Cross Angle Ministry Blog

Sal & Elena Massa's Blog

Pusley

Florida Pusley

Moving to southwest Florida has put my gardening skills back to the beginning on the learning curve. I knew a lot about annuals and perennials when I lived in the north, but since moving to the sub-tropics my green thumb has turned a pale shade of yellow. Recently, I caught site of a lovely lavender bloom spreading like a blanket across the backyard. It was pretty to look at, but I soon found out it was deadly to a healthy green lawn. PUSLEY! Even its name causes me to feel queasy. It is an aggressive creeper and will take over turf grass areas.

One way to rid the lawn of the pesky weed is to spray it with chemicals. Only problem with that is it kills the healthy grass also. Another way is to pluck it out one by one. That does not fix the problem because the root system spreads and invades elsewhere. I’m resigned to the reality that Pusley is a difficult and invasive foliage that I will just have to live with as long as I live in southwest Florida.

My weed dilemma reminds me of a parable of Jesus recorded in Matthew 12:24-30:  Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field.  But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away.  When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.  “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’  “ ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’  “ ‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them.  Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’ ”

We live in an age where the green grass of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is constantly under invasion by the weeds of false teachers and heretical teachings. Often these enemies go undetected because they are attractive and the “theology” is easy on the ears. Unsuspecting believers can be deceived, while unbelievers trust in a false sense of eternal security.  Jesus warned that the problem will not be solved until His return. Our only defense is to remain rooted in the Word of God. Our only offense is to lovingly uphold the truth of Scripture to those who are entangled in the weeds of the enemy.

As I look out at my weed-infested lawn, I can smile at the future. There will be no weeds in the Kingdom of God. There will be no enemy. There will be no need to spray chemicals.

Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear.  Matthew 13:43

Mother’s Day

Today is Mother’s Day. For most of us, it is a day of honor and joy. It’s a day to celebrate the women who raised us, and enjoy the privilege we have in the raising of children. But for some, it is a hard day.

Yesterday, our friends buried their son. He died a week ago unexpectedly and unpredictably. Though we live far from them, we felt their pain and misery through text messages and phone calls. And though I prayed and shed some tears, I, in no way, could imagine the depth of their loss.

Someone said that grief is the loss of love. I don’t quite agree. I think grief is the evidence of love. As our friends work through this tragic loss, I am certain they will discover new depths of love for their family, their marriage and the memories of their son. They wont just “move on” and leave him behind. He will go with them, and all the love that his life produced will remain forever.

This young man loved God and trusted Jesus as his Lord and Savior. Someday his parents will make their final journey. He’ll be waiting with open arms. They will see him face to face. All the mother’s days that have been lost will vanish forevermore.

“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain for the old order of things has passed away.” Rev. 21:4

Jet Lag

Jet lag :  extreme tiredness and other physical effects felt by a person after a long flight across several time zones.

Generally, recovering from jet lag requires one day for every time zone. After arriving home from India, which is 12 time zones away, I’m happy to announce that we have overcome the symptoms in 10 days.

We have spent most of that time re-entering American life. We’ve unpacked, restocked our grocery inventory, caught up with family, friends and neighbors. Life as usual is slowly returning to usual, at least until next year when we begin another journey back to India.

Physical jet lag demands rest and drinking plenty of water to avoid a sense of mental fogginess. Spiritual jet lag is a real and present danger when returning from a long ministry trip. It is difficult to refocus on the present after what we’ve experienced 12 time zones away. We require spiritual rest and plenty of hydration from the water of life found in a relationship with Jesus. I’m glad there are no time zones with God except for the one made when we enter a relationship with Him through His son. In the blink of an eye, we are transported from a time zone of darkness into His time zone of light.

For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son.
Colossians 1:13

Sal and I would like to thank each one of you who followed us by way of this blog during the last three months. We are still processing the amazing things God allowed us to experience. The following video is just a small sample of what our time was like. It is the three months packaged into 6 minutes, so please take a look at it when you can.

Priceless Birthday Gifts

This week we celebrated Sal’s birthday. There was the usual favorite meal, cake, candles, and a small gift. But the unique and special blessings of God that came this year, we will never forget. God’s gifts are priceless.

A week ago while eating lunch, Sal realized that his wedding band was not on his finger. A thorough search of everywhere he’d been in the last 24 hours began. Literally,  we turned our room upside down. He had thrown grapes into the woods, and so a team of people were scouring the ground in the forest looking for anything shiny that could be his ring. We searched the cars. Everyone was on the lookout!

Last time we saw the ring before it went missing.

After three days of searching, we went to the village police department to file a report. The police were not completely cooperative. They wanted us to produce a bill of sale. I’m pretty sure we don’t have one, since the ring has been on Sal’s finger for 50 years. Next they wanted to come to QCI to interview everyone and make sure a robbery had not occurred. We tried to explain we only wanted to report the ring missing and receive an authorization from them, so we could submit it to our insurance company. Finally,  we were sent to the chief inspector who took pity on us and consented to give us the report. That was Monday. We resigned to the reality that the ring was probably lost forever. We both prayed to let it go and thank the Lord for His goodness to us.

On Wednesday, Sal’s  birthday, I spoke with the young widows, and during the session my husband wandered into the hall. He started waving his hand at me, and I saw the ring on his finger. I nearly flipped out in front of all the ladies. The ring was lost but now was found. On Monday, one of the pastors had spotted the ring on the road in Masinagudi (a large and busy village). He picked it up and put it in his shirt pocket. He forgot about it until Wednesday. That’s when he took a closer look at it, and he knew it was not Indian gold. He wondered if a foreigner had lost the ring. He brought it to Quiet Corner, knocked on our door and asked Sal if it was his. It was!

The incident became an immediate message illustration for me. The Topic was God’s Love. I told the ladies God’s love for us is so great he can return a tiny gold ring that we would never have found on our own. Eight women stood during the invitation to receive more of God’s love in their lives. My sweet friend, Kalpanna, stood and accepted God’s ultimate gift of love, his son Jesus Christ. This was a great joy for me. I have been praying for her salvation for two long years. She has been widowed twice and has three children. Now she is happy because she knows that God loves her and he will take care of her.

So that was Sal’s birthday, celebrated with two priceless gifts that money could not buy.

“The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

Stay Flexible!

Stay flexible! Those are familiar words I have repeated over and over again as mission teams have come and gone these last 11 years. Those words are meant as much for me as they are for others. Once again they have proven that flexibility is very very much a part of the Indian experience. Let me explain.

Today our two team members, Vikki and Harold, left us because of an ongoing health issue with Vikki’s eye. The Meyers have been real troopers throughout the last three months. They have been our traveling companions, our behind the scene organizers, our prayer warriors and our friends. They have faced many personal challenges and yet continued to carry-on with us. In late January Vicky’s eye condition worsened and she had to be seen at a special clinic in Bangalore which took her away from us for 4 days. Now that condition has returned. With only two weeks left before our scheduled departure to the US, we all agreed it best they return early so she can be treated by her own doctor.

Elena, Sal, Vikki, Harold

Sal and I will carry on without these two faithful servants, but their fellowship and companionship will be missed. Once again reminding me to stay flexible.

Last Saturday we conducted an End Times conference in Ooty . It was a wonderful day with over 120 delegates. Again the opportunity to stay flexible was given to me the night before the conference when I broke a tooth. By the grace of God, there was no pain. By the grace of God, I was able to see the dentist during the conference hours. By the grace of God, I’m in the process of having the tooth repaired and a crown. Once again, stay flexible!

Pastor Jacob is one of our favorite interpreters.
End Times Conference, Ooty

To me, flexibility means being willing to change direction in order to cooperate with the plans of another. That is an essential character for Christians. Isaiah 55:8-9 tells us, For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth,  so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Being flexible means bending under pressure while ever mindful that our Sovereign God is in control. We can go with the flow and trust God with the outcome.

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. James 1:12

Ooty Women’s Conference

Summer is in full swing here in South India. The average temperature is in the mid 90’s. So yesterday was a blessing of relief from the heat as we climbed the mountain to the top (36 hairpin turns) to attend a women’s conference. At 7200 feet, the temperature in Ooty was quite refreshing as it never got above 75 degrees.

The conference day was a wonderful event. The hall was donated by the owner of the Zion International Hotel. He is a wonderful Christian man. Sadly, he has received much trouble from the local authorities because he hosts Christian events. Being bold and courageous for Christ in India includes suffering and persecution. This man is truly under that cloud right now. Next Saturday he will host the End Times Conference at the same facility. Please pray that the authorities are blinded from the activities that are going on at the hotel. Pray for protection for this man, his family and his business.

The owner of Zion Hotel is on the right.
Next to me is JC, the district coordinator for a global prayer ministry.

Approximately 110 people attended the women’s event. Most were women but there were children and men attending also. The topic was about family relationships and building a Christ centered home. At the conclusion of the conference, many women came forward for prayer explaining that their husbands were with other women, and they were left to raise the family on their own. They were encouraged to pray for their husbands to return to them and be fully changed by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Precious Women of God!
My interpreter, Pastor Jacob, is fun to work with. He’s lively and animated!
The team received a warm welcome. We had a great time.

Today, Sal gave the Sunday message at the local Assembly of God Church. The worship was beautiful and the message was on loving one another. The pastor was very happy about the message and many people said they were blessed by it. Tonight the pastor and his family were our guests for dinner. Their church is currently conducting 40 days of prayer and fasting for their country and the upcoming elections. Prayer meetings happen every day at daybreak, mid-morning and evening, and they fast each day until sundown. To say we are humbled by their commitment to prayer is an understatement.

Enjoyed fellowship with Pastor Raj Kumar and family.

Tomorrow we will travel to Mysore to pay our respects to our friends, Francis Neurmonic and his wife. Their 34 year old daughter- in- law tragically died yesterday. She had a breathing problem but something went wrong and she was taken to the hospital. She died shortly after arriving. This is a shock and a tragic experience for the family. She leaves her husband and two small children.

Indian culture, language, and skin color is different from those in America. But trouble,  sorrow and trials are the same. Whether it is husbands who leave their wives for other women or the tragic loss of a young wife and mother, we are very much the same. We need the Lord. He is the only way to get through the trials of life.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.  Psalm 34:18

The weeks seem to be flying by, but we have a number of events to go before we turn our hearts towards home.

Please pray for us this coming week.

  • Sal and Harold will travel 2 hours to conduct a Leadership Seminar for pastors on Wednesday.
  • Saturday we will be in Ooty for an End Times Conference.
  • Sunday Sal will preach at a nearby church.

Spiritual Warfare

When one thing goes wrong in the midst of your plans, you can consider it a problem. But when a series of things go wrong one after the other, you must consider that something else is going on. Spiritual warfare! Demonic activity has welcomed us to Mumbai.

Even before we boarded the plane problems were developing. First Viju had a problem verifying his boarding pass because we paid for it with our charge card. I quickly had to send the airline a copy of our charge card and Sal’s passport with an attached letter verifying that we indeed paid for his ticket. Thank God he did not miss his plane.

