Sunday, January 27, 2013

A vision of heaven

We had a beautiful Sunday service here in Kapilasvaraparum. When it was over, Pastor Marty Seppala shared with us one how the beginning of the service had been quite a profound experience for him. Here’s his testimony:

“When our team stood up this Sunday to sing our song and I looked out at the congregation and I think it’s one of the most beautiful sights I’ve ever seen! There were hundreds of people with their hands raised their in the church. It reminded me of my first wife, Barbara. When she knew she was dying she was on her bed and suddenly her face lit up and she started, well, dancing there in her bed. She said, ‘Look at them! There are thousands and thousands of them and they are so happy! They are all there with their hands raised! Come everybody! Come everybody!’ It was only a week later that she went home to be with Jesus. The people in the church today reminded me of her vision. It was beautiful!”

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Woman at the Well

This is my second mission trip to India. One of the most outstanding observations of my first visit was the similarity between being converted to Christianity in Hindu India and being converted to Christianity in Israel in the Book of Acts. 

Being a baptized Christian in Hindu India often carries with it the same possibilities of rejection and persecution as becoming a follower of The Way did in the book of Acts.

The Bible in many respects comes alive in a literal way that is not experienced in 21st century USA: baptism, spiritual warfare, idol worship, intercessory prayer, and childlike faith become literal realities rather than hypothetical sermon topics. 

Our experience at Sriranga Patnam Saturday night again brought to us the literal correlation between physical and spiritual. On the way to the evening service on a narrow street (paved path) in Sriranga Patnam, Pastor John Ruotsala told us he was going to speak on “the blind man and Jesus.” Pastor Ansten Tretten had told us before an earlier service that he was going to speak on “blind Bartimaeus” and had spoken from another text so we fully expected John to use his chosen text. As John was looking at the people gathered he began to feel he should speak from another text so he asked Leona Matson, “What should I speak about?” She immediately replied, “the woman at the well.”

Pastor John did speak from John 4 about the women at the well and the Living Water. The Word was opened and spoken in power and spirit. Our hosts generally provide us with bottled drinking water during the services and the timing of them bringing us water was perfect. Just as John spoke of the natural water that only quenches our thirst for a moment, our Indian hosts handled us bottled water without understanding a word of English.
When the service was over, we prayed with and for the local Hindus and those who have converted to Christianity. As we prepared to leave, we discovered that we had been sitting directly in front of the local community well! Our entire service had taken place immediately in front of that community hand pump well and not a single one of us had noticed until the worship service was complete.

We can only marvel at God’s perfect ways.

God’s Peace!
Sam Seppala

Friday, January 25, 2013

Evening services (by Tyrone)

The day is Thursday the 17th it’s 8:30 PM and Doctor Kumar is patiently waiting for his 9 American/ Canadian visitors to get ready and leave for the evening service. After a few hours of rest we are ready another round of praising our Risen Savior Jesus Christ.

Arriving at our field of worship there are bright lights burning, and people everywhere singing and clapping to the beating of the drum. Our driver brings us right next to the stage, and as we get up on the stage it gets even louder! Looking out into the crowd we can hardly see the end of the field where people are. Doctor Kumar said he expected right around 2000 people for the service and there are not many empty chairs. He said that many people in attendance would be Hindus. 

 After the opening prayer Ansten had a sermon and 10 minutes into it all the lights went out. The generator ran out of fuel. So, after a 15 minute break they got a few of the lights back on and the service resumed.

After Ansten’s service John had a powerful message pleading with non-believers to come unto Christ. And after his sermon everyone was invited to come to the stage for personal prayer from one of the team members. We formed 8 different lines and prayed for all of those who came forward. 

The service was such a blessing and we pray many non-believers were saved that evening. Matthew 11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Daniel and the Lions' Den (by Stacie)

On Friday the 18th Leona, Juliana, Jolie, Tyrone and myself spent the afternoon with the children while the others held pastors training. The chosen story for the day was Daniel in the Lion’s Den.  Leona acted as narrator, Tyrone was Daniel, Juliana was king Darius, Jolie and three beautiful girls were acting as angels and myself and three other beautiful girls acted as the princes.  The fact that we had a woman as king created a few giggles! The rest of the children played the part of the lions; they roared a mighty roar when Daniel was thrown in and also later when the princes were thrown in! They really enjoyed the story and the way their faces lit up was so sweet!  

After the story was acted out, coloring pages were handed out; they were so meticulous about their coloring! I believe I only saw only one child who was completely finished by the time we had to wrap things up. It is so sweet to hear the children’s voices, whether it is raised in song or calling out to me as “sister”! 

Then King Darius wrote unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you. I make a decree, that in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel; for he is the living God, and steadfast for ever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed and his dominion shall be even unto the end. He delivereth and rescueth and he worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in earth, who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the lions! Daniel 6:25-27

Monday, January 21, 2013

Sisters in Christ (by Jolie)

We thank God that we had the opportunity to fellowship with sisters in Christ here in India. It is sweet to hear the Christians in India call you “sister, sister.” We truly are one big family in Christ. 

On Friday, January 18th, Leona, myself, Juliana, and Stacie had the privilege to attend a bible study with the women while the men led a pastors training session. When the Indian women were able to take a break from their daily duties they joined us for about an hour and a half of praise and sharing. We heard how God has physically healed and converted an Indian woman and how she has since been serving the one true God.

We also heard from an Indian woman who now is a Hindu converted Christian, however, she asked for prayers because her family is Hindu and does not want her to be a Christian. She had to leave the study early because her family was looking for her and did not want her to be with the Christians. Still she was risking her safety to hear from God and to worship with other believers. 

Please remember to pray for your sisters in India! Pray that each one of them would, by God’s grace, come to the one true God. There are many Hindu women here who do not know Jesus as their savior. There may have been some women at the study with us that had not yet come to know Jesus as their savior.  

We also were able to share with our sisters in Christ and rejoice in the Lord together. Hebrews 10:23-25 “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering (for He is faithful that promised). And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works. Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the day approaching.”