(To see the video I watched, follow this link to watch a Jesus Well Video.)
Yes, those are idols in the foreground and the church on the hill in the distance. Click the picture to enlarge. (You will also see them on the video mentioned above.)
This particular church sits on a hill and can be seen from far and wide. There is a Jesus Well that sits out front and people walk long distances to come pump fresh drinking water. While we were at the church, a group of women dressed in bright colors came to the Well.Look at the woman in the distance carrying a water pitcher on her head. After a few more minutes she disappeared into the horizon.
We joined the meeting as 48 pastors gathered for encouragement and prayer. Each pastor introduced himself, shared about his family, and told us about his church. It was awesome to hear one after another as they said things like "I have 20 people in my church. Please pray we can reach more", "I live in a village and have 53 worshippers. Please pray for us", "I've been a pastor with Believer's Church for 12 years and have 54 baptized believers in our church. Approximately 120 people attend our church. Pray for my family to grow in faith and serve effectively", and on and on.
Some of the pastors graduated from Bible college just a year ago while others have been sowing seeds and watering this sometimes very dry soil for a long time.
This particular church in which we sat had been destroyed by anti-Christians twice. It was rebuilt. And, hanging in the rafters is a chunk of the old roof--to remind the people that God is faithful. Those who led in the persecution fell sick and within a year were dead. Villagers were afraid and doors were opened to share the Gospel. This church is now home to 80 baptized believers who meet regularly to worship the Lord!
We had lunch at a restaurant back in town, where we were staying. We all marveled at the presentation. It tasted as good as it looked!
In the evening we visited the girls Bible college, boys Bible college, and a Bridge of Hope center.
There were 30 women studying at the Bible college. They recently went through a transition in some leadership and the woman who was now the warden is the wife of one of the men who drove us around to all these neat places! It was neat to meet his wife!
The men's Bible college has had 211 graduates and currently enrolls 33 students. The number one prayer request from the principal was that they would reach the unreached villages. He said only 13 of 33 have been reached. That's 20 villages where people have never heard the name of Jesus!
Did you grow up singing "Jesus Loves Me...this I know...for the Bible tells me so..."? I did.
Children in Rajasthan don't grow up singing that song. In fact, most of them have never even heard His name! They don't know there is one true God who loves them. They have no idea He went to Calvary for them.
Later in the evening, we stopped by a Bridge of Hope center. This is a place where children are definitely hearing about Jesus' love! We got to help serve dinner, which was a real treat to our whole team. We brought candy and got to put a piece on each plate. I helped close to the kitchen and the students on our team handed the plates to the kids.
One student on our team, Emily, got to meet the child her grandfather supports. She was elated! We couldn't believe that of all the centers in Rajasthan, we were visiting the ONE this boy attends!And these cool guys drove us for LOTS of hours in two cool Jeeps (on L above and the man below). It was a lot of fun to hear their testimonies and be recipients of their humble service.