Next, we were waiting to board our plane, but our gate was changed and it was not announced. We did not realize this until we were ready to present our boarding passes. All four of us flew through the airport to the correct boarding gate and narrowly made it.         

Within hours after arriving in Mumbai, Vikki began to develop a cough. By the next morning she was suffering from full-blown bronchitis. Harold also became sick and also came down with bronchitis. Ammu, Viju’s wife, developed a skin rash. And I came down with what is commonly known as traveler’s diarrhea. Last evening we called for the house Doctor who treated Vikki and Harold with antibiotics and also gave me meds to quiet my stomach.

The only two left in good shape were Sal and Viju. Today is day two of the conference which is going quite well even though half the team has not been able to attend. We don’t always understand the reasons why these problems exist. We know that in spite of it, God has been greatly blessing the conference. Many of the delegates say they have never heard teaching on the end times before, and were very happy to understand the true meanings found in the books of Daniel and Revelation.

Now how do all these obstacles lead to spiritual warfare? This week is the start of the festivals in India. Yesterday was a national holiday as all Hindus celebrate and worship the high god, Siva. The Hindus believe that they must not sleep for 24 hours during this festival in homage to Siva. So throughout the country there was street dancing, loud music, and singing at all hours of the day and night. We could hear it clearly from our hotel rooms. But we know that this god that they worship could not hear them.  

“Of what value is an idol carved by a craftsman? Or an image that teaches lies? For the one who makes it trusts in his own creation; he makes idols that cannot speak. Woe to him who says to wood, ‘Come to life!’ Or to lifeless stone, ‘Wake up!’ Can it give guidance? It is covered with gold and silver; there is no breath in it.”  Habakkuk 2:18-19 NIV

Meet Siva. Notice the pitch fork and the snake.

My opinion is that demonic activity increases during these festivals. The devil and his armies knew we were here to open the hearts and minds of people who are seeking truth. The warfare began the moment we stepped into Mumbai, but God has kept Sal and Viju protected and strong and victorious in preaching the Word of God – The only Truth that belongs to the One and only True God.     

Please pray for us as we travel back to QCI tomorrow. Pray that the Meyer’s will regain their strength quickly. Our next scheduled event is a Women’s Conference on March 9 in Ooty.    

Ashirwad

On Monday, we flew to Hyderabad for a two day End Times and Tabernacle Conference. We were picked up at the airport by our host, Dr. Ratnam, and traveled about an hour by car to the outer limits of the city. We are at a conference center known as Ashirwad (means Blessing in Hindi) Global Learning Center. It is an impressive and sprawling compound nestled in the countryside. The auditorium is a large building that can hold about 400. Our accommodations are equal to a 5- star hotel. Ashirwad is a Christian training center that was built by an American and is used by organizations from all over the world, bringing sound biblical teaching to this nation. It is also heavily involved in bringing literacy programs to villages throughout India and planting churches.

Ashirwad Global Training Center
The biggest banner we have ever seen!
Main Conference Hall

We are always humbled by the delegates who travel days by train and bus to attend the conferences. About 200 were in attendance. More than half of the attendees were pastors. Also attending were many young families with small children, the youngest being about 2 months old. Also there was a young dentist and a physical therapist. Both are bold in faith. The dentist gave me his business card which had a by-line that said, “Repentance, Forgiveness Increases Healing”.

Even more impressive are the little children who sit quietly during the sessions. There is no such thing as nursery available at conferences or church in India! Vikki and I found some of the children in the courtyard and taught them songs. Vikki also shared the gospel with them using a color bracelet.

No nursery for these guys!
These kids enjoyed hanging out with Vikki and me.

Today was the final sessions of the conference. Early this morning, the entire group took a field trip to a life size replica of the Tabernacle in the wilderness. Sal explained each piece of the Tabernacle as we moved through the exhibit. This was a great visual and greatly prepared everyone for the topic of Christ in the Tabernacle. Getting around in India is not always easy. In order to get the entire group to the exhibit at a reasonable price, we hired 3 lary trucks. This is definitely not for the weak of heart!

It took three Larys to transport the delegates,
Delegates enjoy the explanation Sal gave for each part of the Tabernacle
Holy of Holies Exhibit

These days have been so special. Most of the delegates have left. We are all pretty tired but it is a good tired. Tomorrow we will spend the day sightseeing and exploring Hyderabad. Friday we fly to Mumbai for a two day conference next week.

Pray God continues to grant us strength and good health. He has been so good!

Pray the pastors attending would be filled with all wisdom, knowledge and understanding.

Servant Leadership Bible School

Friday we completed a five-day intensive Servant Leadership Bible School. We had a class of about 35 people ranging in all ages. Some pastors, some church planters, some evangelists, some teachers and even a medical student.

The days started at 9:30 AM  with worship followed by three sessions of topics before lunch and another three sessions after lunch ending the day about 5:30 PM. Topics included the Pentateuch, How to Study the Bible, How to Develop a Sermon Outline, Pastoral Leadership, and a Study of the Book of Habakkuk.

I kicked off each day with a study from Habakkuk
This man stood for 6.5 hours per day for five days!

Each night we enjoyed special activities such as karaoke, bonfire, and relay races. After a long day of intensive class time, the evenings were spent on unwinding and having fun together as a group.

Barb enjoys the Bonfire. It only takes a spark to get the fire going!

About 2/3 of the class was made up of young men and women under the age of 30. It is very exciting to see the passion they have to serve the Lord in ministry. One young man is currently applying to Moody Bible Institute. Another young couple came with their one-year-old son. They currently are launching a church planting ministry in central India. It is a pleasure and joy to work with young people like them who are so hungry for God to work in their nation. These beautiful men and women represent the next generation of Christian leadership in India.

Saturday we traveled by rail road to Bangalore. We went shopping on Commercial Street and joined Thomas and Marykutty at their home for dinner. Barb and Tomas departed after dinner for the airport to make the journey back to the states. The Garcia’s have been a tremendous blessing as they assisted with worship and photography.
During their month with us, Tomas took over 1,600 pictures.

Barb and Tomas Garcia

  We will go on to Hyderabad on Monday along with our sidekicks, Harold and Vikki, for our next End Times conference. From there we will travel to Mumbai for another before returning to QCI on March 7.

Please keep us in your prayers as we travel. Pray we are all protected from illness. Pray for our strength and safety as we go.

Indian Hospitality

Last Saturday was an amazing day. We traveled up to Ooty and met with a tribal group of people in a quaint little chapel. It was full to capacity with nearly 80 people. Sadly, we had to leave Harold and Vikki at Quiet Corner because she was battling an upper respiratory infection. I’m happy to report, after going to the doctor, she is much better now.

Conference was held in this tiny chapel.
Bakara People filled this tiny chapel.

The conference topic was End Times. The people had never heard any teaching on the end times before. They were so happy to receive it. We enjoyed a great day of fellowship with them. They are known as the Bakara tribe. They are all from Hindu background and suffer much persecution for converting to Christianity. They served us an amazing lunch which was more like a feast. Three pastors served as our waiters making sure our plates were filled and seeing to every detail. They topped it off with a special Indian dessert and ice cream.

There was a wedding hall on the same grounds as the little chapel. An Indian wedding reception was in progress and I was told they were Christians. The typical Indian wedding reception hosts over 1000 people. Tomas, Barb and I crashed the wedding hoping to get a look at the happy couple. As we made our way through the crowd, I bumped right into my friend Jayce. He immediately escorted us to the front of the reception line where we greeted the bride and groom and took pictures with them. Then we were taken to the dessert buffet where we enjoyed fresh fruit, dried dates and something that looked like ice cream but tasted like marshmallows. We were treated like honored guests rather than wedding crashers! Barb was overjoyed that instead of being kicked out for crashing the wedding, we were invited to stay and enjoy the celebration.

Wedding crashers posing with the happy couple.

I think the Indian people are the most hospitable I’ve ever met. Whether here at QCI or walking through the village or crashing a wedding, the gracious kindness of these people is always extended. We are humbled by their loving attitude.     

 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.  Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 1 Peter 4:8-9

A Great Week of Ministry

Team Jesus 2019

The week has truly flown by and early this morning we said good-bye to the USA Team. It is always a bit sad to see them leave. The two weeks serving together creates a strong bond of fellowship. The time spent in ministry with them was over the top amazing. One of the team members asked me which mission trip of the ten we have hosted so far was the best. My answer was that each year I wonder how we could ever top what the team shared. And every year it seems to get better and better. My opinion is the best is yet to be!

There are so many powerful moments that occurred during the two week mission trip. I have been personally blessed to see children in the villages wearing the cross necklaces that they made at one of the four Kids Clubs. At least 300 tiny crosses are being displayed around the necks of these precious children. The meaning of the cross was explained to them in a simple way. May the Lord use the necklaces to lead the children and their families to faith in the One True God.

Kids a happy to wear their Cross Necklaces

Tuesday was a special day as we toured the mountain top city of Ooty. The team enjoyed some shopping, lunch, auto rickshaw ride and stopping at a tea and spice shop. A real treat was spotting an elephant on the ride home that was fond of having his picture taken.

Photo Shoot with a wild elephant

A visit to the Elderly Feeding Program was a special time. Twelve women and four men are currently in the program. They are provided a healthy portion of food which covers both lunch and dinner six days a week. Two of the team members, Tim and Dave, gave their testimonies. We brought new sweaters and hats for them.

Elderly ladies model their new sweaters and hats
Elderly men show off their new hats and Beanie Babies!

Thursday, the last full day for the team, was spent at a Women’s Conference at a nearby church. Women came from at least four nearby villages. There were about 120 in attendance. I spoke at two sessions. The topics where Building a Christ-Centered Family and Becoming a Woman of Worth. Two of the team members, Amy and Barb, gave their testimonies. Many were touched by their stories. At the end of the closing session, seven women prayed to accept the Lord.

Women’s Conference was well attended
Ladies happily receive instruction from God’s Word
Awesome Worship and Praise
The USA Team serves lunch

Today is a quiet day for us and the rest of the CAM Team, Harold, Vikki, Tomas and Barb. Tomorrow we will travel to Ooty for a one day End Times Conference. Monday begins the 5-day Servant Leadership Bible School. We are told close to 50 students are registered.

Prayer Needs: Please keep us all in your prayers to stay healthy. The next six weeks is heavy loaded with conferences and invitations to speak.

A Great Week of Activities

Sunday, Feb.10: I am writing this while sitting in a small church filled with 75 young children from the community. The mission team from Lake Country Bible Church is conducting their fourth kids club in three days. This year’s kids club has been a tremendous success. The attendance has doubled to nearly 300. But the joy level is over the top.

Kids happily arrive at Kid’s Club

The theme for this year was Creation. The team performed a skit explaining the 6 days of creation and how sin entered the world. Then the wordless book was used to explain how God solved the sin problem for us.
The kids had a great time singing, doing a craft and ending the night with a bag of popcorn, cool aide, a new pencil, a glow bracelet and some candy. But best of all, they heard the life giving story of the Gospel.

