Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Month 2

Not going to lie, month two was a lot harder than month one. With a changing schedule to start, traveling, then another inconsistent schedule and jet lag I had a hard time taking pauses. But I could make excuses all day on the why, so I'll stop with those.

The goal was to take seven pauses a day to pray and realign myself to God's nearness and Truth. 
  1. Middle of the Night
  2. Sunrise
  3. Mid-Morning
  4. Midday
  5. Mid-afternoon
  6. Evening
  7. Last Hour of the Day
I had also said I thiught one and seven would be the hardest because I'd have to wake up in the middle of the night..... Turns out one and seven were the easiest because it was hard to sleep through the night.

I think I averaged about 3 intentional pauses to pray a day. 

I didn't take on this month as a legalistic approach to prayer, but as a month of discipline to draw near to God. Even though I didnt successfully pause seven times a day every day, I learned so much:
  • I learned the power of prayer, and positioning yourself as an intercessor. 
  • I learned about how even when we are unfaithful, God is always faithful
  • I learned how weak I am. Seven pauses a day within a 24 hour day should be easy, yet so many things were used as excuses, or just forgetfulness cause me to not complete one. But yet God is faithful, and I am in need of a mighty and faithful God. 

Month 3
Will start on the 26th. I'm still deciding on what this month wih be, so I'll update this portion before then. If you have suggestions you can comment with them! 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Chalk Festival

Today was a turning point for me especially, but I think the team as well. We all love India so far. It's new, exciting, the food is great, the people are welcoming, and the list goes on. But we are feeling the weight of brokenness and finding ourselves on our knees asking God to call this nation back to Him.
We were invited to a festival today, a tradition started to celebrate a good harvest. They take chalk and create intricate designs all along a street and then there are prizes awarded. The president of the village and the co-president(shama) of where we are staying (karuna health center) have been friends since they were boys and he invited us all out for the day. It started off well, but the Hindu temple doubles as the town meeting space so when it was time to announce winners we found ourselves being ushered into the temple.
It was an uncomfortable place to be and there was a heaviness. Everything was very chaotic, which was a first as many places we have visited have a pretty strategic approach or plan. We all started praying as we were brought to the front. As I was looking over the crowd my eyes filled with tears. These women before me were beautiful with their bangles and gold accessories and beautiful Sari's. Yet I felt God saying, these things mean NOTHING to me. I looked into their eyes and was overwhelmed with Gods longing to have their hearts committed to Him.
And as we were sitting in the Hindu temple/town meeting space it was still obvious the Holy Spirit was moving. God is more powerful than the enemy. He has no boundaries and He is still in control even in the middle of a temple. Our God is good.
The president hosted us for lunch following the awards and then we loaded up and headed home. As soon as we started home a lot of questions started with the Luths. Over the car ride we learned the president is Hindu and knows of Christ but has told Shama that he won't give up Hinduism for Jesus. Shama and his family continues to try to minister to the president in order to change the village, and right now that looks like continuing to be his friend and show that there is something different about us, something worth giving up Hinduism for, and interceding for his conversion which would have huge effects on the village.
Something difficult about India is summed up in this quote, 'to be Indian is to be hindu'. This describes so much of what we are seeing. For a conversion from Hindu to true Christianity, for an Indian person, they have to put aside a lot of their culture. Everything about Indian culture stems from Hindu religiosity. Obviously the cost is worth it, Jesus and eternal life far outweigh Indian culture, this world, religiosity, etc. so we are praying for revelations and conversions. 
But this isn't far from America. Our idols aren't blue men, or a man with a monkey face but so much of our culture separates us from God. How popular of a decision is giving up entertainment, popular music, etc? It's not popular at all. All over the world people are falling to the lie that to be of this world far surpasses taking up your cross. It's a lie from the pit of Hell, and I am so thankful God has opened my eyes to accept Him. My heart is heavy tonight knowing how many people are blind to the truth, but I am full of hope knowing that some from every tribe and tongue and nation are called, and that God has a fierce love and sovereign plan for His children.
God is showing His faithfulness and nearness in it all
Thank you for your prayer and support!!
Love and blessings

Monday, January 12, 2015

Grace School

Our primary purpose here in India is:

Share the gospel

See, hear, and experience the living God.


We are doing that through teaching English and Bible classes at Grace School in A.Konduru. It is a Christian school in a small village about an hours drive from where we are staying. It started last year with 80 students, and has grown to 250+. People are really trying to get their children in the school because of testimonies about what is happening there. It is quite amazing.

They are in the process of building a new school that can hold up to 700 children. Right now they have purchased the land and are going over building details, etc.


This beautiful woman is Raji. She is the head mistress of Grace School. She grew up in a southern state of India but moved here when she married her husband, who also plays a big part in the school.


