Sunday, March 26, 2023

Many Cultures. One Church

Out of respect for the culture and convictions of the church congregation we were worshipping with, I grasped my chunni (shawl) and lightly covered my head. My heart and mind were transported to my childhood. I could almost feel the presence of my grandmothers who prayed with heads covered as their tradition and custom dictated. (I am of Ukrainian-Canadian descent.) 

I began pondering traditions, customs, habits; why we worship the way we do; why we gather when and where we do; does our dress and external appearance warrant the significance we place on it.

Here in India, we gather with believers from many different ethnic groups.  All are citizens of India, yet within one church congregation there are members that are Nepali, Hindi, Bengali and South Indian. Some are dressed in traditional salwar suits, one lady wears a beautiful silk sari, others are in casual western style clothing. 

The common denominator drawing them to this place on a rainy Sunday morning is their love for Jesus.  Hearts are lifted in songs of praise in English, Nepali and Hindi. I know that God is pleased. The message is translated from English into Hindi, India’s national language. 

This must be what heaven is like.  People of all nations and tongues – praising the Lord with one voice that He somehow understands and delights in.  “After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb….” Revelation 7:9a

We encourage you today to look past appearances, see the heart, and worship the Lord with His children.  

The Journey Continues ~ Pat

Saturday, March 11, 2023

What's In Your Neighborhood?

Each day is a new adventure. Wandering the dusty lanes (often called gullies), checking landmarks and noting just how many left turns I've taken, so I can get back to the main road and find my way home. 

What's in our neighborhood? Let's start with the birds which anchor the sound track of our days. There is a large vacant lot across the gully from our flat. Heavily treed, it echoes with bird calls day and night - literally.  The male Asian Koel, has one of the most distinctive calls. (Note that these are not our photos)

When you can walk along the edge of the road (no sidewalk, no shoulder) avoiding cowpies and trash, and not flinch when a bike, car or bus honks right behind you - you have acclimated to India.  I am proud to say I no longer flinch (usually).

Western, or developed nations, have no frame of reference for the chaotic layout of Indian towns and cities.  We are on the outskirts of a city, in a neighborhood that is so rural, I would call it a village. Many families still carry water from the spigots on the street corner, do their laundry in buckets, and hang it to dry wherever there is space.

Gary and I have been to India countless times over the past thirty years, yet it continues to fascinate.  Each neighborhood has it's own character.  Each family has their own story. 

Our hope and prayer is that the love of Jesus will reach their hearts and lives.

With grateful hearts for your love and prayerful support - Gary and Pat

Look for more neighborhood scenes in upcoming posts.  

Saturday, February 18, 2023


What does it mean 'to shift'?

In India it means to move. To change your location. When you plan to move to a different house, you will mention that you are ‘shifting’ in a month.

Our new home. Dentist office on lower left.

In our case, we just shifted to a flat. Which means we moved into an apartment in the same building as Master’s Touch Church here in India.  The church rents the third floor of a 4-story building.  This includes a large room or hall used for church meetings, the adjacent flat and access to the shared rooftop terrace. The flat includes a bedroom, office, bathroom, large kitchen and open area which we share with the church on meeting days.

When you rent a house or apartment, what you get are the concrete walls, roof and plumbing!  Unlike America, there are no kitchen cabinets or appliances, there are no closets, water heater, fans or air conditioning units. Central heat is unheard of! 

Simple, Efficient work area.
Sink is to the left.

Shifting is a little more involved than simply packing up your personal belongings and moving.  Arrangements had to be made for a gas cylinder, which comes with a 2-burner cooktop; a hot water tank called a ‘geezer’ was purchased and installed. Bedroom furniture was ordered – including a wardrobe and clothes rack in lieu of a closet. 

Thankfully the church had furnished the kitchen and shared space.  Gary and I don’t know the local languages (Hindi and Nepali) and relied heavily on our good friend Megha who ‘knows people' and is a skilled negotiator. Thank you Megha!

Cupboard and desk for storage.
Microwave - because we can't live without one.

It would have been easier to stay where we were; comfortably taken care of at Mike and Megha’s home.  Shifting involves decisions, it involves change, learning new things and meeting new people.  

This physical move has caused a spiritual shift in my heart.  Spiritual ‘shifting’ is necessary to avoid complacency.   It changes what we are accustomed to, breaks us out of the ‘status quo’ and propels us further into God’s purpose for our lives.

My personal challenge is to choose wisely. As we develop new routines, new schedules, new habits, I am forced to reevaluate how I spend my days and recommit to trust the Lord fully, every day.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. Prov 3:5-6 NKJV

May the Lord direct your paths today as you trust Him in every situation. Be open to ‘shift’. To change your mindsets and habits and embrace His mind and habits.

 The Journey Continues ~ Pat and Gary

Stay tuned for the next installment as we share “What’s in Your Neighborhood”
and take you on a walk through our neighborhood.

Friday, January 27, 2023

Welcome Home to India

After 30 hours of airline flights and airport layovers, a hot shower and real bed await us in Delhi, West Bengal, India. 

The sound track of India's capital city filters into our airport hotel room: the hum of nonstop traffic with constantly honking horns in a range of tones from high pitched taxis to the low throated blast of lorries (trucks); loudly animated conversations in Hindi, Bollywood ringtones, and the never ending sound of construction workers expanding the sprawl, all say - welcome to India. We are home.

We are literally half-way around the world, after flying from Phoenix to London, London to Delhi, India. One last flight will take us from Delhi to Bagdogra, West Bengal.

India is our second home and we enjoy delicious food from its many cultures.

Stay tuned for more updates on our Journey With God! With Grateful Hearts ~ Gary and Pat

Monday, January 16, 2023

God is Doing A New Thing!

Happy New Year Everyone!

'Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? 
I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert." Isaiah 43:18-19 ESV

I believe this is a word for all of us.  Jesus is going to do something new in 2023.  It's new - not refurbished, remodeled or recycled. He doesn't want you dwelling in the past, reveling in the good old days; nor does He want you to dwell on your mistakes and failures.

It is easy to get lost in a wilderness.  During the past few years, if you have lost your passion for the Lord, lost your desire for the things of God, or even lost your sense of purpose; know that Jesus is preparing a way out for you, even as He did for the Israelites at the Red Sea! 

Living in Las Vegas, Pat and I know firsthand what it is to have a lack of water.  It can be unbearably dry and unfruitful.  If you have experienced lack; spiritually, financially, emotionally or physically, the Lord is going to cause rivers to come into those dry areas of your life so that you can be fruitful and have more than enough.

Have a spirit of expectancy this year.  God is doing a new thing.

God's 'new thing' is already starting for us.  We will be travelling to India this month - leaving on January 23rd and returning on May 23rd.  We are expecting great things.

Please pray for wisdom, guidance, and direction of Holy Spirit as we go.  We'd love for you to stay in touch with us.  Hearing from home is a great joy and encouragement as we travel.

Through your love and support, the journey continues.  With grateful hearts - Gary & Pat


No Problem - the book we wrote about our adventures with God and His amazing love - is now expanded and available in paperback on Amazon.  Click the cover photo to follow the link and buy your copy today.

Note: The Kindle version will be updated soon.

Remember to shop and select Greater Works Unlimited as your charity. Amazon donates a portion of your purchase at no additional cost.

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Faithful God

One of my favorite songs is "Goodness of  God".  The words of the chorus resonate with my heart and bring me to tears: 
All my life You have been faithful
All my life You have been so, so good
With every breath that I am able
I will sing of the goodness of God.

In October, I celebrated a milestone birthday.  Looking back over 60 years of this amazing life God has blessed me with, I am overwhelmed with His great faithfulness. 

There have been challenges, heartache, disappointments and loss of loved ones. There have been victories, joys, precious relationships, and great adventures with God.  Each of you reading this is part of my great adventure.  However our lives have connected, whenever and wherever our paths crossed, thank you for being part of my life.

INDIA 2023
The journey continues as we prepare for our first overseas mission trip in three years - India 2023!  Gary and I will be travelling to India on January 23, 2023 for four months of ministry.  Airplane tickets have been purchased - which makes it official.

It's a blessing to stay in contact with our ministry partners and see the fruit of their labors for the Lord during our three years in the states.

God's Word is being preached, people are giving their hearts to Jesus and being baptized in water, children are being tutored in school work, and taught about Jesus; the love of Jesus is shown through food distributions, eye clinics, and in towns and villages. 

During this season of Thanksgiving and throughout the year, Gary and I want you to know how grateful we are for you. Your love, prayers, support, every encouraging word - are precious to us. 

May you experience the faithfulness of God in every area of your life. The Journey Continues ~ Pat

Here are just a few photos from our partners in Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Thailand,  Myanmar and  India. 

Are you shopping online this year? You can support Greater Works at no extra cost to you - by shopping at and choosing Greater Works Unlimited as your charity.  Amazon donates a portion of their profits!  

The easiest way to get started is: a) log into your Amazon account as usual. b) click this link and follow it through to support Greater Works Unlimited.  This setting will be part of your account until you change it.

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Montana Reflections

Each return to Montana's Bitterroot Valley increases our sense of home and belonging.  There is a comfortable sense of knowing this place, and yet not knowing what new wonders await discovery.  Changeless - yet always changing.   Revealed - yet never fully known. 

Our recent visit was so encouraging.  We were able to reconnect with family, friends, and the beauty that is Montana.   The weather was perfect, the air was clear (no forest fires), we were well-fed, and well-loved.  We so appreciate the Pastors and churches that invited us to share the Word of God and what He is doing around the world - whether we can physically travel or not. Thank you to each of you!

Gary has been teaching on 'Living With Expectancy.'  Here are a couple of pithy quotes to whet your appetite:

'Expectancy is not wishful thinking or lustful desires.  It is based on God's Word and character.' Gary Richards

"Our asking, our thinking, our praying, are too small.  Our expectations are too limited." A.B. Simpson

 Here's a link to his message, as shared at Meadows Fellowship.  

There is an expectancy in our hearts.  We are praying and believing that we will be going overseas in the beginning of 2023.  Please agree with us in prayer as we seek the Lord for what that looks like and where He is sending us.

Your love, prayers and support is what makes this journey possible - we hope you will continue to pursue your Journey with God, with a Spirit of Expectancy.
Blessings -  Gary and Pat

Hungry Hearts at Youth Camp