March 5, 2016
Acts 20:24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.
Early this morning Pastor Ryan and I climbed into the church van driven by Tony Magtoto and headed off to LAX. This is the beginning of our trip to Delhi, India. We are going to teach at a pastor’s conference there with an organization called Harvest Mission to the Unreached. This organization has pastors working in some of the most impoverished and persecuted parts of India. The verse I quoted above was said by the Apostle Paul as he headed toward Jerusalem. He did not know what awaited him only that the Spirit had told him that bounds and afflictions were in store. His own personal suffering did not matter to him. All that he cared about was doing the will of God and fulfilling the call that He had for him. I am not writing this because I believe we are headed towards danger but because I am humbled to teach those that live everyday of their life in mortal danger yet continue to walk ahead in spite of it. I wonder who I am to teach men such as these? They live a life that I don’t understand and honestly would not want to experience. I am hoping to glean from them this spirit of abandonment to the call of God. Yet here we are, called to teach them none the less. I pray that the Holy Spirit will use me to impart His heart and His wisdom to these servants of God. I pray that I might be a vessel fit for honor to bring encouragement, growth and strength to these soldiers of Christ. I pray that in the process the Lord might do that same work in me.
We are preparing to land in New Delhi. I have taught at many pastors conference throughout the world but this one is somehow different. I have even taught in persecuted countries to pastors that faced the threat of persecution, imprisonment or death. I don’t know why this seems so different. I am praying for a mighty outpouring of the Holy Spirit. For Him to move upon my heart in a powerful way with his love. I think the fact that I was so busy before I left and experienced so much emotion standing over Butch who is in critical condition in the hospital took a toll on me. The good thing is that I have gotten a lot of sleep. In fact I couldn’t seem to stay awake much on either flight. That is definitely a blessing from the Lord on a 14 ½ hour flight.
When we arrived Delhi International Airport we got our bags and cleared customs with very little effort. We met up with our contact Pastor Cherian and drove to our hotel. On the way he told us that there were 160 pastors coming to the conference. He said that most of them live in extremely persecuted areas. Most are the only pastors in their region so the ministry can be very difficult and lonely. He said, “we are praying that you will bring a very encouraging word from the Lord for us.” A tall order for me but not for God. The Lord in an instant has given me such a heart and desire for these men of God. He loves them and desires to use and empower them! Pray for boldness and His word to go forth with power!
This morning we got up and after breakfast walked down to the local bazaar. It was a true Indian bazaar full of shops and street vendors each peddle their wares. We were the only non-Indians that we saw the whole time. It was quite an experience for us. Full of sights, sounds and I must mention smells. I was immediately struck by the mass of humanity. Indian is a country of more than 1.2 billion people. According to Indian government statistics, Hindus account for 79.8% of the population, Muslims 14.2% and Christians at only 2.3%. This means that more than 1.2 billion people here do not know Jesus as their Lord and savior. A mass of humanity that is headed toward eternal destruction. Lord, please pour out your Spirit upon this land. Help us to encourage your pastors to go boldly and share of who you are.
As we walked down the street we came to a small group of police officers who were sitting under a large tree shading themselves from the heat of the day. We went up to them and I showed them my badge. They immediately brought two chairs, had us sit down and made two hot cups of tea for us. We sat there, none of us being able to speak to each other. One spoke very broken English and some French (I know no French). I pulled out my iPhone and began using Google translate. I was able to share the Gospel in a very rudimentary form by taking about being a police officer and a Christian. The one officer that was most interested promised to try and write me on email. Please pray that the seeds that were planted will take root and grow.