Saturday, March 19, 2011

Being, Believing & Becoming: Reflections on our Winter 2011 Mussoorie Adventure

This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy. --1 Corinthians 4:1-2

Every time I go to Mussoorie, it becomes more and more like home. And every time we go, we are treated more like family and less like guests. We have more opportunities to be the servants that God created us to be.

Ephesians 2:10 was the theme of our Design seminar. Linsey, Quyen, ChrisO and I had the privilege to work with the younger boys (and the girls!), ages 6 to 12. It is amazing to me to see how they are growing from the small things that I met three years ago into young boys with their own personalities, quirks, temperaments and passions as God forms them into the men He has destined them to become. We were able to "see" who were some of the leaders, the pastors, the administrators, and the servants just by watching them interact together.

One of the unplanned but most God-driven happenings of this trip were the totally unexpected people whom God placed in and around Mussoorie while we were there. Prakash, co-founder (along with Joe) of the Boys' Home, was there, apparently primarily to meet us and share with us more of the stories of the Firs.

Bruce and TJ were able to interview him, and several of us had the opportunity to talk with him. He has some amazing stories.

Another brother who happened to be there was Brother Muktaar from Kashmir. A graduate of the Bible School at Firs, he is the one who, in order to help support his orphanage in Kashmir, makes the rugs and pillows that we were selling a couple years back. He shared his testimony as well.

The most random meeting came during the last leg of our journey from Delhi to Dehradun: a "chance" encounter with Sanjay Narang, a friend and former classmate of David Matsuura's from Woodstock. Creighton had the opportunity to talk with him at the airport after we landed, and we ended up joining him and his general manager, Pindar, for dinner at his hotel in Mussoorie, Rokeby Manor. (The photo is from the Web; we were there in the evening.)

All told (and I DEFINITELY want to tell more!), it was a fabulous adventure. God sustained us even when many were physically sick. It was so good to have lots of first-timers with us, to see this gift through new eyes.

My takeaways from this trip:
1) TJ has much more compassion than he imagines :)
2) Jessica's call to this ministry is overwhelmingly stronger than her palpable fear of winding roads! She was amazing!
3) My calling to this place has not changed; in fact, it becomes more real every time I am here. It begins to move from nebulous ether into moldable clay, still in the process of taking shape, but more definable than before. I pray often that it will soon become much more concrete and visible.
4) God's hand is on this place and this partnership. It is so wondrous to feel His joy every time I think about this fellowship of ours.

Thank you, Sharon, for administrating each leg of the travel. It was long, but it went amazingly smoothly, and the recovery layovers were sweet.

Ben, your advance work made this trip flow so smoothly. You were our thirteenth member of this trip (almost literally, as much as we got to see you on Skype!).

Dean, thank you for your ministry of prayer. God's Spirit was so present during our entire journey.

Creighton, thank you for sacrificing your time with your family every year to be the shepherd on these trips. It is so fun to watch you working with the older boys at Firs. Their eyes light up as you impart your God-given wisdom to them. And watching you release more and more authority to the team is a testimony to your growing confidence that others will soon be leading teams while you stay home and cheer!

And thank you, my beloved prayer team: Gina, Jill, Heidi, Sandi, Patti, Greg and Charisa. No prayer team was ever more appreciated or loved than mine! Your ministrations allowed me to fly! I love you.

A Big Thankyou for Team Hawaii- March'2011

Praise and thanks be to our Good Lord who took the team back safely after that long,tiresome, hectic but a very eventful, fruitful and blessed trip.
I just want to encourage the NHDH Church and the team's effort in undertaking such an effort and for your labor and everything you do for the sake of God's kingdom and in obedience to His will, Great is your reward from the Lord.

We, here as a team, simply stand in awe of God and can't praise God enough when we think about how God has established this relationship between NHDH Hawaii and Firs- Mussoorie.
We can't comprehend in words and we just can say how great and awesome our God bringing us together. This relationship couldn't have been possible with human intentions and plans but its surely God ordained.
On behalf of the Boys, girls, Bible school, Church and the entire Mussoorie-India Family, we want to extend a big thank you for coming and bringing again a season of sunshine, warmth , joy , and blessing which would continue to strengthen our relationship, ministry and the kingdom of God here in India.
Thankyou for your arms of love,knees in prayers, hands to serve and to sow, and your great investment to raise Pastors of the nation.
Thank you NHDH.....Thank you Pastor Crieghton and team...Blessings !!!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Set apart as God's holy people...

