(Thursday, February 7, 2013) The first draft of my new book for couples is completed and being proofread. Pray God would continue to give me wisdom as I make sure it says what I believe God wants me to say. Pray, too, that the money to go ahead with the translating and printing becomes available so we can quickly move ahead. Every conference we receive many requests from those desiring to know more about this subject. Thanks! (If you want a copy email me and I’ll email you a copy when done.)
As my time in India comes to a close and I look back on the last 5 weeks, here are some highlights, and some lowlights a well!
BEST MEMORY: After laying hands on Pastor Barnabas and praying for he and his wife, I signaled for him to lay hands on me and pray for me. He is the only one I have ever had do that for me. The first time was in 2009. I don’t understand what he prays, but I know their power goes with me. It is a very moving experience.
WORST MEMORY: Spilling a few drops of water on my laptop and watching it totally shut down and refuse to start!!! (It is working again thanks to Peter and a buying a new keyboard which I plug in.)
MOST TAKEN BY SURPRISE: The time a woman came to the front of the church during the service and handed me her newly born baby boy and asked me to name him. Actually this has happened to me a few years ago after church. I was taken by surprise this time, though. Everyone but me knew what was happening and was fine with it. God told me to name him Timothy, for Timothy knew the Bible from young and became a fine pastor. I also prayed and dedicated him to God. Then I asked the mother if I could keep him and bring him home with me. That lightened things up! (A few days earlier I had gotten to hold a one hour old baby boy – I haven’t done that for 17+ years!)
MOST HUMOROUS: We do lots of laughing and joking all day. For example, Moses is trying to be more health conscious and lose his belly which many Indian men have because of the type and amount of food they eat. He is always pointing out and joking about pastors with big bellies, so one morning I put a big pillow under my kurta and told him I was now an Indian pastor. He still laughs about that.
MOST DISCOURAGING: Pastors who pretend to want to help me but in reality want to use “the rich American” for their own prestige by having me speak to their church, or who feel I should give them a large donation because I have a lot of money. Pastors who spend their time looking for free support seldom have effective ministries anyway. Unfortunately that is not uncommon, but God makes it easy to tell who those pastors are so we avoid getting trapped by them.
SADDEST: The spiritual and physical poverty of the people, the darkness and hopelessness is heartbreaking, and to think there are 1.2 billion in India alone! Also a good friend in Pastor Moses’ church, his top elder, lost his wife this past year. Every year their wedding anniversary came while I was here so they would ask me to bless their marriage for another year. This year I prayed for him alone and it wasn’t easy! He is very sad without her.
UNEXPECTED HELP: Usually things don’t work out as well as planned and I must fall to my 2nd or 3rd backup plan, but one thing worked out better than planned. At the last minute I decided to bring my converter to power my laptop from the cigarette lighter in the car. It is bulky and I didn’t know if it would work but it has! My laptop battery doesn’t last long and we spend 4 to 6 hours a day in the car. I organize pictures, write blogs and keep records of what is happening. I would never have time in the hotel for all of it. It’s quite bumpy but I manage.
MOST TOUCHING Watching Pastor Ezra’s oldest daughter, who is 7 or 8, sing and worship in church when she doesn’t know she is being watched. Clearly it comes from her heart. Watching her reminds me of why Jesus was so adamant about letting the children come to Him. I do think God gives the best children to pastors, but then I could be a bit prejudiced in that area!
MOST ENCOURAGING: Responses from the pastors in India and emails from people at home both have been extremely encouraging. Since verbal affirmation is my love language these go far with me. Lots of good things to think about and mull over (Luke 2:19).
BIGGEST FRUSTRATION: India adds new meaning to the word ‘frustration.’ The nation seems to take great pride in creating as much of it as they can. From animals sleeping in middle of the street to pastors arriving 2 hours late to conferences, from the non-committal head wobble when asked a question to all night hammering at the construction site across the street, from wasting my time under the guise of honoring me to waiting for the last minute to do what should have been done yesterday, India has made a science out of creating frustration. It is even becoming one of their leading exports, as anyone who calls technical support knows. If you want to work on your patience, come to India (Romans 5:3).
(I’ll conclude the list tomorrow)
Philippian 4:11-13 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
Would you say you are a content person, or do you let the frustrations of life get to you? What would those who know you say? What would God say? What frustrations are you facing today that you need to turn to God and replace with contentment? Do so now.