09 May 2012 ~ Comments Off

E-Pray: May 2012

Dear Praying Friends,

          We are so happy to have John home with us now and this summer all the boys will be home, too! What a blessing! :)     Of course our schedule is already filling up! Two dates we would like you to note because you are all invited are Jake’s Graduation Open House, Sat, June 23rd, 1-4, at our house, and, our SERVE India Appreciation Dinner, Friday, June 29th, 6pm, at Faith Community Church in Hudson. We would love to see you!! :) 
From the team…     Cassidy…
This was my third time experiencing India and, like the first two times, I was completely amazed at God’s supreme authority.  Each time in India has been so unique, yet God showing us His creation and allowing us to watch, and participate in, His sovereign work has remained the same each time.  What was unique about this trip, compared to the others, was that I saw, more than ever, the continuity and growth within the local churches, the people, and within SERVE India.  It was amazing, and humbling to see a refugee camp that two years earlier had their hand-made huts burned to the ground celebrating over the dedication of their permanent concrete orphanage.  It was encouraging to see a mountain village that when I first visited in 2007 I was told the man that had come in Christ to these people was beat over and over each time he came back to share the gospel, now this village was hosting a pastors conference sending dozens more pastors to the unreached mountain villages of Andhra Pradesh. 
Each place we would visit I would recognize faces, a few years older, but still there, in the church and worshipping the same God I worship.  I was reminded how God designed his creation to not only have a vertical relationship with Him but to also have a horizontal relationship with Him, by experiencing divine love through earthly relationships that glorify Him.  I see God so clearly through the Indian people, through the people that were on the SERVE India team.  It was nice to see the growth and continuity in those relationships, and to be reminded of all that God is doing.

Story of Venket and Jeeva Jalem

One of the great joys of my time in India was to meet and get to know fairly well a man named Venket, a businessman who is politically connected at both the state and federal levels. Their family and the Nanda family have been friends for 40+ years. He provided transportation and insight into India and hosted us in his guest house. This kind man was interested in John’s work in the poor and wanted to witness what was taking place. He was amazed that Americans would willingly, even gladly come and hug, touch and laugh with lepers in India.
On our two hour drive to Jeeva Jalem (Living Water), Venket was full of questions. He was on obviously bright man. He is married with two teenage children. His undergraduate degree is in mechanical engineering, he got an MBA from the University of New Hampshire and completed a PhD in his homeland dealing with matters related to business. He is inquisitive, bright and searching how to be a more effective leader for his booming nation.

He wanted to understand what motivated us. I shared with him how Jesus’ model of yielding His preferences for us creates in us a desire to do so for others. Furthermore, we come to Christ at the same level—by grace because of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. This means that everyone enters the family of God by the same means and so everyone is equal-regardless of socioeconomic level, age, gender or health status. These lepers are my equal, so they are family and to be celebrated by me for now and eternity.

As we approached the group and their developing community, he saw friends from both sides of the equation rushing toward each and exchanging hugs, smiles and laughter. Venket said “I have never seen such humanitarian action before”, and I replied “We call that love”. I don’t think I was trying to be cute, simplistic or condescending…it reflected what we were witnessing!

After a brief welcome and prayer, John turned to Ryan and asked him if he would like to serve them lunch? Ryan lit up light a Christmas tree on steroids and was quickly dropping healthy portions of food on the leaf/plates of our brothers and sisters. A  few others from our group quickly joined Ryan in serving the meal.

I love this kingdom, the kingdom of God where the strong serve the weak! Rather than sensing our nobility for coming half way around the world to serve, I became overwhelmed with the thought of how Jesus serves us, serves me. These acts of charity are a small, albeit real reflection of how God serves His people. In our giving I became acutely aware of my receiving.

Venket is a wealthy man from a wealthy caste yet seems sensitive to the plight of those who are marginalized in his country. He believes things need to change even though there are thousands of years of history in India that make change particularly challenging. His eye toward future public life seems to include increased care and opportunity for those who lack.

He is a sincerely open man that we were given the privilege to give a little insight into the wonder of those around him. He wasn’t quite ready to make physical contact with the lepers, but he took a huge step and sincerely celebrated what he saw taking place as these Image bearers were treated with dignity. I expect great things from him in the future, and pray that other leaders join Venket in making India’s future brighter with the power they have been granted.

 One prayer request we have is for a dear friend of ours, named Moses, whose whole story is too long to describe here, except to say that he has stood strong for his faith and has had to pay dearly for it.  Please pray as the last we heard is that Moses was taken into the police station again for questioning and we do not know the outcome. Although in recent years he has been falsely accused, spent time in jail, and had all he owned taken from him, he is still one of the most joyful people our team visited on our trip!  Only the Lord in his life can do this! Thanks for praying for justice for him!

Thanks for praying for us, dear friends, and please come to the India Dinner so you can hear more stories and see the pictures and share more in the joy of all that the Lord is doing! We would love to see you, too!

                                                                   His joy, Love, The Nanda’s

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