As in years gone by, I come to my computer to write to you about my recent trip to India. I have the very familiar sense of humility, gratefulness, unworthiness, and wonder at God’s grace.
Visiting Brad and Lisa in Northern India was most likely the most unique experience I’ve ever had in all my travels. (Okay, well, there was that time in a remote village in the Philippines ‘sleeping’ in a ‘motel room’ with lizards climbing on every wall and the ceiling…but that was a different kind of unique.) Paul and I stayed on a houseboat way across a lake from a dock and the town streets. So every day we took a ‘shakara’ (see pic) to leave our houseboat and to return. We all met in the mornings at the dock and we would do our outings and then they would come back to the houseboat on the shakaras with us so we could have dinners together. What an incredible time we all had hearing about the joys and challenges of their new ministry there. They are precious and deeply devoted servants of the Lord Jesus. What a blessing to spend extended time with them and be there in the very place where they minister to such spiritually needy people. We were able to visit their home and even meet some of their neighbors. One afternoon Brad led us in a sweet time of worship together, we had a picnic on a verrrry tiny island on the lake, we enjoyed beautiful gardens nearby, and everything was just (if there were such a thing) magical. Beyond all this amazingness, I have to say that my greatest joy during those 4 days was watching Susan and her sister. Of course they share a sisterly love that is beautiful, but their hearts are knit together with a love for missions and sharing the gospel that is profound. Saying goodbye to Brad and Lisa was…well, it makes me tear up just remembering it. They need our prayers as they stay and live among people who so desperately need the Savior.
What a joy to experience such an increasing closeness to the wives of our pastors. Even after our 5 year separation, they exuded a familiarity and friendship with us that was so sweet and could only be explained because of the Holy Spirit. They were demonstrative and expressed such an appreciation of the teaching and ‘gospel oriented’ gifts we prepared for them. The week long conferences in Lucknow and Hyderabad held so much excitement as the pastors moved closer each day to finishing the BTCP course and ultimately receiving their certificate at graduation. The ceremonies were so meaningful and everyone is still in awe of all that God has done in the lives of our pastors, their families, and their churches.
I have a couple of skills that I can use on these trips…or as I enjoy saying to Susan, “I have 2 jobs and neither one is teaching. I can sing and I love to take pictures (not very professional, but the trips get documented). Well, this year Susan said, ‘you’re teaching and here’s your topic.’ So, way outside my comfort zone on so many levels, I did a lesson for the sisters on ‘Spiritual Training of Children in the Home.’ God was very gracious to help me write a sufficient lesson and I can trust that He used it in the lives of our precious pastors’ wives in Lucknow and Hyderabad. I share that little story with you because it is so very true that God doesn’t always ‘call the equipped’ but He always ‘equips the called.’
How wonderful to have Pastor Eddie and Tammy Werth join us on this trip. They were both so easy going, always helpful, and seemed so comfortable in the Indian culture. Please be praying for the Lord’s leading as Pastor Eddie ascertains the possibility of an STN ministry in Central America. The Lord used Tammy’s powerful testimony in the lives of the sisters as well as my own. God has done great things in her life! David and Mindy Nelson are also a joy to partner with in ministry. The Kumars and Leinens…well, that just goes without saying. What a team.
The fact that I get to share these experiences with and (more so) because of my husband, Paul, is blessing upon blessing. Thank you Jesus for ‘Shepherding the Nations!’