Of the six times I have been to India, this last time was by far the most challenging, both physically and spiritually. For some reason, the Lord allowed our team to experience some difficult struggles such as we have never had before. It was clear that our enemy wanted to thwart us and steal our joy. But just as clearly, we were convinced that the Lord wanted us to depend on His strength to bring glory to His Name in spite of our weaknesses.
First, we were able to visit one of our missionary families in North India. Paul, Diane, Susan and I were very impacted by the short time (3 days) we spent with them at their home, moving around the city and hearing about their ministry. The difficulties that they face and the sacrifices that they have chosen to make in order to bring the gospel of our Lord Jesus to a very dark place were quite overwhelming to me. And they still are. I cannot adequately express how proud I am of this couple. They are surely laying up eternal treasures in heaven and they are incredible examples to all of us. They need our prayers!
Leaving that place, our challenges continued for the next two weeks – travel challenges, health challenges and a lot of spiritual warfare. Unfortunately, I was unable to deliver a number of my teaching sessions, due to illness. But God used others to carry the load so that we were able to finish our goal and see almost 75 pastors graduate from this training. It was a very special time to see these underprivileged men who live in conditions much worse than you or I, joyfully accept their graduation certificates, showing gratitude for the gift of training they have been given. They testified of the tremendous impact that this training has had on their spiritual lives and ministry. What a blessing to hear and be a part of that!
It was also a bittersweet time with these men that we have come to know over the past 10 years. We said goodbye to them, knowing that this may be the last time we see them in this life – holding on to the hope that we will see them some day in glory.
None of this would have been possible without the prayer support and generosity of many of you over the past 10 years. Seeds have been sown and planted. Roots have grown deep and much fruit can already be seen. All of this has been accomplished because of your partnership in the Gospel and the fact that you have helped us in the work. May the Lord continue to bless the ministry of Shepherding the Nations for His glory and His ALONE.