Wednesday, May 27, 2015

My Top India Takeaways...

This experience has been absolutely amazing for me.

It has exceeded my expectations on so many levels, from just what I physically saw with my eyes in the people and landscapes all the way to what I experienced spiritually with my team and especially within my own heart. And when I say spiritually, I am not referring to a general sense that one may use when saying “there is something spiritual about this land,” but instead a very specific spiritual experience with Jesus Christ, Who I accept to be my living God.

Though we were only gone for 10 days, it is impossible for me to recap all that happened in those 10 days here, but instead I’ll share some of the major realizations that I’ve had on some very important areas in my faith…some that are re-realizations, but some that are completely mind-blowing for me and new.

1. Being PLANTED in a community centered around Jesus is necessary.

    Having a community is much different from being planted in one. Having the resource of a Christ-centered community is awesome, but unless you are deeply rooted in the middle of that community you will not fully utilize the benefits of that community, and as a result your faith is at danger of being just lukewarm. I used to think it was just important. But “important” isn’t the best word, and is misleading.  It is nearly impossible to experience Jesus fully by yourself, because from a community you will continue to grow through the support received BY them AND through support you give TO them. Use iron to sharpen iron…always, not sometimes.  Then you don’t leave your sharpened in the drawer with the other iron, you make use of it outside and return to always be sharpened. My teammates on this journey(who are part of the larger community that I have at home) were more than I could ever ask for. They encouraged me in ways that I’ve never experienced before and shared with me the growing pains(and blessings) that I endured…and will continue to share them with me moving forward.

2. I firmly believe in the power of prayer.

    I’ve never firmly believed in this. I always understood the concept, but I always thought it wasn’t for me. I didn’t identify with it, and I treated it as an exercise, before meals, when asking for help and safety, because I didn’t feel anything. It was not my strong suit. I experienced more prayer on this trip than any other 10 days of my life…prayer in a crowd where everyone was praying out loud at the same time(which if you’ve never experienced is indescribable), prayer in large and small groups, and prayer alone. I FELT the power of prayer in different ways, something that I’d never felt before. I felt it when I was prayed over, and felt it when I prayed over others. On Sunday I had the opportunity to pray over a group of 5 of the orphans, huddled with their heads down in front of me, around ages 4 through 10. For the first time, I didn’t feel like I needed to think of the words.  The words spoken were channeled through my heart instead of my mind. It was just…different, and I’m realizing now it’s so hard to put into words. All I know is now that I firmly believe…and desire to grow much more in it.

    **I initially started writing this blog on the plane ride back from India, but it feel by the wayside and I’m finishing it up today,  a month later. But in the last 30 days since I’ve been home, I’ve participated in a 30-days of prayer challenge, with mostly members from the India team, where daily (except Sundays) we meet from 6am to 7:30am.  I don’t even wake up this early to surf!  But it has changed my life, my experience in prayer, and improved my the clarity that I have in who I am, my relationship with others, my relationship with Jesus...and I’ve never felt so close to Him ever in my life.  I feel it’s necessary to mention that the other areas of my life(work, relationships, etc) aren’t exactly rosy despite what many may think, but I feel on top of the world because of this, and it proves to me that with a strong prayer life, despite any problems I run into, I’m able to not only get through the days, but succeed through the days with a super high spirit.

    The purpose of prayer can be different for many of us. I think that the most common use of prayer is to ask in time of need. Many of us only pray to God (or for some of us to just “a” god out there) when looking for hope, when things are out of your control. I’m guilty of this of course. But I’ve discovered that this is because my view of God has been inaccurate all this time. I saw God as a disciplinary God…a judge (NOT a judgmental judge, but just a judge who gave punishment when deserved, and granted good when appropriate). I knew He was about love, but I still needed to adjust my understanding. And it’s through personal experience that I have been able to adjust my understanding. I’ve learned that God is just as real as my own father and mother, as my brothers, as my friends.  He doesn’t judge me, instead He focuses on loving me. He focuses on what is best for me. If I sin, the consequences of my sin are deserved, caused by me. If I do not suffer consequences, I’m not “lucky,” I am fortunate, because due to God’s grace for me I won’t be punished. But if I suffer consequences, God isn’t punishing me, I’m walking through the effects of my own actions.  Sometimes I walk through negative effects of actions that had nothing to do with me, that I wasn’t responsible for.  I appreciate and accept these times just as much, because I have faith in God, who is completely real to me, that He is protecting me and that I cannot understand the big picture(His plan for me) as much as He knows, and I’m okay with that…because what happens today and tomorrow is just a part of what He has in store for me overall.  Besides, I wouldn’t want to expect to be able to understand what God understands because He is so much bigger than I. I know He is speaking to me in ways that I may not realize, and especially in ways that are uncomfortable to me, which I have to take and I’m learning to embrace. Anyway…I’ve detracted a bit, but the point is that I understand that God is love, and He is only love to me, I choose treat Him the same way I treat other relationships in my life…with communication, with openness, not with just requests for support and wisdom and guidance, but also with praises and gratefulness. I talk to Him daily because I want to, because it’s necessary to maintain a good and healthy relationship with Him.  I cannot expect to have a healthy and close relationship with a friend I speak to once a week or less, who I call only when I need a favor….so why would I choose to communicate with God of all people in that same way?

