Saturday, March 10, 2012

Life Journal Reading for Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sunday is the absolutely most awesome day to be visiting the Firs. The Spirit of God is so thick you feel like your totally enfolded by it! I hope each of you has the opportunity one day to share in this experience.

Today's journal reading is shared by Aunty Sharon, who has been inextricably involved in each trip since Pastor Creighton started going in 2007. She basically plans the travel for each trip, and it's amazing how she does it! But she will always immediately give credit to God who goes before her every time. Thank you, Sharon, for your servant's heart. Looking forward to the day you get to participate in your own travel plans :)

Deuteronomy 16-18; Galatians 2

Observe the month of Aviv and celebrate the Passover of the LORD your God, because in the month of Aviv he brought you out of Egypt by night. 2 Sacrifice as the Passover to the LORD your God an animal from your flock or herd at the place the LORD will choose as a dwelling for his Name. 3 Do not eat it with bread made with yeast, but for seven days eat unleavened bread, the bread of affliction, because you left Egypt in haste—so that all the days of your life you may remember the time of your departure from Egypt. —Deuteronomy 16:1-3

In Deuteronomy 16, God reminds us of the three annual feasts observed by Israel: the Festival of Unleavened Bread (Passover), the Festival of Weeks and the Festival of Tabernacles. Each carried specific instructions: time, offering or gift, length and location, and reason for rejoicing. For the Festival of Weeks, they were told to count off seven weeks, giving a freewill offering in proportion to the blessings they had received from God. For the Festival of Tabernacles, it was seven days of rejoicing after gathering up their harvest. Three times annually, God decreed that His people should appear before Him with a gift in proportion to the way He had blessed them. The Feast of Unleavened Bread, however, was to be observed over a whole month. The month was actually divided into three parts – preparation, one week of celebration, followed by a time of reflection and pondering. The people were to bring an animal sacrifice from their own flock or herd to a place God chose. Each day they were to roast and then eat this sacrifice with unleavened bread so they would always remember their time of departure from Egypt.

As I read and reflected on God’s instructions to His chosen people regarding the Feast of Unleavened Bread, I thought about all of the preparation that consumed months of our time before you left for India. I considered the incredible significance of preparing well in advance. Though the Passover feast was really one week in the month, the preparation for it was important and crucial. Equally important was the time God carved out for His people to reflect and contemplate once the festival was over. This was invaluable so the people could fully embrace what God had done for them in delivering them forever out of the bondage of Egypt. But what stood out to me and seemed most significant…was the SACRIFICE! The Passover was itself a blood sacrifice. There was cost involved. The life of a lamb was taken. The sacrifice brought to the Festival of the Unleavened Bread was personal.

Even as a long-time believer, I am still learning what it means to live my life as a sacrifice to God…fully and completely devoted to Him. I’m still learning to see how much I truly lose when I lose the presence of God in my life. I still need God to help me to stop, to listen, to wait and be still. I call myself a Christian but allow myself to be consumed with “to do’s” that take me off track of His will and purpose. I still need God to show me how to observe and celebrate His ultimate sacrifice for me.

Thank you India team for being an example of sacrifice. You’ve carved out 10-14 days of your life and devoted yourselves wholeheartedly to the cause of Christ! You’ve created this divine “desert” right in the middle of full and active lives to serve God and put others before yourselves. You obeyed God’s will and purpose as you journeyed across the globe. You depended on God in your weaknesses and difficulties. You surrendered yourselves to the loving arms of our Abba Father. You have given me once again an eternal perspective of what is truly important. Thank you……I love you!

Dear Father, your Word always leads me back to you and your unfailing love. Thank you, Lord, for opening my eyes once again to see your heart in my brothers and sisters who each year sacrificially journey across the globe out of obedience to your call to serve You as they serve your people in India. Thank you, Father, for taking care of every detail as they journey home in a few days. Keep them safe in your arms. I love you, Lord. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Aunty Sharon

Woodstock Retreat 4

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Co Laborers for Christ

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Friday, March 9, 2012

Bruesh and Mumbles

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Life Journal Reading for Saturday, March 10, 2012

The team is smack-dab in the middle of the Woodstock Retreat today. Please be praying for open hearts and super-human (aka GOD) strength and energy for the team.

Today's journal entry is shared by Quyen Vego, one of last year's travel team members.

