Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Foolish Things

But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;  1 Corinthians 1:27

Home again and back into the swing of things.  My body clock has switched back to Eastern time, my days are resumed of ministering and being a part of the church.  India is still real and not faded into a memory.

As I tell the story of our trip, the verse from Corinthians is a great theme.  How foolish was our trip?  Two white guys from small towns in America that went to India to encourage pastors and minister to the poor and needy.  It sounds like something from a TV movie.  The difference is that it is real, and it is God.

God did create us for a purpose.  He has works and deeds He has laid out for us to accomplish.  Know that is true.  Know that you are created for a purpose by the living God, the creator of the universe.  Know that He is cheering for you as you grow.

Know we are His!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

11/19 Heading Home

Sitting in airports, trying to understand ticketing and check in, wishing for a bathroom, dealing with language in security. These are some bits of travelling home. Right now I am writing while on the plane from Abu Dhabi to Chicago. Children are crying and getting sick, many people are wrapped up sleeping in their own world.

As for me, I haven't slept a whole lot yet today. We are flying west so the sun will appear to have been up for 15 hours by the time we land. The time awake makes me think about the whole adventure.

It is still amazing to me that I actually went to India and am now going home. The trip itself had been in planning for so long it was hard to keep our hands on. The conferences were amazing for the pastors. There were times where people would ask Jay and I to pray for illness, pain, studies and a myriad of needs. Why us? Why would God listen to us more than anyone else? And we prayed.

The children of the orphanage are incredible. They know Jesus and worship with more intensity than most of us. From their sorrows, there has been birthed a heart sealed with the spirit. My heart hurts when I think of leaving and saying goodbye.

Pastor Moses and his family are the biggest heartache. For the week we were side-by-side constantly serving in ministry. They have such servants hearts they immediately opened their home to me. I was instantly welcomed. And as our time went along, we grew close. I am amazed by this Man of God. His vision is powerful. The Spirit's work in him is mighty. He is my brother and I am his.

11/18 Final Preaching

Today is our last day of ministry in India. We are going to spend the day with Pastor Moses at his church.

The day was amazing. We celebrated at both worship services. These churches have such an amazing heart of worship. Sometimes I think heaven bends down as they worship and cry out in prayer. It is awesome to be there together. Several times I fought back tears when talking. This trip has been hard and my heart is raw.

Know this, the men and women of Nissi Faith are God's warriors and are fighting to advance the Kingdom!

11/17 Gentle Giant

Every time we go out, Jay attracts a bit of attention. He is a big guy, and in India he appears even bigger. He's a giant! Yet he shows so much compassion. It is awesome to see him minister. He speaks God's word with authority. He prays with power and empathy. He plays with the children with compassion.

In every village we visited children would see us walking and then begin to follow at a little distance. They would take turns pushing each other closer, giggling and good nature teasing. Jay always takes time to spend with them. This service and understanding of their families is a joy to God!

11/17 Widows Meeting

On Saturday we went to another Nissi Faith church belonging to Pastor Lazarus. Here we held a widow's meeting.

In parts of India, widows are considered bad luck and often cast out of their families. As a result, many are left to fend for themselves and are the objec of scorn and harsh words. One of the many ministries Nissi Faith has is to serve these women.

Our meeting was one of praise and worship, message and encouragement. Both Jay and I used God's word to encourage hearts and hopefully set a seed so that these women will change their identity. Prayerfully they will not see themselves as worthless, but the prize of God.

At the conclusion of the meeting we handed out new saris to the women and all enjoyed a meal together.

The widows break my heart. It is difficult for me to grasp that they are told they are bad luck, worthless and unwanted. And then we see them believe these lies and live as though they were true. My heart!

11/16 Village Visits and Church

We continued to visit homes in the area and the homes of Nissi Faith pastors for fellowship and encouragement. What a group they have! These men and their families have joined together and made a covenant with each other to protect one another and serve God where He has placed them. Each time we visited one of their homes their was overwhelming hospitality and true fellowship. It was only today I realized that I had no conscious recognition of a language barrier. We had blended into the social customs of those around us and were truly seen as brothers, not guests of honor.

