Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Finding Imitators of Christ

"Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us." —Philippians‬ ‭3:17‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Since my days in college, I've always looked up to Creighton. Paul in Philippians 3:17 reminds me that I've been blessed to walk behind and view Creighton as a role model.  I see a leader who presses onward to the call of Jesus Christ, who holds his identity in HE who is greater than ME, and who has a righteousness that is anchored in his faith in Christ.
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(Bobby, Creighton & Rinku, from the 2009 Woodstock Retreat in Mussoorie)
On this mission trip, I got to meet Bobby, whom Creighton met at the orphanage 10 years ago. I watched Bobby interact with Creighton and could see and feel an honoring of Creighton because of the fatherly love that Creighton has been investing in Bobby for the last 10 years.
 
(Most of the boys in the House of Life Boys' Home in Dehradun, run by Bobby & Anu... oh, and Max!)

Bobby now takes care of 17 boys at the House of Life. He and and his wife Anu get to pour their lives into these boys. The boys at the House of Life have impacted me and our India team in a special way. 
 
(4 of the young men who have been part of the Firs since before our first team arrived in July 2007.
Pradeep and Ganesh are currently in college, Bobby is running the House of Life boys' home, and Gopal has graduated.
The are pictured here with most of the men on the March 2017 travel team from Hawaii)

Bobby shared the word agape with me. It's his favorite word to use for team names. His humility and surrendered heart allow him to freely receive agape love from the Lord and, as a result, his life is a major outpouring of agape love. 
Thank you, Creighton, for setting an example of what it means to follow Jesus. The fruit that we'll bear from your example will impact the generations of many families. 
 
(Those boys (!) striking a pose in the Delhi Metro station.  What an awesome team!)

-Marc

Back in Japan; Waiting for the flight Home

This photo is from the beginning of our trip, before most of us knew the powerful impact this journey would have on each of our lives.

And here we are once again in Japan, but this time we are changed.  Our Father has revealed in each of us so many new layers that He has just been waiting for us to process!  I can't wait for the coming days as each of us processes these last 12 days and prayerfully considers how we get to move forward with all this new direction!

Best.Trip.Ever!
–Aunty Barb

Authenticity of Relationships/Brotherhood

I'm often caught up in the "what" or "objective" of meetings w/ people. This trip was a good reminder of what it means to rest or to be in the love of our father through relationships. Simply watching these guys take care of each other and the younger boys has been a blessing for me. —Marc

- "If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself," you are doing well."
James 2:8 ESV



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Friday, March 31, 2017

Each one teach one

Each one teach one. Here is Tehani pouring herself out and serving the next generation of believers! Our friend Sonam shared with us that in Mussoorie, they focus on discipleship and fellowship more than anything. He shared that he felt like sometimes we get caught up trying to do too much, and in the end we end up getting less done, we end up making less of an impact. Keep it simple! Can you imagine if every believer just focused on making one disciple? One younger person who you pour yourself out for, someone you invite into your family to serve and teach in the ways of the Lord. This relationship works both ways as I gain more wisdom, grow in faith, and I'm held accountable for my actions and the things that come from my mouth. We are here to bring heaven down to earth, to build Gods kingdom, NOW! Let's all try to remember to focus on the one. Let's partner with God to bring about a revival. One that lasts longer than a generation.

Family




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India adventure




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Surely A Generation is Impacted

What did we do to bring Jesus from heaven to save us? NOTHING, absolutely NOTHING. God's love for us is so unconditional; His saving grace found us and didn't leave us as we were. He rescued us, designed us to do the works He had planned long ago in Christ. "Saving is all God's idea and all His work. All we do is trust Him enough to let Him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join Him in the work He does, the good work He has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.” Ephesians‬ ‭2:7-10‬ ‭MSG‬‬.

Now when I think of how God brought you folks into our lives, what did we do to deserve that? NOTHING, absolutely NOTHING. Because of your obedience and sacrifices, how a generation is being impacted! You found us when we were struggling to survive, and the seeds that you planted in various ways have now grown to become trees that can bear much fruit. House of Life and Salvation Home in Dehradun were born because we survived in Mussoorie.