Deuteronomy 13-15; Galatians 1
You know what I was like when I followed the Jewish religion–how I violently persecuted God's church. I did my best to destroy it. I was far ahead of my fellow Jews in my zeal for the traditions of my ancestors. But even before I was born, God chose me and called me by his marvelous grace. Then it pleased him to reveal his Son to me so that I would proclaim the Good News about Jesus to the Gentiles. —Galatians 1:13-15

Paul was one of the most zealous, religious Jews of his time. He was fully committed to keeping the Jewish law and persecuting Christians. But even before Paul was born, God CHOSE him. God chose to use Paul through the power of his testimony to draw others to Christ for centuries to come.

It was about this time during last year’s trip–as I was heading into the retreat–that a lot of doubt and insecurities rose up in me. Thoughts like, “I wonder how God is going to use me here? I don't have any ‘special talents.’ I'm not an eloquent speaker. I don't play an instrument. I don’t have some ‘earth-shattering’ testimony. I've never even met these kids before. How are they going to connect with me?” But just as quickly as these negative thoughts ran through my mind, the Holy Spirit got hold of me. He reminded me that from the beginning of time, God had orchestrated my life in such a way that led me to this very moment here in India. For the last 34 years, He has been building a testimony from my life that would be used to connect someone to Him today and in the days to come. And–aside from my abilities or inabilities–more importantly, God was asking me to share about the powerful work that He had done and continues to do in my life. He was asking me to share the good, the bad, and the ugly; to testify to the miraculous things He has done in me–and then trust in the Holy Spirit to do the rest.

Galatians 1:15 couldn't be more clear. God was pleased to reveal his Son to Paul so that he could proclaim the Good News about Jesus. Likewise, brothers and sisters, God was pleased to reveal his Son to you, too, so that He could, in part, use your testimony to proclaim the Good News about Jesus to the students at Woodstock and the boys at Firs.

Heavenly Father, thank you for choosing each person on this team to first meet your Son, and then secondly to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ to others! I pray against any lie from the enemy that may try to set itself up against their knowledge of who You are. I pray that my brothers and sisters would take every negative thought that would hinder them from sharing the Good News captive and make it obedient to Christ. Your word says that "they overcame [the enemy] by your blood, and by the word of their testimony. I pray that each person would be constantly reminded that it is because of the fact that You live inside each of them that they will be able to anything and everything that you are asking them to do. I am thankful for the mighty work that has been done and is going to be done in and through each team member's life. Thank you for your love and saving grace in our lives, Lord. Thank you for the privilege of serving you. In Jesus' name. Amen.


Woodstock retreat kick off!

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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Life Journal Reading for Friday, March 9, 2012

Today the team will be heading for Torchbearers' Retreat Center in Dehradun for the 2-day Woodstock Retreat. Last year this was a great spiritual battle, so please be in concerted prayer for the health and well-being of each team member and for the hearts and souls of the students attending.

Today's journal entry is shared by Gina Carroll, home team member and wife & mom of past travel team members Roy and Pono Carroll (3/2010).

Deuteronomy 10-12; Mark 16
“He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” ~Mark 16:14-20

These were Jesus’ last spoken words to his disciples before he ascended into heaven to sit at the right hand of God. He descended and lived an earthly life; he was persecuted and killed; yet he returned from the dead to speak a direction and a purpose for ALL mankind. This is a true blessing for the world. This truly is living beyond oneself. Go into the world and preach the gospel—can it get simpler than that?

I’ve read this scripture 100s of times; I’ve definitely spoken it over others 100s of times. Yet nothing is as it appears at first glance. Beyond preaching the gospel is believing. Signs will follow those who believe. Do I believe because of what others have said, or do I believe because of what He has said and for what He has done? How has my belief been developed? Have I built it upon solid ground or on sinking sands subject to the tides of my life?

Before I can GO into all the world and preach, I myself must believe that I am chosen among all others...that I am worthy to serve him. I must believe that I am capable to serve Him and that I am able. I must believe that the circumstances that I have lived through are from God, and are for me to embrace, because ALL things are from Him. Signs will follow those that believe.

Heavenly Father, in all times of my life, whether joyful or sad, confident or unsure, I lean on you. Though I am weary, I am still able to feel you near. Your word says, blessed is she who believes in the promises that were spoken. Today I am believing in your strength in my times of weariness.