Friday evening we went to another pastor's church. We had a fantastic time of worship and sharing in God's word together. It was a joy to hear the hearts of believers and see their smiles as we shared.

Children of God.

11/16 Church Dedication

Friday morning we went to dedicate the finished church building of another Nissi Faith pastor. His name is Pastor Babu Rao. He is a faithful man with a beautiful and compassionate congregation. We gathered together to publicly open the church and celebrate the new building for the pastor.

Jay and I both spoke on the duties of the congregation, the responsibility of a church and the great glory of the True God that will hear and answer the prayers of His people. After the church meeting, we fed everyone in the village. They setup tables in the church and outside to allow everyone, regardless of church membership, to enjoy fellowship and a meal. What a great outreach to the community!

11/15 Revival Meeting

Thursday night we attended a Gospel meeting in a village in Khammam. We had taken a break for a few hours after the pastor conference and now went to visit a pastor in the Nissi Faith community. The local church had organized a Gospel meeting in the middle of the village. The local church had several members, but the majority of the villagers were Hindu. The meeting was to be held in a courtyard area that had a small wall around it. We were told that the non-Christians from the village would come out and listen, but would not come into the meeting.

I wish I could adequately describe the scene. Even the pictures do not do justice. Imagine standing before a crowd of believers who are hungry to hear God's words and truths. Then imagine looking around you and seeing the faces of so many that are lost, but are drawn to hear the truth. I told the story of Elijah and the prophets of Baal. The children in the group answered questions. The adults listened as I talked of the power of the one True God and His son Jesus Christ. How no other God could answer the calls of his people like Jehovah. And as an extra stamp from God, there was one part of the story I had never thought of in this context. Elijah calls for the sacrifice of a bull. God does call for the hearts of men and women!

11/15 Feeling Ill from Breakfast

During the pastor's conference my bowels began to react to something from breakfast. Three of us in the group were suffering from the same symptoms: Pastor Moses, one of the road team and myself. None of us knew about the others until later. God sustained us and we all pushed through. It's funny in the video of the event. I actually am green as the time goes on.

I had prayed for humility before this conference. It seemed almost ridiculous that these people who possess a faith that dwarfs mine would come to hear me speak. So I prayed for humility and submission. Let me tell you, stomach/intestine issues in a rural area in India will humble anyone. There are no secrets (or soundproof restrooms) in India so everyone quickly knew. The experience definitely put me in a place of humbleness.

As with God using all things for Him, this incident was no different. While it took a toll on our bodies, it did cause our team to have to slow down and rest. We had attended a birthday celebration Wednesday night and did not get back to the hotel until after midnight. Then, Jay and I had to pack and prepare for a 5a departure Thursday morning. No sleep and lots of ministry was taking its toll. We needed rest and God used this to recharge His workers.

That night one of the members gave me some kind of pill that stopped everything (no pun intended). Coupled with a good night of sleep we were ready for ministry on Friday.

11/15 Khammam Pastor Meeting

We arrived in Khammam district for our second pastor's conference. The room was packed standing room only with about 150 pastors from the local villages.

These pastors sacrifice all for their ministry. They are often cast out of their families, beaten, and presecuted. Still, they have heard the call of God and counted the cost. It is inspiring to see how they come with such purity in service.

The conference in Hyderabad focused on the 4 Deadly Questions and evangelism as well as encouragement. This conference focused on evangelism through storytelling. I was able to teach the pastors how to craft a story and give them a 12 story set that started with the creation of angels and completes with the death, burial, resurrection and ascension of our savior Jesus Christ. We concluded with the same salt covenant presentation from Hyderabad and received a similarly enthusiastic and prayerful response.

Overall, the conference was amazing. God was clearly moving. People were listening to how to share God's truth with those who do not know. After the conference, many of the pastors were excited because no one had ever trained them in how to present the Gospel. How humbling is that!? Two men from Kentucky being given the privilege of training 150 servants of God to go and reap a harvest!

This whole experience is amazingly humbling. I am not sure what I would have thought if I had any idea what God was going to do on this trip. I am sure the fear and attacks along the way were from a scared enemy.

