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February 27, 2012

india, part III

Near the end of our time in India, we had the opportunity to travel to some pretty remote villages to meet the people there and tell them about this guy named Jesus. You'd be surprised how many people had never heard His name before. I know I was.

one of the many gods
Out of everything that we did in India, this terrified me to the core. Here we were, a group of Americans, heading into very traditional Hindu villages to tell them that they didn't need to worship the 3 million gods they are burning incense for in effort to seek peace and comfort, that there was only One and He was seeking them. It's sort of a foreign concept to them that there would be a God  created them, who wanted them, who loved them just because.

So we went into these villages, armed with stickers and candy, to meet and pray with people. Our large group of twenty was broken down in to small group of 4-5 and we took one translator with us. (Out of all the people I met in the villages, not one spoke any English, not even the kids who went school.) 

We would walk into the village and speak to the people that were working outside; women doing laundry or dishes outside of their homes. As custom, they would invite us to come inside their house. We would remove our shoes at the door. Most homes were a single room. Sleep mats would be rolled up in the corner and there would be a space for cooking on the other side. No electricity, no TV, no indoor plumbing.

a young woman and her daughter
One of us would usually begin by telling a little bit about ourselves and how we saw God move in our lives. My story went something like this. (Keep in mind this is being translated so I had to speak in short sentences and only use words that I knew the translator would understand, too.)

My name is Hannah and I live in the United States. I have a very large family and have many brothers and sisters. I am the oldest girl.  When I was 19, my mom had a baby and he became very sick and died when he was three years old. I became very sad and my heart was full of pain. I did not know what to do so I prayed and asked Jesus to heal me. Now I am happy and full of joy. I know I will see my little brother in heaven someday.

For real, it was something like that. After that they would usually ask questions. Then came the really scary part: They would want to be prayed for. Out loud. In front of people. And that is usually when I would forget how to speak.  I don't pray in bible language. I pray like I talk to you, like how I write.

 me looking pretty awkward and mute

So many people wanted prayer for healing, which is something that I struggle with so much, having first-hand experience that just because you pray for healing doesn't make it happen. God's not a vending machine. 

I learned quickly that God's power doesn't depend on my level of faith, or how eloquently I pray. To be 100% honest, I didn't expect anything to happen when I prayed for people. But it did. Our team saw so many miracles; I'm talking like instant healings. And sometimes we saw nothing instantaneous. I used to have a really tough time reconciling these vastly different scenarios. Why does God chose to heal one person and not another? But now? Now it doesn't matter. 

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! 
How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! 
"Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?" 
"Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?"
For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.



ETA: I originally published these posts in February. Shortly after that, we got an email saying our group was under intense watch by some people who were not so nice and Ravi's life was being threatened. (While it's not technically "illegal" to be a Christian in India, they often come under intense persecution.)  I took these posts down and made them slightly more vague. Now that some time has passed, I'm going to re-post them. Apologies if you're seeing them again in  Reader.

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