Your final words to us were to preach the gospel to all creatures that we may be able to bring them to you. You’ve made it clear that, until the very end, you seek believers. Father, help me to obey your command to the best of my ability; whether I am at home or on the mission field, I pray you use me mightily to fulfill this great commission.



Such a blessing to be here with our wonderful family in India.

OSHA standards?

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Kalsang lunch...3 yrs in a row.

A team tradition, Kalsang Friend’s Corner serves a whole range of cuisines including Indian, Tibetan, Chinese and even a few Thai dishes. Steaming hot momos and thukpa soup are a real treat in the cold weather...well, that's what the brochure says! We just know it's good!

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Max Capacity!!!

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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Life Journal Reading for Thursday, March 8, 2012

Today's journal entry is shared by Greg Woo, 11/08 & 5/09 Travel Team member, who had the privilege of accompanying his son, Chris, on his second trip (a tradition started in 2007 when mother/daughter team Jill & Arden Matro traveled with the second team).

Deuteronomy 7-9; Mark 15
Hear, Israel: You are now about to cross the Jordan to go in and dispossess nations greater and stronger than you, with large cities that have walls up to the sky. The people are strong and tall—Anakites! You know about them and have heard it said: “Who can stand up against the Anakites?” But be assured today that the LORD your God is the one who goes across ahead of you like a devouring fire. He will destroy them; he will subdue them before you. And you will drive them out and annihilate them quickly, as the LORD has promised you. —Deuteronomy 9:1-3

As you prepare to do battle for the Lord at the Woodstock retreat, please know that He has already gone across ahead of you. You are strangers in a strange land with mostly non-Christians surrounding you, but be brave and bold! The Anakites are nothing compared to the might of the Lord!

Remember that the battle is a spiritual one and that you do not contend with flesh and blood but powers and principalities. Follow the great example of Ashish and the boys from the Firs. During the May 2009 Woodstock Retreat, the first thing they did when they entered the Hanifl Centre was immediately go to a quiet place (the attic) and get on their knees and pray to God for a long while.

Lord, may this team of one (Hawaii and India) be united in common purpose to serve you! May your Holy Spirit guide them in righteousness. May your will be expressed through their actions and thoughts. May your victory be won in India and Asia! We give you all the glory Holy Father! In Jesus’ matchless name. Amen.

Greg Woo

God is love!!!!

These first two days at the orphanage have been incredible! When I see the boys I feel as though I see God. They have such a genuine and pure love for God and for each other that has blown me away. I have only been here for two days, but they have already captured my heart. When we start our days off together in worship, I can see God delight in the boys as we sing together. Both mornings I dissolved into tears as I felt God's presence fill the room while his love overwhelmed me. God has been teaching me just how great He is. His love knows no boundaries. I am excited to experience more of him!

My experience so far

Wow!  So this is my first time here in India.  So far I've been moved more deeply than I have in a long time.  Even though there's so much brokenness around me, I feel the Lord working in me to see beauty even amongst the desolation.  Being a parent of two I love my children so much, and to think that the boys here don't have their mom or dad makes me so sad.  A lot of them just jump in my arms and I feel their love even though we've only known each other for a few days.  We wrote a song over here called "Long Time" that was a smash hit!  The kids loved the song and it went along with Tua's message of putting on the Armor of God.   

I am in progress and when I see these boys worship and get up on their own to sing songs to Jesus at 6 am everyday without fail, I am humbled.  Their hearts are so genuine and pure and my times of worship to Jesus have been so much more deeper with them.  

Today we went to UTC which is a short walk from here and as soon as we entered the room, I could feel God's love so thick.  There were about 10-15 students and a lot of them had to give up their everything to follow Jesus.  When they confessed they were Christians a lot of them got disowned and banished from the family.  It was a time of rejuvenation, a time to be encouraged by others who serve the same God. 

I also got to teach some of the kids how to skateboard today, and some guitar and drum techniques.  Kamu and I have been teaching them on the "Heart of Worship" and more the music side of things, because they're hearts are already aligned with God's heart.  

With our group we've been having times of devotion, prayer and worship and our team as we draw closer to God have been drawing closer to each other.  I am so blessed to get to be here.  Even though the travel took 5 planes, 3 days and fearless driving up the mountain it was worth the travel.  And we still have a week left to experience God in a fresh new way.  I miss my beautiful wife Tiffa and my Zeo and Zemmy.  I thank my wife for supporting me on this mission.  


