After spending 6 weeks here in the main city of the country we’re in, we took an 8 hour bus ride to a smaller city to spend 2 weeks in before a 2 week trek. We had stayed up late the night before, packing and reflecting and fellow shopping with other teams who lived in the same guesthouse as us. Since we had stayed up so late, when we woke up early to leave the next morning I was tired and slept a lot on the bus ride. In the beginning there was not much to look at, because it was still the dusty and dry landscape of the capitol. When I woke up the first time to see the river we were careening past, at a frighteningly high speed on a very narrow and windy mountain road, it was completely brown as well as all the shrubbery and trees and everything else that was around. I had pangs in my heart because my eyes had been starved of the beauty of nature for a longer time than I have ever been used to.
Soon after, I feel asleep because I deemed the scenery to be unimportant and not worth paying attention to. When I woke up again I was looking back through pictures on my phone of our time in the city, but happened to look out the window for a few seconds. I had to do a double take when my eyes caught the sight of something they were not expecting to see: a crystal clear blue river!
It was something simple. It was just a beautiful river, yet it was so much more than that. It was food for my thoughts.
Where else in my life do I look down and not notice the change? Where else do I not take notice of the breakthrough? Where do I look over the process?
Our travel from capitol to mountains (Follow the link to check out a short video of the bus ride!)
Look up. Look up from the distractions and notice the journey He is taking you on, notice His hand in everything.
Sometimes I imagine Eden. I imagine what it looked, smelled, and tasted like. Whenever I think of this I remember the original design God had for us. I remember that we were created to wander around beautiful places filled with beautiful nature.
There is a feeling in my heart I have when I am not surrounded by enough of God’s beautiful creation. It feels burdened down when that need God placed in me for reveling in his nature isn’t met, which is why my heart feels so refreshed living in the place my team is currently at. Here are some reasons why:
This city is nestled inside of a valley.
Continue reading “Imagine Eden”
The main ministry we’ve been doing here has been in the slums. We’ve loved on the kids, helping them with their homework and playing lots of games with them. We’ve also made relationships with people, been invited into homes to hold adorable babies and to visit with precious grandmas (ammas). We’ve seen healings and we’ve seen the Holy Spirit move. It’s been incredible. Individually and as a team, the gifts we each have and what we carry together were meant to be poured out in the slums. Read more to hear some of the ways God has been moving here in this place.
Continue reading “The Slums: A Place of Healing, Joy, and Open Hearts”
The second temple we went to was called the temple of death. It is dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. We had been told a little bit about the place before we arrived, but were not expecting what it actually was. We knew it was a place where Hindus came to be cremated because they believe they will be reincarnated into a higher being in their next life. I knew there would be a spirit of death there, but didn’t realize how heavily it would cover the entire area.
Something I learned about myself while on the mission was that I am able to discern the spiritual atmosphere of a place, and one of the first times I realized this was when we went to this temple. Before I stepped foot inside the bounds of the temple I could feel the darkness in the form of immense tension in my chest, like a vice grip. The feeling did not let up, as the dark atmosphere of death was everywhere. We could smell the bodies burning long before we saw the flames.
We bought tickets at the visitor center and this began our time in the temple of death. A tour guide explained the importance of observing every ritual aspect perfectly down to the minutest detail. Before the bodies were burned, they were draped with wreaths of marigolds, bathed in the river running through the temple, and then walked several times around the pyre where the body was to be burned.
Continue reading “Ritualism and the Temple of Death”
For the first two weeks we were here before we had a set schedule, we did a lot of street work. It’s been Spirit led, because we literally had no schedule. We would go out and pray, hear a word for someone or God would show us a specific place to go to or a specific person to talk with. We’ve seen salvations, and we’ve also seen healings. It has been incredible to see God moving actively in power through healing. It was something I’d never seen before, I’d only heard stories of it and because I’d never seen it myself, I strongly desired to see healings. Continue reading “His power, our privilege”
One of my favorite things that have happened here has been when we went to the “Monkey Temple”. It was the third or so week. We walked to catch a bus to the Monkey Temple. This bus ride was more like a roller coaster ride, but one that had no safety standards. Picture this: veering not into just other “lanes” (a lane is a loose term here), but entirely onto the side of oncoming traffic. It is absolute mayhem, exhilarating, and terrifying all at the same time. At one point there was only a gap of about a foot from a head on collision with another brightly painted bus.
We finally arrived and walked to the top of the temple. We went past booths of people selling colorful prayer beads and trinkets. The plan was to worship and see how God wanted to move. We explored a little bit, looking at the prayer flags fluttering in the wind, watching the monkeys clamber all around (it is called the monkey temple for good reason), and then settled at the place we chose to worship.
Continue reading “Worship at the Monkey Temple “
My friends and I were in a taxi to pick up some things we needed for outreach, and the driver did something that we weren’t expecting. He asked what themes were defining this season of our lives. I wasn’t expecting this question, and quite truthfully hadn’t thought about it yet. I’ve been examining this part of my life over the past few days. I’ve identified a few themes that have been prevalent in my journey so far here during lecture phase.
Continue reading “Lecture phase themes”