Asia- Week 2

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As I reflect on the past week, it amazes me that we are finishing up week two in South Asia. On one hand these two weeks have flown by, but on the other hand it feels like we have lived here for months. In my last post I shared a little bit about what was going on this week. I told you about the VBS and visiting different religious sites, so this post will fill in the rest of what you missed on week two.

Thursday morning we made our hour rickshaw ride across the city to host our Vacation Bible School for the kids in the slums. This was my day to teach the lesson, so I taught about how Jesus fed the 5000 men and 5000 women and children with only 2 fish and 5 small loaves of bread that a chid gave the disciples. I explained that when Jesus blessed the food and broke the bread, there was enough to feed everyone until they were satisfied, and there were 12 baskets of left overs. This amazed the kids who had not heard this true story. I told then that just as how Jesus used the child’s fish and bread, that when you give your heart to Jesus, He can use you to reach thousands with the gospel. After the VBS, we stayed to eat with the adults. They fed us rice, spicy potatoes, and lentil soup.

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After the meal we went to visit more religious sights. This time my group went to a Dargah (der-guh). A Dargah is a shrine built over the tomb of an Islamic religious figure. While this is supposed to be an Islamic holy place, there were also many Hindu people there. When we asked people what this place was, some said it was where Allah was buried, others said it was the tomb of a prophet, and some said it was the grave of a great teacher. When we asked people why they were there, most said they came to pray for blessings, but some did not know why they came. We had difficulty sharing the gospel in this place since many of the women did not speak English or would pretend that they did not so they could avoid speaking with us. We spent a lot of time just praying over the people there and asking God to save them.

Friday was our last day of VBS, and I had to leave a little early because I was not feeling well. I spent Friday evening and all of Saturday in our apartment sick. I am still not completely recovered, so prayers for healing would be greatly appreciated.

This morning I was well enough to go to church. We went to the church that is lead by the same people that invited us to their youth camp. They invited some of our team to participate in the service. My contribution was singing a song a praise. Kaycee did an amazing job sharing her testimony of how she received Salvation through Christ, and Conor shared the message from John 3. It was incredible seeing the Holy Spirit speak through him as he preached the gospel. This was an awesome reminder of the powerful gifts God has bestowed on my teammates! I am truly blessed to be a part of this team!

This afternoon we went to share at some places around where we live. We got to share the gospel a couple times, and we even got invited to visit someone’s house tomorrow. Please be praying that meeting goes well, and that their whole family gets to hear the gospel.

Prayer Requests:

  • Please pray for healing since I have been sick.
  • Please pray for the people in South Asia to hear and understand the gospel.
  • Please pray for our follow up meetings this week to go well.
  • Please pray we are bold in sharing our faith.

South Asia- Week 1

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After many hours of flying, we finally landed in South Asia last week! We hit the ground running with two days of orientation. During this time we learned about the people in our new community, and we practiced ways to share the gospel effectively.

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After two days of training, our field partners put us on a bus to go to a youth camp. This youth camp was very different than what we think of in America. It was for students age 13-30. During our time there we had no A/C, we learned how to draw water from the well and take bucket showers, and we learned to adapt to the frequent power outages. The camp’s main purpose was to help Believers know God more, and to lead the lost campers to salvation. Our team helped lead the break out sessions. In these small groups we shared the gospel, answered questions, and prayed over the campers and other leaders. These four days at camp were difficult, but it was so sweet to see my team share about Jesus, and we also were able to build relationships within the camp.

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It was refreshing to return to our air conditioned flat in the city after church on Sunday. This week, Monday-Friday, we are hosting a Vacation Bible School for kids in one of the red light districts. While these children come from difficult home situations, their joy is contagious. During our time there we sing songs of worship, color Bible story coloring sheets, learn lessons about Jesus, and play games. I have been helping lead the worship sessions, and the kids all love singing and dancing. It has been an honor teaching them about Jesus through music. On Tuesday the power went out in the upper room where we meet (we are getting used to going without power), and the heat was so intense we had to walk the children to a park. Imagine herding 30 small children through heavy traffic and busy streets for a ten minute walk to a park. When we got to the park, the kids were so excited to play! Some of the boys played cricket, and many of the kids played on the playground. The park closed in the hottest part of the day, so we once again made the trek back, while herding all of the kids through traffic. When we got back we did a lesson with the kids before we helped serve them lunch. It has been so eye opening working with these children. We get to show them love and teach them about Jesus.IMG_0218

Today we went to visit several religious sights. The first place we went was a Hindu Temple. People wove through lines to bring offerings of fruit and flowers to a giant golden statue. It was so heart breaking to see these people seeking peace, and desperately bringing prayers and offerings to this false god. I kept praying as we made our way through the line for God to save these people. God broke my heart for these people and showed me how desperately they need Jesus, and God gave me the boldness to tell others about the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. In the Hindu temple, we were able to share the gospel with several people, and we were able to pray for some who were sitting near us.

After visiting the temple, we went to a Catholic church. This particular church was very much idolizing Mary and held her in a much higher position than Jesus. We spent time praying for the people inside the church, and we had the opportunity to share the gospel outside the building. As I shared with four people, more started to gather around to hear what was being said. It was amazing to see how many were willing to hear about Jesus.

Only 2% of people in this city claim to be Christian, and only about 0.5% of them are actual Believers. There are millions of lost people in this city, and they are searching for something to satisfy their souls. Please be praying for God to move in this city, so people can hear that Jesus came to earth to die in their place for their sins, and that He rose again three days later, conquering the grave. We want them to know that Jesus is the only way to find peace and Salvation, and that He is the One, True God. Please also be praying that the Believers in this city share their faith. It’s through them that this city can be reached. We will only be here for a short time, and we cannot speak with everyone due to language barriers, but the nationals can share the gospel to people we cannot reach.

Prayer Requests

  • Pray for God to save the people in South Asia.
  • Please pray for the Believers in this city to be bold in sharing their faith with others.
  • Pray for my team to be with Jesus daily, and to look to Him for joy.

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