"You have been set apart as holy to the Lord your God, and He has chosen you from all the nations of the earth to be his own special treasure." Deut.14:2
Meeting old and new friends, it was an exciting adventure for everyone. From Hawaii to Firs to Woodstock, we were brought together by God. He designed this time for us. Mahalo nui a loa to all who supported us in prayer and other needs to our missionaries and children.  Please continue praying for our children in India and at Woodstock School as they wrestle with exams, AP courses, and college. Please pray also for the wives of our pastors who support them.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

"For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you," says the Lord. ~Jeremiah 29:11

"You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. he brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people." ~Genesis 50:20

From the moment we drove up to the FIRS Orphanage, the tears began to well up in me as our team received a warm welcome from the boys at FIRS. They taped home-made posters on the gate and all over the guest house welcoming us to their home. I instantly felt at home before even having the opportunity to personally meet each boy. The huge smiles and hugs just kept coming. I was so overwhelmed by their love for us, especially those of us that they had never met before. That first day would only offer a glimpse of the joy and love of Jesus that each of these children carry in their hearts.

At 5:30 the following morning, my teammates and I joined the boys for their daily time of worship and praise. It didn't take long before I found myself weeping. I cannot begin to describe the deep love and passion I felt from these boys for Jesus. It was truly overwhelming. Through their song and praise, thankfulness to Jesus overflowed from their hearts and throughout that room.

As my teammates and I continued to spend time and work with the boys over the next few days, there was one thing that each boy was clear about, and that was that God had planned all along that this is where He wanted them to be. They were THANKFUL that God brought them to FIRS! When I have read Jeremiah 29:11 in the past, I would often take this passage to mean that my life would not be so full of hardships, that that things would always work out. After spending time with these boys, they have challenged me in how I view this passage. It is so evident that their value and worth is found in their relationship with the Lord. Their hope for a happier life is not found in things or events. Rather it is found in the life they are living for Jesus. Their joy comes from knowing that God loves them so much, and that He has a hope and a future for each of them. These boys have reminded me that Jeremiah 29:11 is more about seeking Him with all of our hearts, and embracing the life He has planned for us not just for our own benefit, but for the sake of what Christ died reach the lost in India and around the world.

When Joseph in Genesis reassures his brothers that even though their intention to sell him into slavery was for evil, but God intended to use the situation to save the people of his time, I am reminded of the boys at FIRS. These boys are willing to take up their cross and follow Jesus all the way. They don't see their lives as a misfortune. They see their lives as part of God's Master plan to reveal to others who Jesus is. For children that have very little according to the world's standards, they are far wealthier than many of us because they recognize the GIFT that has been given to them inspite of their circumstances.

After spending such a short time in India, I am already challenged not to live a materialistic and mediocre life for Jesus, but more than that I am challenged to embrace the challenges that have yet to come my way and seek God for his purpose and plan in any and all of it; to not throw in the towel when things get too difficult, but to lean on Jesus more than ever, determined to carry my cross for the sake of His Kingdom. I am challenged to surrender a life of comfortability in exchange for a life that is intentional about obeying and loving the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, and mind, and loving my neighbor as myself (Matthew 22:37-39). My prayer is that I would not allow the business of life here at home to distract me from living a life that is fully committed to following Him.

3/17/11 Survival Guide Journal Entry from Pastor Fernando

Today's Reading:
Deuteronomy 32-34; 1 Corinthians 2

I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power. –1 Corinthians 2:3-5

Paul had to remind the Corinthians about the real source of the great things God did among them. They had to remember always that it wasn't his eloquent preaching but God's demonstration of power that would always sustain their faith. The Corinthians loved and appreciated all that Paul did for them, and Paul fell in love with the people in this church. They were bound emotionally and spiritually. But I believe that as the Holy Spirit used Paul to write these verses, he is not only teaching the Corinthians about the reason for their faith; he is also reminding himself that he is not the answer or their savior, only Jesus is THE answer and THE Savior.