11/15 Indian Breakfast on the Road

We left out at 5a for our trip out to the villages. 7 of us and our luggage piled into a small van. One thing I have learned in India is that no one has personal space. There are way too many people to worry about this. Thankfully this lesson had already been learned because we all were very close.

On the way we stopped at a rest stop restaurant. We had a good tasting Indian breakfast. India still amazes me. People here are very practical in everything they do. What I think of as order and rules is often absent. Lines are more a mass of people than a single file. Even gas at the gas stations works the same way. Still, there is something quite appealing about it.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Back in the USA

Landed and waiting for my last flight home. I'll be posting soon. Thanks to all of you for your prayers and financial support. God definitely is smiling. I am personally grateful that you joined me on this journey!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Heading Home!

It's been a tough day closing out our mission time here in India.  Sad to go.  Excited to come home to my family!  It's 11p here and I'll be leaving for the airport at 1:45a.

Off to bed for a nap!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Back from the Villages!

We've made it back to our hotel from our village outing.  Unpacking and getting ready for church services tomorrow morning.  There are a lot of stories to tell.  I'll try and write soon.

For now, unpacking and preparing!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Off to the Villages

Tomorrow morning at 5a India time we are off to the villages.  We'll be hosting another pastor's conference, inaugurating a church, holding a Gospel meeting and working with widows.

The days will be quite long with lots of travel.  Also, there will be no internet while we are gone.  That said, it will be 3 or 4 days before I can post again.

Please pray for God to move!

Pastor Conference (part 2)

So what does cooking for 120+ people look like in India? Exactly like this: 

Huge pots, all fresh ingredients and cooking over a fire. What an awesome experience! Pastors from all over the region gathering for this time, learning about each other’s ministry and encouraging one another!

After lunch we came back together for the second part of our conference.  This time, Jay started with his testimony and how it brought a practical side to the talks from the first part of the seminar.  It was clutch!  A real-life testimony to the concepts we just discussed.  It was awesome.

The second half focused on prayer and cooperation.  It was a truly powerful time.  At the end of the conference I spoke about salt and its power.  We looked at why biblically salt related to us as believers.  I talked about how we all are to work together in this ministry to hold each other up as we work.  To bring that home, I had Pastor Moses get a large bowl of salt and bring it out.  I challenged the pastors to pray and come up and take a handful of salt and put it into an empty bowl.  As each pastor added his salt to the growing amount in the bowl, we were no longer individuals but a team, working together.  It was a moving thing to see all of them respond.

Later I talked with one pastor that really moved me.  He told me that because of the day he now had a burden for souls and that he was going to do something about it.  He also said he would never forget the salt covenant we made at the end of the conference and how it encouraged him to know he was bound with brothers on the other side of the world.

Wow.  I cried.  

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Pastor Raja

Some of you may have heard my story of Pastor Raja.  A man from India that called our office asking me when I am coming to India.  Over the past year we talked many times on the phone, shared our hearts, and prayed and encouraged one another.  Well, I finally got to meet him face-to-face.

We were able to sit and chat for awhile.  I know he was disappointed that our time was so short.  Still, we've solidified a friendship and I believe our paths will cross again.

Pastor Conference Number 1 (pt 1)

Yesterday was pastor conference number 1.  Moses had told us from the start of our trip planning that we were going to be speaking for several hours at a pastor's conference he was organizing.  Here's the brochure for 2 guys from America coming to Moses' church.

From the beginning, my heart had been set on teaching the Walk Thru the Bible to these men in India.  The Walk Thru message is powerful and transferable and offers so many opportunities to share the truth of the Gospel with non-believers as well as teach and encourage believers.  I give all the setup on Walk Thru because an event is usually 4 to 5 hours.  When we finally got the details on the conference worked out, we were only speaking about 4 hours.  There would not be enough time when speaking through a translator.

But God had other plans anyway.  (And, yes, His plans were AWESOME!)

120 pastors from a radius of about 60 miles came to hear God's word, be encouraged and enjoy fellowship.  This was a humbling idea.  All the time up til now I was coming to teach Walk Thru, but now, Jay and I were speaking to these men that were laboring for God.

In the church, everyone takes off their shoes before they enter.  It is Holy ground and everyone goes without shoes.