Earlier in the week we had the awesome opportunity to visit the Mavanhalla Government School. The team sang songs, shared about life in the USA, and played games with them. We invited them all to come to the Saturday night Kid’s Club at Quiet Corner. Ninety five children attended that night. Many of them were from the school. These kids are tribal children and mostly Hindu.

Government School Boys
Government School Students, Staff and Team.

I don’t think any of us will forget our visit to Patti Patti, a small rural village. It is difficult to describe the level of poverty that exists there. We had to walk into the jungle about 1/4 mile just to reach this remote village. We handed out bread buns which put smiles on many faces.

Bread Buns and Candy. YUM!

Monday, Feb. 11: We have less than a week left with this great team before they leave to return to the USA. Today the ladies took a tour to visit some of the widows who have had or are having repairs done to their houses. It was very special to visit them and pray for them.

The men stayed at the camp to get the hall ready for the Servant Leadership Bible School which starts next week. Later in the day, we visited another children’s feeding program. Our week will include a visit to the elderly feeding program and an all-day woman’s conference on Thursday. Tomorrow the team will enjoy a well-deserved day of rest to tour, eat and shop in Ooty.

The men cleaned desks, hall and grounds for next week’s Bible School

Stay Flexible-This is India

Our sixth week in India has proved to be an interesting week and it is only day four. On Sunday we decided to stay back and have our own small group church. Three of the staff joined us for a wonderful time of fellowship and singing. It was a joy to see these three young men interested in the things of God.

Guna, Gourab, and Rintu join us for church.

A favorite “proverb” of mine is Stay Flexible -This is India! That proved to be true on Sunday afternoon when our dear sister Vikki shared with us that her eye condition had suddenly returned and there was bleeding behind her retina. Unless treated quickly, this condition could result in blindness. Harold was fully ready to pack their bags and leave immediately for the United States. We gathered in prayer and ask God for his wisdom and his guidance. His ways are not our ways. We called Paul and Jaya Samuel in Bangalore and spoke with them about the situation. Immediately they began the process of finding the proper eye specialists who could administer the procedure Vikki needed to stop the bleeding. By 3 PM Vikki and Harold were in a car and off to Bangalore. On Monday she was seen by a specialist, and Tuesday she received the medical treatment she needed. They returned to Quiet Corner today. His ways truly are not our ways.

On Monday morning the USA team arrived safely though quite weary from the long trip. We have a full calendar of activities planned. I think they will leave equally weary but certain each of them will leave a piece of their hearts behind.

USA Team Bev, Kevin, Faith, Dave,Cat, Jack, Tim, Amy, Emily and Lilly

Tuesday was spent in a morning meeting and visiting a feeding program in the afternoon. The children were excited to see the team. Many of the kids greeted veteran team member, Miss Cat, by name. Dave, a first timer, was visibly moved by the children.

feeding Program kids do love selfies!

Today (Wednesday) we conducted the monthly Young Widows Gathering. It is always a special day, but this day was extra special. Each lady was given a surprise gift. My 93 year old mom donated money used to buy sweaters for each of them. The women of Lake Country Bible Church knitted hats for them. They all looked so cute in their colorful new clothes.

Ladies model their new sweaters and hats
Sharing a message on Hope

All in all, things are going well. The next few days will be very busy as we will conduct four kids clubs at four different churches.

Prayer: Please pray for Thomas Samuel who fell and hurt his knee. We are thankful he did not break a bone. At 88 years of age, he has become quite unsteady and frail.

Pray that Vikki’s eye will not cause her any further problems.

The Jesus Conference

It’s hard to believe its Thursday evening. This week has literally flown by. We conducted the annual Jesus Conference at Quiet Corner from Monday through Wednesday. The three topics that were offered were The Tabernacle, The End Times and all new material on The Book of Daniel. About 70 delegates attended representing five states across India.

This was by far one of the best conference experiences we ever had. The people were so excited to receive solid and sound biblical teachings. No one seemed to mind attending four 90 minute sessions a day. Tuesday evening they all gathered around the campfire for a joyful time of singing praise songs and regional dancing.

Four of the greatest blessings to Sal and me has been Harold, Vikki, Tomas and Barb. Harold and Vikki handled all registration and behind the scene logistics, while Tomas and Barb led worship. Tomas enjoys photography and was able to cover the conference through pictures and videos.

Tomas and Barb lead worship

Today was a well deserved day of rest. Sal especially earned it. If I could select one phrase to describe him it would have to be Divine Stamina. It is only by God’s grace that he can teach from morning until late afternoon, meet with individuals privately in the evening and then go elephant chasing before bed.

“Your shoes shall be iron and brass; and as your days — so shall your strength be!” Deuteronomy 33:25

Tomorrow we shall be shopping and preparing for the USA Team that will arrive on Monday.

A big praise is that our eleventh grandchild, Hayes Alexander, arrived on Sunday. Mom and baby are healthy and doing great.

Please pray for Tomas who is ill with a stomach virus.

Pray for the team as they travel. They will be pulling in on Monday (India Time), February 4.

A Day With the Young Widows

This blog was previously posted. This is updated with the pictures included.

Today was the monthly Young Widows Gathering at QCI. It’s always a joy to meet with these beautiful ladies, but today was exceptional. When we first met the widows about 7 years ago, there were hardly any Christians among them. Today more than half have come to put their trust in the God of the Bible.

Since the last time we saw them (March 2018), there has been an obvious spiritual growth spurt. One by one the ladies stood to recite scripture from memory. It was a joy to listen to them and see the looks on their faces as they spoke God’s word. They were intent and seriously listening as I spoke to them about  five ways to grow their faith. At the conclusion, they all stood to pray and ask God’s help to grow their faith each day. Two of the ladies came forward and Pastor Benjamin led them to the Lord.

Venni – a new believer
Saroja – a new believer

After the program ended, the widows were given lunch. It was time for them to go home, but God was about to put an application to the message they heard on growing their faith. One of the widows, Dodda Madhavi, did not come to the gathering. We found out that her brother was sleeping when a bear attacked him. The bear took a large bite out of his calf. It was quite serious, and he was taken to a hospital for surgery where they would graft skin onto his injured leg. The family has no money to pay for the surgical costs. A collection was taken and these poor widows gave whatever they could to help a family in need. One of the widows told me it was because of the message on faith that she gave what she did. She wants to grow in faith and she knows she must obey what God tells her to do.

I think the person whose faith grew the most today was my own. Often, when I teach, I doubt that my words will make any impact at all. But then I am reminded that they are not my words. All I need to do is open my mouth and God will fill it with his words. He knows the right message that needs to be given to the right audience at the right time.

“Now then go, and I, even I, will be with your mouth, and teach you what you are to say.” Exodus 4:12

Sister Vikki knows how to make them smile.
Pure and genuine religion – James1:27

A Week in Review

Three weeks have come and gone since we landed here in India. The time so far has been full. As I look back over the photos we took this week, I am stunned at just how much of India we have experienced in just the last seven days. Here is just a flyover of what this week has been like.

  • Sunday, January 20, Sal preached at Bethel Bible Church in Masanagudi. It was a beautiful service and a precious time as we reunited with old friends. That evening we welcomed our new friend, Pastor Ratan, from Andhra Pradesh. We were humbled that he would travel many miles by bus to meet us. We had a wonderful time and spoke of future plans to conduct a conference in his state.
Visit to Masanagudi church
  • Monday Ratan joined us for a trip to Ooty. While Sal and I went for our dental appointments, Ratan took a quick tour of the city. After lunch he departed for his long trip back to his home. The rest of the day was spent studying and preparing for the week ahead.
Pastor Ratan Konala
  • Tuesday was the monthly Young Widows Gathering which I wrote about in the last blog. Our next meeting is February 6. The USA Team will be here for that.
  • Wednesday was an unexpected pleasure. Our friend, Eiswar, took us and Harold and Vikki to see the villages he manages for a humanitarian organization. He drove us deep into the jungle where we visited small villages that are very poor. Through his organization they have been able to provide wells for water. We watched as the women of the village would gather at the watering hole to fill their pots and clean their dishes. They were grateful that they no longer needed to walk to a nearby pond and haul water back to the village.  We also visited the government schools that are provided with assistance by this organization. Two school buses were donated which allows the schools to pick up children in the faraway villages so that they can get an education. Our last stop was at a cottage industry where very poor village ladies make crafts that are sold In fair trade shops for a small income.  
Women at the Well!
  • Thursday was a happy day as we welcomed our friends from Wisconsin, Barb and Tomas. It was great to have them join our team for one month. They are talented musicians and will assist with worship at the conference next week and the Bible school in February. Also on Thursday, many of our old friends began checking in at Quiet Corner to attend the Standing In the Gap Prayer Summit followed by the Jesus Conference.
Tomas, Barb, Elena, Sal, Vikki, Harold
  • Friday morning Sal kicked off the Prayer Summit with a message about how to pray and overcome fear. We attended some of the teaching and prayer sessions. The summit is specific to intercessory prayer and praying for the nation of India. Much of this country is plagued by superstition, idolatry, illiteracy and poverty. It is humbling to hear the prayers of these faithful warriors as they cry out to God on behalf of the nation.
  • Saturday was a national holiday, Republic Day. At 8:00 AM we gathered around the flagpole as the people sang their national anthem, read scripture and prayed once again for India. Again we were humbled at how they love their country and honor their flag
Scripture was read while the flag was raised on Republic Day
  • We spent most of Saturday studying and waiting. We had been informed that the bus we raised money to buy was on the way and would be delivered by noon. But we waited all day and no bus came until 7:00 PM. The excitement in the camp was over the top as everyone came to see the brand new 20 passenger bus pull through the entry gate. The bus was a needed vehicle. It will be used to pick up visitors and guests who travel here to attend conferences, to bring the widows to the camp for special events, V BS and church functions, etc. Everyone boarded the bus and we prayed and dedicated it to be used to the glory of God. We christened her, Blessing. We are very grateful to those who donated the funds needed to buy this beautiful bus.
The Blessing Bus
  • Late Saturday evening we got a visit from Richard and Cristabella from Mumbai. They are old friends who serve in ministry in the north of India. We had not seen them for three years because Richard has been travelling throughout Uttar Pradesh preaching in many churches.
  • Today (Sunday) Sal preached at Bethel Bible Church in Moyer. The Jesus Conference begins tomorrow morning and runs through Wednesday afternoon. Please pray for all to go well in the coming days. Pray for good health and strength for the team as they serve at the conference. Pray for the delegates to have a blessed time. On a personal note, please pray for my daughter who is scheduled to be induced Monday. Our eleventh grandchild is on the way! I’ll post an update in a few days.

That was a short description of our week. There is so much more that took place but often is too difficult to describe. As Vikki and I stood on a remote road overlooking a small village, I remarked to her, “How do we explain this to people back home?” I am reminded of the words of Thomas Samuel:

You cannot explain India. You can only experience India.

God’s Own Country

Jack Fruit seem to drip from the trees.

Karela, India is fittingly known as God’s Own Country. Its coastline is a series of inlets and rivers that form an area known as the backwaters. The vegetation is green and lush. Fruit trees are heavy with tropical fruits such as papaya and Jack fruit. Small villages line the river banks. San Pan Boats are docked along the shores. You can rent one and take a leisurely ride through the backwaters and out into the Arabian Sea.

 

Kerala is God’s Own Country because it has been blessed by God. It was here that Thomas, the apostle, traveled after the diaspora in Jerusalem. He established the first Christian Church in India. Christian roots were planted nearly 2,000 years ago and has flourished throughout the state.

I wish Thomas could see the impact his ministry has had in this area of India. There are signs of Christianity everywhere. Many churches, many denominations are sprinkled throughout the region wherever you go. Other noticeable differences from the rest of India is that there are no cattle roaming the streets, no monkeys scaling the rooftops. The infrastructure is in good shape. Roads are reasonably smooth and paved and very little litter is to be found in the villages along the road sides. Every child attends school here and there is a 100% literacy rate.

Thomas, the one who once doubted, has done well in fulfilling the command that was given to him. I believe that when Thomas heard these words his entire worldview changed as so should ours:  And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matt. 28:18-20

Kerala truly is God’s Own Country because The Word of God is boldly proclaimed, and Jesus is worshiped as Lord and Savior.

Jesus changes everything!

 

CAM Update: Thank you for your prayers! We had a wonderful time of worship, teaching, and fellowship the last three days at the Quiet Corner prayer hall in Kodukulonji, Kerala. The weather was perfect and we all stayed healthy. And now it’s back to Quiet Corner for a day or two of rest and preparation for the upcoming Jesus Conference at Quiet Corner, India.

Please pray that we can use the coming days wisely as we prepare and plan for conferences to be scheduled for March.

Pray for Tomas and Barb Garcia who will arrive here next Thursday to assist us with the conference and other events through February.

Pray that we all continue to stay healthy. I have a cough currently that seems to be allergy related.

 

Diversions Ahead!

Our driver, Suresh

Today we are traveling to Kerala for the first End Times and Women’s conferences. We have already been on the road five hours and we have about another seven to go. We have scaled the heights of mountains and the plains of western Tamil Nadu. We have experienced the frost covered mountain top of Ooty followed by the arid flatland all in the last few hours. Road conditions vary from acceptable to challenging. Road rules are not enforced and I’m not sure if they even exist. Driving here is a challenge even for the best of drivers. Our driver’s name is Suresh. He is quite good, alert, and careful. An answer to prayer!

Billboards and road signs keep me entertained as we barrel down the highway. My favorite is the small sign that says Diversion Ahead.  It reminds me that though we are commanded to walk by faith and not by sight, we are not to walk blindly. God’s word, the Bible, is our highway to heaven. And its pages contain all the road signs to keep us going and not get lost. There are many warnings of the diversions that can sidetrack us and have us going in the wrong direction. Those diversions are riddled with sin and can lead us to a dead end.  Proverbs 14:12 says, There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.” By obeying the road signs God has given to us through His word, we will avoid those diversions and make it to Heaven safely, our final and eternal destination.

Conducting conferences is always an adventure. We never know quite what to expect.  Will the meeting hall be adequate? Will the hotel accommodations be to our liking? Will we adapt quickly to the weather changes which vary in extremes from one place to another? In all these things we trust God who knows even better and has gone before us. One thing we are sure of is that for the next three days we will meet with God’s precious people who are hungry to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. It is a joy and a privilege to meet them, to teach them and to grow along with them.

TSA Pre-Check

It happened again this week as we began our trip to India. We checked in at our local airport and our tickets were stamped TSA Pre-Check. It seems like for the last five years with every trip we’ve taken our boarding passes have been TSA Pre-Check. We never applied for that privilege. We didn’t do anything to earn it or deserve it nor did we pay for it. We really enjoy the benefits though. The security line for Pre-check is narrow. Very few people enter through that gate. You don’t need to take off your shoes or jacket. You don’t need to take your laptop out of its case.

What a contrast to the numerous lines of travelers waiting to pass the regular security check point. The stress is so thick you could cut it with a knife. Some people are anxious because they are very close to the time that their planes are leaving. Others are frantically removing items from their pockets and belts from around their waists. All electronic devices must be removed from carry cases. Everyone is required to take off shoes and jackets before walking through the X-ray detectors.

TSA Pre-Check reminds me of the words of Jesus from his Sermon on the Mount. “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.” Matthew 7:13. The difference is at the airport you will eventually get through security and catch your plane no matter which line you stand on, while the security lines that lead to eternity offer only two choices. The narrow gate is God’s very own pre-check. You don’t earn it, you don’t deserve it, and you don’t pay for it. It’s all been taken care of through Jesus and the sacrifice he made by dying to pay for our sins. All we do is accept it.

The street where we live!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

India Update: we arrived safely and have had a peaceful few days to sleep and adjust to the time change. Harold and Vikki are such a blessing to us. He’s a trooper at only seven weeks out from surgery. Today, after breakfast, we will begin laying out the details needed for the coming weeks. On Monday Sal will officiate at the 60th anniversary celebration for Thomas and Marykuddy Samuel. Wednesday we leave for a three day conference in Kerala. Please pray for all of us to stay healthy and strong. Pray also for the Lord to be glorified in all that takes place.

It’s A Wonderful Life

I smile as I bring to mind the mental snap shots of Christmas past. Midnight church service was a priority when I was a child. Jesus was born and attending church at midnight was the official start of a perfectly wonderful day. My earliest recollection is waking up on Christmas morning on Wilson Avenue in Brooklyn, New York. There they were! The very things I’d hoped for – Mr. Potato Head, Play Dough and a small handheld shooting gallery. There was no assembly required and no batteries needed in those days. Mom and Grandma were up for hours already preparing the feast for what seemed an unending supply of aunts, uncles and cousins. Everything was made from scratch. And if you forgot something, it was simply omitted because every store was closed. Continue reading “It’s A Wonderful Life”

Merry Christmas!

We kind of feel like we’ve run a marathon. Since returning from India in April, we have certainly been on a fast track. After recovering from some nasty infections that we brought back with us, we’ve been on several trips and have opened our home to eight sets of family and friends in five months.

In addition to that, we’ve been preparing conference and teaching materials for our upcoming three month trip. We will be spending New Years Day flying some 9600 miles to Bangalore and then another 6 hours by car to Quiet Corner. Continue reading “Merry Christmas!”

Year of Jubilee

It is always a joy to attend a wedding and witness a young couple exchange their vow of love, loyalty, and commitment. As heartfelt as their words might be, I doubt either one of them truly understands the depth of it all. There will be blood, sweat and tears sprinkled throughout their marriage that will bring them back to the vow that they made on their wedding day.

To have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part.

Continue reading “Year of Jubilee”

Mean Mary

Today I read a quote from CS Lewis that jolted my memory and took me back 30 years. He wrote, “Do not waste time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love them.”

Her name was Mary but we called her Mean Mary.  It was a pretty fair description of her overall attitude and personality. She lived three houses away from us. She was the menace of our neighborhood managing to go nose to nose with most everyone on our block including me. I’ll never forget the day I declared war on Mean Mary.

Continue reading “Mean Mary”

Don’t Pick Up The Sword!

It’s one year since retirement from the pastorate at Lake Country Bible Church. We enjoyed a couple of weeks in May visiting and reconnecting with our church family, our children and grandchildren, and our friends. It was a wonderful time.

It has also been a year of reflection thinking back over the last 19 years of full-time ministry. To say we learned a lot would be an understatement. I have often advised people not to get into full-time ministry unless willing to learn the hard things. Attending a beautiful church like LCBC is a good training ground for church leadership. You will learn the hard things because your congregation is spiritually mature and holds you to a higher standard. So whether you are pastoral staff, support staff, elders, deacons, or Bible teachers be prepared to learn. Continue reading “Don’t Pick Up The Sword!”

My Thoughts for Mother’s Day

Today I want to pay tribute to my children. It’s Mother’s Day and I honestly admit I was not Super Mom.  Basically, I found it challenging to keep them clean, fed, safe and loved at all times during their growing up years. But as I see the four people they are today, I am pleased and thankful. Somehow, despite my own faults and shortcomings, God saw fit to bless us with an amazing family which include my three handsome sons, my beautiful daughter and the bonus prize of 10 grandchildren.

As I said, I was not Super Mom. The first part of 1 Timothy 2:15 says: But women will be preserved through the bearing of children. . .  The phrase bearing of children is from a Greek word that actually means one who performs maternal activities. That brought a bit of excitement to my heart. Raising four children requires a lot of maternal activity. If I could relive just one of those days, I would gladly repeat my maternal activities and perhaps tweak a few. But we only get one go-around so it has to count. God did not leave us without some direction. The last part of 1 Timothy 2:15 points the way: But women will be preserved through the bearing of children, if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint.

I am so grateful that I came to know Jesus as my Savior and Lord before my oldest son turned two. I did not know much about theology in those days, but I knew that if I just followed the instructions laid out in God’s Word, my family and I would survive. I am grateful for all the exhausting, challenging maternal activities. I am even more grateful for the direction God gave to continue in faith, love, sanctity and self-restraint.

And as I think back on those years, I begin to realize just how many blessings my children have given me in the way of memories. Some of them bring tears but so many more make me laugh out loud.  I cherish them and keep them locked up in my heart. Mother’s Day always seems like the perfect time to open up that treasure chest and remember.

Thanks, Chris, Matt, Tim and Rach. Love you all so much!

Matt, Tim, Rachel. Chris

How Beautiful is the Body of Christ!

Our last few days in India and our first week home in the USA has not been the journey ending we would have chosen. Both Sal and I became ill with compounded viral and bacterial infections soon after the last conference concluded.

With only days left to leave India, we were both bedridden with fevers. The Samuel family surrounded us with such love and care. Thomas prayed faithfully for our healing. Marykutty prepared “easy on the stomach” meals, making sure we were getting some nourishment. When I was admitted to the hospital for IV, Sister Jaya never left my side. She slept beside me and took care of me through the night. A day later, Sal was taken to a clinic for IV. Viju never left him. Even his pastor came to pray with us.

How Beautiful is the Body of Christ!

It is only by the grace of God that we were able to board the three planes that flew us home on April 10. God and God alone gets the glory for carrying us 9,000 miles. Within hours of arriving home, Sal was taken to the ER where he was diagnosed with influenza B and three strains of E. coli. It was our dear friends, Paul and June Adler and her sister, Kris, who took Sal to the hospital and stayed with him while I was sick at home. They purchased all the medications that were prescribed  and brought us a big pot of chicken soup. In the following days, Marjie Barnett dropped by with a meal, Margie Bernhardt dropped off some bakery and then stopped by with Chip to pray for us.

How Beautiful is the Body of Christ!

The prayer chain at Lake Country Bible Church stormed Heaven on our behalf. And there are those family and friends who have reached out to us through phone calls, emails and text messages. The care, the prayer, the acts of kindness and concern have all contributed to our slow and steady recoveries.  Romans 12:5 So it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.

How Beautiful is the Body of Christ!

Twila Paris wrote the following in the lyrics of How Beautiful. Sal and I have been wrapped up and carried in beauty through everyone who has reached out to us in the past few weeks. Thank you.

