We are back home! We are in the midst of crazy jet lag fog at the moment so my brain is unable to complete the cognitive function required to give you a proper update. Plus, we have not had enough time to properly process it yet earlier. I will just say that it was perhaps our best summer yet with Royal Servants. We had a great team and great ministry partners which led to God doing some awesome things. I will send out a proper update soon, but in the meantime I thought I would post a bunch of videos and pictures. Plus, below the pictures I posted every update we sent out over the summer through the Reign website in chronological order in case you missed those. Enjoy! By the way we are attempting to take a much needed vacation next week to decompress and reconnect as a family. Do any of you have any great and CHEAP suggestions for us!? We thought we would use the power of group think!
Travel & Delhi
BY STEPHENIE CARR ON JULY 8, 2011 » ADD MORE COMMENTS.
Our team arrived in Delhi after our flight was delayed for a few hours in O’Hare. The 13 hour flight was not bad! And the new Delhi airport was beautiful to walk through. Not an accurate first impression of the city! That night we boarded our bus and thankfully our driver found a way to drop us off at the door to our hotel–instead of at the Bus Depot which is a 10 minute walk from the hotel–which means we didn’t have to wrangle up a crew of rickshaw drivers and taxis to get our bags to our hotel. Thanks to all of you who prayed for traveling mercies! We got settled into bed and started our battle with jet lag–some of us wide awake at 3 in the morning!
Our transition day in Delhi was a powerful one as our team experienced their first taste of the culture. We were privileged to have a Royal Servants alumni from 1985 who is a full time “worker” in Delhi, and has been for the past 10 years with her husband and son, come and share with our team. They are in the process of starting up a after care home for under-aged girls being rescued from sex trafficking in Delhi. She shared with us the heart breaking statistics and stories of some of these girls–most of them trafficked by coercion and deceit from poor families who think they are sending their daughters off to good jobs in the cities only to have them sold into the sex trade and into bondage. It was a heartbreaking, yet powerful experience for our team to learn about the issue that is ravaging lives. We then got on rickshaws and rode through GB street–the “red light district” of Delhi and prayed for the girls we could see peering out of the windows, the men walking the streets who may be headed up to “see” one of these girls, the people who held them in bondage and we prayed that God would raise up rescuers, fighters, advocates, and care takers for these precious lives. Who knows, perhaps some on our team would answer the call themselves!
After an afternoon of studying Mark, re-packing our bags and fighting to stay awake until 9:00pm, we finally turned into bed so we could meet our coach at 5:00 the next morning and head back to the airport to catch our flight to Imphal, Manipur. Once we landed, we walked across the tarmac and into a one roomed arrivals hall where the customs consisted of two men sitting behind a small desk. They took our passports one by one and hand wrote all of our information, which for our group of 26 took at least an hour. Then we loaded up our bus and 1 jeep and started the 3 hour ride up long, winding one lane mountain roads to Ukhrul – our home for the next 3 weeks. We’ve been here for 2 days now and are now accustomed to the time (for the most part), the squatty potties, the 9:00am lunch time, the cold bucket showers, and the lack of electricity for the majority of the day and every other night.
Yesterday was our first day of VBS with the children of the Peniel Home–a home for AIDS orphans, 20 of them to be exact. They are precious and we are loving the chance to play with them, sing songs, learn names, tell Bible stories and have little dance parties! We look forward to the next few weeks of loving on them as we live and work with them, tutor them and share the love of our wonderful savior with them. We have found the staff (the “sisters,” “brothers,” and the “parents”) of the home to be incredible servants of our God and wonderful hosts to our team
A grand welcome
BY GRACE HORST ON JULY 15, 2011 » ADD MORE COMMENTS.
We got a wonderful message from Erin Bidwell, assistant on the India team, about their first experiences as they arrived in India.
This past week has been jam packed with many events. It has been a privilege to see our team grow through serving those around them. It has been a blessing working with our ministry partners and truly humbling to see how they serve with all that they are, and don’t regret one bit of it. Their sacrifice reaps the reward of seeing lives changed. They have been such a wonderful example for all of our students.
The day after we arrived in Urkul we began our ministry. It started with a VBS for the children at the orphanage we are staying at. However, in their home they are not called orphans but brothers and sisters or sons and daughters. As soon as they enter the home they are family. Our team split into three groups that lead different ages of children (preschool-1st grade, 2nd-5th and Youth.) With the younger students our team shared bible stories, taught them songs and games, and built relationships. It was such a joy to watch how the children warmed up to our students as the days went on. They continually got louder, laughed more and had bigger smiles on their faces as the days continued.