Photos all taken by Isabel Zittel



We arrived in India Saturday night! After a short layover in New Delhi, we arrived in Hyderabad and drove four hours to Kethanakonda. We are staying in the Karuna Health Center compound which is home to a health clinic, a school, an elderly hostel, and children hostel. We are living with Randy and Sheryl Luth, originally from Sunshine Church now serving with I-TEAMS.

I don't think I can say any of us have successfully slept through a night yet, especially not Ashbash. We are slowly adjusting!

We have gone grocery shopping, taken a Telugu lesson, visited Grace school, and ate many delicious Indian meals. We have survived car rides, watched baboons, and we have seen many rice paddies and cotton fields.


Wednesday, December 31, 2014

T minus 2 days

As the year comes to a close, there are MANY things to look forward to and prepare for. The biggest is India on Friday for two months.

We will be staying near Vijayawada. This is about a 4 hour drive east from Hyderabad where we will be flying into Saturday night. The flight is 22 hours, my longest flight ever.

I am excited for this trip! It is phase two for the mission school. We will be taking 4 students to work in Grace School, a k-6th grade school. Our purpose in the school is to teach English, Bible, and Sports classes. The language of the Krishna District is Telugu, but by teaching the children english they will be ahead of peers and able to get better jobs after schooling.

Our English and Bible classes will be around 45min long for each grade, 4 days a week. After eating lunch with the students we will go into sports classes where we will have a quarter of the student body with us as we learn about soccer and cricket.

I will be posting about our time, what I am learning, things about the culture, etc. So stay tuned!! But posts might be delayed during the first week or so as we are getting settled in.

Thanks for all your support and prayers!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Month 1

Month 1 of a seven month experience ended monday.
For the last 4 weeks I ate only the following seven foods;
  1. Yogurt
  2. Rice(or Quinoa, etc.)
  3. Black Beans
  4. Apple
  5. Banana
  6. Egg
  7. Sweet Potato
I definitely got sick of the food at times, but overall the month was great.

I started this experiment very strategically. I wanted to get a month in before India and be able to wrap up the experiment before the next Mission School started. 

Summary of the first month:
The extra time it took to prepare my own food gave me some time of solitude to reflect over the day, and pray. Only eating 7 foods took away all distractions of what to prepare, where to eat, what to do for meals, what to buy at the grocery store, etc. and gave me more time. This extra time was so rich. I was able to spend extra time studying God's Word, journaling, and praying. I was able to see sin tendencies in my life and be able to give them over to God, and seek his help and strength. 

Next month:
During the next four weeks I will be taking 7 pauses a day to pray and realign myself to God's nearness and Truth. 
  1. Middle of the Night
  2. Sunrise
  3. Mid-Morning
  4. Midday
  5. Mid-afternoon
  6. Evening
  7. Last Hour of the Day
I expect 1&7 will be the hardest because I enjoy uninterrupted sleep, but we will see! I am excited to start this before leaving, and carrying it through the first few weeks of outreach.

I will let you know how it goes!

Saturday, December 20, 2014


Already 2 weeks ago, I spent 3 days in Chicago, it was such a sweet time. Not only was it fun with the students, meeting new people, seeing the city, etc., but God spoke so much to me.

We spent time with Dr. John Fuder. He is on staff for Heart for the City, a mission organization doing powerful things in Chicago but also training others for neighborhood mapping, and praying over cities. He also is a professor at Moody Bible Institute. Our time with him was wonderful; his words were powerful with years of experience and a lot of biblical truth to back them up.

We were able to spend time around Boystown Chicago, which is home to one of the largest LGBT communities in the nation. We were able to pray for neighbors in that area, and pray over the city. If you haven't read, Love is an Orientation by Andrew Marin, I recommend it. He established the Marin Foundation in Boystown, and is doing a lot of cool stuff in that neighborhood. And we stayed with Jon Pennington at Chicagoland Community Church

We were also able to spend time with Nate Ledbetter and his church City on the Block, and Michael Trout with YMEN.

All week I learned so much about Justice & Compassion, God's heart for the city, and so much more. The more I learned, the more I felt God calling me to stay in the West Side and keep loving and getting to know neighbors here. I have such a passion for urban ministry work, and community development.

L-R: Megan, Brody, Izzy, Me, Kaiyeluh, Kelly, and Cassie
***Picture stolen from Brody

I also enjoyed the three days with the mission school students, Josh, and Kelly. It was some great team bonding between praying through some hard things we encountered, 6 hours in a van for the round trip, and exploring Chicago.  I love these guys!

"The word 'compassion' is derived from the Latin words 'puti' and 'cum', which go together to mean 'to suffer with'. Compassion asks us to go where it hurts, to enter places of pain, to share in brokenness, fear, confusion, and anguish. Compassion challenges us to cry out with those in misery, to mourn with those who are lonely, to weep with those in tears. Compassion requires us to be weak with the weak, vulnerable with the vulnerable, and powerless with the powerless. Compassion means full immersion with the condition of being human." -Henri Nouwen