Thursday, October 24, 2013

Things are Great!

I apologize for not keeping up with this blog - I had great intentions before I left, but it has been difficult to find the time actually do it.

The last 2 days we have been speaking to a group of a few hundred pastors at a conference.  What an incredible experience! To hear some of their stories and see what they do, it has truly challenged me.  God is truly doing something special in this country and we all feel so fortunate to be a part of it for these few days.

They have a goal of planting 10,000 new churches in a 10 year period, along with raising up 10,000 new pastors, and adding something like 2 million members.  After 4 years they are well on there way.

As a team, we're doing great - Thank you for your prayers!


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Trip approaching fast!

Well it's Wednesday afternoon and I'm scrambling to get things done!  This coming Monday I will be leaving with 9 other pastors for Tanzania, Africa.  We will be traveling around the country, speaking to pastors, and visiting a local Bible college.

Please be praying for the team as we are preparing, and that we would have a life changing experience!


Thursday, February 28, 2013

India day 5

No pictures today because we really don't have the time, but I thought I'd write a couple quick thoughts from the day:

This morning 5 of us had the chance to spend some time at an elementary school in Calcutta - and it was something I will definitely remember.  This particular school was full of children from the "slums".  These kids have absolutely nothing - in fact most come from situations that would disgust us as Americans.  These are children that have no hope of a future w/out an education.  What was neat to see was that all of these kids were "sponsored children", which means someone who doesn't know them is paying for their education, basic nutrition, and healthcare for about $1/day.  We had the chance to interact w/ these kids, take their pictures (which they love), and even help teach them a lesson.  All 7 grades were located in the same classroom and the students would sit in their own little section w/ their class and teacher.  They were learning English and math while we were there.  I did get some fun pictures that I'll share later if I get the chance.

We also had the chance this afternoon to visit the Sisters of Charity - the place where Mother Theresa lived.  There was nothing special about the building and not that much to see, which is how I think she would want it.  I have heard the stories about this amazing women, but there was something special about being in the same building where she lived for many years.  I am challenged by the incredible compassion and love that she showed to some of the most lowly, hurting people in the world.  What a legacy she left.

Tomorrow is our last day of work at the hospital.  Please continue to pray for us, as some are dealing w/ some stomach issues and it's making is difficult for the group.


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

India day 4

More work today - it's starting to come together and some of the projects we're doing are getting done, but unfortunately we're tired.  It's been difficult to sleep for a number of reasons.  It's warm, the beds aren't the greatest, and their is constant noise in the city.  I promise that I'm not whining, but please pray for us that we get rest!

This morning I was greatly moved.  I had the chance to go with one of the hospital pastors to each room and pray for the patients.  It's something they do every single day for ever single patient.  I got to pray with all sorts of people but I left reflecting on my own life.  It is so hard to see children suffer.  One of the services that this hospital provides for the poor is cleft palate surgery.  I really didn't know anything about this until today.  The hospital does 9 of these surgeries per day for free.  Here's a picture I took this morning:

Fortunately for these children the surgery can completely take care of this problem - so even though it may be tough to see, it's not the end of the world.

But others are so fortunate.  Through an interpreter I spoke to a family that I will never forget.  I literally fought back tears as they explained that 2 of their children had leukemia.  You heard me right - 2.  We did the only thing we knew how to do in that moment, we prayed.  Later, the pastor who accompanied me explained not only will they lose both their children (except for a miracle) but more than likely this would ruin them financially for the rest of their lives.  Even with free blood transfusions from the hospital, transportation was a horrible problem for them.  Enough to cripple their family completely.

This brought 2 things to my attention, both things that I already know but needed to be reminded of again.  First, I am so blessed to have healthy children.  I am so grateful and am truly bless in this area.  Second, there are people who are truly hurting, truly in need, truly desperate in our world and we as Christians have a part to play.  It is so easy to focus on my own life, my own issues, my own problems - all the while people are fighting w/ issues that make my stuff feel so petty.

God - help me see people the way you do, don't let me be the same!


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

India day 3

Most of our time this week is spent painting and redoing rooms at Mercy Hospital.  It's incredible what this ministry is doing and how they are helping people.  They provide extremely cheap and free healthcare where it's needed, plant churches, and are providing food for over 20,000 people every single day.

The front of the hospital

The cool hospital bus

This woman is getting food from the feeding center - literally filling up a grocery bag with rice to bring home to her family:

Most of what we are doing in the hospital is painting.  This room is set aside for children who are receiving blood transfusions - we're trying to brighten their day:

The culture is definitely different - one area specifically has to do with their view of women.  This sign is posted at the hospital:

When we asked about this, the answer was very simple:  People will abort their baby if they find out it is a girl.

It truly is life changing to be here - God is working in my life and the lives of the people here with me!  Thank you for your prayers.


Monday, February 25, 2013

India day 2

I don't have a ton of time this evening but I thought do something quick.

I love the people here.  Here's a few more pictures today of some of the people:

We spend some time in the market today as well.  It's incredible to see the people trying to make a living selling food and all sorts of stuff.  Here's a picture of one woman at the market:

We also we able to go up on a rooftop to see the city.  Here's a picture of Calcutta:

Today we also started what we came here to do - remodeling a part of the Mercy Hospital in downtown Calcutta.  We spent our time scraping, mudding, and painting.

I'm excited for tomorrow!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

India day 1

Today was our first whole day in India, and after what felt like a few days of airplanes, it feels incredible to actually be here!

This morning we woke up and went to church.  We were surprised at how westernized the service felt. They sang songs that we sing and the pastor was able to keep most of us awake (the group is still very exhausted from the past few days).  Overall I had a very good experience at the church!

We spent the afternoon walking around Calcutta.  Here's a few pictures from today - these were taken by Beth Ranta and Debbie Zehrer: