Saturday, August 31, 2013

What a Brilliant Day! And of course it's The Lord's ☀

About 4:30 this morning I could feel the humidity decreasing even as I slept. And that was confirmed when Creighton came rushing in to the guest house saying how beautiful the day was and let's take advantage and walk the round of the top of the mountain. So off we raced, some still in our PJ tops even!  Well worth the time. So beautiful...

Om, Gopal and Rahul

l to r: Tiffa, Om, Gopal, Rahul, Creighton & Brett

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The look of anticipation

l to r: Jules, Neeraj, Girish, Sunil, Ganesh, David & Margaret

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Waiting for lunch: Fred, Monic, Barb & Ajay

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Team Lunch at Kalsang

A yearly tradition, Kalsang's Chinese, Himalayan & Tibetan Food is a fun opportunity to fellowship with the India leaders and some of the older boys.  And the food isn't bad, either!

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Tiffa overflows Jesus to these girls

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Bringing hope to these children at the salvation home

Meeting & greeting; getting settled in for a fun day.

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LOVE!!! Meet, Taniya!!

Tiffa Garza

Aloha from the Salvation House!

Keane with Sunniy, Akash, Taniya, and Amit

Tiffa Garza

One of the Best Days of my Life!

One of the best and most memorable days of my life! Thank you Jesus for this opportunity! I am so grateful!

Tiffa Garza

Friday, August 30, 2013

Reading for Saturday, August 31 (from Ganesh & Pradeep)

Ezekiel 12-14; Revelation 5 (Two unique insights in one day!)

“Son of man, you are living among a rebellious people. They have eyes to see / But do not see and ears to hear but do not hear, for they are a rebellious people.” —Ezekiel 12:2

The word of God came to Ezekiel, the prophet of God from Jerusalem, that he lives among those who have eyes don't see Him and ears but don't listen to Him.

From this scripture I learnt we should help the people whose spiritual eyes and ears are closed by teaching them the word of God.

Lord, give me wisdom and knowledge so that I can tell your words to those who are blind and deaf in the spiritual life so they can know you.

“‘But I the lord will speak what I will, and it shall be fulfilled without delay. For in your days, you rebellious house, I will fulfill whatever I say, declares the Sovereign Lord.’” —Ezekiel 12:25

In this portion of Scripture, the people of Israel have turned away for the Lord, and God speaks through Ezekiel to the country of Israel, that He is the Lord and He never lies, and His word will be fulfilled. Nothing is impossible with God. The anger of God indeed fell against Israel when they became rebellious.

From this scripture I learnt that God’s anger will fall on each one who will go against Him.

Oh, God may I not turn against you, and may Your anger never fall on me. I want to live a life well-pleasing to You. Amen
Pradeep Panwar

In the Misty Mountains

It's wet, but our spirits aren't dampened. 

God is Enough.

HOWSIT Family and Friends!

After another long day on the road, it has finally come to an end. I'm drained and I'm pooped. But needless to say it was all worth it!

We spent majority of the day at the salvation home in Dehradun, where women and children have been rescued from the streets and come to know the love of Jesus. It was a humbling experience for me, leading a group of small children in a culture you're unfamiliar with. With a tank full of energy and nothing but fun on their minds, the games we had in store didn't seem to be enough. They got bored. I ran out of ideas. But it was awesome to see the Holy Spirit show up and bridge that gap. We would've been totally fine bringing a boom box and having a dance party! They love to dance and before you know it, they were teaching us a few moves of their own (Watch out America's Best Dance Crew!).  

But dancing and fun aside, these kids know how to love. You walk in the building and you're immediately swarmed with hugs. ONE BIG BEAR HUG! So awesome! Every time they had to find their small group leader, you were met with hugs. It brings such joy to me when I saw how these children have so much happiness despite their circumstances. They don't live in the nicest houses. They don't have a lot of things. But they have the love of Jesus. They understand what it means to have the joy of the Lord as their strength. Something I myself struggle with everyday. 

I'm left speechless when I step back and see how God orchestrates everything. You come here to serve, wanting to be used to bring hope, joy, and life into these children. Without you even knowing, they're doing the exact same thing for you. God is really opening my eyes and asking, "Am I really enough for you? If you had nothing in this world, would I truly be enough?" Super convicting questions. These children are living testimonies of what it means to live with child-like faith; to live life knowing that God is enough. He is and he always will be. 

"Don't let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity"
- 1 Timothy 4:12

New extensions

What an amazing time it was to meet new members of our family at the Girls Salvation Home!  It's truly a blessing to see God's miracles.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

It's Aloha Friday

Boys getting ready to walk to school. Love these guys!!!
Anil, Keane & Anuj

Creighton getting his morning workout

Shakas from Creighton, Tsering, little Ajay & Neeraj

Younger boys' devos: 1 Samuel 17

Monic facilitated our first younger boys' devo. We met in the dining area while the rains pounded on the corrugated roof (visions of Hilo), so we improvised the day's reading by sharing the story of David & Goliath out of 1 Samuel 17. Monic (with Ashish translating) regaled the boys, then they wrote the Scripture (1Sam 17:45) and either drew or wrote their observations and applications. Insightful young men! We are looking forward to hearing more of their devos in the evening!

Amazing Testimonies of Faith!

Pankaj & Creights

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Croxie documenting some amazing testimonies!

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Hawaiian style!

Keane with Jaidev, Manish, Rahul, Tsering, Ajay, Tushar, Sandeep & Pankaj

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Joy of The Lord is our strength!

Creighton & Margaret with Sandeep, Ayush, Tsering & Sachin

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Morning Devos at 530am!

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Team Jesus!

l to r: Monic, Fred, Guddu, Brett, Margaret & Jules during 5:30 morning devos with the boys.

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Tiffa in morning devos with the boys!

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Reading for Friday, August 30, 2013

Ezekiel 8-11; Revelation 4

“And when they come there, they will remove from it all its detestable things and all its abominations. And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God.” – Ezekiel 11:18-20

Brothers and Sisters, You have journeyed far to minister to those in a dark world. As you prepare for the battle today, allow the Holy Spirit to bring to your attention hidden abominations. Confess these detestable things to one another; do not allow them to be idols in hidden rooms. They will be a barrier to being of one heart—His heart.

Holy Spirit, Your presence within me is light; illuminate whatever my Father wants to reveal. Please fill me with the courage to confess those hidden things. I struggle to let you show me my inner rooms filled with pride. But more than wanting to remain as I am, I desire a heart of flesh, one that will work in harmony with my brothers and sisters, that will draw your children to you.
Enlarge your kingdom through me today, Father. Begin in my heart. Through the power in the blood of Jesus. Amen.

Jill Matro

Living by Faith, Not by Sight

ALOHA Family and Friends!

Thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers for our team. God has definitely been answering: bringing our team to Mussoorie safely and already intertwining hearts, building and sustaining lifelong relationships. After three long days of non-stop travel, I finally got my first taste of "just another day" in India. All I can say is, "WOW!!!". 

Coming in, I didn't really know what to expect. A part of me new that God would move in power, but the other half of me was curious to how he would do that. There were doubts in my mind wondering, "How is God going to use me?'" Pastor Creighton had a word for the team before we departed: to expect God to do the miraculous. Trusting in the scripture, "Live by faith, not sight", I forgot about my doubts, my fears, and expectations. I remembered that the God we are serving is much bigger and greater than all of that.

Today we visited a bible institute about 5 minutes down the mountain. Those students worshiped like no other. It was a very humbling experience to see them worship God with so much passion despite how little they have. In America, we have the fancy lights, more numbers, and the musically talented worship leaders (Not to take any credit away from Nixon, their worship leader. He's a boss!) and they would put most of us to shame. After sharing a testimony with them, it was so amazing to see the Lord's hand at work: how people from across the world can relate with one another they no nothing about. Isn't it awesome that God prepares our hearts before we even meet?! Even their prayer life; it's so unselfish! They have a heart not only for one another and their country, but for the nations! We find little time if ever to keep a country like India in our prayers, but they're praying for the U.S. They're praying for Australia. They're praying for Brazil. So freaking awesome!!!

Lastly, I am loving my time spent with the boys at the FIRS Orphanage. It's only been a day and WE ARE already brothers. I love how the family of Christ operates that way. They have so much energy and run me to fumes, but it's so fun! God has really set Mussoorie to be Holy ground and his presence is here. We have about 5 days left and this is just the beginning. Can't wait to see what he has in store for us in the days to come! God is sooooo good!

Please continue to keep our team and the boys in prayer and may God continue to be glorified in all we do. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A time to Worship

In the months of preparation and prayer leading up to this trip one thing the theme the Lord impressed upon us was Don't settle.  God has really set the tone for the trip in our morning Devotions and worship speaking straight to our hearts.

Revelations 3:8-11

I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet, and they will learn that I have loved you. 10 Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth. 11 I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown.