Surely you made us taste the Love of Heaven by your obedience and sacrifices. We saw how great and generous our God is. We learned from you that it's not good just to be on the receiving end, but we must have the heart of the Heavenly Father who gives us lavishly all that we need. We learned from you to exercise the gifts and talents that God has given us to earn so that we can have enough to meet our needs and those of others. THANK YOU.

Our future is full of Hope. We are confident to disclose what lies ahead of us. We can always look back and tell the stories of God's power and faithfulness. He knows the end from the beginning. There is a promise in Ps. 112:  “Praise the LORD. Blessed are those who fear the LORD, who find great delight in his commands. Their children will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed. Wealth and riches are in their houses, and their righteousness endures forever. Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous.” (‭‭Psalm‬ ‭112:1-4‬ ‭NIV)

Thanks for coming and blessing us again. Let's continue to walk in the fear of the Lord and delight in His Word. He will surely fulfill
the promise to bless the children that He has entrusted to us.


Thursday, March 30, 2017

Chef to chef!! What a great experience to work with this guy and a great view!!

God's Country 🙏🏼

As we were walking to dinner last night at Joe & Lori Gordon's, this is the view that greeted on the way. Mussoorie is such a special place with a special group of brothers and sisters in Christ, both the Gordon's and the FIRS. I have had the privilege of meeting and spending time with them, getting to see their love for God and for the C4 family.

My heart is full

My heart is so full being back with my family here in India! I love their hugs and snuggles. They show me so much of the Father's love for me. They have a pure child-like faith that God desires for all us but we loose over the years as life seems to get complicated. It's so simple though, love God and love people as an overflow of His love in us. Let love be what guides you. -Karri

Learning to be childlike

Jesus said, "Truly I say to you, unless you turn and become more like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."  On this trip, I have been blessed and get to see what faith, love, and obedience look like through the eyes of a child. I'm learning from these children immensely and will try to put God first in everything that I do, just as they do. Thank you, Jesus! -Sean

Sean is a smash with the boys



These boys are strong!!!




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Pomaikai mai Inia, Blessings from India


The kids here are a true blessing, and where they live is nothing short of Heaven on Earth. -Max

Family




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Happy walk to breakfast




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God's Blessings

Coming to Mussoorie is a huge sacrifice. I think about the time away from my family, especially with my son graduating and preparing to leave for college in a couple of months. It's a commitment of preparing months prior as we met weekly to raise funds, prepare the team and plan for our programs. 

The travel is crazy arduous…sitting in planes for 10+ hours and pressing through time zones. From the world's perspective it does not equate. Many of the team members have made the same sacrifice. I look at Marc who has a baby on the way and Julianna who is a senior yet sacrificed so many of her senior activities to be here.

Yet God is faithful and good. He honors our obedience and is generous beyond measure. In 2 Peter 1:4, it says that through His glory and excellence, He has given us great and precious promises. These promises enable us to share in his divine nature and escape the world's corruption caused by human desires.

It is awesome that as we are obedient and share in his divine nature…God does something in our hearts that allows us to escape the corruption of this ME-centric world. This world full of anxiety, worry, compulsions and addictions.  This world full of deception and destruction.

My heart is reset every time I come...it's like a spiritual cleanse that saves my life.   Moreover, God pours His divine faith, revelation, healing, and promises into my heart.  I am reset in my identity in Him.  I compare myself less to others and become bolder in the life purpose he has given me.  I am filled with hope.

I invest in the lives of God's people here in India, but they end up giving me the gift of faith.  The gift of joy.  This eternal exchange makes me a better husband, father and shepherd leader.

I am humbled by God's abundance and grateful for the honor of sharing in His work here in India. God is almighty, faithful and true. -Creights

Those who are now blazing the trail for the younger ones to imitate...


These boys are in college studying computer science, hotel mgmt and hospital administration.  They provide so much hope to the younger boys!!!

We jumped into the movies!!!




