We are in India and everything has arrived safely. We had no problems with customs even though 2 of our bags were marked with a white X. This mark is placed on bags that they want you to open because a scan showed something of interest. Charges always result, but they passed both suitcases. Praise God!
Years ago, on my first visit to India, a beggar greeted us at the airport and said, “Welcome to great India”. I have found his words prophetic as each visit to this country reveals something that is great about this place. It is a great place to share with children because they have so many children. It is a great place to discover color as you see the parade of beautiful saris the ladies wear. It is a great place to partner with national believers who are strong in their faith.
It is also a place of great poverty. The mother or father of a very poor child has been known to cut off their arm or leg to make them a better beggar so that they could provide for the family. It is a place of great spiritual darkness as millions of people worship idols. It is a place in desperate need of the great news that the one true God loves us and has a plan for us.
We count it a great privilege to serve in this place. Please hold us in your prayers. Ask the Father to open doors for us as it is still difficult to share here. Yesterday, our friends took an ambulance to a village and they were sent away because they are Christians. The place needed medical help, but would not accept it from Christians. Please ask the Lord to make a way for us to reach the children.
Tomorrow, Friday, we have 3 shows and begin training. Pour prayer on these opportunities.
THE LONG FLIGHT
Please note that I wrote the following section as we were flying here.
I have decided that 2 long flights only 2 hours apart require enormous prayer. Together, we have been in the air 15 hours and there is still 3 more hours. I was actually excited when we were told that only 3 hours remained as I was expecting a much larger number. As always, perspective is the key to walking with a sweet spirit.
Everyone is restless. Many are medicating their discomfort, standing in the aisles and drinking beer. There seems to be a real restlessness among most of the passengers.
I am listening to sermons from Mark Driscol and John Piper on my IPod. Sam and Silvana are listening to sermons from my pastor Travis Hutchinson. All of that good Bible teaching flooding my heart and mind explains my peace, Sam and Sil’s peace. I will still rejoice when we land.
Sitting for so long has also given me the opportunity to think more about our last trip. In the Middle East, we came across old Christian traditions that you simply do not find Summerville, Georgia where I live. One day, we were at an orthodox church where parents were having their children’s wrists tattooed with a cross. They falsely believed that this would protect them from evil spirits. However, it did offer a degree of protection for their daughters being kidnapped for Muslim brides. This is what we were told.
I witnessed little 4 years old girls screaming as the tattoo was applied. There was no pain medication and the wrist is a very sensitive part of the arm. I often saw superstition blended with scripture. I was shown a place where bone fragments of a prominent early church member were stored. People liked to pray at this place as they saw it as a place of power. Thousands and thousands of people worship every Sunday in these churches, carved from caves. As I talked with our guide and saw that she did not understand how a person comes to faith, my heart broke. She did not know that Jesus’ work on the cross and His resurrection is a finished work. Her faith taught her that being good would do for her what Jesus could do for her. She had accepted traditions as truth and did not seem to know that real faith never comes from tradition but comes from scripture, from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Teaching tradition above scripture in any denomination is an ancient lie. Please pray for our friend and thousands of others in the Middle East and the world who walk in darkness believing that they have found light. Ask the Father to make the true believers the brightest lights for Jesus.
Linda, for Sam, Silvana, Hanson and Anna