3. I believe in healing and miracles.

    I saw a few things happen during the trip…healing, and experienced being healed myself.  I’ve also learned since then that healing doesn’t always happen. I’m not always going to see big bangs and crazy miraculous things. But it’s okay. Because it doesn’t mean they don’t work or exist. They are just happening in ways that I’m not realizing, and sometimes I’m so focused on what MY perspective is, what MY definitions of healing or miracles are, that I miss everything else going on. It’s so narrow minded. And it continues to boil down to being obedient in realizing that what we ask and pray for isn’t always what God wants for us, and certainly isn’t in the timing that He has for us.

4. Not having IS having.

    These boys and girls in the orphanages…you know they either do not have parental guidance, or they don’t have living parents at all. Some of them have crazy stories, parents in the sex trade, parents who were murdered, parents who died in front of their eyes. But you would never tell from looking at their faces. You’d never tell by looking at their eyes and their smiles, and interacting with them. It’s because they are filled with the love of Jesus. They have been loved by Jesus also through their guardians who display the love of Jesus because they themselves have dedicated their lives to Jesus. These boys and girls don’t have material possessions. They don’t have iPhones, iPads, toys, not even really much clothing. On top of this they face persecution and potentially death because of their beliefs. Despite all of this, they are so focused on God and their love for the Lord is so pure. They don’t have what we think is important and essential to have in this world, yet they HAVE SO MUCH MORE THAN WE HAVE.  I’ve said this in a testimony given about Mukestamar, a bible school student that we met in India(ask me if you want to hear the full story)…the things we have here that we think are essential are just distractions…distractions from Jesus and what He wants for us and of us and to do with us.  We think they help us do things, get closer to things, maybe even learn how to build our relationships with Jesus…but in the end, we allow them to be distractions that pull us away. If I only had this…it’s hard for me because of this…you know what would be awesome and would get me there is this…um, how about thinking about not having my mom, my dad, my brothers, no surfboard, no clothes, no home to live in, no car, no phone, no computer, no internet,…how hard would it be then? Would it be easy to love Jesus then? For me, probably not, because I’d wonder why my life was so unfortunate.  But this is my problem, and this is what I focus to work on: being okay with not having, and understanding what I really need in my life, versus what just distracts me. I’m blessed that I will probably never have to go through not having anything like those kids in India, but that’s not the point. And while these needs may be different from you, my only need is a relationship with Jesus, and I’m learning what it means to have only that.

5. I was lukewarm for the Lord.

    I think that through all of the realizations above, I understood how lukewarm I was in my faith. And the more I grow from these things, the more and more  I realize how lukewarm I really was. I don’t want to be lukewarm, because there is so much more fulfillment when I’m not lukewarm…it’s not good enough, and God wants more from me, and I know why. I never want to be lukewarm ever again because I know better and I feel the freedom that comes with not being lukewarm.

If you don’t have that relationship with Jesus, or have never even been to church before…I hope this blog doesn’t scare you. I actually thank you for reading it through because perhaps it’s a reflection of the respect you have for me…either that or you are in such disbelief of how different this sounds compared to person you used to know. But I’m no different to you as a friend. I hope it doesn’t turn you off.  Instead, I hope it makes you think a little more about your life and how you live it, what you value, what you place your faith in, and what hope you have.  If you’re reading this and cannot relate, I don’t wish that you believe in God because of these words I’ve written, but that you simply reflect and give it the thought that it deserves. I encourage you to put aside any preconceived notions, any pride, and any laziness. Because there is so much more to gain by not being complacent in this. Anyway…I’m just absolutely stoked on the journey I’m on, and I would want everyone else to be just as stoked as I am.