How beautiful the radient Bride
who waits for her Groom
with His light in her eyes.
How beautiful when humble hearts give
the fruit of pure lives
so that others may live.
How beautiful
how beautiful
how beautiful is the body of Christ.

The Best for Last

It seems unreal that in less than a week we will be crawling into our own bed. In many ways we feel like we’ve been gone for much longer that four months. So much has happened. The blogs have only skimmed the surface. It is always a bittersweet week for us. We are anxious to get home to our country, family and friends, and yet we are sad to say goodbye to the forever family that we leave behind in India.

The conference in Bellary went very well. There were about 200 attending. Our biggest challenge was the oppressive heat. And yet, God gave us the strength to bear up under it. In fact, I am convinced He supernaturally cooled our bodies. I discovered the benefit of walking around with a wet cloth. It is amazing how refreshing it felt on my face and neck. Sal consumed several liters of water each day which kept him fully hydrated and able to speak without any difficulty. Adjusting to the climate changed was not without its difficulties. Both Sal and I are left with dry coughs.

We have been especially blessed here in Bellary by the pastors and their families who are hosting the conference. The friendship and fellowship they share together is extraordinary. There are about 15 pastors from independent churches who worked together to plan the conference.

Pastors and friends

They share a bond of love and unity that is obvious the moment you see them together. Pastor Christopher told us that they meet at least twice a week at local coffee shops to talk, pray and share with one another. They greet one another with overflowing joy. You know the friendships are authentic and genuine.

Genuine friendship and love

They laugh together and they cry together. The churches come together at various times to evangelize and host events such as the End Times Conference. The wives know each other. The children know each other.  The congregations know each other. They care about each other. They are moving forward in one body, one Spirit, one glorious hope. (Ephesians 4:4) And for these few days we have been given the privilege of being a part of that fellowship.

Each night a different pastor hosted a dinner party for us at his home. The first night it was full Indian fare with three main dishes of mutton biryani, chicken curry, and roasted chicken. The hosting pastor and his family served the meal. They did not eat with us but waited on us. There were several church ladies helping in the kitchen. If our plates were empty, they were ready to fill them again. The other pastors and wives were happily talking and laughing together.

Good food and good friends

The following night it was a similar Indian “feast”. First a delicious main dish was served. Then the fruits were passed. Then an unusual after dinner soda flavored with cumin and turmeric was served followed by ice cream. Pastor Anand drove us to the dinner in his newly purchased “ministry” vehicle. He was so excited because he considered it a great honor to have us be his first passengers.

Sadly, because of this persistent cough, I did not attend the last dinner. Sal went and was greatly surprised to find pizza on the menu! The hospitality is really over the top. It put me to shame. I was not permitted to so much as clear my own plate or carry anything to the kitchen.

God saved the best for last. To be a part of that strong bond of fellowship for even these few days has blessed us beyond anything. It’s the way it was meant to be. One body working together for one cause. The glory of God is in the midst of Bellary because of these pastors and church families.

Romans 15: 5-7 Now may the God of endurance and encouragement grant you harmony with one another in Christ Jesus,  so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring glory to God.

Post Script: This will be the last post from India. We are scheduled to leave on Tuesday, April 10, and arrive home about 7:00 PM EST. It has been a difficult few days here in Bangalore because we both came down with upper respiratory infections. The Samuel family has treated us with such patience and care during these days. We are so humbled by their sincere love and concern for us.

Please keep us in prayer as we make the 9,000 mile journey. 

An Unforgettable Sunday

It’s late Sunday night and I need to record my thoughts before I crash. Our final conference begins tomorrow in Bellary. We checked into a hotel here yesterday.

Crowded church crowd spilled into the street.

Sal has preached each Resurrection Sunday for twenty years. Today was no different except he preached four times in four different churches. We arrived at the first church which was packed with people. The crowd spilled out the side doors and literally into the street. Sal was ushered

Attending church in the “overflow” section.

through the crowd to the altar while I took a seat on the street and prayed I would not be struck by an auto rickshaw.

As soon as he concluded the message we were quickly chauffeured to the next church which met in a school hall. It was a full house but at least I was seated inside. After Sal ended the message and with no time to spare we made our way to church number three. We parked in a narrow alley and climbed four stories in a building that looked abandoned. We entered another packed house of happy people singing praises at the top of their lungs. Once again Sal made his way to the front while I found a place to sit in the hallway which was lined with men, women and children. After the service concluded, the entire church shared a meal. We returned to our hotel afterwards to rest.

The Mighty Sermonator!

At 6:30 PM we arrived at the fourth church. By this point I jokingly nicknamed Sal The Sermonator! But he humbly gave God the glory for giving him the strength to preach the entire day.

I want to mention here that Bellary has two seasons: hot and really hot. Currently, it is really hot with temps averaging between 95 and 103. The churches do not have AC. Sal preached his best at all four churches and never got tired. After the first church service, he literally looked like someone dumped a pail of water over him.

Joy of the Resurrection is not dampened by the heat or the crowds.

The message he shared was on forgiveness. At Calvary, Christ prayed for those who crucified him. What a challenging example he presents to believers. There is power in forgiveness. Whether we are doing the forgiving or asking for it, there is power to break down the walls of bitterness, anger and hatred. These Indian churches received the word with great joy. In each church there were moments where they broke out in applause in appreciation for the forgiveness of sins.  I found myself clapping along with them in gratitude for Jesus’ prayer of forgiveness that has reached across the centuries and changed my life forever.

Luke 24:46-48   He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day,  and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.  You are witnesses of these things.

God’s Plans Are Greater!

. . .and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it. Matt 16:18b

I should be writing this blog from Nagpur. We were scheduled to conduct a three day End Times Conference there this week. Two weeks ago the authorities in Nagpur heard that we were coming to present Biblical teaching. We were informed that we could not teach or preach and the conference was immediately canceled.

When we were told about this, both of us felt a great peace. I knew God was protecting us and there was no need to fear or be upset. We canceled our plane tickets and hotel reservation and extended our time for another week at Quiet Corner. Soon after this, Gourab (you can read about him in the 3/15 blog entry) had the motorcycle accident and came to faith in Christ the very next day.

Since that time, we have met with him, Sonu and Guna for Bible Study and prayer every evening. Gourab’s faith is taking off. We are slowly going through the Gospel of John. We explain a passage and you can see the lights go on in his head. We are a most unusual group. We teach in English, Guna in turn translates into Tamil, Gourab then translates into Hindi for Sonu.

Two nights ago we talked about baptism. Gourab and Sonu both decided to be baptized. So we met with Pastor Benjamin to have him work with them on preparing for it. One word led to another and Sonu explains that though he was raised in a Christian home, he never asked Jesus to be his savior. After an hour of explaining the gospel, Sonu desired to pray and receive Christ. So Sal led in English, Pastor Benjamin translated into Tamil, Gourab translated into Hindi and Sonu became a Christian.

 

Sonu listens carefully as the Gospel is told to him

The gift of Eternal Life is received in three languages

Just imagine, if we had gone to Nagpur we would have missed it all! From the sidelines, our cook , Shiva, has been watching all of this happening. He is a Hindu. In the past two weeks he’s begun to read the Bible. He’s asking questions and wants to know more about how to know Jesus. Sal plans to speak with him in the coming days.

God is doing something great in our midst. The authorities may think they’re in authority, but Jesus said the gates of hell cant stop the message of the cross. The church will prevail. Young men like Gourab and Sonu will know the truth and the truth will set them free. I’m so excited to see young men come to faith and genuinely desire to follow Christ.

  • Would you please pray for Gourab and Sonu?
  • Pray also for Guna as he mentors them through the scriptures.
  • Pray Shiva will fully understand that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.
  • Pray for us in the coming days. We leave QCI on Thursday, March 29 for Bangalore. On March 31 we will travel by car to Bellary. Sal is scheduled to preach several times on Easter at different churches. Monday we begin a 3-day End Times Conference. We will travel back to Bangalore on April 5 where we will remain until we fly home to the USA on April 10.
  • Please pray we can tolerate the heat in Bellary. Temps are topping 103 currently with no humidity. Our friends in Arizona can relate.

Our host in Bellary is a Politician so we are not expecting to be bothered by the authorities. I think the heat will be the greatest challenge. In any event, the words of Jesus strengthen us and give us courage to keep running this race and finish well.

The powers of hell will never conquer His church!

.

 

A Tribute to the One I Love

As each year passes, this day (March 19) seems to grow sweeter and sweeter to me. It’s the day I get to celebrate the life of the man I’ve spent nearly 50 years with.

He has kept me on my toes though I must admit I can hardly keep up with him. In the past four months, he has spoken to over one thousand people on Biblical topics such as Jesus in the Tabernacle to End Times. He has preached nearly every Sunday, mentored local pastors, conducted a leadership seminar for pastors and church leaders, taught Bible School and prayed with and counseled many.

At conferences, I have watched him teach three sessions a day for three consecutive days. A session lasts anywhere from one hour to two hours

Tireless

depending on whether translation is needed. I’ve watched the translators, half his age, have to sit down because their legs were giving out. But he just keeps going! To make it even more challenging, it is now summer here. The last conference was held in Mumbai with an average daily temperature of 90F and 90% humidity.  The chapel was packed with people and the roof was tin with no fans and no AC.  Except for a two hour lunch break, he stood and spoke from morning till evening.

I’m with him!

And to top it off: he takes care of me. That in itself is sometimes a full time job. I don’t adapt easily to climate change and altitude. And here we are in the Niligris District of India where mountains climb to 7800 feet. I’m not always up to par, yet he is never too busy to attend to anything I might need.

CS Lewis said, “We are never too old to set a new goal or dream a new dream.” My husband is living proof of it. We never did believe in retirement, however, we never imagined it would be like this either. Growing older is a blessing to him because there is so much uninterrupted time to serve the Lord and pass His wisdom on to younger people.

So today, I’m celebrating this amazing man that I get to call my husband.

Happy Birthday, Sal!

Psalm 71:18 Now that I am old and my hair is gray, don’t leave me, God. I must tell the next generation about your power and greatness.

Gourab

Over the last ten years we have met many workers who have come and gone at Quiet Corner. Gourab began working here over two years ago. His parents sent him all the way from Orissa at the age of 17 to work at QCI. He is a quiet boy. He is respectful and always willing to help if you ask. His smile can brighten up a room! He lives in Staff Housing. I’m not sure if or when he gets to go home to visit his family. In a way, QCI is his family. Gourab’s parents are Christians. However, in many parts of India Christianity is a generational inheritance rather than a sincere commitment to follow Christ. That is the background Gourab is from.

On Sunday night Gourab met with a motorcycle accident. He skidded on a sandy road. The motorcycle flew one way and Gourab flew the other, landing in a ditch. He suffered bruises, cuts and skin abrasions but no head injury or broken bones. The motorcycle did not fare as well! He was taken to the government hospital to be checked out. They dressed his wounds, gave him a shot for pain and sent him back to QCI. On Monday he felt the full impact of his injuries. He was in so much pain that he could not walk without help. Guna and I took him back to the doctor to have his wounds checked and make sure there were no fractures. They redressed his wounds and gave him antibiotics and painkillers. I told him that he must rest and give it time. I also told him that the God of the Bible had spared him from serious injury.

