Monday, February 23, 2015

Bless the Lord

WHAT ONCE WAS IS NO MORE

I wish I could give you all a before and after
Some way that you could see the change as well

It was more then just his voice
Something had changed

The way way he looks us in the eye
And his eyes are lighting up

The way he smiles when he says it
Instead of a defensive angry rebuttal

And when he stays after to pray
For his mother and his cousin

Of a boy declaring Ganesh was his god
To a boy declaring Jesus is the only way

This boy has been set free!
Hallelujah! 

But I plead with you
Keep this boy in your prayers

That he could be the start for his family
To also know the true Lord

For the Holy Spirit to continue ministering to him
That God would continue to write and perfect his faith
As promised in Hebrews 

This boy will be a great leader
One who loves the Lord 
One who acts justly 
One who walks righteously

His name is Jamalarao.



On the right

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Pray with me

Be still and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth. 

I am clinging to this scripture from psalm 47. I am also finding hope in Hebrews 12:2,

Let us [fix our eyes on Jesus,] The author and perfect or of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 

The author and perfector of our faith: God is writing our faith. God is perfecting our faith. Our faith isn't based on us. As we set our eyes on Jesus, he is faithful to grant us more faith. 

As for Grace School, when we are keeping the focus on Jesus alone he is writing on the children's heart, he is growing the planted seeds, and everything will happen in his time. I write this all because yesterday was heart breaking. I spent a lot of time crying and praying for some of the children.

Please, everyone pray for Jamalarao specifically. He is in 2nd grade. His family is hindu and yesterday was a low. 

Our lesson was Characteristics of God. We had the students come up and write characteristics. Students were writing: savior, friend, listener, creator, father, healer, strong, great, etc. Then we had them pray, pick their favorite and draw a picture of how they have seen that characteristic. We had four classes of this. 

By the second class we started getting frustrated. There were children who profess Jesus talking excitedly about a hindu holiday tomorrow. It's called maha shivratri. A holiday to celebrate the "marriage" of two hindu gods. In our last class jamalarao, who has been known to oppose some things we teach, was very much against the lesson today. Not only would he not look us in the eye or listen well, he was adamant that he didn't believe Jesus was the only way. He drew a picture of himself and Ganesh. He said, "this is my god, and this is me. My god is powerful and strong. My god is ganesh." I was so heartbroken and speechless. This eight year old boy is making bold declarations of complete idolatry. 
I asked some more questions and then a verse from revelation came to mind.

And we will overcome by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony.

So I asked jamalarao is I could tell him a story. He said sure, and I began drawing and telling the story of my car accident from September 1, 2013. I told him how Jesus is the only reason I am alive, and as I told the story he was making eye contact and listening. I gave him the picture I was drawing with details of the story and told him Jesus wants to have a relationship with you! 



Hinduism is the culture. The government, the castes, the separation between the rich and the poor, the brokenness, all point back to Hinduism. 

My prayer is that jamalarao would be set free. That he would know God, and know the hope and joy that is found in Him. I want him to grasp the love of the Heavenly Father, to mow he is fearfully and wonderfully made, to know he has purpose, to know life after death, to know LOVE! 
Please, please join in praying for this little boy! And other children who don't confess Jesus is Lord. 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Liberation

What if we are responsible for ISIS?
What if we are responsible for the racism in our home streets? 

And I don't mean the country called America. 
I'm talking about the Church

Those called to love
Those called to be ambassadors of Christ
Those called 'sent ones' in this dark and broken world

What if we were called to go into the darkness to shine a light
What if we received a calling like Jonah, would we follow Gods command?
Would we go to a people not of our own and speak of judgment and liberation?
Would we want to see them repent and turn back to God?

I say judgement and liberation because you can't take just one 
The Jordanians wanting retaliation
The French wanting answers
The African Americans wanting change
The Koreans wanting peace 

All are screaming, "justice!"
I'm crying "justice" as well
But I'm not fighting for world peace but praying for Gods kingdom to come and come quick

I'm crying out, Jesus, save them. 
I'm crying out, Jesus, forgive them.

I pray all would come to know Jesus the judge
The one fighting for me and for you 

Promising a place of no tears, no pain, no injustices 
Because he took OUR judgement. 
So WE could be liberated. 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Just past A.Konduru...

Barefoot, under draped tissue paper decorations and a tin roof. The fan is wobbling as if it could spin off any minute. Behind me, on the cement wall, geckos scurry over the painted on cross. I look over the congregation. My team and 30 beautiful Indian women are looking back.

I was asked to prepare a children's story, but when we arrived there were no kids. They still would like a story so my practice and expertise of 'winging it' were about to be tested. 

I start by telling of creation. Then the fall. The brokenness each of us are born into. Then I reach for hand sanitizer. 

At first some looks of confusion as I start to wash my hands. I explain that my hands are clean because I washed them with soap. But then I ask, what about my heart, dirtied with sin? Will this hand sanitizer clean that too? Chuckles around the room and heads shaking. 

Of course not! Our hearts are dirtied by sin. We need Jesus! He can clean our heats. And not only makes me pure, but gives me eternal life! 

My heart was smiling as I recited revelations; every tongue tribe and nation will be praising and worshiping our creator in heaven. With no pain, no suffering, no sadness, no brokenness in our lives, we will stand before the king!

These beautiful Indian women we traveled two hours to worship with will one day again be worshiping together with no language barrier, and with no brokenness, fully worshipping the lover of our souls!
Hallelujah! 


Praise Jesus for the ability to testify of His goodness, His plan for the world, and His all consuming love for us! 

What a birthday!

I am so happy to be celebrating this birthday with new friends from the base, Josh, Jake, Brody, Kaiyeluh, and Izzy. They seriously made this birthday so special! I love them! 

I woke up at midnight to the boys, randy, and shama all holding a cake with a flower candle contraption that made music and had a lot of fire coming from it. They sang and then we all had a piece of the cake! Indian tradition - the birthday person cuts the cake and someone feeds it to them, then you feed a piece to everyone around. 

We went back to bed, and this morning had a slow morning. My favorite! Around 9:30 we(kaiyeluh, izzy, randy, and I) headed out for a walk near the base of the mountain/hills.  It was fabulous. Still a little cool, dirt roads through old fields and around briers and cacti, making sure to miss the cow patties. I love nature. 

When we got back we studied a few chapters of Romans, delivered the extra cake to friends and neighbors. 


All this time I didn't have to lift a finger around the house. Everyone else made lunch, made dinner, cleaned, up, etc. I've been treated like a queen all day :) 

Then a game of skip Bo, which is one of my top favorite games to play with my mom and dear friend, so playing here was a touch of home!  

I can't forget to mention the cheesecake and chocolate cupcakes with chocolate peanut butter frosting that they made. Yum!


Presents!
I also got a pair of pants and a chocolate bar

Cheese cake

Josh's newspaper wrapping :)


Now we are off to a village church for an evening worship time. I'm very excited! 

Thanks for all the birthday wishes!!!

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
Anna