And Jay and I walked into this picture.

The day was amazing.  In the first session, Jay started with talking about the comparison between the Indian church and Acts 17.  There are so many gods and idols around, and as pastors they have an opportunity to share that is unlike any other.  He also encouraged them that God had placed them in India and they were to act like the Indian church, not try to copy other churches from other countries.  A good word indeed!  Then,  we spoke on the 4 deadly questions and the need to talk "to" people where they are rather than "at" them.  This really hit some of the pastors as they were able to really begin to have a renewed heart for reaching the lost.

Humbling to say the least.

4 Deadly Questions for Evangelism
1)  What do you mean by that?
2)  Where do you get your information from?
3)  How do you know that to be true?
4)  What happens if you are wrong?

A Birthday and the Gospel

After playing with the kids, Pastor Moses told me we were going to a birthday party.  One of his church members had a daughter that had turned 3 and wanted Moses to come and pray a blessing.  So off we went.

On the way there I got to experience and India traffic jam.  Imagine something like this picture I took in the day time.

Only it's night, there are 3 times as many people, and a large bus is pusing through slowly like some kind of crazy video game.  It was a little tense, but we made it there.

At the home, our plans changed a little.  The mother of the birthday girl said that she wanted us to stay for the party, not just pray.  And not just stay for the party, but give a gospel message because some of the extended family and guests were not Christian.  So then Moses looks at me and says, "Ok, Bill.  You'll give 1 hour gospel message."  Now remember, this is with a translator so it's really about 30 minutes.  The party was being held outside in the alley by their home.  They had an amplifier and microphones setup and we had church.  A good time of praise and worship, and then the message.  Here's what it looks like when you come to a birthday and hear a message about the greatest birthday in the Bible, the birth of Jesus.

And then you here about the chance for rebirth that can only come through following Him.  As we preached, others began to come and hear the truth of Jesus.  People were coming to hear the truth.  Here's a picture of Moses and I.

I show this picture because the man sitting with the speaker directly beside him is Hindu.  Just outside of he picture are 2 other people.  So for over an hour they were literally being blasted with the message of Jesus through praise, worship, message and prayer.  It was truly a powerful time.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Gifts for Children

Yesterday was full of amazing things.  I spent the day alone with Pastor Moses.  Jay was unfortunately at work and could not get away.  He missed an adventure.

The day started with a trip back out to the orphanage.  What an experience.  I was able to give out the gifts that you all so generously donated.

Happy faces tell of fun times to come with kazoos, kaleidoscopes, coloring pencils and books, and jingle bells.  The children had a ball!  Many games and drawings.  Complete laughter and fascination from children and adults over the kaleidoscopes.  I felt in awe.  Such simple things that brought so much joy.  Real joy.

The children then taught me "This is the Day" in their language, Telugu.  I will not include a sound file, but if you ask, I'll sing it for you :)

One thing my wife commented on as she looked at all my pictures so far was that all the children look happy.  Big smiles and hearts are always seen.  How can this be the case in an orphanage where each child's story is so heart touching?  I can give you a hint.  (JESUS!)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Orphans, Pastors and India Time

Yesterday was amazing.  I had the amazing opportunity to meet Pastor Moses, his family, the children in the orphanage and some of the men and women that work in his ministry.  This is a place where faith comes to life.

Here is the church that Moses built in the past year

This building stands next to a witch's home and behind a Hindu temple.  It is a place that stands for God.  There are many stories of how the land was donated, funds were donated and God's provision for water that stand as a testament to this ministry.

We spent the day visiting the orphans.  They so much wanted love.  We played games, told stories, sang with them and just talked.  Each has a story that is heart breaking.  Pastor Moses and his family have taken the charge  from James seriously and pledged to watch over these children until they are of age.  Amazing sacrifices are made here every day.

During our visit, the Muslim call to prayer played out.  This was in stark contrast to the joyful singing of the children in the orphanage singing Father Abraham, Jesus Loves Me and other children's songs in Telugu.  I have never been so in the middle of opposing spiritual views.  In America things are much different.  We have opposing views, but often try to gloss over them to make everyone think that we are really all the same.  Here, Nissi Faith stands tall and proud for God.  It is humbling.