The students that lead the older youth were able to help in discipleship training. They taught them the Transferable Truth’s, shared their testimonies, and began to build relationships. The students came faced with powerful stories of how many of their youth struggle with the same issues that youth do in the States. Some also had the joy of seeing several students commit their lives to the Lord after sharing their testimonies and discussing freedom in Christ!
The next week we went to a local school to work with even more students. The first day was a cultural experience day, where the students at the school welcomed us in traditional dress and chanting. They then proceeded to to sing, dance, put on a fashion show displaying their traditional dances, and finally act out and tell of their great history. Honestly, I have never been a part of such a welcome on a Royal Servants trip before! It was such an honor and a humbling experience.
In the days that followed our team had to pull together as we had one evening to plan a program that lived up to the welcome that we had received. Our team were such troopers as they let their creative juices flow. We sung our national anthem, put on a skit our events in our history, and shared about the U.S. Then our student split up into three groups once again to work with 90-130 students. It was a blast to watch them lead English games, share their testimonies, teach songs and preform the skills (dance, drama, and puppets ) that they had learned at training camp. I was so proud of our team!
Yesterday was a blessing as well, we were able to hike a local mountain with some of the youth that have been working with us. Talk about a mountain top experience. It was BEAUTIFUL! We could not stop talking about the greatness of God as we took in the wonders of His creation. We were also able to share in a time of prayer on the top of this mountain as we prayed for unity in their local churches and that a youth revival would begin!
Tomorrow we will be heading to a local village to visit with locals and share in three different church services. It is exciting because this village has not seen a white person since WWII. Getting there will be a challenge so we are praying that it doesn’t rain. We look forward to sharing those adventure with you next time!
Seeking Every Opportunity
BY TRAVIS CARR ON JULY 20, 2011 » ADD MORE COMMENTS.
Wow! What a trip our India team is having. Each day seems like a brand new adventure where God takes us to unexpected places and shows us unexpected things! Today we had the privilege of visiting houses in small groups where families live who have been affected by AIDS. What a heartbreaking experience. In our group (which included Kayla Pilarski, Zach Cupery, Lati Schoomer, and myself), we visited a home where a family of four live. The two parents have AIDS while their two kids do not. Their house consisted of a small room with a mud floor and very little provisions. We listened to them tell us how they originally contracted the disease through the father’s drug use back in the 90′s. We listened to the them talk about how difficult their lives have been and how much prejudice they have encountered here because of this disease. We also listened to them talk about how their faith in God has grown through their painful experiences! I was so proud of our students, as we all decided to contribute enough rupees (India’s currency) in order for them to pay rent for one month. They were so grateful and we had a wonderful time of prayer as we prayed for God’s healing and blessing to come to their wonderful family. But it was also heartbreaking to think that their incredibly cute boys would soon be orphans. Many similar experiences were shared by the other members of our team as they visited with other families across Ukhrul. Many stories of incredible times of prayer and tears shed by both Royal Servants and the families they were praying with. The Holy Spirit was active as our team shared Christ and the love of God with these hurting people.
I can’t remember a summer of so much adventure and so many stories! God has blessed us in so many ways through the people here. This is a Christian area, but that is mostly a cultural distinction. Many of them struggle mightily with drugs and alcohol. Many of them also struggle with living out the faith they profess that they are culturally attached too. We have found that much of the work the Lord has for us here is to be encouraging the church to truly follow Jesus and live a life of action. There is also a youth culture here that is being sucked into the media of the west, and are becoming asleep to the Gospel and the Kingdom of God. All of this makes our presence here very important. With every school, church, and group that we visit it has been so encouraging and amazing to witness the fearless proclamation of Jesus that have come from the young people on this team. They have courageously stepped up in front of huge crowds and shared their testimonies and messages and dramas. They have sought opportunities to speak with small groups and individuals where they have shared scripture and stories of how the Lord has shaped them. For the youth and the adults of this culture to see young Americans so passionate about walking with Christ is having a major impact here. (Dynelle gave and sang a song in a church service the other day and it was powerful!)
This area is so rich in culture and so unique. They do not see themselves as Indians as they are from a race of people that migrated from China centuries ago. They look different, they have a different dialect, and they have been attempting to break off from India and form their own country for 65 years! They are the Naga people, they are hill people. We are at 7500 feet and in every direction the vistas are hard to describe they are so beautiful. Every town and village is on a hilltop. It is lush, green, and tropical, and the weather is great. It has rained a ton, but we have hardly sweated the entire time we have been here. The downside is the rain has prevented us from doing laundry and we all smell like mildew! I could speak for hours on the history of the Naga people, as they used to be head hunters! But alas, I do not have the time.
Pray for us as we will be heading to a new village in two days to proclaim the Gospel of Christ and challenge the people there to wake from spiritual sleep and follow our Savior! Everyone is in good health and we are having a great summer. What a team we have, what a wonderful group of young people, what a joy it has been to travel and serve alongside them.