One thing God's teaching me thus far: It's all heart

On this whole trip so far, God has been showing me just how powerful His love is.  To be completely honest, I was nervous going into this, not knowing what to expect.  I had put God in a box, thinking that because of my imperfections, His plan would somehow be thwarted or hindered.  "What good could plain old talking and playing games do?" I'd skeptically worried.  But God is so good; He's been totally demolishing this lie.  In every situation, He's proven that His love is all we need.  For instance, I didn't think I could connect with the younger boys at first, but God told me to just embrace the awkwardness and uncertainty, step out in faith, and love on them in the best way that I could.  And I didn't realize it, but in each of those instances, He was planting seeds of love.  The boys themselves model this so well.  Even in their still-developing, tentative English, their hearts touch ours in a way that brings tears to the eyes.  Even with their young voices and limited sound equipment, their songs of worship are the most beautiful expression of God's love you'll have ever heard.  It's like God's telling me, through the hearts of these children- we don't have to be perfect, because He is, and if we just obey and allow Him to work through us, His will shall be done.  All He wants a willing heart. The devotions from a few days ago talked about how love is the main ingredient in all we do; without it, all our efforts are for nothing.  It really doesn't matter what that looks like; whether it is asking a child about their dreams, touching a friend's shoulder, or even washing the dishes, if we obey out of a heart of love for God and His precious people, God Himself will bring about transformation! He's spoken to me in countless other people—from the testimonies of the leaders of the children's homes, to the faithful, trusting hearts of my team members in uncertain situations, to the little boys' skits today about ordinary people being used for extraordinary things, He's provided resounding confirmation.  I've truly been able to experience it firsthand—we only need to take the next step, and He multiplies our efforts more than we could ever imagine. I'm both grateful and excited beyond words to see what you'll do next, God.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

We've Arrived in Mussoorie!

After many days of travel and visiting old and new friends in Dehradun, we have finally arrived in Mussoorie... and our greeting was just what any prior team member would expect!  Fireworks, smiles, hugs, updates...

And, omigosh, you wouldn't believe how some of these boys have grown!  I think Karan is taller than me now, and Anil... I can't believe he's 17 now!  The team had a good rest last night, so they will begin posting some of their insights and observations on the blog today. But here are just a few to tide you over.

 We are blessed that Gopal is in town during our stay as he waits for his papers to begin his career in the Indian Navy.
Meet some of the older boys who live at House of Life: Sonu, Rohan, Fazil, Sazid, Sunny & Arif.  Most of these boys are sons of women who are forced to work in the Red Light District in Delhi.  Some of the older boys have themselves been involved in the "business" in various capacities.  Life at the Boys Home is a respite and treasure for them.

 More of the boys: Vishal, Sonu, Akash, Kishan, Arif, Rohan, Fazil, Piyush, Saharukh; (in front) Ashu, Rahul, Raja, Akash, (hey! how did Max get in there??), Anshu, and Sazid.

We were blessed to be able to bring ukuleles donated by some ukulele businesses who love music and children.  We divided up the ukuleles among the three children's homes that we are visiting.  And how blessed are we that we brought with us a fabulous ukulele/music teacher! Here is Max showing Akash how to make chords on the ukulele.

Some of the children, like Fazil here, picked up the ukulele pretty quick!

We're looking forward to sharing many more photos and impressions over the next several days.  Please keep us in your prayers.  Some of us were traveling sick but thankfully haven't gotten any worse.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Access Healthcare (Day Team).

Praise God for their heart to fund our Boys' Scholarship Fund that provides them a career beyond 12th grade. 


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Monday, March 27, 2017

Off to Delhi ✈️

After overnighting at Narita, we are back on the shuttle to catch out flight to Delhi.
Sent from Jon's iPhone

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Just gotta play in the snow!

What fun to be eating breakfast and realize that it's snowing outside!  Obviously, the guys are dressed for it!

Flight to India leaves at 11:30 Japan time.

Crazy Hawaiians :)




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Refueling in Narita

We picked up some snacks after a safe, smooth flight to Narita! Heading to Delhi tomorrow, very excited!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Aloha India

 
  
Aloha India Family! I'm super excited to see you all in a couple of months & I can't wait to meet you if I haven't met you back in 2010!  Excited to hear about your lives and learn more about what God is doing in India. Love you all!