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Devotional Reading for Thursday, April 23, 2015 (the day after!)

Today's Reading: 1 Samuel 27; 1 Chronicles 9; Psalm 141; Matthew 10

“Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.  Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me.  Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.  — Matthew 10:37-39

Jesus’ mission is well-established, and now is the time for Him to send out the 12 apostles with His power and message.  He prepares them for the opposition and persecution they will face:  that the battle is not against flesh and blood but against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Eph 6:12); that our strength and victory come as we learn to let go and give Jesus priority over everything in our lives. 

We can think of these 12 apostles as one of the greatest generations of the church.  They were ordinary men and women, called out under the persecution of the Roman Empire to lay the spiritual foundation of the church, and most were killed in the process.  Somewhere in their discipleship journey, there was a RELEASE that moved them from double-minded followers to Revolutionaries for Christ.

Welcome home! I’m so proud of each of you working together as the body of Christ.  As we settle back into our routines, I pray that you will reflect how your walk with Jesus has been transformed.  It starts with our own awareness of and repentance of the Pharisee in our own lives.  How easy it is in our culture to be double-minded and hypocritical. 

But I have hope that if God can transform the lives of the 12 apostles, he can definitely transform mine.  On this trip, we each have had a glimpse of what it means to truly live by faith…to lose your life for Jesus and then find it.  To be weak and vulnerable so He can be glorified.  To choose to BECOME less so HE can become greater.

Your role as missionary disciples is to be hot coals within the church, your families and community; to be a testimony of what it means to deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Him; to not FEAR rejection and persecution because of the rare and deeper fellowship that it brings with our Savior.

Almighty Father, Creator of heaven and earth, so humbled that I am called to be your son.  Continue to transform my walk with you.  Help me to trust and obey you more…to be open to your revelation that allows me to see areas that FEAR has prevented me from embracing your promises for my life.  Give me the faith and courage to let go and trust in you.  To be patient in your work in my life…trusting that you will be faithful to complete the work you started.  I pray that as I continue to walk in faith and obedience, you will transform me to become more like Jesus.  That in Him, I will find the peace and love and hope that He gave to so many until He was united with you in heaven.  In the awesome name of Jesus I ray.  Amen. 

~Pastor Creighton

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Devotional Reading for Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Today's Reading: 1 Samuel 25,26; Psalm 63; Matthew 9

“As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector’s booth.  ‘Follow me and be my disciple,’ Jesus said to him.  So Matthew got up and followed him.”   – Matthew 9:9 NLT

Matthew was a tax collector and in his time tax collectors were well off.  He probably had a comfortable and secure life with his career.  Here he meets Jesus.  Well, Jesus sees Matthew and invites him to be his disciple.  Matthew leaves his career and accepts the invitation. 

Some of you may have made some very tough decisions prior to accepting the invitation for this trip.  I trust that as you look back you will see it was well worth it.  Now heading home the past week and a half may seem like a blur.  Did that really happen?  It’s already over?  Nonetheless, an eternal impact has been made in the lives of the people you’ve encountered and in your own life.

“So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable.  Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.”  – 1 Corinthians 15:58 NLT

Now what?

Remember this time, the unity, the relationships, God’s faithfulness and provision.  Share your stories with others.  Listen.  What is God saying to you?   Rest and refuel? leave a career?  start a career?  start a ministry?  build or mend a relationship?  The list can go on…

It probably wasn’t easy for Matthew, but Jesus was leading his life.  As we follow Him, we can trust in His plans and provision.  Disciple of Jesus, be grateful for each day, and choose to follow Him daily.  As David McCracken says, “Pay the price to hear His voice and have the courage to do what he says.”

