Friday, August 28, 2009

Everything Starting up!

When Beth and I returned to Lubbock from our Trip to India, and to California to visit my parents and supporters, we had to unpack. Before we left for our trip we had to pack everything up because we had to moved from one apartment to another. The reason for this is because there is 66 AIMers in class, and they needed the apartment we were in. So Beth and I moved. So when we arrived back to Lubbock we had to unpack and then go to Wichita Falls to visit Beth's coordinators from Italy who only come once every two years because of costs etc. So we went there for 3 days and spend time with them. Beth was very excited and i was happy to meet them. When returing we realized that AIM and Sunset start up within two days from the day we left Wichita Falls. (take a minute with me while I go over some times with all that we did over the summer)
1. Had four days to Pack- to get everything ready to move (before our Trip to India)
2. India trip (four weeks in three different Cities) -it was awesome!
3. California- right after ward to visit family and supporters for a week (It was great)
4. Lubbock- two days to un-pack everything in our new apartment, then...
5. Wichita Falls- visiting Beth's Corrdinators from Italy, then...
6. Only had two days till AIM and Sunset started.
-This last summer has been great, i just think next time we wont cram so many things in one summer...

These weeks Beth and I have been back in School. Our Classes that we are taking are- Minor Prophets, 1 & 2 Peter/ James, Life and Teachings of Jesus Part 1- (Luke), and Intro to Ministry Studies. We are still working with AIM and enjoy every minute of it. Small groups are established with the AIMers and Sunday area Churches are also going on. great!

This year i'm excited to see the change not only in these AIMers lives but also me and my wifes life. You can learn alot from young people and their zeal.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Trip to MUMBAI – July 7-23, 2009

Down Town Mumbai

Arriving– Once we all got there the Missionary picked us up and then we had an hour drive by taxi through the city to his house. Great fun, and yet crazy at the same time. Diving there isn’t like driving here. They have rules, but they don't obey them.

Every morning– The Days started around 6 in the morning to around 12 in the morning. We had long tiring
days, but they were fulfilling and great.

Temple Visits– The first week we would all head out and start off our day walking the streets and looking at
different things. We would see temple after temple on the streets and with Indian’s worshiping them. Watching this was very convicting because of how they truly believed in those Idols and gods. They are not just one god but thousands upon millions of gods. God truly did touch us that day and all we could think of was what Paul went through when walking the streets of Athens, and seeing all the idolatry and how there has to be a change.
Language classes- Every morning we had a devotional with the missionary, and then right after ward we would have Hindi classes with one of the Indian’s that the missionaries was reaching out to. It was of course challenging and we did learn some, but not enough in our time there.

Visiting families– We would visit a different family practically every day. Either we went somewhere or someone was meeting us that day for a visit. Most of the time we would visit our brothers and sisters to encourage them through scripture and through prayer. When visiting non– Christians the missionary would be leading in that area with some teaching that is very discrete, and he would pray also. These were great encouraging times for the saints.

Men's Studies– Reveline– is a brother that is the only Christian in his house. He is 26 yrs. old and trying to
change, and grow closer to God. Rance and I studied with him, and I went back again to study and pray with him. He has great potential to be rooted in Christ Jesus. Please pray for him. Dhawal- another brother
around 23 yrs. old. This was the man who was with us most of the time, learning from us and studying with us. We too learned from him also. He has been a Christian for a while but it was just recent that he came back to the faith. Work, and school squeezed time with God out of the picture. But now that he is back on track and knows what is important he tried his best to hang with Rance and I. For the encouragement. Pray for
Dhawal, that he would rise up and be a leader in the Lord’s Church.

Girls studies– They had three main studies in Mumbai. The first one was led my Alissa because there needed to be a translator and there wasn’t the time for the both of them to speak. This was to four Christian women in the same family. Another one that the both of them led was with a woman named Sagrika. She was not yet married (big deal in India) and was being told by some of her neighbors that she was cursed by evil spirits. The last study that they had in Mumbai was Beth teaching the ladies day. There were about 5 Christian women there.

Worshiping on Sunday– We met at a hospital. There were about 7-9 people there and they were mostly all young adults praising God. It was great praising God with them, and I believe we were and encouragement to them as well. We also worshiped at a house church that had about 15 members. Carls Baptism– Carl was baptized in the biggest bath. It was the Ocean. He is a new brother in Christ and he is very active in wanting to know more and more about God. Through reading and growing in his prayer life. Pray for Him!

Weather– Monsoon season is crazy and sad. The reason why is because I think I saw the sun once or twice when I was in Mumbai. It was still light out but there was clouds every where and it rained a lot. Not only that it was pretty hot when traveling and being out-side. Rance and I Lost in

Mumbai– Our taxi driver didn’t follow the other one as closely and so he didn’t follow the right one. So we went back to where we were and just waited. Called around to get a hold of the Missionary, and then we waited. We felt like a little water drop in a bucket, so we prayed… Then we felt like the biggest people in the city, and we were not worried because we knew God was with us.