 

Monday night after dinner he was walking near the Lake Country Patio. I told him that we were thanking God that we was not dead. I asked him, “If you had died, do you believe you would have gone to heaven?” His honest reply was, “I don’t know.” Sal and I began to explain to him that he could know for sure that when he dies he would go to heaven. We slowly and carefully explained the good news of salvation to him with the help of Guna translating. Another worker, Sonu, also joined us. Gourab fully understood the free gift God was offering him. We led him in a prayer asking Jesus to come into his life.

We charged Guna and Sonu to pray and read the Bible with him daily. Last night as we ate our dinner on the patio, Guna came and asked if we could meet with all of them before we went back to our room. We sat together, read the Scriptures, shared our thoughts and prayed together. Gourab prayed in his own language for over five minutes. We have no idea what he was saying but his words seemed to be flowing out of a heart filled with gratitude for what God has done for him. He has already called his parents and told them that he prayed to receive Jesus. Only 24 hours and he is bearing fruit already.

 

Guna, Gourab, Sonu and Viju

We leave QCI next Tuesday. Gourab is left in good hands with friends like Guna and Sonu. They have committed to mentoring him. Not sure what will become of Gourab. He is barely 19 years old. But one thing is for sure. God has a plan for his life. His journey is only beginning.

The motorcycle was just a vehicle God used to take Gourab from here to eternity.

The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.  Rev 22:17

To The Ends Of The Earth

. . . but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” Acts 1:8 NASU

Well it finally has happened. I have followed my husband to the ends of the earth!  We arrived at Mumbai airport on Tuesday with excited anticipation of conducting the Jesus Conference at a small Bible College in a suburb called Bhendshil. Well, at least we thought it was a suburb. We were told the college was about an hour from the airport. We hired a driver and off we went – Sal, Viju and me. The first hour of the ride came and went and we were still in Mumbai. I thought the suburb must be close. Another hour came and went and we arrived in the outskirts of Mumbai.  Another hour came. Now we were close! We left the main road and began the last leg on a narrow, broken up road. We passed small villages that were quite primitive and remote. Finally, a small sign on the road announced Faith Bible College Campus.

Aside from the campus buildings peaking up through the tree tops, I was a bit overwhelmed by the sight of nothing as far as the eye could see. A dirt path led to a slatted walking bridge that took you over the dry river bed. As we made our way, a huge explosion happened and we watched as plumes of dust rose from a nearby mountain. You see, the Bible School’s closest neighbor is a rock quarry.

By this point, I was very aware that I far exceeded my comfort zone. I was out of the box and the lid was nailed shut! I don’t believe in divorce but I found myself thinking about murder. Sal had taken me to the ends of the earth and I was not happy. To those of you who know me well, the answer is YES! Yes, I had a headache. Yes, I was car sick.

 

To make matters worse, we were booked into a small resort about 1 Kilometer from the campus. This resort is situated under the quarry mountain and it is in dire need of upkeep and repair. The rooms are not equipped with hot water or AC. (Average temp currently is 95F)  As we opened the door to our room, cement crumbled from the ceiling as a large lizard scurried for shelter. I wasted no time announcing to everyone, I was not staying in this “resort”. They told us the nearest hotel is 50 minutes away. I was thankful that Sal and Viju agreed with my announcement. So we hired another driver and we’ve been making the trip back and forth each day from the Krishna Palace Hotel in the outskirts of Mumbai.

We could have gotten angry and hightailed it back to Bengalore.  We could have told the school this was not what we signed up for and just quit. But God got a hold of our hearts. The love these people extended to us was truly holding us together. Love does cover a multitude of sins.

If we had left, we would not have met the Bible School students who are so hungry for God’s word. We would not have met the pastors who travelled far and wide to attend the conference. We would not have met the children who are orphaned and living here on campus. We would not have met Matthew and his wife, the school directors, whose love and kindness has humbled and overwhelmed us.

Jimmy is an 11 year old orphan who was rescued from certain death at 2 months old.

This morning as I awoke in my luxurious, air conditioned hotel suite to face another hot, muggy day at the school, I was reminded of the last charge given to the disciples by Jesus in Acts 1:8. I could hear his words echoing in my heart of hearts. You go and be my witnesses. But don’t fear because the Holy Spirit will be with you. You can do this. My power will be supplied to you. Don’t worry how far you have to go. No matter where I send you, you won’t be alone. . . .Even to the ends of the earth.

 

 

The Lord’s Doing

The people filled the hall and overflowed into the lobby at the Zion International Hotel in Ooty. They came to attend a one-day seminar on The End Times. I’m always amazed at the cross culture of people who attend. Men, women, children, young and old have gathered here to study God’s word. The conference began at 9:30 AM and closed at 5:00 PM. We enjoyed two tea breaks and lunch.  There was no childcare or nursery. Small children attended and were so well behaved. What a strong passion they have for the teaching of Scripture!

 

Nearly 100 people in attendance

The most exciting thing is there were a number of unbelievers who attended. The hope only found in a relationship with Jesus was strongly communicated throughout the day. I believe these people were sent here on purpose by God. All day they sat in front of a pulpit that said Jesus Calls. All day they  heard the message – Jesus Calls.

 

 

Two young women who recently converted to Christianity asked for prayer. They are from Hindu families. While at the conference, their husbands and father called angrily suspecting that they were attending a Christian event. It was certain that they would be facing trouble when they returned home. Sal prayed for their protection and that the families would come to know Jesus.

 

This group of people was extraordinary. The love, acceptance and hospitality was over the top. They are so grateful that we come to minister to them, but the truth is they minister so much more to us.  We are humbled by the gracious kindness that is extended. We have been invited to return in 2019 for another one day seminar and a woman’s event. The hall was donated rent free by the owner of Zion Hotel. He extended a personal invitation to come again and use his facility.

The Chief Cornerstone has sent two pebbles like us to teach our brothers and sisters here in India. Go figure!

This is the LORD’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. Psm. 118:22

Servant Leadership 2018

This week has literally flown by. It is an understatement to say it was the best School of the Bible we’ve conducted here since 2013. The students were very interested in knowing all they could about how to study the Bible, how to put together an excellent message and how to handle the challenges of being a church leader. Sal has amazed me once again with his ability to teach four sessions a day. His voice has held up well and he just does not run out of steam. My part has been to teach one session at day. The topic is a Study of Psalm 1. Also, I am behind the scenes keeping things running smoothly with sound and technology.

Servant Leadership Class 2018

The students are a diverse group of people from all areas of India. For instance, there are 5 young YWAM missionaries from Mysore, four pastors, several evangelists, Bible vision missionaries and lay leaders. One young man, Joshua, is a photojournalist who has a burden to produce Christian films for India. He desires to go back to Bible College to get his doctorate in Apologetics so he can produce quality films that rightly handle the word of God.   Our faithful friend, Monohar, is also here with his wife. He is a Christian illusionist who cleverly shares Biblical precepts through his magic act. The student that has touched my heart the most is a man named

Karunakara

Karunakara. His head is wrapped in bandages and covered with a ski cap. Just five days before the school began he underwent brain surgery to remove a tumor. He was not sure if he could attend but he prayed for God to make it possible. He is attending, participating and not missing one minute of class. He has no pain and he sleeps well all night. Thirty people in all have come from at least 6 different states to attend. We are humbled by the respect they show us, the kindness and hospitality.

Tomorrow is the last day of classes. By Saturday the students will be gone and we’ll be headed to Ooty early in the morning for a one-day End Times seminar. Next Tuesday, Sal is invited to speak at a Pastors’ Seminar in Gudalar. We’re told over 100 will be attending.  After that, we have 6 days to rest and recover before heading up to Mumbai for a three day conference on the Tabernacle and End Times. While there, Sal will also give the address to the graduating class of Faith Bible College.

Teaching through Psalm I, I’ve found it interesting that God has given us a beautiful formula for serving and producing eternal results. Verse one defines the character of the one who is blessed by God. The blessed by God take great pleasure and delight in the Scriptures (verse 2). The blessed by God can’t get enough of God’s Word. They will think and meditate on it day and night (verse 2). The blessed by God will bear good fruit and distribute it in the world (verse 3). The Blessed by God will enjoy spiritual prosperity (verse 5).

That is my heart’s desire.

 

Good Fruit

The bus pulled away last Friday and suddenly Quiet Corner was truly quiet once again. The MissionIndia 2018 Team left for home after a fantastic two week service trip. Up until the night before, this team was on the constant go and enjoying every minute.

I think the mark of a successful mission trip is that you leave good fruit behind. This team certainly delivered a bushel full in that regard. Through the widows program they reached out in love. Bev and Cari shared their testimonies. The Gospel was preached by Thomas Samuel and four ladies came forward to accept the free gift of eternal life.

4 widows stand to accept the Lord.

At the Elderly Feeding Program, Gini and Sherri shared their testimonies and two old women came forward to pray for salvation. At the Tailoring School, Cat and Rebecca shared their stories. Each girl asked for the team to pray for their needs. There were many tears shed as they knelt before us, seeking help from the One True God.

An exciting result of the Kids Club Programs is that all three pastors are planning to hold similar events for the kids in their villages about once every three months. They are currently “brain storming” with their church leaders to come up with a plan. Thanks to Cat and the team for providing an excellent program and inspiring the pastors to continue a children’s ministry.

Children made Gospel Bracelets at Kids Club

As for Sal and I, we had two very quiet days to rest and regroup. Last night the students starting arriving for the Servant Leadership Bible School. So far there are 25 here. They come from all over India. Most are young men. Three women are attending as well. School started this morning (Monday) and will go through Friday. Sal is teaching four sessions a day and I take one. Currently it is “siesta” time. Culturally, after lunch most of India likes to take a nap. We have found it best to provide a few hours to rest. The students will return at 4 PM ready to go another two hours.

From here on, our schedule is packed with events. I’ll post as we go since there is much happening. Time will fly and before we know it we will be heading back to the states and resume our life as “retired” people. God must have heard us say we didn’t believe in retirement because we are working full time here. The request for conferences has been amazing. We have had to turn down four invitations. They are penciled in for a return trip in 2019 if the Lord allows.

Sal’s life verse is especially meaningful these days:

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;  in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.  Proverb 3:5-6

 

 

Widows and Kids

It has been an amazing week of ministry for the Mission India 2018 Team. The last four days have been full speed ahead.

This trip was designed with widows and children as the primary service projects. Friday, Saturday and Sunday we conducted 3 Kids Clubs in three churches. Under the gifted leadership of Miss Cat, the team greeted 191 children in all. They taught them songs, performed a skit about Daniel in the lion den, helped the kids make a lion face craft, explained the gospel using the wordless book, and made gospel bead bracelets. They were then treated to popcorn and Kool Aid. As they bid us good bye, each received a beanie baby.

I personally was blessed by watching the team pour their hearts and souls into these precious lives. Some of the kids were from the churches but many were Hindu. We may never know in this life how they were impacted. What we do know is the Word of God will not return void but will accomplish what it was sent to do!

The most emotionally impacting experience has been the time spent with young widows. These women lead very tough lives trying to raise children without a lot of help from family or society. After meeting all the widows at a gathering last week, we broke into two teams and visited 11 widows in their homes in four villages. Each widow was given a gift package of sleeping mats, blankets and other practical items. Seeing the smiles on their faces simply because we cared enough to pay a visit was a blessing to us. Upon returning to QCI, we met for a report back session where the teams shared about the visits.

I could list what was shared but that would take too long. As we drove back to camp, my team agreed there are really no adequate words to explain what it was like to visit these sweet women.

Thomas Samuel says, “You cannot explain India. You must experience India.” Anyone who’s ever come here understands that statement full well.

Mission India 2018

The Lake Country Bible Church Mission India 2018 Team arrived here on Monday morning. It was such a happy time hugging old friends (Kevin, Cat, Bev, Cari, Sherri, Gini and Rebecca), and welcoming three of them to QCI for the first time.

After two days of rest and orientation, we began our first full day of mission service. The main emphasis of this mission is young widows and children. So today, the widows came to Quiet Corner for a special event. A tribal widow’s life here in India is very difficult. These women are usually very poor. There is no substantial help or support for them. Often their families are unable or unwilling to help them. Some find work as laborers for meager wages. Their homes are in ill repair. For instance, Shanti, who is in poor health, lives in a flimsy hut made of bamboo poles and rubber tarps. She has no electricity.

Sticks are used to replace a broken wall at Susheela’s home

Shusheela’s home has one collapsed wall that needs repairs. Both women live in a squatter’s village on the elephant corridor. They have no proper protection from wild animals.

Once a month about 20 young widows are treated to a special day at Quiet Corner.  Today they were warmly welcomed by the team, sang some Tamil worship choruses and then gave their attention to Bev and Cari as each one shared how the God of the Bible had taken care of them throughout their lives.  They were very moved by what was shared as they realized that no matter where we live or who we are, we all have difficulties that only faith in the one true God can meet. Thomas Samuel shared the message of salvation and four widows stood and prayed to enter the family of God. The grace of God fell in Mercy Hall as these women committed to follow the Lord. Another widow shared that she had been to a witchdoctor who tied a magic band on her wrist. She was having much trouble and was hoping the witchdoctor would help her. We explained that the God of the Bible would help her but she needed to take off the wristband and not see the witchdoctor again. She first resisted and said she would take it off in a month. But after sharing the truth of God’s Word with her, she decided to remove the band and not return to the witchdoctor.  With tears she asked for God to help her.

This evening we visited one of the children’s feeding programs. The kids were excited to see us and entertained us with their singing and Bible memorization. Cat and Rebecca taught them some songs. Afterwards, Sherri, Cat and Rebecca helped serve the children the meal of rice and dahl. We ended our time with them by taking selfies!

All in all it was a great first day of ministry for the team. We are all very tired. But it is a good tired. I am proud of the team who put their heart and soul into serving, loving and accepting the widows and children.

In the presence of our God and Father, we constantly remember how your faith is active, your love is hard at work, and your hope in our Lord Jesus the Messiah is enduring.  1 Thess. 1:3

Khandal

Khandhal, nestled high atop Ooty Mountain, is the oldest village in the Nilgiris District.

Women gather to wash clothes on streets of Khandhal

It is officially known as a slum. It was not hard to see why as we was drove down the narrow and broken streets. Poverty is a lifestyle here. Buildings were in bad shape and litter seemed to be sprinkled about like confetti.

I had been invited to speak at a women’s meeting at one of the small churches in Khandhal. The pastors from this area had come to the Jesus Conference and invited me to come and speak to the women. They had never had a women’s meeting before. They seemed so excited to offer such an event, that I could not refuse the invitation.

As we pulled up to the street, the pastors and church leaders were anxiously awaiting my arrival. I was warmly welcomed and escorted up about thirty steps to enter the church hall. You see, Khandhal is built on the side of the mountain, so there are many steps to climb to enter houses and shops. I found myself thanking God that my 2 year old hip replacement was a success. This tiny church was actually the second floor of the pastor’s house. It was one open space about the size of an average living room. My expectation was that no more than 15 women would attend. I was sure we could not fit much more than that. But just as Jesus fed the multitudes with 5 loaves and 3 fish, this small room seemed to swell as women, children and babies came pouring in and taking their seats on the floor. By the time I was introduced there were near 70 women. The place was packed!

Sitting with the ladies for photo shoots

What a wonderful time it was! My topic was  5 Areas Where Women Need More of God. At the conclusion, a few women gave short testimonies of how situations almost prevented them from coming. Each one said they felt God telling them to come to the meeting and not allow obstacles to stand in the way. One woman has been fighting depression. She was not going to come but felt strongly that she should. She was amazed that much of what I shared about my own struggles were similar to hers. She realized that no matter who we are, where we are from or what our lives are like, we all need God to work in us more and more. She felt God had provided the spiritual tools needed to have victory over her struggles.

I must admit that my first reaction to speaking in a small church in a place called Khandhal was not too optimistic. I thought it would be ill attended. I thought these women who live in a “slum” city would not be able to apply the message. I thought they would not be able to relate to a woman who was born and raised in the USA. But those were just my failed opinions.

This is what God’s Word says:

  • Rich and poor have this in common: The LORD is the Maker of them all.  Proverbs 22:2
  • “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from  every nation the one who fears him and does what is right. Acts 10:34-35
  • Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. Col 3:11

For I Know The Plans I Have For You. . .

Never in my dreams did I ever think I would visit India. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would serve here for 10 years and live here part time. God’s plans for us are always a surprise. And his plans for us are always good plans.

I’m a planner. I like to have short-term plans and long-term plans. I like to keep calendars and schedules. And for the most part I like to stick with the plan. I know some of you blog readers totally relate.

We arrived here in India on December 7 and we did have plans. Some were set in cement like hosting 2 mission teams. One team has been here and one will be here in about 10 days. Sal planned to meet with the Quiet Corner pastors (there are four) and form a mentoring fellowship with them. They did meet two weeks ago and it was a blessed time for all of them. The planned Ooty End Times Conference has come and gone. Tomorrow The Jesus Conference begins at Quiet Corner Camp. Another upcoming plan is teaching at the Servant Leadership Bible School the week of February 19.

You’ve heard the saying, “You can’t out give God.”? Well, you can’t out plan Him either! This past week has brought an overwhelming amount of God Plans. My opinion is, He never lets you in on the plan until just the exact time. News of the pastors’ fellowship spread like wildfire. Sal has now accepted an invitation to meet with 60-70 area pastors the end of February for an all-day event. He has also been contacted by a large church in Ooty and is invited there to conduct a one day End Times seminar on February 17.

March has filled in nicely with God Plans as well. March 6-9 we will be conducting The Jesus Conference in Mumbai followed by an invitation for Sal to be the keynote speaker at Faith Bible College graduation. On March 22-28 we fly north for a back to back End Times Conference in Nagpur and Chinwalla. We return  to Bangalore, and on March 30 we will head four hours north to Bellari for another Jesus Conference. Returning to Bangalore, we will have just enough time to breathe before we return to the USA on April 10.

There is a great sense of joy and expectation knowing that God has plans for each of us. Every day is a new chance at endless opportunities to be the hands and feet of Jesus to a world that is desperate for hope. I would not want to miss a minute of what He has planned! His plans for each of us are so much bigger than our wildest dreams.

 

His Thoughts – His Ways

Today is day two of the Ooty End Times Conference. It is being held in one of the oldest Anglican Churches, Union Church. Nearly 100 pastors and their families are in attendance. Everyone is having a blessed time. Many have shared with Sal that they have never heard any teachings on the topic of the End Times like this. Sal is in “the zone”. He is having a great time doing what he likes to do best. It was God’s will to bring the conference to Ooty. However, God had other plans for me.

We arrived in Ooty the night before the conference. Ooty’s elevation is at 7200 feet. We have been there many times to shop and experience the culture with visiting mission teams. Staying up there for 3-4 hours is no problem for me, but spending more than a short time can trigger my susceptibility to altitude sickness. That is exactly what happened. By the morning of the conference, I was terribly ill and not able to attend. Just what Sal needed-a sick wife to add to his already busy day!! Continue reading “His Thoughts – His Ways”

10,000 Reasons

The sun comes up, it’s a new day dawning
It’s time to sing Your song again. . .

For me, the song 10,000 Reasons describes the awakening in the jungle more than any other place on earth. The jungle has its own unique sound of praise for the Creator who made it so incredibly beautiful. First the roosters begin their crowing, then the sun peaks up over the mountain tops as if it was awakened by their sound, and the birds begin to sing. There are about 32 different varieties of birds here in the jungle. Each has its own delicate sound. As they all begin to chirp at once, it is a beautiful symphony in perfect harmony. They are raising their songs of worship to the Lord, their Creator. Continue reading “10,000 Reasons”

If the Lord Wills!

 

2017 is finished. Today is January 1, 2018. What a year 2017 was for Sal and I! We began the year serving for six weeks in India and we ended the year also in India. It’s hard to believe we are here nearly 4 weeks, and we will continue on for another three months.

Happy New Year, Everyone!

But that is only the beginning and the end. So much has happened in our lives in the year 2017. We sold our home of 25 years; we retired from full time ministry; we launched Cross Angle Ministries; we relocated to Florida; we spent the summer decorating our new home; we dodged a hurricane; we spent the best part of the fall writing and rewriting conference materials. Continue reading “If the Lord Wills!”

Christmas in the Jungle

It has been 24 hours since the conclusion of Christmas in the Jungle. I am still in the processing mode. Some would call it writers block. But honestly, I don’t even know how to explain what the team took part in yesterday. Amazing, awesome, miraculous, life-changing and the best Christmas ever are some of the words I’ve collected from our Lake Country Team.
The day started early morning as villagers began coming into the camp. Some walked for miles just to get here. As Sal and I walked the grounds, we came upon a lady sleeping in the grass. By 11 AM the camp was bustling with hundreds of people. One thing that was very obvious was that the crowd was mainly made up of women and children. Where were the men? We don’t know except the same is true in the churches here as well. Our prayer is that God would reach these men through the faith of their women who are searching for peace and joy that only a relationship with Jesus can provide.
We were able to meet with a number of children and give them new clothes. We then taught them some gospel songs. They caught on quickly to the words and the sign language and sang at the top of their lungs. Continue reading “Christmas in the Jungle”

The Best Christmas Ever!

The first full day of ministry for the team was filled with joy and blessings. Our mornings always begin with group devotion and prayer followed by a good breakfast.

Meeting the Widows

We had a special morning meeting with the young widows on Wednesday. Fifteen of them came for a time of singing, devotion and gift giving. The ladies were so comfortable and happy to have the team visit. There seemed to be no shyness toward any of the “foreigners” as there had been in the past. Their response to the life giving message based on the birth of Jesus was exciting. Their faces were bright and happy as they heard how the God of the Bible loves the widows and fatherless children. Almost all came forward to ask for prayer for themselves and their families. Continue reading “The Best Christmas Ever!”