Abba, Thank you for this amazing opportunity to serve our brothers and sisters in India!  Holy Spirit, continue to guide and strengthen me in my daily walk.  May I be open to any invitation you offer in my life and have the courage to do what you say.  In His name, Amen.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Devotional Reading for Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Today's Reading: 1 Samuel 24; 1 Chronicles 8; Psalms 57,58; Matthew 8

When Jesus arrived at Peter’s house, Peter’s mother-in-law was sick in bed with a high fever.  But when Jesus touched her hand, the fever left her. Then she got up and prepared a meal for him.  That evening many demon-possessed people were brought to Jesus. He cast out the evil spirits with a simple command, and he healed all the sick.  This fulfilled the word of the Lord through the prophet Isaiah, who said, “He took our sicknesses and removed our diseases.” —Mathew 8:14-17

Jesus is our Healer!  When we have faith in Him and believe, He can Heal!

Through your actions, faithfulness, and love, the girls, the staff and the people in India will believe that Jesus is REAL!

Dear Father God, I thank you for sending our Hawaii team to meet Your needs.  Wherever there is a prayer that is needed, be there with the team to do Your will.  Thank you for the girls and the caretakers who watch over them.  I ask You to bless them abundantly! Protect them from head to toe.  Bless and protect the adults around them, their home and the surroundings.  I ask for protection as our Hawaii team ministers to the girls and travel mercies as they end their mission.  I lift up the leaders of our team for protection and guidance.  In Jesus' Name I pray, Amen.

~Aunty Chris

Spirit Break Out

I am continued to be left in awe, almost speechless as I see the POWER of our living God move throughout the nation of India. The promise God had given was that a small town of 26,000 people would be living streams of water to reach a nation of nearly 1.3 billion for Jesus. I love how God uses the humble to shame the proud, the weak to shame the strong, small things to make a BIG difference, and ordinary people to do EXTRAORDINARY things. 

Yesterday, our team had the privilege of heading the local church's Sunday service. Our pastors were able to reinforce the promise God has for his people; that there was a Promise Land for each of them to be conquered. But standing in the way of the land flowing with milk and honey, were giants- the thoughts of self-doubt and worth, disabilities, broken family backgrounds, etc. What God spoke was that in order to walk into our Promise land, we need the same Spirit God gave Joshua and Caleb: a Spirit of courage, boldness, and overcoming! That in order for each and every one of his people to walk into their purpose (their Promise Land), chains needed to be broken.

It was a humbling experience, to pray for our brothers and sisters. To pray for courage. To pray for boldness. To pray for an increase of faith and the power of the Holy Spirit. As we prayed and I looked around the room, I saw chains being broken and giants being slain. Freedom was being unleashed! 

" For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." -Jeremiah 29:11

I believe in the promise and plan he made for our brothers and sisters, for this town, and his nation: That all would come to know and worship the one true God. 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Devotional Reading for Monday, April 20, 2015

Today's Reading: 1 Samuel 23; Psalms 31,54; Matthew 7

But I am trusting you, O Lord, saying, “You are my God!” —Psalm 31:14
David is being chased by Saul for his life, and in this chapter of Psalm 31, verses 1-13, David is expressing his raw emotions of fear, agony, tiredness and loneliness because of this "
season" that God has him in. There is a promise to David for him to be king but up to this point, it certainly doesn't feel like it. It just feels like a life of a fugitive, never sleeping in the same bed twice.

And then we read David write in verse 14 that he trusts in the Lord and exclaims, "You are my God!" In the midst of his misery and discomfort, when his own friends don't want to be seen with him for fear of their lives, David digs into his well of relationship with the Lord and says, "You are my God!" He then continues to write words of hope and trust and surrender to conclude chapter 31.

For us today, as we follow Jesus, we will face many uncomfortable seasons in our life. The perspective of walking with Jesus is less a matter of "if" but more "when" storms may come. Having been away from home for the past 8 days, some of you may have experienced a storm or two along the way. My challenge for you today is to take a moment to be real to God and tell Him how you really feel in the moments of trial. After you've got it off your chest, begin to center your heart back to the Lord by meditating and audibly thanking God for all that He's blessed You with and then end by proclaiming as David did, "You are my God!"

Father, I pray for my brothers and sisters in India that You would cover them with Your joy and hope today. Reveal Your love to them as the time in India is soon coming to a close. Heal those that may not feel well and allow their relationship with You to grow deeper in likeness to how we read about David and his relationship with You. We love You. In Jesus Name, Amen.