As all of you adjust to being back home, you can meditate and have a glimpse of the amazing things that God has done through you in India. Because of your obedience and faithfulness, God has made a difference in many people's lives. Seeds have been planted that will bring fruit in years and generations to come. You are probably praying, hoping, and planing for the next opportunity to visit the wonderful people of India again. Maybe you are already thinking about convincing other people about the importance of continuing to support this ministry. This is all exciting! But our spiritual enemy knows very well our tendency to think that WE are what India needs and that, without our help, they will not make it through. And if you are not careful, even with the best intentions, you can easily develop the wrong mindset, and steal God's glory.
As the pastor of our church, I'm always thankful that God called us and chose us among so many other churches to support this particular ministry in India. I want to encourage you today to remain sober, to walk in humility, and to thank God for using you during this trip. Take some time to praise the Lord for what HE has done through you. Probably you said something or did something that was really cool. That's wonderful! But remember that without the demonstration of God's power in it, you simply had a good time with the people. Keep praying for the people of India, that they will not buy into our American Church culture, but that we will buy into their simple, genuine faith. Also pray that they will never depend more on us than on God's power, and that we will never become so arrogant as to think that we are the answer for their needs.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you so much for what you have done in and through each servant in India during this trip. Please grant them a well-deserved rest after this trip. Help us to have a sober mind about the wonderful things you did through our church, and continue to provide more of your Spirit and resources to sustain them. Give us wisdom and discernment about how to help them in such a way that they continue to depend on you alone. In Jesus name. Amen.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

God is with us

Keep praying. That is what I have learned on this trip. A very real world has been revealed, within, as well as without. I think I have experienced every emotion humanly possible in such a short amount of time! along with witnessing God's unfathomable Love and the world's uncompromising reality leaves me dumbfounded in the place i stand now.
Serving God is a privelege, a gift...for what greater purpose is there to live? for He reveals to us our hearts through our faithful obedience; through our participation for His Kingdom He leads us to Him....but this walk is certainly through fire.
And what can we do as we approach, what can we do as we are consumed by the flames, as we make our way in fulfilling His will, and as we seek answers that often times won't come??? keep praying. Because when we pray God is with us. And when God is with us nothing can stand against us. Pray not for what you want, not for what you think you ought to have, or what seems to be what would make life all the more better, but pray for the fruits and the gifts of the Holy Spirit, pray for Faith, pray for God''s heart. When we are not sure what we should be doing, because of changes, because of doubts, or simply because of exhaustion, close your eyes tight, call out to our Father, He has us exactly where He wants us. Not so we can get comfortable accepting our circumstances and making the best of it, nor on the other hand, fighting our circumstances and trying to change them. I pray for all of us to put our trust in Him because He is with us, let us be with Him. He has placed us just where He can use us now in ways that may be unimagnable and even unexpected to bring Him glory to make Him famous.
So I pray- Father God your love is so huge and across it all you knew my name. You bent down and lifted me out of darkness, you cleaned me, fed me, and showed me light. Lord, there are times when my nature kicks in and I am in a gear that is not suitable for the path you have chosen for me. Lord, in my confusion I may swerve and stumble. But You, who loves me, have continued to provide, to protect, to discipline, to embrace me in my every way. I myself am not worthy of this gift you give me, but your grace makes me a new creation every new day. I am your creation Lord and I pray for the Holy Spirit to grow within, I pray that I am emptied more and more everyday from my wants and needs and desires and fears, and in that space Your Spirit will dwell. I pray for a faith that will not move even in the face of opposition; even when all say 'no way!', may I always hear Your will, be it-Yes above the crowds, likewise when all say 'yes this is it'!, may i hear you clearly shall you be whispering No in the roars. Let me live by faith and not by sight. Surely I would rather have my eyes plucked-out being led by You in your light, then with eyes wide open in darkness. Thank you for my brothers and sisters, may you always protect them from weariness, doubt, and deception. Place your truth and love in our hearts so that we will never settle for our own way above Yours and may we never be mislead to believe that our way is Your way. I give thanks with all my heart to our brothers and sisters in India and thanks to all the brothers and sisters You have called to support this trip- In Jesus name I pray -Amen

Driving again...