Let Heaven and Nature Sing!

The excitement is building with each passing day as we anticipate the arrival of the Lake Country Bible Church Team on Monday, December 18. We have been busy these last few days preparing for their arrival and for the two weeks that they will be serving at Quiet Corner, India. The calendar is filling up with daily events that make up Christmas in the Jungle.

The team will participate in Christmas Eve services at three of the five QCI churches on three consecutive days leading up to the big celebration on Christmas Day. Following worship, each church will celebrate with a cultural presentation of Christmas which will include lively dancing, music and costumes. A meal will be served at the end to everyone who attends. Please pray the team will be a blessed addition to the services as they will sing some Carols, read the Christmas story, share testimonies and serve food. Continue reading “Let Heaven and Nature Sing!”

Our Journey Has Begun

After nearly 26 hours of travel we landed safely in Bangalore. Even though we did not arrive at the Samuel home until after 2 AM, Thomas and Maykutty happily welcomed us. It has only been 9 months since we were last here and the city seems more crowded than ever. More noise and more pollution are other obvious conditions. There is much construction and road repair going on. Unfortunately, the ever expanding population makes it impossible to reach a better standard of living. Continue reading “Our Journey Has Begun”

Stay With the Baggage

The reality of our soon approaching departure for a four month stay in India has struck both of us today. My carefully thought out plan was to get through a 5 day visit with dear friends, host Thanksgiving dinner for seven and then start the huge job of packing for our trip which begins next Tuesday. NEXT TUESDAY!! It is definitely time to lock and load. Continue reading “Stay With the Baggage”

Privileged!

We hear a lot about being privileged these days. If you are born to a particular set of parents, you are labeled privileged. If you never went hungry, you are labeled privileged.  The word includes the thoughts of owning a special right or benefit only accessible to a select few.

May I take this privileged moment to make one thing clear? If you belong to Jesus Christ you are privileged. No distinction is made based on background, family or color of skin. It is a gift not earned or deserved but bestowed through the grace of God, Our Father. Continue reading “Privileged!”

But God

As 2017 approached, I felt the Lord was impressing on me the words “But God”. Each year I ask Him to give me a word for the new year. Something I can use as a spiritual compass to guide me through whatever lies ahead. For instance, one year the word was “servant”. I was excited thinking that God was going to use me to serve others. Instead, I fell seriously ill and was served by family, friends and church for a period of nearly nine months. Through the help of these people, I was taught the true meaning of being a servant to others. Another year the word was “run the race”. Those words got me through one of the toughest periods in our family’s history. Continue reading “But God”

White Car Conformity

One sure sign of being fully rooted in middle age is parking your car at a shopping center and forgetting where you parked it. Can you relate? While living in Wisconsin, I found it easy to scan the lot and find my car quickly. But that is not the case here in southwest Florida.

We currently own a white SUV. Apparently, so does a large majority of Floridians. I have experienced a dreaded sense of panic while standing in the middle of a large parking lot filled with white SUV’s. I frantically start pushing my remote key hoping to hear my car lock clicking. My car fits in with the crowd. I live in the land of White Car Conformity. Continue reading “White Car Conformity”

Abundantly Blessed

It’s been one week since we departed from all that was home to us for 25 years. As we made our three day road trip to our new home in Estero, Florida, we found it hard to process all that has taken place over a quarter century. We have been blessed!

It is a challenge to let go of life. We loved our home in Delafield. It was a refuge. I nick-named it Shalom because of the peace and serenity it offered us throughout the years. It was a retreat from the daily challenges of the pastorate. It was a place to gather with family and friends and make wonderful memories. It was a wildlife refuge that continually entertained us (sometimes annoyed us). We have been blessed! Continue reading “Abundantly Blessed”

Happy Mother’s Day To Me

Every second Sunday of May we honor moms all over the country. We are reminded to call our moms, take them out for lunch, send them flowers or simply remember them because they have passed on. We wish each and every mom we meet a Happy Mother’s Day. But have you ever wished yourself a happy Mother’s Day? Continue reading “Happy Mother’s Day To Me”

Inventory

Our home looks like a warehouse. And today is the day we must take inventory. The moving company requires that we record every piece of furniture, every small, medium and large box that we have packed.  We have sold, donated and given away so much and yet I have 150 boxes.

I can see the value in providing the movers with an inventory list. It will help them to know how much room they need on the truck and how long it will take to load.  It also gives them a close estimate of how much it weighs and what the moving fees will be. Continue reading “Inventory”

Sorting, Keeping, Donating, Selling, MOVING!

Recently we returned from six weeks of ministry in South India. Most of the people who live there live in homes no bigger than my kitchen.  There is little if any furniture at all. Most of them sleep on mats that they roll out at night. Outside they will have an open fire where meals will be cooked in aluminum pots.  Toilets are nothing more than a hole in the ground with a bucket of water next to it. Continue reading “Sorting, Keeping, Donating, Selling, MOVING!”

Homeward Bound

In just a few hours we will be locking and loading the last of our belongings and heading to the airport. Six weeks have come and gone by so fast. The last few days have been a time of reflecting on what has happened and planning for what will happen in the future. I was asked to evaluate the current operating systems for the office technology. I am no expert but know enough to suggest needed upgrades. I will give my report to David Samuel when we get back to the US. Continue reading “Homeward Bound”

13 Men@2AM

Monday was the scheduled day that 2 massive generators were to be delivered to Quiet Corner Camp. Monday came and went – no generators. Tuesday came and went -no generators. Wednesday came   . . . the generators were on their way. We waited with excitement for these 2 ton giants to arrive. In preparation, a crane was also ordered to lift and place the generators on the designated cement slabs. Continue reading “13 Men@2AM”

Running Down the “To Do” List

Thursday we will say good bye to Quiet Corner and make the journey back to Bangalore. We will return to our U.S. home on Tuesday. We have had several things to do prior to our leaving:

  • Sunday we made a trip to Gudalar to pay for two cabinets for our room. In preparation for our next trip to Quiet Corner, there will be some

    A 6 person Job!
    A 6 person Job!

    renovations to our living space to make it more like a small apartment. We purchased 2 cabinets for the bedroom and had them delivered. The fun was getting them up the steps of Mercy Corner and into our room.

Continue reading “Running Down the “To Do” List”

Quiet Corner is Quiet

After a very fast paced month of conference and school, we are winding down our time here. Quiet Corner is truly quiet. Except for  a small staff of workers and us, there is no one else here right now. Even the jungle has been very quiet. I am guessing that the drought may have forced some of the wild life to migrate to areas where there may be more water and vegetation. Continue reading “Quiet Corner is Quiet”

We Are All The Same

One thing I’ve learned by being immersed in the Indian culture is that we are all the same. Today, I had the privilege of sharing that thought with 43 village women who came to a Ladies Day Event here at the camp. I shared how even though we look and talk differently, we are all created in the image and likeness of the One True God. I explained how our souls long for a relationship with the God of the Bible. I shared 5 areas of a woman’s life that needs God’s help: our minds, our hearts, our mouths, our bodies and our emotions. Continue reading “We Are All The Same”

Sunday

Today we traveled to Gudalpete in Karnataka to attend church. Gudalpete is a rough, hour long drive from Quiet Corner through the drought ravaged game preserves with about 70 speed bumps. (Thank God for Zophran!) It was established about 35 years ago, and was the first Christian church in the area.

Sal prays with church people

Sal preached a challenging message about serving the Lord. After the service many people requested prayer. A long line formed and Sal prayed for each one. Continue reading “Sunday”

Reign, Lord, RAIN!

 

Some of our students
Some of our students

We are half way through the Bible School week. It is going so well. God has given Sal strong vocal chords.

His schedule is pretty challenging. I am teaching one class a day while Sal teaches four. We start at 9:30 AM and end at 5:30 PM. When I am not teaching, I am behind the scenes helping anyway I can. Dinner is served at 7:30 PM. After dinner we usually chat with the students and find out more about their lives and the challenges of ministry that they face. They all are excited for the tools they are learning to be better teachers and preachers. Continue reading “Reign, Lord, RAIN!”

Rest – Refuel – Resume

“I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.”  Jeremiah 31:25

Today was the first day of Servant Leadership Bible School. We plan on 6 days of classes – 5 sessions per day. It’s a tough schedule but well worth the time and effort. What a blessing it is to train this class of mostly young men who have a heart and passion to accurately teach the Word of God. Continue reading “Rest – Refuel – Resume”

Genuine Religion

Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you. James 1:27

There are 25 women who attend a once a month get together here at the camp. They have a number of things in common. They are all mothers, they are all young (ranging in are from 23-43) and they are all widows. Fifteen of the 25 came to yesterday’s meeting. It was a great joy to meet with the Young Widows of Quiet Corner.  Continue reading “Genuine Religion”

The Shirt Off My Back

“Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back.” Luke 6:30

We have all used the idiom “he’ll give you the shirt off his back.” I personally never gave much thought to its meaning until this morning during the Jesus Conference. One of our delegates came to Sal and told him that he loves the shirt that Sal was wearing and he would be honored if Sal would give it to him. I held my breathe wondering what Sal’s response would be. I thought of what I would say. I would probably think he was joking. I would probably say something like, “You’re kidding, right?”  Continue reading “The Shirt Off My Back”

And the Rain Came Down

Yesterday at the prayer summit some time was spent seeking God’s mercy to grant relief from the drought. Today it began to rain. Gently at first and then a hard downpour that lasted for an hour or more. Everyone was praising God for hearing our prayers. Thanks to all you who prayed with us. A few more showers like that and the jungle will be green again. Continue reading “And the Rain Came Down”

Drought in the Land

Saturday we traveled in two vehicles to Quiet Corner. As we entered Mudumalai Tiger Preserve, I was struck by the condition of the jungle landscape-dull, grey, parched, dying. Much of India is suffering from drought. South India has not seen significant rain since September. The monsoon season did not produce enough rain to resupply the rivers and streams which are so important to the wildlife and tribal people. The authorities are enforcing strict water rationing. It made me sad to see goats, sheep and cows wandering in dusty meadows looking for anything green to eat. One of QCI’s dairy cows died suddenly. Due to the drought, she began eating roadside trash. Continue reading “Drought in the Land”

Thanking God!

There is nothing but thankfulness to God for our safe and uneventful long trip to Bangalore. Dave, Sal and I arrived early this morning with Paul and Viju present to welcome us. Everyone here is doing great. We have spent most of today talking, napping and eating. It is now nearly 10:30 PM (Thursday AM in the US) and I am just about to call it a day. Continue reading “Thanking God!”

A New Thing

“Behold, I will do something new, Now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, Rivers in the desert.  Isaiah 43:19  NASB

It’s been a long year. Our last trip to India was only 12 months ago and yet the events of this year make it seem more like 12 years. It was by God’s grace that I was able to make it through MissionIndia 2016 with the pain and discomfort of a hip joint that needed replacement. One month after returning from India I underwent surgery and slowly recovered. I’m happy to report that I am now as good as new and ready for the next trip.

Continue reading “A New Thing”