~Kamu & Bugs

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Freed From The Lies

Yesterday marked the end of our "manhood retreat" for the older boys at the home here in Mussoorie. We talked about God having a bigger plan (Jeremiah 29:11), Needing friendships that sharpen each other (Proverbs 27:17), the Power of submitting to authority (1 Samuel 24:5-7), Building our lives with the materials that last (1 Corinthians 3:10-15), and Persevering through hardship (James 1:2-14). The capstone to this retreat came when we had everyone write down the lies that they had been believing about themselves and lies that others had spoken over them. Lies like "I'll never amount to anything important", "I come from a poor family and will have a poor family", "God has forgotten about me", and the list goes on... We then took time to share these in groups and pray over one another, recognizing that all lies come from Satan (John 8:44) but God is our Father. Lastly, in an act of freedom and promise we cast the lies into the fire to be burnt up and forgotten, realizing that these no longer define or have power over us. It was a powerful moment of hope and I can't wait to share more in the days to come!

Some of the Honorable Young Men of Mussoorie!

L to R: Prince, Amit, Ajay, Pradeep, Ganesh, and Sunil

Embracing the Struggle

It’s 6:58am on Sunday morning. We completed the 2-day boys’ retreat at Firs yesterday, and I had the opportunity to spend a lot of quality time with some of them. The two days were broken down into five 2-hour sessions led by Keane, Brett, and Paul. In each of the sessions the boys participated in an activity that they would then apply directly to scripture that one of the leaders taught, and finally break out into groups of 4-6 to discuss, journal, and pray on a more personal level.  

I’ve learned so much about not only these boys but also about myself in these breakout groups. The boys in my group were between 16-18 and dealt with a lot of the same issues that I dealt with growing up…pressure to perform in school, the self doubts and inevitable need to compare yourself to your peers that “perform” better than you, and the difficulty of obedience and submission to authority.

…In the end my advice to them about self-doubt was something like this; If you feel little by comparing yourself to somebody “superior” all the time, you’re only seeing 50% of the picture. There is undoubtedly also somebody else looking at you, comparing themselves to you, thinking you are “superior” to them. This is the other 50%. Take a step back to get a wide view. In the bigger picture, you’re neutral when you put yourself in the middle of these other two.

But what you would say to the one who sees you as “superior” and feels down about him/herself?  Unless you’re a not-so-nice person(aka jerk), you’re probably going to encourage that person and explain to them that they shouldn’t feel down. You may take pride in what you are more refined in but then reach out your hand to help the other person in whatever way they need to learn and grow in that area. You may even just be humble and deny that you’re that good, and thank that person for the compliment…but then again, proceed to encourage them.  In the same way, the one who you compare yourself to that is “better than” or more “superior” than you will probably have the same thoughts toward you. They won’t want you to feel down on yourself, explaining that you can achieve just as much, if not more, with just a little more practice and discipline, and maybe just guidance.

In life, you’ll always be able to compare yourself to somebody better. There will be no end. Instead of focusing on the doubt when you end up comparing yourself(which is inevitable), focus on the opportunity to grow. Focus on the encouragement, and ultimately, what God’s purpose is for you in that current setting. If everything were so easy for you to achieve, you wouldn’t work hard and develop your character. God made things difficult for us so that we could grow and learn.  Sometimes you have to earn what God is going to bless you with, because when you achieve it, there will be great responsibility in wielding that blessing. Wart(childhood King Arthur) wasn’t able to pull that sword out of the stone immediately, Daniel-san had to wax on and wax off before competing, Rick Kane had to ride the old wooden finless surfboards before riding the Thunderbolt against Lance Burkhart at Pipeline(only 2% of you will understand this last movie reference…and if so, HIGH FIVE!!).

Chances are, the professional athlete who had to practice hard to make the bigs has a more refined character than the professional athlete who was born with raw talent and just stepped into the bigs.  Embrace the hardship, toiling, and the struggle. For it is God given, and to embrace these things is to embrace God. It’s in these times that you’ll grow the most.  

Jeremiah 29:11
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for wefare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

Now the most interesting part of teaching this to the boys is that I realized I need to remind myself of this daily. (It’s funny how much you learn by teaching.) I realize that as I grow older, my flesh wants to be more and more independent, more prideful, and feel like I don’t need anybody else. But as I learn to hand my heart over to Jesus, I understand that quite the opposite is true. I wish to be less independent and more dependent on Him, filled with humility, and focused on what God’s plan is for me, not my plan for myself.


