Monday, November 23, 2009

Lesson from India, Part 5

5. Toilet paper is a treasure.
Really, I wish I could turn that into some spiritual application. I can't. It's just the plain truth. When we got to India, even the hotels were skimpy on it. In each room you had a giant roll with just like enough for one good potty trip on it. And in the first hotel it was pink! And scratchy! We brought some of our own along, thank heavens. I rationed it out, two rolls for Daniel and two rolls for me. I thought that was rather generous since, let's face it, he doesn't need as much as I do for several reasons. Let me tell you it was ON when I caught him blowing his nose on my roll early in the week! I let him have it.

Then we went to the medical camp where we met the squatty potty. Yes, ladies, that is a hole and you do the squatting and the flushing. No toilet paper allowed so you have to carry around a little bag for your used paper products. Near the beginning of the camp, some of us didn't know that little tip and we clogged up the squatty. Then it had to be fixed with the "Nepali plunger" which is really just a stick. Yuck. You also have to be careful that you only do your long business (number 2) in only toilets that allow long business. If it says "short toilet only" that means no poop allowed.

Before I left home, I thought my bathroom was a mess. When I got back, I wanted to kiss the floor. As Ethan, the 15 year old on our team, said, "The US is awesome."

Friday, November 20, 2009

Lessons from India, part 3 and 4

3. I am most effective when I am empty of pride and have nothing to offer the Lord but obedience.
Monday was particularly difficult for me because in addition to my own feelings of inadequacy, I was trying to acclimate to different translators and I came up against a lot of spiritual resistance. Most of these people were Hindus, many were Buddhists, and some were Muslim. I felt tossed about and discouraged by the great spiritual battle I was engaged in. So many times, I would look at the physical condition of those I was sharing with and feel inadequate. I thought, "If only I had skills like our incredible doctors and nurses!" The Lord taught me in those moments that while we were healing bodies as a means to share the gospel, the physical comfort and healing we offered the people is temporary. Eternal spiritual healing is the greatest act of humanitarian relief, compassion, and intervention!
On the 16 hour plane flight from Chicago to Delhi, I worked on some BSF homework and read the story of Jesus healing the paralyzed man beside the pool of the 5 porches. The question was asked, "What paralysis do you need to bring to Jesus?" Well, my answer was my paralysis over sharing the gospel. I am open about my faith and I share often about how God is working in my life, but for some reason I freeze when it comes to simply saying to someone, "Have you come to the point in your life where you know that Jesus is your personal savior and redeemer?" 24 hours later I began work in the prayer room and I presented the gospel somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 times. I am not even able to count how many people I led to the Lord, and at least once led 9 at one time. Many times I would ask, "Have you ever heard of Jesus Christ?" and the person in question would slowly shake his/her head. I cannot even begin to express what a joy it is to speak the name that is above every name into the life of someone for the first time! This leads me to another learned lesson:
4. We should not feel the need to apologize for the gospel of Jesus Christ!In the States, when someone says, "I'm Muslim" or "I'm Hindu," we back off in respect of their views. In the prayer room, we went toe to toe with their gods. See, Satan is a liar. He would have these people who have so little to believe that they serve gods who need a constant flow of gifts. Trinkets, beads, insensce, replicas set in stone, we saw all of it on the way up the mountain to the camp. I serve the one and only Son of the One True God and He needs nothing from me because He cannot be contained by a temple made with human hands! He does not want to politely co-exist with the false gods of our own making when He is The Way, The Truth, and The Life. Friends, when someone left that prayer room after they really "got it," truly accepted the Lord and walked away changed, there was no mistaking it in their countenance! Because He is the God of all hope and comfort! Praise Him!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Lessons from India, Part 2

2. God rewards obedience.
Over the past few years, God has been teaching me that obedience is not as costly as one might think. Really, it is sometimes the work of Satan to have us believe that we have soooo much to give up in following the call of Christ. I say that because at every point that my discipleship has cost me something, the reward has far outweighed what I have "given up."

In counting the cost of this trip, Daniel and I struggled with asking people for help. The Lord has blessed us financially and given us the ability to save but the cost of this trip would have required a lot of that savings. Paying for all of it unassisted would make it difficult for us to attempt such a trip again anytime soon. Our team leader, Jeff, showed us that God's plan was bigger than each of us paying quietly for our own way. The Lord wanted to teach us our dependency on Him, show us the faithfulness of others, and involve as many of our friends and family as possible in this mission. Well, I was obedient but some what embarrassed as I typed up and sent out support letters. I am so glad I did because God used this to bless us tremendously.