On Tuesday we have 100 or so pastors coming to a conference to hear Jay and I speak.  The conference will go from 10a to 4p, India time.  I have learned that India time is more than the time zone, it is a way of life.  Let me illustrate with this conference.  Though it is scheduled to start at 10, we won't really start to 11:30.  Then, we'll eat at 1, start pack a little after 2 and wrap up after 4.  The whole time of starting and ending is more a feeling of the a part of the day more than exactness.  The same timing came up when Jay was talking to his driver about being picked up for a meeting.  Jay said he needed the car to be there at 9:15.  The driver said he would be there at 9:30 because Jay would not need to travel so long.  Jay reiterrated 9:15 because he needed to be at his office earlier.  The driver responded ok, he'll be there at 9.  Jay then politely told him that the car could be there at 9, but Jay wasn't coming down to 9:15.  India time.  

Saturday, November 10, 2012

I Made It!

Long flights, gifts of grace and some great stories.  Those are some of my memories of the 36hr journey here.  And I am here.

I'm sitting at my laptop in my hotel room in India.  So far I've met up with Pastor Moses and his team, had breakfast with Jay and just took a very refreshing shower.  Tonight, Jay and I will be meeting with Moses and his family for sharing stories and good bread-breaking.  

Friday, November 9, 2012

Across the Deep Blue

In a few hours I'll be off across the Atlantic. It has been an odd trip so far, but definitely eye opening. A lot of praying, reading, waiting in lines and feeling unsettled. All this has led to some great soul work in preparation for my trip. The biggest is God continuing to work on me to let go and let Him be in charge. Thank you for your prayers!

1 leg down

A fitting quote from my wife. Landed in Chicago! Some food in my belly and now to check in with the next flight. I'm feeling more anxious now (or it could be the Chinese's I had for lunch). Either way, the adventure continues! Thank you all for your prayers and well wishes. It means a lot.


Wow! Stuck in Louisville. Plane we were on broke as we left the gate. Standing in line to get rebooked. The long layover in Chicago seems like a great blessing. Not stressed, just along for the ride. View is great from back here. :-D

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Two Days

Only 2 days.  Bags are packed (mostly).  Plans are made best they can be.  And now we wait.

As the time gets closer I am reminded about how God is served.  It's a lot like being on a roller coaster.  In getting on a roller coaster, my part in the making the ride happen ride ended as soon as I sat down.  The car is climbing the hill and I cannot stop it.  I cannot steer it.  I am not in control.  That's what serving God should be like.  A complete yielding of self to Him.  And it is tough.

Jesus modeled this in John 5:30.  Doing the will of the Father, not His own.  And that's the catch.  We still have a choice.  The truth is we are not on a roller coaster.  Life is more like a car.  We have the choice to drive.  The choice of where to sit.  The choice to change our mind at any point in the ride.  It would be a lot easier if it was a roller coaster because then a one-time choice would set the path.

I am seeing this as I have a sense of calm.  Calm about travel.  Calm about the messages to be presented.  Calm about my family.   Calm as I seek Him.

Friends, let go of the wheel and get in the backseat.  Let God drive!  

Monday, November 5, 2012


Its almost here!  After months of prayer and planning I leave soon.  Real soon.

I think about the great unknown that lies ahead of us.  How will God use this trip?  What harvest is there?  Will we be available for His use?

My plan is to write some updates when I get into country.  Thanks for sharing in the adventure!

Thursday, November 1, 2012


I am not sure what this trip will bring.  In my life I am continually being taught and reminded of the lesson of reliance.  Only Him, only you Jesus.

The reality of being used so much is setting in now.  Hard to hold on to the truth that if I remain available, God will do great things through me.  Just writing that sentence is incredible.  A small man from Kentucky going to such a large place, to share with so many, for God's glory.  Amazing and yet scary.  Scary because I know my flesh may creep in.  What I mean is that there is room for pride, arrogance, and self-glorification.  If those begin to show, the message is suddenly mine, not His.

However, if God keeps me broken, relying only on Him, there is no room for pride.

Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?   Matthew 6:25-7