Devotional Reading for Sunday, April 19, 2015

Today's Reading: 1 Samuel 22; Psalms 17,35; Matthew 6

Many blessings on this special Sunday! I pray you receive a time of rest and time to deeply connect with our Father on this day. There is so much wisdom and direction to pull from today's readings.
This morning during devotions, I hope to encourage you as disciples of Jesus. Each one of you has been given talents and abilities very specific to your individuality and have dedicated these for the purpose of the Lord. You are followers of Christ!

It is difficult to remember this reality sometimes, when the situation becomes overwhelming, challenging or just simply mundane: the same old everyday, the long wait, the trials, the hard work, the tasks and agendas, the sacrifices... our own struggles can take center stage when we reach the limit of our own efforts, are feeling challenged, or long for just a little something more (even when we are fully aware there is nothing greater than God).  So how do we stay reminded of that which is so much greater?

Matthew 6 covers teachings of Jesus. In these verses we are given specific instructions for discipleship: it's the how-to and how-to-not manual for those called to be followers of Christ.  The Lord’s prayer placed among these verses provides a way for us to convey to the Lord our most basic needs as we live out a life dedicated to following Christ. Jesus teaches us how to follow Him, knowing very well that we can only go so far based solely on our own efforts, abilities, and desire. Therefore, even as we prayer the last three verses (6:11-13) as petitioned needs of a disciple, let us pray the first three verses (6:9-10) as our highest needs, transcending our basic needs:

     [Let] Your name be hallowed. 
     [Let] Your kingdom come.
     [Let] Your will be done.

In the book of Luke, it is a disciple who asks the Lord to teach them how to pray, and Matthew writes in his gospel,

“...for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” Pray then like this:
Our Father in Heaven, Hallowed be your name;
Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread, And forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors, And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.  — Matthew 6:8-13

It is a missionary's prayer! It is a true disciple’s prayer (no matter what your ministry), and as disciples of Christ, let us speak every line of this prayer as our hearts' longing to Our Father who is in heaven. And may it be prayed aloud: a daily reminder that all of our gifts, talents, abilities, struggles and sacrifices are for the purpose of His name, His kingdom and His will, which is our greatest desire as we continue following our Lord Jesus Christ all the days of our life. In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.

~ Jessica & James

True love

First time to India, and I am lost for words on how the Lord has been showing up in such POWER. He is evidently here in this place, there is no doubt about it. The hearts of these amazing boys, families, and leaders are simply amazing to see and get to build relationships with. I have the honor and priviledge to have fun and spend time with the little boys, and it's been a BLAST! Aren't they just full of never ending energy! Not just that but their never ending LOVE. It's really a beautiful thing to be able to see, feel and hug these boys who just love. They love each other, love you, and love God like no other. I've been walking away the past 2 nights just speechless and incredibly FULL of all that the Lord has been doing from start to finish each day. Today was a big stretch for me as I had the opportunity to teach the word from the book of Daniel to these little ones. It was all about Trusting in God. The coolest part about this whole thing was how God was having me walk through exactly that before I even knew I was going to be doing this... the Lord brought me to a place where I needed to really look into my life and ask myself, Do I really trust God with all that I have? It's always such a cool thing where God will walk with you through exactly what you need to work on and NEED at that very moment before He will allow you to move on and take the step with Him, trusting in Him that He's got it all under control. Jesus' presence is everywhere I go, and I feel his Holy spirit so strongly on these kids. They know what it means to love, to really love with all they have, and it's such a beautiful thing to witness this all with my own eyes.
Thank you Jesus for your beautiful children, your beautiful country India, and for your love! You are our first true love, may we love others as YOU LOVE us! In Jesus name, Amen!

So What is Next...

It was in 2007, month of July, a group of people who responded to the call of GOD to India came obediently, sacrificing their comfort, and going to an unknown people. They took a risk in coming, and also they took risk to trust in us. But God knit our hearts together. Then the Lord brought Pastor Creighton in Nov 2007. As I write this today, it is April 2015, 8 years running. My son, Levi, was in his mother's womb when Yumi Ellen and the first team came; now he is in class 3. It has been a wonderful journey so far.