 


 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always 
perseveres.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Chinese Girl Going to India

Aloha, I am CyNtHiA and I kNoW no English.  
I am originally from Hong Kong.  At the age of 11, my family and I moved to Baltimore, Maryland (the worst state you could be in while don't know no English).  I grew up in a Buddhist family and worshiped ancestor.  When I first moved to the state, I attended a Catholic School from 5-8 grade.  Apparently, as a non US citizen, it is cheaper to attend a private school than a public school.  In 9th grade, I went to a Lutheran High School.  The Lutherans are strong in their faith especially the teachers.  As a non Christian going to a Lutheran School, I didn't realize my life was about to change FOREVER.  With my little English, I argued with the existence of God to my teachers.  Teachers always win.  Me always loose.  In 10th Grade, with friends encouragement, I attended a weekend camp.  Yes, CAMP!  The camp was a retreat.  The retreat turns into a "Jesus" retreat.  Funny or what?  For the first time in my life, I experienced God's love and forgiveness.  I gave my life to Jesus that weekend.  On my baptism, I promised Jesus that I will do all that I can to go to the end and share His love with others especially the little ones.  To fast forward in my life, God called me to resign from my teacher position in 2008 and attended YWAM Discipleship Training School (DTS).  During DTS, I thought I was to do my outreach in India instead I went to South Africa for 3 months.  9 years later, I responded to God's calling and will go to India in March.  
My favorite bible verse...Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  Matthew 22:37

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Psalm 125 I cannot be shaken

Aloha brothers & sisters :)

My name is Channel, probably the most interesting fact about me is that I have 6 other siblings (including me is 7) and I am an identical twin (we are the youngest in the family). We are both going to India :)
It is going to be our first mission/first time in India so we are super excited. I've met most of the team, and I love you all so much already. Thank you for being so welcoming. You've all touched my heart.

The scripture that I have chosen is Psalm 125. I recently just started reading the Bible and every time I open the Bible, I've been drawn to psalm almost every time. 125 is also my birthday so those numbers are very special to me (lucky numbers) so it led me to this passage which is exactly what I've been looking for.

"Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever." -Psalm 125

Being somewhere new for the first time can be terrifying. I've been worried about the dangers that could happen. I know that India will change me, for the better. It will open my eyes to new things that I need to grow and learn. I know it's going to strengthen my faith in the Lord as well as my relationships with those in my church. This passage helps me to remember that as long as I put all my trust into the Lord, everything will be okay. I cannot be shaken.


Saturday, January 7, 2017

Having a Heart like Samuel


Aloha Friends in India,

I can't wait to meet all of you! 
My name is Carissa and I'm an island girl, born and raised on Oahu, Hawaii. I come from a family of five, with an older brother and sister--making me the baby of the family. I'm equal parts extrovert and introvert. I enjoy having lively, boisterous conversations with friends but also live for quiet nights reading alone on my couch. 

Being from a melting-pot like Hawaii has given me a love for diversity! I love exploring new places and meeting new people. One of my favorite things to do is to learn and observe social and cultural differences. It always amazes me how people are alike but wonderfully unique at the same time. I'm so excited to learn and serve the Lord with you. I can't wait to see what God has been doing in your community! 

A verse that I have planted in my heart for India is 1 Samuel 3:4,10,
"...'Here I am...speak, Your servant is listening'."
In the middle of the night, God called Samuel's name and this was his quick response. I love this verse because it demonstrates Samuel's heart and willingness to proactively serve God. When the Lord called on Samuel, he immediately woke up and submitted to the Voice in command. He wasn't fearful or hesitant--he was ready. There are so many times where I don't feel worthy of carrying out the Lord's work, but this scripture reminds me that if I have a heart like Samuel, God's instruction is not based on our ability but His! He looks at the size of your faith and the willingness of your heart. It's a clear reminder for me to be prepared for the Lord to work in any place, time, and through anyone He chooses!

He's already doing amazing things in India and I would be honored to help in any way that I can. 
See you all very soon,

Carissa

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Hello Family!!!!... I'm coming Back to India!!!

I'm very excited to see each one of you and to spend time with you learning and sharing God's word and also playing and having fun while we keep growing in our faith and relationship... Last year meeting you was by far one of my biggest highlights :)
Sending you a big hug with lots of ALOHA!...SEE YOU SOON! :)

Mathew 10: 27 " What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops"