This was out of my depth for sure.:-)
Started off around 3:30 with a drive of about an hour or more over some bone-jarring sections of road to a village in a neighboring region where Rau had spent two years as a very young child. There is no church in the village and were were apparently the first ‘White people’ to ever visit. It has been Sanjeeva’s dream for many years to share the Gospel of Jesus with his people in the village and the money we have donated has made it possible.
We were served sweet coffee in a house near the town center – which is a rough open area with a small stage at one end and a few electric lights. The sound system was erected to carry over the village and two musicians and a singer were present to set the evening off as people slowly gathered. Singing led by a variety of people continued for one and a half hours… very strange being in the midst of a style of music that is Hindu sounding to my ears but Christian in content… and unable to understand anything.
Eventually Jim and I were introduced and Jim spoke very honestly about being a father with all material wealth (gods) but having none of that mean anything when he lost his son in a car accident. He shared how God comforted him by saying, “I too know what it’s like to lose a son.” Jim has been amazing here… very gracious and compassionate and willing to step into any opportunity that presents itself. He has indicated a desire to spearhead sponsoring children and building a website to showcase this ministry out of Jericho Road. The people love him and his gentle spirit and I’m very grateful to have him as a companion on this journey.
I followed his moving address as the moon rose in the sky and shone pale rays down on this foreign place where both of us had said earlier, “I never dreamed I would be part of a crusade in India.” I spoke about a God who is kind, good, and loving…. that I was sad that I could not understand their language and they could not comprehend mine. So we needed an interpreter – which is why Jesus came into the world to communicate the heart of God the Father to a world that could not understand Him. My delivery was conversational and at the end I invited people to open their hearts to Jesus and come forward for healing. I felt inadequate and wondered whether any of it made sense – as I’m not a shouting evangelist and have no desire to become one now….
We are all in a learning curve and while quite a few came up for prayer it was a little rushed. Sanjeeva and his family were encouraged and are confident that it will grow and build over the next two evenings. I’ve learned that God is faithful and one never knows just what He is accomplishing even when it seems little is happening from my perspective. So after sharing a meal we returned home through bumpy but quiet streets…. the multitudes that throng every inch of the villages we passed through had all vanished, leaving the streets to stray dogs.
Pray for these lovely people who are gentle and very generous and kind… They endure hardship and poverty with dignity and grace. Only ten years ago they were ‘Untouchables’ with no rights…the women couldn’t even walk in the streets. Much has changed that is good for them… but there is still so much more. There are multitudes of gods but no concept of a loving Father God who meets them where they are without desiring sacrifices, fear and uncertainty, and the curse of reincarnation.
I am claiming John 14:14 where Jesus says I can ask anything in his name…. it follows on after he has told us that we will do greater things than he did. I’m convinced he meant those words and that the only reality that will move people both here in rural villages or in London or Vancouver, will be to have first-hand encounters with the healing power of Jesus – in a manner that transcends current paradigms. That’s how Jesus lived and shared the Gospel…. words and power. May the Lord release that same presence and passion here over the next six days… more than we can ask or imagine!