One example: a friend of mine has had a very difficult last two years. She has suffered financially, emotionally, and physically. I hated to ask her for anything but when I think of the word "support" she always comes to mind. She supported me when I was deciding what college to attend and what major to pursue, stood by me when I got married, kept in touch with me when I moved away 3 different times. She has been committed to our friendship even when I often drop the ball. She prays for me, encourages me, and remembers every birthday, anniversary, or occasion in my life and the life of my family. Most recently, when my Grandfather died two Christmases ago, she came to the funeral and spent the afternoon with Hannah so I could be with my family. She's the type of friend you find once in a lifetime, the 2am friend. Reluctantly, I sent her a letter.

In the letter, I mentioned that many people at past medical camps needed reading glasses and suffered from headaches because they have no access to vision care. Reading this, my friend went out and bought several pair of Target's dollar spot reading glasses and enlisted her mother to do the same. She carried them to my mother's house and on the way out of the country, I stuffed them deep into my huge duffle bag. I seriously doubted they could make it to the other side of the globe in one piece. On Monday, I dug out the glasses and was suprised to find them in excellent condition (unlike my peanut butter crackers, my peanuts, my hair dryer, most of my cosmetics, and my straightener). I added them to what seemed to me to be a huge pile of glasses in our make shift doctor's quarters. My hopes of seeing someone actually use a pair of my friend's glasses seemed a little selfish and foolish at this point. I didn't think much more about it. We saw over 1000 patients in three days and the prayer room was very busy. I would barely finish sharing with one group and look up to see another group standing there. Late on Tuesday I was sharing with a lady, something caught my eye when I looked at her hands folded in her lap. There in her grasp, I saw them--Kim's glasses.

Isn't obedience beautiful?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Lessons from India, Part 1

I love my life. In just 8 days away from my life, God showed me an incredible new perspective on the things and people I take for granted every day. Now that I am home, toilet paper, a hot shower, and a cold glass of milk prompt me to gratitude. After a week around Nepali children and those I met at the Chetna colony and even Grace Children's home, my children look plump to me. God, why me and my family? Why have you blessed us so tremendously? There is no other place like the US.

Today I begin a series of blogs about our trip to West Bengal, India. It was going to be one blog but I cannot fit all that God taught me into a condensed snippet, so it will probably be one a day for about a week. I hope you'll tune in. Thanks.

I must start by thanking everyone who prayed for us while we took our recent trip to India. I felt the specific, consistent lifting of prayers on my behalf and for the team. That brings me to the subject of lessons I learned in India, the first of which is:
1. Prayer is the beginning, the means, and the end.
Sleeping was a challenge when we first arrived and I spent an entire night laying in bed, praying for the hearts of the people, the skills of our doctors, and the safety of the team. When assignments were given Monday, I was placed in the prayer room. In my visions of what the trip was going to be like, thinking we would have a prayer "tent," I imagined birds singing, warm sunshine, and a bright red tent with long tables. In reality, we were in a basement with two windows (actually just two large holes in the wall) on the backside of the building sitting on rickety old benches. It was dark and cold most of the time.

My God is the one brings the Light of the World to the darkest corners of the earth! Sometimes people sat shivering listening as I shared the gospel and it was hard to continue in light of their physical discomfort. I had nothing to offer them but the message of Jesus Christ and that was exactly where I needed to be. Now I can do nothing more for them but pray and that's exactly what I need to do.

Monday, November 16, 2009

October went where?

So, October seemed like vapor around here. My house is still decorated in pumpkins and scarecrows while most of my neighors are already rolling out Christmas. Oh, well!

Among other things the girls and I started BSF this month and love it. It's an intense Bible study course that offers year long programs. We are studying the gospel of John. I say "we" because the girls are studying what I am studying. The children's program is amazing. If you want to know more, just holler. I'd love to bring you with me sometime. It meets Thursday mornings from 9:10-11:10 downtown.

Can't let the month go by without showing off my girls in their princess garb. They loved every minute of Trunk or Treat but their favorite experience was handing out candy at our house. They squealed and ran every time the doorbell rang. :)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Love it

Love doing doctrinal drill with a 4 year old.

Me: Hannah, when will God die?
Hannah: Never.
Me: Hannah, when was God born?
Hannah: Never.
Me: That's right. He always was. He will always be. Our God is the one true God. How many persons?
Hannah: shows three fingers
Me: And who are they?
Hannah: Father, Son, and Moon