There is a human element in the mission that we are involved with, which I can not ignore. If it were not for the sacrificial loving, giving, and trusting, we would not have survived. Of course the Lord would have opened a different path, but surely the relationship that has grown in the past years would not have been there. The family bonding would not have been there; we would have told stories other than what we are telling today. Just as God raised Esther to rescue the Jews, so Yumi Ellen, Pastor Creighton and the Church were sent to us in a time when we were not sure what the course of our future would be. Some plant the seed, some water it. We all have our rewards from the Lord. All my life I will be telling this story countless time; it has got magnificent facets. It reminds me of God's faithfulness, his power, and also strengthens me to stand firm in times of my weaknesses.
Pastors Ashish & Creighton, May 2009 Woodstock Chapel

When the Israelites were rescued from slavery in Egypt, God performed many miracles,  He rescued them and brought them to the promised land. No doubt they had seen God's mighty hand but they tested His Character. It is a very dangerous thing a person can do. They asked question like, yes, surely God has given us water from the rock, but can he give us meat? When they met with adversaries they questioned God's love and said, surely the Lord has brought them to destroy.

The good thing about the Mussoorie-New Hope bonding is that we have seen GOD's provision in meeting our needs. But the best part is we are committed to grow in the likeness of our Lord Jesus Christ everyday. As long as we keep our priority right we are safe and will be seeing God's might plans unfolded in our generation. I think in a time and season of such as this, the Lord is calling us to abide in Him, like a branch in the vine. We have a long way to go. The Lord who has started this will lead us.

So very grateful to God for bringing our family from Hawaii. We love you and we are not complete without you. Looking forward to see what the Lord has restored for us to discover together.

much love


Feels like home!

It feels like a dream being back in India after 3 years! So much has changed at the orphanage but it still feels like home. The boys have grown so much and there are so many new little ones! They are so full of energy, joy, and life! 

This time around I had the opportunity to work with a group of about 10 people who are opening a business as a front for ministry. I've been able to have training sessions to help in their development. It's amazing to see how God is working all throughout India. The business will first be opening in Mussoorie and then going to other cities in India to create a chain. All of the locations will be run by missionaries spreading the gospel. One of the locations will hopefully be Mumbai. And after visiting Mumbai, I can see how impactful this business will be in transforming lives for Jesus! 

Please continue to keep us in your prayers! 
Hey everyone!
I just wanted to share a memorable part of my trip! I gave my testimony for the first time in the bible school and it was really great to hear such positive feedback and the constructive criticism. But even better was hearing the testimonies of the older boys. Hearing about the struggles and problems they have faced made my problems feel minuscule. Just believing in God here is greeted with persecution. Many of the boys have stories of being punished just for their beliefs in terrible ways. These people here are among the most faithful and toughest I have ever had the blessing of meeting. Hearing their stories and how they deal with these trials was truly inspiring. I can only hope to someday have the perseverance that they have here in India.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Devotional Reading for Saturday, April 18, 2015

Today's Reading: 1 Samuel 20,21; Psalm 34; Matthew 5

And Jesus said “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.  
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.  
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.  
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.  
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.  
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  —Matthew 5:3-10

This amazing Sermon on the Mount is powerful and covers so many aspects of life.  It's hitting my heart like a sword... I am somewhat stunned right now.  These very words of Jesus are compelling me to change.

The Lord is all I want and He has been speaking to my heart. I hear Him say that I need to intentionally pursue grace, patience, kindness and love. He’s also showing me what it means to truly love. I want so badly to be the perfect mother, the perfect wife. But I am feeling weak lately because I am succumbing to my humanness, and it’s leaving me feeling insecure. I’ve been losing my temper, sad and depressed and comparing myself to others. God is also showing me how to pray today, to pray the beatitudes over my life, over my husband’s life and over my children, too. As I do this I believe I will become free.  Friend, today can I encourage you to pray in this way?

Lord, in times when my spirit is poor and I feel downcast, may I remember that I am Yours! When I mourn, may I know Your heart; You are my true comforter! I pray that I would be meek and that I would hunger and thirst for righteousness and be filled with YOU. I pray that I will always show mercy, extend grace and also be given mercy and grace. I pray that my heart be pure as Your heart is pure, that I will purpose being peacemaker and that I will be known as belonging to You. May I stand up for Your truth no matter what opposition or persecution comes my way. Jesus, You are the way, the truth and the life. I trust You, and I desire that I be the person You desire me to be.
I ask that my thoughts be Yours and resemble Your pattern of thought. I know the seriousness of what I am asking, help me, Lord, to represent You. PLEASE, Jesus, that’s what I want most. I love YOU!!!! Amen!