Until next time!
BY GRACE HORST ON JULY 26, 2011 » ADD THE SECOND COMMENT.
We received this journal entry from the India team today. This was written by Patrick Teesdale on July 17, 2011 but do to internet connection it was delayed on getting to us. We also have another blog written by Patrick on July 21, 2011 so be sure to check that out!
As the month has gone on, we on team India, have had a lot of time and opportunities to think about Jesus’ call to follow Him. We’ve been diving into a manuscript study of the book of Mark, and many of Travis’ talks and sermons have been on the first chapter of Mark, in which Jesus calls the first disciples. I’d like to reflect on this theme we’ve had as a team.
It’s never easy or simple to respond when the call comes. The fact of it is that we have trouble responding to His call because we are often stuck in our situations or struggles. We may have insecurities about the past, we may have a lack of confidence in what He says we can accomplish, or we may be struggling through an ego and sense of personal entitlement. One must wonder about what was going through the minds of the disciples as Jesus called them out of their boats, their professions, and their identities. They weren’t superhuman. They were average people. Evidence even suggests that they were only teenagers.
But Jesus called. And the amazing thing is that these first disciples, in spite of everything they experienced or understood, left to follow immediately. It’s a lesson in itself for the rest of us. The disciples were just people until Jesus called them to a supernatural plan. People like us.
And they could somehow let go instantly of everything when Jesus called them to something bigger. It’s clear from a moderate understanding of the passage that we in this modern day and age are perfectly capable of the same thing, all of us who claim Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.
So many of us have past issues that we try to work through on our own strength, many others just don’t feel prepared to do what Jesus commanded. And still more don’t feel worthy to take on the task, as though their sins and personal demons exclude them from God’s plan. But in delving so far into Mark, we start to understand something different.
We don’t have to have the strength to do away with our own darkness. It requires a light far greater than ours to pierce. But God provides that light as a matter of course, simply by faith in His ability to do so.
We could spend all our lives researching and preparing ourselves and never feel truly ready to go out into all the world. But Jesus didn’t call the fishermen to study and come see Him again in a decade. He called the fishermen to follow. God does not call the equipped, He equips the called.
And our sins are never a bar to His call. In the opening pages of Mark, He calls all manner of sinners and scumbags. Our value is dictated by Him, not by human standards. And God created us with value and worth.
Jesus calls us to follow, and we need do nothing more than obey.
BY GRACE HORST ON JULY 26, 2011 » ADD THE FIRST COMMENT.
We received this journal entry from the India team today. This was written by Patrick Teesdale on July 21, 2011 but do to internet connection it was delayed on getting to us. We also have another blog written by Patrick on July 17, 2011 so be sure to check that out!
The kids here are a blessing. Though orphaned or abandoned due to HIV/AIDS, there is a purity and innocence in them that remains untouched by the world they live in. In the first few days we were here, and many mornings since then, we’ve been taking the time to teach them. But I think that they have taught us just as much, though they may not realize it.
They have a song that they often sing in worship. I believe it’s called “In the Light.” It’s a very simple song, with simple lyrics about doing many things in, naturally, the light of Jesus. The wonderful thing about a simple message is that it can cover so much ground with so few words. And this song brings the message that everything we do, we can do with joy and contentment, because we do it in the light of Jesus.
Take walking, for instance. We walk everywhere here. The vast majority of it is hills. We can’t even get off the Peniel Home property without hiking up the hill they call a driveway. But there’s something beautiful about the simplicity of life here. The roads are either muddy or rocky, but you feel like you’re getting somewhere, and God has a plan there for you.
Cleaning is another one. Just today, we went off into town to pick up trash along a stretch of the main road. It was by no means a clean task. Every single piece of trash we found was buried in mud and rocks, and the plugged up storm drain soaked it all in dirty brown water. But it was an awesome experience, because we were practicing the love of Jesus not just for the town, but for the youth that we were helping in the endeavor.
And it’s not all hard work with no play. Singing is a great one. When the kids sing, they hold nothing back. They shout it out like they intend to lose their voices, and never mind little things like notes and timing. It’s one of the most blessed sounds any of us have heard, and leads many of us to stop holding ourselves back for fear. Worship is something else when you’re belting it out with no fear.
When we invite Jesus into the things we do during our day, He meets us there and blesses us with His presence. And we can do anything in the light of Jesus. Running, sleeping, eating, you name it. If it’s a verb, we can put Jesus into it.
And honestly, it’s what we should be doing. Letting Him into all aspects of our lives doesn’t just mean to open our hearts in the areas where it hurts most. It means to open our hearts in all the areas where it almost seems trivial. In the little things we do on a day to day basis.
It doesn’t matter where Jesus is in our lives, because He will bless it all.