Next Steps….

Starting a new chapter in the book of life…as this year I embark on a year long trip to India to help those who have been sold into the commercial sex trade. Join me….as a single life changes the world and a single heart touches millions!


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Exciting News….

Just a quick but exciting update…

As the days are getting longer the doors are starting to open.  Things are coming together more at the women’s center we work with and the HIV/AIDS clinic we partner with is starting open up a little more to our helping too. In fact we will be helping there all day on Monday as the majority of the staff go out of “station” (that is out-of-state in our terms) for a little holiday. It is quite an honor that they are trusting enough of us to ask that we come help while they are away from the clinic.

SB and I have been working in a slum area for a little over a month now, basically we are in the relationship building phase right now, sharing bible stories with children and playing games with them and offering medical care where ever needed. Well as the days are getting hotter it is getting more and more difficult for us to be out in the heat of the day, especially with the bugs (mosquitos) that seem to be all day long here. RR has suggested that we rent a room/building/flat or something so that we can move our activities in doors!!! WOW!!! This sounds great! However, we don’t know where this space is yet!  We will be meeting with someone today and tomorrow (Saturday, Sunday) to see if there is any guidance/help they can offer on finding a place to rent in the area as well as getting that place started. It is an exciting new step for us and we are ready to take on the task. I hope you will join us in prayer…

1. Guidance and Wisdom on the new project in the slum

2. Where is the new space that we are supposed to rent

3. Favor with the people we rent from as well as the people in the area that we will be living around and serving.


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Wedding Bells

Unlike the states where summer is the time for weddings, January and February are the time for weddings here in India. I would attribute it to the fact, at least here in Karnataka, of the milder temperatures…in just a few short months it will be getting HOT, HOT, HOT.

So SB and I were invited to 2 weddings last Sunday.  With SB out of town I decided that I would wing it and go by myself.

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They were traditional Hindu weddings, of which I have never had the pleasure of witnessing  and It was exciting to be able to take part in the wedding of the women that I have grown to love over the few short months that I have been here. The cermony was interesting, beautiful, and sad all at the same time.

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Beautiful to witness the excitement of the groom and bride as they went through the cermony. Beautiful  to sit and wait with one bride, as the other was finishing up her ceremony …”Didi” she said “I am very nervous”  I tried to ease her nerves but can’t say how much help I was. Just sitting with her and being able to hold her hand and say a quiet little prayer with her was maybe enough to let her know that someone cares.

Interesting…because I have never attending a wedding of this sort before so it was new and exciting to watch all the different things they do. They throw rice like we do but at each other during the ceremony. They both have flower garlands that they exchange like 15 times between each other during the ceremony. Then there is a bunch of stuff with food and incense that is probably offered to their god that I am not really sure of. Interesting all the monkeys hanging around that would photo bomb and steal the food, and anything else they wanted, right out of the priests hand.

Sad…I really didn’t feel any love during the whole thing. These were just two people going through the motions. No kiss the bride at the end, I don’t think they really ever touched each other. They were like two people in line at a grocery store or something that said…”hey lets go get married”. The abscence of God was also very sad to me. Everything revolved around creation…food, flowers, food, food, food, this was all offered to their god. I’m sure God was sad too.

Gen2:20-24 But for Adam no suitable helper was found. 21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.
23 The man said,
“This is now bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called ‘woman,’
for she was taken out of man.”
24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.


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Less preaching more update….

So as of today I have been back in country three weeks!!!! The first 3 months over here went by so fast and the 5 1/2 weeks that I was home seemed to go by even faster. This second leg of my journey seems to be going a little bit slower and my emotions to seem to be a little more on my sleeve.

Having hit the ground at full speed on the 30th of December I didn’t really have a chance to think about anything except get go, go, going because we had so much to get in place before our team arrived on the 31st. Just a short 24 hours to get everything in place for them. Sadly for them their flights were delayed and we were allotted a little more preparation time.  The team was a tremendous blessing to us both spiritually and emotionally and I pray that we in turn blessed them. They were so easy-going and had nothing but positive comments about everything we had planned. I thank God that our first official team was such a blessing and pray that future teams will be as easy-going.

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After the team had left SB and I  tried to take a long weekend of recuperation, trying to settle back into the daily activities of life here. One of those days included my 44th birthday,  I celebrated with a long day at the spa getting treated like a “Princess” because I refuse to grow up and be a Queen, and I will always be “daddy’s little girl”. After celebrating birthday stuff we sadly learned of mandates and other malicious activities going on here that I have already written. This spoiled our relaxing weekend but also helped us to remember the reason of our being here…”To shine the light of Jesus in a dark place”

Sunday’s is now the start of our week as we have started to reach out in a nearby slum. We have visited a total of 5 times and have been able to share Gods word with them just about every time. We have also done a medical camp out there with the help of our Christmas team and the nearby government school that allowed us to use their facility on Sunday. We have anywhere from 10-20 children showing up ranging in ages from 3-15. Our hope is to start a girls group so that we can start pouring into them; life skills, education, hygiene, and of course the Good News.

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We continue to partner with our other ministries as well and this is keeping our week full but even with the “busyness” of it all I am daily missing home more and more. The short visit to home was a wonderful refresher but I wonder at times if it may have been a little detrimental as I feel like I have taken 3 steps backwards in my separation anxiety. Daily I am able to catch up with my husband and can see my sweet grand-babies Piper and Kendall, via Skype or FB, but the pangs of not being there with them grip me. Alas this is a season of growing for all of us; John and I will continue to count down the days till we can reunite in May and the rest of the family will mark their calendars with big X’s until I return in September.

Continued and New Prayer Request:

1. A’s wedding is still scheduled for the 25th. Please continue to pray for God’s will to be done. We have learned in Hindu custom there is alot of attention paid to astrology and because of this the actual wedding will not take place until early morning on the 26th (6:30am my time/7pm CST), lots of celebration in anticipation on the 25th. They will look at signs and horoscopes and if everything does not fall into the a perfect match for each other they will not be wed. Again continue to PRAY!!!

2. There is a young woman who is translating for us in the slum who is also engaged to be wed…15yrs old. She does not want this to happen as she is a believer and knows that she is to young. The man she is promised to is 20yrs old. Please continue to pray for His devine intervention in this matter.

3. Continued prayer for His will to be done in regards to the 7 year mandate. Pray for strength, wisdom, faith, and lack of fear for current and new believers during this very scary uncertain time.

 


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More Heart….Less Attack!

Can’t we all just get along?!? Oh if it was all just so easy! Jesus reminds us in Matthew 10:22 You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.

This week SB and I thought that we would have a great week of getting back on track after a week with our Christmas team being here. A week of just trying to get our lives back in order with the chaos of India. Boy were we wrong. We sit here tonight feeling like the walls of Jericho are falling down around US. We have recently learned of a mandate that has been passed in India requiring all locals to convert back to Hinduism within 7 years.  This is being inforced by the use of their ration cards. Ration cards are used for just what they sound like…receiving rations of water and food in a country that is seriously/desparately impoverished. On their cards it states their religion and if it states anything other than Hindu and the person refuses to change their profession of fairth they, and their family,  will be unable to receive any assistance through the government.  Along with this news we have also been made aware of a bombing that occurred the Sunday before we arrived home, and numerous other issues that hit a little closer to home with our work here and the people we are serving.

It hurts me so much to think that people I once considered comrades on this earthly plane considered me no better than the next “Joe” on the street. To think that a government could be so corrupt to withhold clean WATER from people. However,  I am comforted in knowing that again Jesus reminds us that we will be hated by EVERYONE because of him but the ones that stand strong/firm to the end will be saved. EVERYONE!!!! You may think that your closest of close friends will never turn their back on you, or your family will never turn away from you, or maybe your church family won’t do it. However each and every one of these did that very thing to Jesus and he warns us that it can and will happen to us.

Lets not scream at people from the road side and bible bash, or start a big hate campaign in response to the Hindu conversion mandate but lets rather do as the title of this blog says and show more heart and less attack(title borrowed from Need to Breathe album “Rivers in the Wasteland”)!!!!!

1. Please keep SB and myself in your prayers for unspoken request.

2. Please keep believers here in your prayers that they will stand strong to this oppression and claim Jesus in everything they do! Pray for the non-believers that they will see the strength and courage of the believers and through that become believers themselves.

3. Continue to pray for A as her wedding is coming up on the 25th of this month. We are praying that Gods will be done in everything and hoping that it will be that the wedding will not happen.


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This little light of mine!!!!

John 3:16 reminds us of the BEST and most important Christmas gift ever given;

“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life.(MSG)

We give gifts because we love one another and a Christmas tree reminds me of how many precious souls we touched during this celebration with our first official team.

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Each little light on the tree is a soul that was touched in one way or another during this time.

Rockefeller Center Tree Artist Unknown

Rockefeller Center Tree
Artist Unknown

The estimated population of India is 1.27 billion people. The tree above may represent the population of Bangalore. With our team, we were able to touch a small fraction lights/souls on this tree with the love of Jesus through our actions, not just words, during our Christmas Celbrations this season but through that small fraction God can do great things!

We traveled to and visited many different ministries, to allow the team to be able to take in as much as possible of what we are doing here.  With that being said, we focused on two main ministries for our Christmas Celebrations; a women’s aftercare home and an HIV/AIDS clinic.

With the women’s aftercare home, we planned a big day out to a park. This is a big deal, since many of these women do not get outside of the aftercare home, let alone a day of playing games in the park and acting silly.

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We worshiped with them…

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…shared Bible stories, and one of our team members even taught some ballet.

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Of course, the highlight of our time there was the gift giving.

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At the HIV/AIDS clinic, we had a great time with the children, patients and staff. It was fun to be a secret Santa to the children, because they were away at school when we came to visit the home and deliver the gifts.

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The staff were amazing and are always so gracious to us. It was so much fun to share God’s love with them!

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“1 The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, 2 to proclaim the year of the Lord ‘s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, 3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.” Isaiah 61:1-3

PRAYER REQUESTS…..

1 .Please continue to pray for favor here in India and at all of the ministries we are currently working with.  A new mandate is in place that everyone will return to Hindu faith within 7 years.

2 .Please pray for 2 young girls who are betrothed to wed soon. These young ladies do not want to marry as this will mean a total change in direction of their lives. One young woman is attending nursing school but will have to quit now because of her upcoming wedding.


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Looking back…

This is a post I found on my phone from mid September that I had failed to share.
Reflections…
Lying in bed I am able to reflect on the last few weeks of work that have flown by and it’s hard to believe that I’ve been here exactly one month now. Again I am thanking God for bringing me here and the people that support me while I am doing His work.
The people here are so beautiful in their own way. You may see a beggar or prostitute that has a choice but I see someone who is trapped chance and circumstance. Trapped in an ancient country that even though it is trying to join the latest century sticks hard and fast to the ancient customs and traditions that they know.
The women that I had the privilege to meet and pray with this past week during medical camp were women who didn’t know me but still, as I entered their street/brothel, welcomed me as Didi or Auntie.  If anyone were to do or say something harmful to us these women would protect us with their very last breath. In the worlds view we are night and day on this planet and have no business being in this area or around “THESE” women. This is exactly the way it is to happen though…because we are all sisters in Christ even to those who don’t know Him yet. This is part greatest commandment that has been given to us… Matthew 22:37-39 “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Love him with all your mind.’ This is the first and most important commandment. And the second is like it. ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’


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Blessed!

As I was driving home from Mobile Alabama yesterday I had to quickly stop and thank God for the opportunities and blessings he has given me to be able to enjoy the beauty of his hands on opposite ends of the world……

20141209-075130-28290169.jpg The top photo is a sunset India to which none can really compare and the bottom photo is from my drive home yesterday over Mobile bay with the sun shining down on a beautiful winter day.
Psalms 84:10
Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.


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World Peace!

Today as I was reading my morning devotional “Girlfriends in God” titled “Rest in Peace” I had an epiphany…or God spoke to me…you decide.
Back in the day you could watch the “Miss America” pageant on TV and it was a big deal…not so much any more. One point of the pageant, forgive I don’t remember what it was called, they asked the women a question and one woman would ALWAYS answer with “World Peace”
To achieve world peace Jesus has put the plans right out there for us…

Romans 5:1 (NCV) “Since we have been made right with God by our faith, we have peace with God. This happened through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Therefore by our faith in Christ WE have peace!
This is not just for us because he plainly tells us in many verses of the bible to share the good news with others but my favorite is…
Matthew 28:18-20
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Of course sharing the news with others does not bring them to Christ…only he can do that..all we can do is plant the seeds and water them through prayer, friendship, and showing others Jesus in ourselves. But..when the world hears and comes to faith in Jesus Christ they/we will have “World Peace”


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Tired….

Have you ever been TIRED? Not just tired that you want to go to bed but TIRED!

Emotionally tired? Physically Tired? Tired of doing the right thing ALL the time?

This is the way I think people in the pastoral field feel at times…

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I have reached an emotional valley and although I am not physically crying my eyes out I am emotionally.
Being on this trip is like being on stage all day everyday with no intermission…well except for bedtime I guess.
Everyday I feel like I have to mind my P’s and Q’s with everyone…always wondering did I offend that person by the way that I looked at him/her or maybe by the way I offered my hand as a greeting? I want to yell “Stop Starring” at so many passers-by, but that would be offensive and not a good reflection of my character. Day in and out I question…Have I done enough for this person and or organization by what I am offering with my services? Is there someone else that can do it better than me?

It’s amazing as I read in Psalms 139:16

“Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” This is reassurance to me as I prepare to go home in just over a week. HE…had this all planned out! HE…knew that right about now I would be reaching this low point in the journey and be needing the travel home to see family!  You see I had planned not to come home until after the holidays…not until the end of January…closer to a true 6th month mark but God knew, as He knows everything, that I would need to get home sooner than that for a littler refresher!!!!

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