Imua Garza 

Yay India!

My first time in India has been great, I'm loving it here!
The time that has had the most impact on me so far was after our first morning at the orphanage when we joined the boys here for their devotion time of worship and prayer. It was really powerful for me to see and be a part of praising God with people from across the world. Even though they were singing in Hindi, their adoration of God was so evident. This time really showed me and made me realize how big God is. I was reminded how great God is that he is almighty God, reigning over all the earth and all people and its that same God who is our closest friend and father.
The boys here are so fun, we are having a blast hanging out with them! Praise Him!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

2nd Day at Orphanage!

It's amazing what God is doing here in India, especially at the orphanage. These kids are so inspiring, there faith and obedience is beyond words. They may not have much material possession, but they are truly rich in faith and the spirit of God. Coming here I had no idea what to expect, especially when it came to the food. But it turns out that Seema's cooking is the bomb! I'm getting fat physically and spiritually:)

Life Journal Reading for Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Today's journal entry is shared by Kiha Pimental, 11/07 & 11/08 Travel Team member. Kiha's heart for missions has also taken him to Nepal, Japan and the Pacific Basin.

Deuteronomy 5,6; Mark 14

Mission IZPossible
“Where do You want us to make preparations for You to eat the Passover?” So Jesus sent his disciples, telling them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him. Say to the owner of the house he enters, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.” –Mark 14:12-15

When I serve Jesus with the impure motive "to look good to others," His directions are often long, mysterious, confusing, even nonsensical. When my egotistic, prideful nature seeps into my service, I put the entire mission in jeopardy. In my first trip to India, a "younger" team member suggested we do feet washing for the orphanage. "What a waste of time," the ugly me said to my prideful self. "Let's teach them something useful." I am so glad that God is gracious. As we washed little orphan feet that night, Jesus touched me (and every single person in that room) in a way I cannot explain.

I pray, Saints, that your hearts are pure, submitted, and willing to do whatever He asks. Jesus’ way is simple and effective. Be promptly obedient, attentive to your specific job, trusting God to use a team to accomplish His mission.

“Go into India. In Mussoorie a man caring for orphans will meet you. Follow him. Say to the chaplain of the international school nearest the orphanage, ‘The Teacher asks: where is my guest room to eat with my disciples?’ He will show you a large room, furnished and ready. Make preparations there.”


Blown Away

Today was our first full day at the boys home, and it lives up to its name. This really is a home for many of us. We awoke before the sun this morning to have a time of prayer and worship with the boys. These boys do this every morning at 5:30am. The power was completely out from the hail storm the night before so we just huddled together in the middle of the main hall in the dark. If you haven't had the opportunity to worship with other people in other languages, then you are missing out. When you hear others worshiping Jesus in another language and you join in, you really start to get a picture of what heaven is like.

It always amazes me how thick the Holy Spirit's presence falls here when we worship. Many of us were brought to tears and were unable to speak because of how thick the presence of God was in that room. There were no lights, no sound equipment, no heater, and no inspirational speaker--it was just the children of God coming together to love on their Father and each other.

I found myself in awe of what happens inside of me during times like this. There is nothing in the world that can stir one's spirit like the tangible presence of God. I tried to think of other times when I have felt so alive or so in awe in my life. Each time that came to mind from my past just confirmed what I already knew. It always comes back to the presence of God. We were singing the song "Awakening" by Chris Tomlin and the lyrics were quite fitting...
"For you and you alone-awake my soul, awake my soul and sing..."

My soul comes alive for the Lord like no other. I am convinced now more than ever that you can travel the world and taste all that it has to offer and nothing will satisfy you like the presence of the Lord.

(This picture was taken when the power was off in a fairly dark room as we were waiting for everyone to come together. No one thought you could see us-hence the look on our faces. Apparently Bruce Dirden can take pictures anywhere.)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Fastest cup stacker

In the world

Kamu drivin

Do not try this at home, especially in India.


Chee hoo

Comin up the mountain

One sided chicken fight before we go up the mountain. At the Dehradun Airport.

Our first morning in Mussoorie

This is hail not snow, but still just as cold:).

