Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Thoughtful Walk around Mumbai

Sights, sounds, smells... the first things that hit you when you enter Mumbai.  Noise is everywhere, especially with the traffic.  It's 10:05 p.m. right now, and I can still hear the honking auto rickshaws outside my window.  The colors and architecture of this city are wondrous: the beautiful plants, many just like in Hawaii (bougainvillea, plumeria, greenness), and the buildings run the gamut of very old to still being built, and very elegant to slapstick.  There is actually a billion-dollar highrise, Antilia, that houses a single family of 5!  The contrasts are stark.

Our assignment today was different than anything we have done before in India.  It would almost feel like we were playing tourist if the assignment weren't so grave: pray over this city in the name of Jesus Christ.  We had the opportunity to drive to various areas where Joe's team will be reaching out into the community with fitness initiatives and coffee shops among other projects as directed by the Holy Spirit.  And even while we were in these areas, it was fun to see the local people engage us as we walked and prayed and goofed around on the fitness equipment (stuff like the Brian Clay setup at Diamond Head, available to everyone).  Even in the midst of its growth and Westernization, Mumbai is starving for the gospel and the community that it brings.  The fields are ripe...

One of the places we prayed over was the Gateway to India, a structure built to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary of England to Mumbai in December 1911. Construction was finished in 1924. The last British troops to leave India following the country's independence passed through this gateway on their way out in a ceremony on February 28, 1948, signalling the end of British rule.  In the early 20th century, it would have been the first structure that visitors arriving by boat to Mumbai would have seen.  It has seen three major terrorist attacks in the 21st century, including the November 2008 terrorist attack that occurred shortly after our 2nd team trip to Mussoorie.

Gateway to India is one of the major tourist attractions in Mumbai, so consequently there are many local street photographers there who offer to take your photo and sell you the print.  It was so cool to see Mako and Noah engage with these gentlemen, who were genuinely touched by their care and concern.  What a dream it would be to see this gateway become the entry point of the power of the gospel into Mumbai!  Symbolism is a powerful motivator.  Please pray for Mumbai.  The fields are ripe...

There is a beautiful church family here who have been doing just that, the Community of Hope.  They spent the day with us sharing their knowledge of Mumbai and their dreams for reaching this place.  These will be the saints in the trenches here after we leave.  Some of them will be joining us in Mussoorie for training.  I know they covet your prayers.

David, James and Keane are in heaven with all of the beauty to photograph, so there will be many more photos soon.  The people here are beautiful, and so friendly.  The fields are ripe...

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