Someone asked me recently about how I got started going to India. I often think about that because I never have liked to travel, and I don’t like speaking to groups of people I don’t know. So how did I end up on the other side of the world speaking to all these pastors who don’t even know English? Here’s how it all began:
Our church had been sponsoring the work of an India couple who lived and worked in the USA. They had a ministry to school children and pastors in India and from time to time would take a group from their near-by church to go minister. Since we supported them they came each year to update the church on their ministry in India.
Each time he would come he would say what missionaries are supposed to say, “You should come to India with me and help train pastors there.” I always said what pastors are supposed to say to missionaries who say that, “Maybe some day but not now.” I had no interest in going at all. That is, until one time when he asked me and God immediately told me to go by putting a interest and desire in my heart to help train pastors in India. I remember it clearly. It was January 2005 but seems like just yesterday.
I joined another pastor and a group from there church who went in January 2006. I didn’t know anything about India, even what city we were going to when we got there. We had a week of pastors training which the other pastor and I taught, saw some of India, and came home. In fact, 3 of the men at that first conference came to a conference I had in the same building 10 years later, January of 2016. It was great seeing them again!
God put a strong desire in my heart to return and do it again, so I returned with just the missionary couple and we had another conference the next year. I had met Pastor Moses the first trip when he did some translating for my sessions, and I saw him again the second trip. Because there wasn’t room for me to stay with the missionary couple I ended up staying in Pastor Moses’ home. The following year, when the couple from India didn’t have a pastors’ conference planned, I went to India alone and Pastor Moses and I started having conferences. And the rest, as they say, is history! As for the danger of ministering there, there is no safer place to be than in the center of God’s will.
I sometimes wonder what would have happened if I hadn’t responded to that small, gentle urging from God to go to India. What if my fears would have kept me from going? I’m sure God would have used someone else to do what I have done, but what blessing and stretching and growth I would have missed! I’m so glad I responded in obedience, even thought its by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Then I wonder if there are other blessings I have missed, other privileges I have turned down, other opportunities to minister I have turned my back on. I hope not, but probably I have. I’m glad God didn’t give up on me, and hasn’t stopped trying to use me. I’m glad I obeyed! (March 4, 2016, Doylestown, PA 18901)
Deuteronomy 28:1-3 If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God: You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country.
What blessings can you see in your life today because of your obedience to God in the past? Wasn’t the blessing well worth the cost of obedience? Is their any area of obedience in your life you are now struggling with? What can you learn from past obedience that will help motivate you to obey God now in this as well?
by Rev. Dr. Jerry Schmoyer, Christian Training Organization