They have our Zumba picture on the wall's cold

Look at all the Hail

Music Bonds our Hearts

Life Journal Reading for Tuesday, March 6, 2012

It's Tuesday morning in Mussoorie, and I am imagining the team as several of them experience their first ever morning with the boys in devotions. I can see them in my mind's eye, sitting, weeping and praising God at the enigma that is these young orphan boys with not much more than the shirts on their backs, praising and worshiping God in song with their beautiful voices because He is enough, more than enough, and because He loves them more than they could ever imagine. He has given them hope in a hopeless country. He has their hearts, and soon the team will begin to understand the pull that keeps us going back to Mussoorie.

Today's journal entry is shared by Kuhi Matro, who was a member of the Taiwan Travel Team in 2011 and who's mom, dad, brother, and one of her sisters have all been to Mussoorie.

Deuteronomy 3,4; Psalm 36; Mark 13
“All these cities were fortified with high walls and with gates and bars… We completely destroyed them…” --Deuteronomy 3:5-6

Sometimes you will come across people who, like the Argob cities, have built high walls around themselves. Do not be discouraged. God is with you, and He will deliver them to you, so that His word may be spoken to them through you. Do not be afraid of the walls, for they are invitations for miracles.

That being said…
“May the foot of the proud not come against me, nor the hand of the wicked drive me away.” --Psalm 36:11

God has hand-selected each one of you to minister, and be ministered to, by the people in Mussoorie. He created a plan for this mission, and way before any of you knew you were going to be half-way across the world today, God named you a vital piece of this plan. So do not doubt yourself, for that is equivalent to doubting God. Be confident in the Lord. If you're trying to figure out how to change yourself in order to impress others, then stop. There is something uniquely you that you offer to this mission. So do not let any evil tongue of prideful spirit deter you from the path that God has paved ahead of you.

Dear Father Lord, I pray over your team in Mussoorie. I take comfort in knowing that you have gone before your team, and you have secured a path for them to follow. Please keep your hand on them, and watch over them each step of the way. Let every new day bring forward a more vibrant image of you, Father. Let your love shine so clearly that people will be able to look at the person sitting next to them, and see your unmistakable touch. May your mission be at the forefront of the team members' minds, and please keep them guarded from the spirit of pride. Please keep everyone safe and healthy as they step out in faith, and complete the mission you have assigned them. In your son, Jesus', precious name, Amen.

Kuhi Matro

Great partners will help to provide some initial scholarship funding for the older boys!

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We arrived in Chennai!

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Sunday, March 4, 2012

Leaving Delhi to Dehradun.

Team well rested and looking forward to all that He has planned!

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Life Journal Reading for Monday, March 5, 2012

Deuteronomy 1,2; Mark 12
“...You replied, ‘We have sinned against the LORD. We will go up and fight, as the LORD our God commanded us.‘ So every one of you put on your weapons, thinking it easy to go up into the hill country.” --Deut. 1:3

In the fortieth year ... Moses proclaimed to the Israelites all that the LORD had commanded him concerning them ... “You have stayed long enough at this mountain. See, I have given you this land. Go in and take possession of the Land the LORD swore he would give to your fathers...” --Deut 1:6,8

Moses is recounting to a new generation of Israelites the story of why their fathers were not able to enter the promised land: because they did not trust the almighty God to go before them. Even after witnessing for themselves His power and strength in defeating the great army of the Egyptians—even holding back the mighty waters of the Red Sea!—they could not bring themselves to trust Him to do what He had promised them. And so He waited on His promise 40 years. Their doubt became a self-fulfilling prophecy. Because of their lack of faith and their disobedience, God indeed did not bring them to the promised land. Now their children have the same opportunity: trust or fail.

You’re beginning your final day of travel. It’s been a grueling trip, but you have had time to rest and refresh yourselves. But do not let down your guard or take lightly the travels and tasks yet to come. Trust God to go ahead of you as He has gone ahead of those who have been here before you. Stay close to God and rely on each other. He has called each of you to this particular trip for a reason. He is just waiting for you to trust him totally so that he can bring about all that he has already planned. As He has been tangibly present for those who have come before you, so will He be with you, if you just trust Him!

Lord God, You have raised up for Yourself this team of missionaries who are excitedly anticipating what is ahead of them. I pray that even as they look forward, Father, that you would be ahead of them, showing them the way to go. Guide them and gently remind them that they are here to accomplish Your agenda, not their own. Lord, you know that we are people who are so easily distracted by our own awesome and fabulous plans that it is easy to forget who’s really in charge here. Keep Your team focused on you. For they serve and minister in Jesus’ name. Amen.