Often, while I am in India for the Children’s Ministry, the pastor asks me to share some Scriptures with his congregation. This year, I spoke with them from Psalm 138—a psalm of thanksgiving from the heart of David. Verse 6 (above) especially gripped my attention since I was walking the streets with so many poor and destitute people, while working shoulder-to-shoulder and heart-to-heart with the humble of this earth.
While pondering the Lord’s gracious regard for the lowly, I came across Isa 57:15: “For thus says the high and exalted One who lives forever, whose name is Holy, ‘I dwell on a high and holy place, and also with the contrite and lowly of spirit in order to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.’”
I pictured our heavenly Father looking beyond the unimaginable glories of His Heaven and Throne, beyond the awesome wonders of planets, stars, and space, and beyond the man-made structures of princes and palaces, in order to allow His eyes to gaze on the dirty streets of India—to look into the humble homes and hungry hearts of those who want to know and serve Him. What an amazing God we serve! He is indeed faithful to seek and to save that which is lost.
This year, we were once again blessed to share the Gospel, biblical truths, crafts, coloring books, snacks, smiles, and love with hundreds of children in India. We had a large number of both Hindu and Muslim children in attendance. At one of the four-day programs, it was curious to see a lady in a burqa registering her children. By God’s grace, we did two four-day programs in the city and visited 10 villages for a one-day program. The last village was especially interesting as it was in a stone-cutting area where the lowest-caste people live and work. The children were a bit rough and rowdy, since their parents work by day and drink by night—but they were oh, so precious!
I have always liked the word “journey.” When I hear that word, thoughts of movement, anticipation, uncertainty, and excitement all come to my mind. The Bible records in detail the journeys of Israel into the Promised Land, the experiences of Paul on his “many journeys” of danger and hardship for the cause of Christ, and the ultimate journey of Christ from the cradle to the cross and from the cross to the crown. I imagine the heavenly Father keeping a “travel journal” of our steps and paths, especially those of faith. In eternity, I think a story will be told of the journey of one quarter. Let me explain.
In the village church pictured below, many children were gathered to hear the Gospel message. Sounds of song and laughter were penetrating the neighborhood. While the children were working on their craft, I stood at the door and noticed a boy, around the age of 12, standing about 30 yards from the simple, brick church, listening and observing, but unwilling to come in. I motioned for him to join us, no response. So I walked over and said, “Come with me, come in.” To which he replied, “I am not able.” He was obviously from a Hindu family that would not allow him to enter. So I gave him a Jesus Loves Me book in the Telugu language—a Gospel book that we had printed for children in India last year. He immediately took it to the corner of his house, and I watched as he poured through the book, reading, contemplating the color pictures, going back to the beginning and delving in again. My prayer is that he and his family will come to know Jesus Christ through the message of that book. But what about the journey of a quarter?
The children at Abundant Life Church in Uniontown, Pennsylvania have a wooden giraffe that their Sunday School teacher, Marcia Martin, (who has MISSION VISION!) has set up for them to “feed.” No hay is necessary, for they feed the giraffe their pennies, dimes, and quarters, and donate that money to help the children of India. Last year, they fed the giraffe enough money that we could print 4,000 copies of the Jesus Loves Me book in color to distribute in India. One quarter buys one book, one book reaches one child, one child reaches one family. What an amazing journey a little quarter makes from the pocket of a child in Pennsylvania to the home and heart of a family in India.
Eternity will tell of many such journeys—the journey of a quarter, a fingerprint, and a prayer. Thanks to each of you who journeyed with us to India this year through your praying, your helping, and your giving. May God multiply your journey for His purpose and His glory!
This year, Pastor JF was suffering from a hurt knee. He turned the whole running of the Children’s Ministry over to his son, Joshua, who was home on summer break from his first year of seminary. Joshua was an amazing servant to us and to the ministry as he did the driving (close to 1,000 miles), translated for us in the villages, catered to our every need, and generally “ran the show.” This fine young man needs our prayers as he continues to study and prepare for full-time ministry in India. We are so proud of him.
Once again, the Lord provided a wonderful team of women to serve together in India. Amidst cramped living space, heat, power and water shortages, long miles of travel, and strange food, Kim, Janet, Jeanie, Katie (my sweet daughter from Australia), and Victoria served each day with big, glittery hearts and a truckload of love. I honestly never heard one single complaint come out of anyone’s mouth, but the praises to God were many. Thank you ladies! I love the bond we share!
We ask that you continue in prayer with us for the children of India, that the seeds that were planted would be well watered and bear fruit for the glory of God. We were not able to get to all of the villages that requested we come as time and travel did not allow. Instead, we were able to send suitcases of crafts and verses to some of those pastors for them to conduct their own programs. Pastor John Victor and Mahesh need your prayers for the children’s programs they will be conducting.
The whole of Christianity in India needs our prayers as the government is increasing its scrutiny and opposition to churches and church ministries in India. The DMJ recently declared his desire for India to be free of Christians by the year 2021. Quoting from a Daily Mail India newspaper article, “Our target is to make India a Hindu Rashtra by 2021. The Muslims and Christians don’t have any right to stay here. So they would either be converted to Hinduism or be forced to run away from here.”
He obviously has no idea that he is up against the power of the One true and living God of the Bible who will not be forced to run away from any man or any threat. May the Gospel of Jesus Christ prevail to the saving of many souls!
God is faithful,