Some of the New Boys

Clockwise from left: Sachi , Subash, Tshiring, Ayush & Rishub

Reading for Thursday, August 29, 2013

Today's devotional reading was shared by Amit Kaushal, one of the older boys at the Firs.

Ezekiel 4-7; Revelation 3
17 All their hands will become weak, and all their knees will turn to water. 18 They will put on sackcloth, and horror will overwhelm them. Shame will cover all their faces, and all their heads will be bald. 19 They will throw their silver into the streets, and their gold will seem like something filthy. Their silver and gold will be unable to save them in the day of the Lord’s wrath. They will not satisfy their appetites or fill their stomachs, for these were the stumbling blocks that brought about their iniquity.” --Ezekiel 7:17-19

19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.” --Revelation 3:19-20

Our God is a jealous God, and His righteous anger will fall on His people if they become hard-hearted and do not listen to Him. But God also disciplines those whom He loves. He loves me and longs to have a deep relationship with me.

I know my God is a jealous God, and no one can stand against His righteous anger. I am rightfully fearful thinking about His anger and His jealously. I never want to be rebellious like the Israelites, nor go against His will, but rather I seek to do His will in every single detail of my life. Yet as I walk with him, I grow in awareness of my own shortcomings. His presence in my life does not leave me unchanged but transforms me according to His image.

Lord, there is nothing better than Your presence and nothing worse than Your absence. Oh, Immanuel, please help me to walk with you throughout this day and all the days of my life. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Amit Kaushal

Reading for Wednesday, August 28, 2013

In the air all the long day (Korea to Bangkok, Bangkok to Delhi, Delhi to Dehradun (YAY!! SpiceJet, you rock) and a surprisingly smooth ride up to Mussoorie.  Bruce, Mr. Singh has new 5-speed Toyota 6-passenger van that practically floated up the mountain.  Fred even fell asleep riding shotgun!

Ezekiel 1-3; Revelation 2
“But you, son of man, listen to what I say to you. Do not rebel like that rebellious people; open your mouth and eat what I give you... So I opened my mouth, and he gave me the scroll to eat. --Ezekiel 2:8; 3:2

“Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first.” --Revelation 2:4

No one can experience someone else's encounter with God. The God of the Bible is a personal God, almost all of the time He gives individual subjective experience to his chosen servants. People use their imaginations in all sorts of way, but as children of God we need to make sure this faculty glorifies God. In our devotion today, we read from the books of Ezekiel and Revelation. Honestly, so many things in these books my human mind cannot fathom. Their verbal records of their visions are unique to themselves. But there are universal elements in Ezekiel's and John’s experiences that can strengthen our own faith, and enable us to be ministers of God, if we allow our imaginations to become a vehicle for faith- response to God's glory through these inspired word pictures.

Like Ezekiel, who wrote and ministered in exile in faraway Babylon after 597 B.C., you are coming from a country which is in bondage in many ways, and you are going to minister to a remnant who are surrounded by the ungodly people, who worship 3300 millions gods and goddesses, which is the birthplace of so many religions like Buddhism, Jainism and where the largest numbers of Muslims live. It’s a religious country but far from God.

As the Israelites who were surrounded by the seductions of a sophisticated but pagan foreign culture, (and Ezekiel was sent to them not with mere words about God but an empowering vision that would boost their imagination and evoke their faith), so are you going to India to minister to a group of people who have come out from the bondage and curses of not knowing God.

When God calls, He also empowers. You are not going alone to India to minister, but with the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit who pioneered this journey in 2007 and is still with you today. As God’s spokesperson in a time such as this, you need to soak yourself with the word of God, like Ezekiel (2:8, 3:2). The word of God is the sword, the only weapon that is given to us to attack the enemy. God’s design is that when we do His work, our minds should be filled with God’s word. We can’t do God’s work without Him speaking to us continually through His word. This is God’s work, and what an encouragement for us, to know that we are a part of it.

Yet we can fall into another big pit in doing God’s work without loving God. Even as I close today’s journal, let’s be reminded that we can work for Him without loving Him. The church of Ephesus had fallen in this trap. They were a very hardworking church, but they had forsaken their first love to Jesus (Rev. 2:4). The greatest commandment of the Bible is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment” (Matt. 22: 38). It declares that every aspect of our lives should be motivated by the love that we have for God. The reason you have made this sacrifice to take this trip is because you love God and want to see His Kingdom come.