Wow!!!! Who would have thought driving on the opposite side of the road for a week could mess you up a little when you get back to the states.

I'm finding myself a little unbalanced as I'm now driving at home. It's funny how driving can play tricks on you.


3/16/11 Survival Guide Journal Entry from Paula DePeralta

Today's Reading:
Deuteronomy 30, 31; Psalm 40; 1 Corinthians 1

I do not hide your righteousness in my heart;
I speak of your faithfulness and your saving help.
I do not conceal your love and your faithfulness
from the great assembly.
Do not withhold your mercy from me, LORD;
may your love and faithfulness always protect me. –Psalm 40:10,11

You've all poured your hearts into this mission, sharing Jesus' love and faithfulness with the people of Mussoorie. As you make your journey home, and especially in the weeks to come, may I encourage you to be all the more vigilant against Satan's tactics. When his attacks come, as they will, hold on to our Lord's faithfulness and keep one another lifted up in prayer.

Father, I lift up my brothers and sisters to You. May it be that You are smiling upon them for their obedience to You on this mission trip. Would You protect them in every area of their lives with your love and faithfulness? In the mighty name of Jesus, Amen.

Monday, March 14, 2011

3/15/11 Survival Guide Journal Entry from Fred Rodi

Today's Reading:
Deuteronomy 28, 29; Galatians 6

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. – Galatians 6: 9,10

Paul encourages the believers to stay on the mark and continue to do good. It is so easy to become weary after so much work that goes into the mission. The travel to India and back is difficult physically and emotionally. Don’t become weary in doing good for one another on your travel home.

Lift each other up in prayer and take care of one another. And, if there is any other “good” God has put on your heart I encourage you to follow up when you return, please be diligent and obedient. The good that you have been doing in India will reap a harvest that is way beyond what we can comprehend. The time and talents you invested in the orphanage and Woodstock, God will use to send those lives you’ve touched to reach a nation and even the world as we see the international school has future leaders being developed.

Lord, please bless my brothers and sisters as they return home. May you shower them with your grace and mercy, and grant them your peace and rest. Surround them with your Angels and protect them from any harm. Guard their hearts and their minds. Give them abundance of all good things in their lives from this day forward, in Jesus name I pray. Amen.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

3/14/11 Survival Guide Journal Entry from Kiha & Heidi Pimental

Today's Reading:
Deuteronomy 25-27; Galatians 5

Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain. – Deuteronomy 25:4

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23.

The Word gives us two different passages specifically for you, you Servants of the Most High God–you Oxen. “Don’t muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,” reveals a heavenly principle that many overlook. Picture an ox tied to a grain grinder, walking round and round and eating some grain on the floor while it’s working. A greedy owner would muzzle that ox, so that it couldn’t eat the profits. But Moses and Paul say that an ox should benefit while it works.
Good news for you Oxen. Today’s menu is fruit. Reflect on what has happened over these last several days as you have been grinding the grain. Isn’t it amazing how the Holy Spirit has allowed you to taste His incredible love, joy and peace? And how ono is the faith of our little brothers and sisters at Firs? My sister worked for Hawaiian Airlines and got free travel, and Aunty Barbara Gum gets free teeth cleaning, but that pales to the patience, gentleness and self-control in your fruit cocktail. Savor God’s goodness and kindness as you “outserve” each other today. He loves you so much, and so do we.

Bon app├ętit.



Jules and Jill Wilkins

Chapel service

Chapel starts in 15 mins!

After our Sunday service..the weather has been marvelous

Boys growing up!

Rinku and Prince

Rinku and Prince have been studying for their 10th year exams in Dehra Dun, but they came up for a couple days to see us. They are both becoming awesome young men of God!

Kalsang Rest celebrating seema b day!