Today is actually past the dates of our tour from a year ago. But, I'm not done walking through my trip. So, bear with me as I continue this look back at our tour from last January. Our trip now has us in Rajasthan, in north west India, bordering Pakistan.
I find that I'm learning a great deal as I process back through our journey. I never blogged much about the trip. I think I was too overwhelmed with it all. Now that it's been a year, certain things are just as fresh in my memory but have been enhanced by another year of walking with the Lord.
Our time in Rajasthan was incredible. We met missionaries, visited Bridge of Hope centers, met Bible college students, learned more about Jesus Wells, and experienced some fun unique to the region. (like monkeys...roaming the desert)
On our first day in Rajasthan we drove out to a church where many missionaries and pastors were meeting for a time of encouragement. We drove through a river bed to reach the church. I took one look at the pastor and his wife and couldn't believe my eyes. I had watched a video about their life and ministry during the months we raised support to join GFA staff!Their story is one of God's provision and faithfulness to sacrificial giving. The pastor's small hut was packed with believers every week for worship and teaching. In the video we watched, the pastor was explaining his belief that God would one day build a church on the land he was giving. This pastor dedicated prime farm land for a church to be built. Not even two years after we watched the video, we stood inside that church! It was neat to come home, watch the video again and rejoice in all the Lord is doing in this pastor's church! Their fellowship is growing as more people from the surrounding area hear of Jesus' love and commit their lives to Him.Outside the church building stands this cross. The black pieces of leather are a symbol of those who were in need of healing, sought answers in Hinduism and were wearing "magic strings" given to them by witch doctors. (In trying to figure out how best to explain this, I went to the GFA website and searched around. Click here to read more about this particular pastor, Hirla, and the awesome ministry of prayer he has through Jesus!)
They welcomed us with flowers and much joy. What an encouragement they were!
Rajasthan is is not an easy area to share the Gospel. It's a desert land physically and spiritually. But, it's amazing how God can take humble, faithful servants and use them in powerful ways.
There is much darkness. We went to a temple while there. It was sad. I can't say much else about it except that it just felt hollow and empty and the people who were there seemed to have hollow eyes. We prayed. May the Lord captivate the hearts of the people and draw them to Himself. He gives life abundantly. We don't have to strive for His love; He has given it freely and completely. My heart just aches for them to know Him.These were taken inside that area.Our first day in Rajasthan was only about half full of seeing ministry and life in this area. We had spent the morning flying in from Mumbai because of those flight delays and then the church we went to visit was three hours away from where we were staying.
We had some fun along the way to the church. As I mentioned before, monkeys were all along the roads. Since I love monkeys, they let us stop and take some pictures. And, I make a mean monkey noise. It's very cool.
I really can't say enough about the missionary leader who hosted us. It was during the long car rides with him that I learned the most about life and ministry in this parched land. God is Living Water--and the people of Rajasthan so desperately need Him!