Grace and Peace,
Beep, beep, beep, beep... The sounds of India, especially in the major cities like Delhi, India. The roads, and highways aren't all that different from America, although they drive on the left side of the road. They have lines for the lanes of traffic and they have a few traffic signals and round-abouts. But, they basically ignore any kind of order or safe following distance like we do in America. They honk their horns for just about any reason. They'll honk to let people know they are there. They will honk when they will be passing on either side. They all basically ignore the lines. Trucks, cows, motorcycles, cars, cows, scooters, bycicles, cows, people walking, cows, dogs, cows... Did I mention cows?
Upon arrival to Delhi we were welcomed according to their custom by bowing and shaking our hands and placing a garland of flowers around our necks to welcome us to their country. This is how the Brothers of Central India Christian Mission greeted us at the airport. This was how we were greeted at just about every church or ministry that we visited. And they made sure everything we needed was taken care of, and I mean everything.
One of the first places we went was into the inner city of Delhi to find the Burmese refugees so we could meet and pray for them and provide a medical clinic. We provided medical and dental care for about 200 people that night. We also attended a worship service with a church in the town of Meerut. We were honored to witness 5 young people Baptized in a nearby pool. Later we had a medical and dental clinic for a small village outside the town of Meerut about 50 to 60 miles from our hotel in Delhi. We tried to see as many patients as we could and when it was all done it was time to get on the bus they would yell "cello" (meaning "let's go") which to us means it is time for us to get on the bus. It took 4 hours to go approximately 60 miles from outside Meerut to our hotel in Delhi. That's how bad the traffic was in Delhi even at night. We had been able to see a lot of the city of Delhi during the day and night.
One of the realities of visiting such a different culture like India, is how absolutely poor some of the children and their families really are. Especially in the major cities, where there really isn't anyone to care for or help the poor or those who may have been born with a birth defect. So many people are just passed by and it seems that nobody cares for them at all.
But, then comes along an organization like Central India Christian Mission who are making great strides to make an impact for just a few people in comparison to such a large population. However, CICM is making a huge difference beyond what we can see and measure. They are making an impact not just for time, but for eternity.
The ministry at (CICM) Central India Christian Mission is just amazing. We were able to see how the ministry is reaching out and actually making a difference in so many ways. They are impacting the lives of the people and impacting the communities across Central India.
Some of the ministries like:
Childrens' Home (Bal Bhavan which means Children's Palace)
Central India Biblical Acadamy (CIBA)
The Nursing College
Child spnonsorship Program which raises support for 3000 children
4 Unwed mothers have been given apartments to live in to have their babies rather than having abortions
A Hospital in the city of Damoh as a community outreach.
A local feeding program to give food for children who live in the Damoh area
The administration building also produces Literature and publications to help in educating in many ways as well as several books written by Ajai and Indu Lall.
They have been able to translate the new testament for a group of about 28 million people who do not have the Bible in their language and soon it will be published so that these people can be reached with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
During our time in Damoh they had about 400 pastors and leaders and students attend a leadership seminar. We wanted to encourage and motivate them as they go and put into practice what we hope was valuable information from God's word. Although, we felt like they had so much they could be teaching us. Especially with the situations they encounter in some very dangerous areas of India. We were especially humbled by the response of the many pastors as they hugged and thanked us for sharing the messages. You could see the genuine connection made as they said they were very grateful and some said their hearts were touched by our words and by our just being there with them.
Meeting and hugging these pastors and hearing the testimonies of 5 of the pastors from different pasts, was one of the most memorable times of the whole experience. You know you have really connected with the power of God's word when you see and hear what God is doing and what God will be doing in and around India. They are looking to reach even more people and they keep training more pastors to go out each year, and the numbers are just going to continue to grow.
Eventually, we made it to Agra and we got to see the Taj Mahal. And it really is a beautiful place, and it is a great sight to see. But, really it is no big deal after you have seen the "Bal Bhavan" (Children's Palace) and the Kingdom of God being built in the lives of so many people in Central India. That Taj Mahal is almost a "so what" after you have been blown away by the amazing things God is doing in the lives of the people in India and through the ministries of CICM.
It was especially wonderful to see Harris Walters and his wife Winnie and many of the leaders and pastors that have been a part of CICM and many of those working with Harris and the people in the area of Bhopal. If anyone knows me they know that I enjoy studying Church History and one of my favorite heros of the faith is Martin Luther. Well, Harris Walters took us to a nice little home in Bhopal to meet some lovely folks who have been part of the leadership and have worked in the ministry there in Bhopal for many years. The little old preacher's name was... of course... Martin Luther. I was so happy to meet him I had to have my picture taken with him. We didn't have much time to talk about theology so a picture would have to do.
Right now, I want to say thank you to all who have prayed and offered support for this mission trip and for your encouragement and questions about our trip to India. We have been so blessed by our experience and we are confident that CICM is certainly a wonderful mission that will continue to get our prayers and support and we are hoping to do even more as we grow in our relationship with CICM.
Many blessings to you and your family as you consider how you can do your part in missions. Please consider going on a mission trip. Try and push yourself and pray to see if God is opening this up to you. If you are tempted but still don't feel like you could go yourself. Then please consider helping someone else raise the support they need so they can go. Maybe you can help them reach those around the world for Christ. And, at the very least, please consider providing support by praying and giving to special offerings that go towards missions.
We are striving to reach through missions in all aspects of our ministries at Countryside Christian Church. We hope to be able to Focus on Jesus and reach out to those around us here and around the world, for we are so grateful for what Jesus has alrady done for us. It truly is an Amazing Grace.
Grace and Peace,