Dear Lord, thank You for this amazing privilege that You have given me to be your co-worker. I am here; fill me with Your presence throughout this day. I am in a nation where the needs are overwhelming, and when I see the challenges, my heart sinks deep within me. You know how feeble I am and all the other concerns that grip my heart. Oh God! Open my eyes so that I can see You as You are! Help me to shift my focus from the enormous needs that are around me, to You who created everything by the power of Your word, for You, O God, never change. This morning, as I prepare myself for this country of India, I turn my eyes unto You, O God, to look full into Your wonderful face. Fill me with Your light and glory so that the darkness would flee from each place that I step in. Let Your peace cover me like a blanket every minute of this day. Thank You. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.
Pastor Ashish

Monday, August 26, 2013

Devotional Reading for Tuesday, August 27, 2013 (Happy birthday, Fred!)

From this point on until we return, we will be 15-1/2 hours or more ahead of you as we have crossed the International Date Line.  And right now we are celebrating Fred's birthday!!  With cupcakes even :)  (Thanks for the hint, Theresa!)

Jeremiah 52; Revelation 1; Psalms 143,144

3 Lord, what are human beings that you care for them, mere mortals that you think of them?  4 They are like a breath; their days are like a fleeting shadow. —Psalm 144: 3,4  

The Lord not only cares for us, he sent his son Jesus to die for us.

As we travel to India, I get a little apprehensive with memories of difficult travel experiences of the past.  Then the Lord gives me gentle reminders that He made us in His image.  He put that same compassion and love in our hearts for the people of this world. Then I remember why I continue to visit:  to share His love, to bless others and to be blessed.  He never ceases to amaze me every trip as He shows me glimpses of His glory through the boys and unexplainable miracles at almost every turn.

Lord, keep us mindful of what we already know: that You are with us on this journey to India.  For those of us who have been many times, please renew our hearts and our minds and refresh our souls that we will not be the same when we return.  Show those who are visiting for the first time Your blessings from on high and Your miracles, and grow their faith.  Fill us with your love to overflowing that we may share it with all you put in our path.  May we also be bound together in that love.  Help us to bring glory to Your name as we cooperate in Your perfect will.  In Jesus name I pray.  Amen. 

Fred Rodi                                                   

India Bound

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Devotional Reading for Monday, August 26, 2013

Join us in devotions as we journey to Mussoorie.  The readings over the next several days are the same that were shared with us by faithful friends of India Impact Initiative.  They are part of the "Survival Guide" that we take with us to help keep us focused and on the same track with what God is doing with, through and in us on this latest journey.


Jeremiah 50,51; 3 John

4 “In those days, at that time,” declares the Lord, “the people of Israel and the people of Judah together will go in tears to seek the Lord their God.
5 They will ask the way to Zion and turn their faces toward it.
They will come and bind themselves to the Lord in an everlasting covenant
    that will not be forgotten.  –Jeremiah 50:4,5

33 …“The people of Israel are oppressed, and the people of Judah as well.
All their captors hold them fast, refusing to let them go.
34 Yet their Redeemer is strong; the Lord Almighty is his name.
He will vigorously defend their cause so that he may bring rest to their land, but unrest to those who live in Babylon. –Jeremiah 50:33,34

5 Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers and sisters, even though they are strangers to you. 6 They have told the church about your love. Please send them on their way in a manner that honors God. –3 John 1:5-6

Israel is captive in Babylon, and Babylon is about to be annihilated. But God promises that He will defend His people even as He destroys their captors.

Our God is an awesome God, mighty in power.  Even amidst the turmoil and unrest, in Him we find peace.  He gives us His strength so that we can obey Him without fear, undaunted by what is going on around us…because He is with us and will defend us.

Dear friend of Mussoorie, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers and sisters in India, even though for some of you, they are strangers…but not for long.  Be prepared to witness your family in Christ grow exponentially, in size as well as depth of character and commitment to our Lord.  Take time even now to turn your own face to the Lord, seeking Him and preparing yourself spiritually for all that He has in store for you on this adventure.  Are you ready?  Hold on!

Father God, You have hand-picked each of these your servants to be a part of this latest adventure in India.  They have planned and prayed and prepared, and we all know that (as it has already been) from here on out, everything is in Your mighty hands.  Help them to be pili grass, joyfully swaying with the Holy Spirit as You guide them in Your will and Your way throughout this adventure.  Help them to rely on each other, moving in their strengths to honor one another, being open to developing new strengths and gifts that You are preparing for them so that they may better serve You through serving one another.  Give them rest during the travel time so that they reach Mussoorie refreshed and ready to hit the ground running.  We praise You, Father!  In Jesus’ mighty name, Amen.

Aunty Barb