Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Built on the Rock

On our second day in the field, our team visited Banda Meedi thanda. "Banda Meedi" means "built on the rock." We immediately thought of the story Jesus told in Matthew 7:24-27 and Luke 6:46-49. As we prayed and walked through this thanda, we observed that it really was built on bedrock!

Our team of three North Americans and five Indian nationals proclaimed the Gospel after prayer-walking. We began by singing two Banjara songs and doing a simple dance. More than 100 people gathered to listen!

Hank began by introducing himself, Debbie and Ali - in Banjara, with our Banjara names - and explaining that we had come from America. (The rest was all spoken through one of our marvelous interpreters.) After the Gospel presentation, many Banjara people had questions. The first was, "We didn't know there were Banjara people in America!"

Several people responded to the Gospel. One was a man named Venghket, pictured here (seated), with Pastor Samson and Harria Niak (Hank). After listening intently to the creation story and Good News of eternal life in Jesus, he began a spirited conversation with one of our Indian pastors. After Venghket prayed to receive the gift of eternal life, his face instantly showed the joy of the Lord! He told us through our translator that he felt like dancing! Hank asked why he felt that way. Venghket's response? "I have peace now that I have trusted in Jesus, the One True God. I didn't have peace before."

We are so thankful to have seen many Banjara people receive the peace of Christ. Our team returned to Banda Meedi thanda several times during the week, and the Holy Spirit of the Living God did amazing things! More on that next time...

"Not to us, O LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory,
because of your love and faithfulness." ~Psalms 115:1

India Mission Report 23 Nov 2009

We have returned home with hearts full of India! The journey back was more than 30 hours of bus and plane rides, and we were all exhausted when we arrived home Sunday night. We weren't able to update from the field, so we'll provide a few photos and stories in the coming days.

We began our adventure in the thandas on Monday, November 16. Hank, Debbie and Ali were paired with three Indian pastors and two translatators. We had six such teams (two or three North Americans with nationals) going out each day. As we drove two hours out into the thandas, we talked, sang and prayed together. On our first day, our national partners decided to give us Banjara names: Ali is "Walli Bai," which means "Beautiful Little Sister." Debbie's name, "Dwalli Bai," means "Pure, Fair-skinned Sister." Hank became "Harria Niak," meaning "green and growing," as in Psalm 1:3 - planted by streams of living water. "Niak" is the Banjara title for a respected leader. More next time on our names...

We presented the Gospel in Suria thanda (village of sunlight), but no one responded immediately. Our team decided to take a lunch break, and sat under a mango tree in a nearby farmer's field. As we ate, we noticed two young men watching us from a distance. When we finished, they approached us, and said they wanted to know more about Jesus, the One True God.

Ali presented the Gospel to them using an EvangeCube (see the photo above), and both professed their faith in Jesus! They were the first of many new believers in Suria thanda. The young man on the right introduced us to his brother (a Muslim) and his parents the next day. All three of them also trusted Jesus for their eternal salvation after hearing the story of the One True God.

In his grace, the Lord allowed us to share the Good News with thousands of Banjara people during the week - many of whom had never even heard the name "Jesus" before. Hundreds are now our brothers and sisters in Christ, rejoicing in new life!

"Not to us, O LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory,
because of your love and faithfulness." ~Psalms 115:1