Growth– The both of us were changed some how and some way from this experience. Especially our prayer life changed and grew tremendously. Not only that, but brothers and sisters were challenged to stay faithful and God was honored and glorified.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Trip to Tracandrum – July 1-6, 2009

Gospel meeting– So before leaving Lubbock for this trip we remember hearing that we will be having a gospel meeting. I had a lot of question and thoughts in what does that mean and what are the details to that. So the day comes to preach. There were 20 or so visitors there and the rest were saints wanting to grow in their relationship with God. P.K. (the preacher there) translated for Rance and I. My Lesson was–“Jesus the all powerful God.” -Note to self, be prepared because Rance and I didn’t have but 2days to prepare for a Gospel meeting that we have never been to, with a translator, and unsure of the time limit and what to expect. I asked P.K. how long do I have he said 45 minutes. When going through my lesson I could see that the people there were interested in what I / P.K. was saying. After each gospel meeting, the church provided everyone with samosa type things. (imagine a croissant with curry goodness inside)

Rance taught– When teaching God was honored through what was said and what was studied. Rance did a great Job. I can clearly see that God is changing him and that he has the gift of teaching, because he knows it, is challenged by it, and can not keep what he has studied in
when talking to people. I’m thankful God puts people like Rance in our lives. We need them in the Church!

Trip to south tip of India– R.K. (Brother there) took us to south tip of India. You couldn’t
go more south then where we were. It was beautiful. The air was clean, the winds were strong and the waves were moving. Sunday morning (July 5) I preached in one congregation, in
Kovalam, which is 45 minutes away (the place was where Rance and I had the gospel
meeting) And Rance preached where the Church meets in Trivandrum. I preached on Romans 12 and giftedness. How we are all a part of a body with all unique and special gifts given
to us by God. When looking at the people I could see that they were interested in this topic and there was something going on in their minds. I asked them this question: What is your gift.
Then I went through every gift listed in Romans 12. And at the end of every gift I asked these questions. For example: Encouraging… do you do this? Could you do this? Is this your gift? I
was trying my best to challenge the congregation to find out their gifts so that through them the body will be encouraged and that they will grow through the blessings that God gave them. The believers there have great potential to grow and change. They just don’t know it yet. There
are men willing to serve and lead and teach, just don't know how, and there are women there will to serve and teach the younger women… they just don't know how yet. God is doing great things there with the Church. Pray for them! Pray for: Growth, wisdom, deeper relationship with God, a yearning for reading and praying. Pray… Pray… PRAY… Never Not Pray.

The Food– Indian food is full of spices. They don't eat ground beef because they see the cows as holy. So they some times eat chicken but more are vegetarian. It isn’t as spicy as people make it out to be but it is very good. Plus, you get to eat with your hands, how cool is that. The only down side that I saw was that I had to eat with my right hand, because the left hand is
seen as un-clean (I’m a lefty). For you to experience what I had to go through for 4 weeks in India with eating. The next meal you have make it similar to Indian food with rice, sauce, vegetables and eat it with your opposite hand. (tell me how it was.)

God Challenged me– Through out my whole time in Trivandrum I was being challenged.
By the culture, by my personal relationship with God, and with stepping up to the plate to bat. I was pushed and stretched and all I could do is say, “Its all about You (referring to God), it’s never been about me.” When thinking about this constantly (and I still do) I take myself out of the picture and allow God to work. When going to a different culture, meeting different people and seeing the Church there, you are overly encouraged and challenged at the same time because you get to teach them. It was great and I’m happy that Trivandrum was a place to go to. My life, and heart was changed, and not only that but the brothers were encouraged and strengthened and those who never heard about Jesus… DID! Keep Praying!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Trip to Bangalore– June 23-29, 2009

Flying to India took more than a day and we spent 14 hours or more on one plan ride. (that was a challenge) This city that we flew into was a city of 6,200,000 and more people. When
arriving to the Hotel that we were staying in a went outside to see, smell, and listen to the city. The people there are really friendly and most if not all spoke English. It isn’t the English we are used to, it is from Britain. Plus with all their accents it makes it very difficult to understand them.

Water deficit– India was lacking water, and the only time they got water was during monsoon season. With out much water they had to cut the power for a while through out the day, and not only that but rice and other food was going up in price. The monsoons are very crucial for India because during this season they store water for the whole year until the next monsoon season. So if there is no water this year they will suffer through out the next. (The cure to this)- The people there would call out to all their gods for help, to help them get water flowing. They then asked a man to help them in this endeavor. He was known as the Rain Man who can make rain come.

Tony Preached on Sunday– and this was a very interesting experience for me. I didn’t know anyone there except the Missionary (Who is Indian their) and us Americans. I was nervous and at the same time didn’t have to worry about a translator because everyone there spoke English very well. I spoke on: How Jesus Proved Himself to Be the Only God. I loved it because the brothers there were sincere and very encouraging to us visitors. Then after ward we had some chai. ( great tea.)

Refuge Camp– At this camp there were more than 200 kids there who escaped from Sri Lanka during the civil war. Our mission when were was to put smiles on the kids faces and tell them about God through stories and songs. Stories like David and Goliath. Songs like– He’s got the whole world in His hands. It was great the Kids loved us and we to loved them. While there I
got close to two young adults that came with us who was in the youth group. Their names are Steven and Mang. When speaking with them I can clearly see that God is raising them up for Him to use them. I saw great potential and I saw future leaders in the Church. Please pray for them and there studies so that they will be men who are raised up knowing and having a relationship with the Lord, and that they will be servants for the people there. So that one say they might save those who are captive, enslaved to those Idols they worship.

Mysore– Was 3 hours away from Bangalore and where were there visiting the group of believers that lived their. When there I preached and they translated for me. (that
was quite an experience for me. I later learned to speak in thoughts, not sentences.) It was great for us. Because we were able to see that God and His Kingdom is growing more and more.

My over all experience in Bangalore was both great and a huge challenge. When walking the
streets and seeing hundreds of beggars, trash every where, the smell was very extreme and the noise at time unbearable. Even though it was a huge struggle for us physically, God used us and not only that, God changed us… Pray for working saints in Bangalore.