Saturday, May 27, 2023

That Went Fast

It sounded like a long time - four months in India.  Now it's over and we are back in Las Vegas, our home base.  How quickly the time passed.  Our hearts are full and a little sad as we leave this nation that has captured our hearts.  Our church family at Master's Touch gave us a prayerful and emotional send-off.  It was such a rich time of ministry and fellowship, we can't wait for our next trip.

Our flight home took us through Delhi, where we spent a few days and visited one of the Seven Wonders of the World: The Taj Mahal.

It's an amazing love story; an engineering feat; worth enduring the heat to marvel at the craftsmanship and beauty of its luminescent white marble inlaid with precious stones.  

From Delhi we flew to London where we had a 10-hour layover. The Heathrow Express train whisked us to Paddington Station with its iconic statue of Paddington Bear.  Riding atop a double-decker bus was a great way to view some of the city's historical landmarks, without expending too much energy.   A short boat ride on the Thames completed our sight-seeing. 

Non-stop from London to Las Vegas, almost 11 hours.  It was wonderful to be met at the airport by friendly faces and hugs.  It took about three days to recover from the jetlag caused by crossing the international date line and twelve time zones.  

And now we're ready to go again.

Next Stop - Montana.  The Journey continues ~ Pat

Saturday, May 20, 2023

A Land of Bright Colors

India is a land of bright colors: houses, sarees, flowers, fruits and vegetables. Bright colors bring life to an often dull environment and difficult life.

Bright Smiles when eyeglasses are given, 
making daily life easier with clear vision.
Baginbari is a tea garden village that the city of Siliguri has grown to surround.  While not far in distance from the neighborhood we are living in, it is a world away in culture and socioeconomic standing. Workers in tea gardens earn minimal wages, and cobble together homes and villages from whatever materials they can scavenge. Mostly dirt floors, tin walls and roofs. Recently some have been able to put up concrete walls. A common well and latrine serve their basic hygiene needs.

Master's Touch church has been reaching out to this village for several years, sharing the love of Jesus through basic medical care, clothing and food distribution, Christmas programs, fun afternoon 'Sunday School' and tutoring children.

Bright Smiles when haircuts and shaves
demonstrate love and care.

This India. This is our mission. To share light and love.

Find a way today to share the light and love of Jesus in your mission field - wherever your feet take you.

The Journey Continues ~ Pat and Gary

This friendly Istri-wallah (ironing man) indulged my curiosity
when I noticed his iron was heated with red-hot coals.
He handles this 6 kg (13lb) iron (literally made out of iron) with ease,
deftly smoothing heavy cotton fabric in one pass.

There are so many fascinating images we want to share with you.
Follow this link for more photos and glimpses into life in India.

Scenes from Daily Life

Every day is a day of discovery.  Early morning walks in our neighborhood provide glimpses into daily life of the village and people that surround us. 

Our neighborhood is a conglomeration of medium-sized villages shot through with veins of modernism.  While many people carry a cell phone and browse the internet; families still carry water home from water spigots (faucets) on the street corner, do their laundry in buckets, and hang it to dry wherever there is space.

Photos convey the sights - but the sounds and smells have to be experienced first hand.

Hauling Bamboo and Concrete Forms
Fresh Fish Vendor

Manual Labor is Cheap
Construction and Cows are Everywhere

Aloo Paratha (flatbread stuffed with potatoes)
served with curd (plain yogurt)
Aloo Mutter (Potatoes & Peas) with Paratha

Charcoal Grilled Pork Belly & Chicken
Local Nepali Style Vegetables

Many Homes Have Hindu Shrines to Worship Thousands of Deities

Hauling Water ~ Subji (Vegetable) Vendor
Flowering Vine & Passion Flower (bottom)

Grateful for every blessing. The Journey Continues ~ Gary and Pat

Friday, April 28, 2023

The Nagaland Adventure

On a recent Tuesday morning, Gary and our friend Pastor Mike embarked on a twelve-hour train ride from New Jalpaiguri (NJP) Station in Siliguri to Dimapur (DMV), Nagaland.  Booked on the Rajdhani Express, first-class air-conditioned compartment, they expected a relaxing trip.  However- this is India.

The first glitch; They were booked in different compartments and had to negotiate a trade with another passenger so they could travel together. The second disappointment was the overall lack of cleanliness; the train was just ‘dirty’, especially the toilets. Airline-style meals were reasonably good, and they had brought their own bedsheets. After enduring the journey, they met with the rest of their ministry team and jumped right into a very full week of teaching and ministry.

Nagaland is a state in north-eastern India with a unique people group, culture and history.  Each of it’s 17 major tribes and multiple sub-tribes have distinctive languages, customs and dress.  Nagaland’s official language is English, and most of the people in these meetings wore Western style clothes.

Nagaland is often referred to as the Christian State as more than 80 per cent of its population identify as Christians.  When sharing the love of Jesus, it is important to hear the individual’s personal experience with Jesus – since many are ‘born Christian’ and have not been truly ‘born again' and personally received Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord.

Nagas love Americans, especially missionaries, because it was American Baptist  missionary Edward Winter Clark who brought the Gospel of Jesus Christ to Nagaland  in 1872. Nagaland has experienced several revivals, most recently from 1976 – 1982. 

With a strong Christian background, and thousands of existing churches, why go to Nagaland?  Christians are hungry for a deeper move of God in their lives.  This three-day Prophetic Conference was designed to train, equip, and activate those who wanted God to use them in the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  Hundreds of people were prayed for, received personal words of prophecy and encouragement, and are stepping out more fully equipped to share the love and truth of Jesus.  Nagas have a heart to go out to other states and the nations around them with the Gospel of Jesus Christ; fulfilling the Great Commission.

Mike and Gary's first mission trip together in 2000.
Look where they are now.
Mike and Gary have returned, safe, tired and fulfilled. The churches have asked them to return and conduct additional conferences later this year.

Thank you for your faithful prayer support.  Because Gary is a foreigner on a tourist visa, there can be problems if government officials decided to check out the church meetings, which they often do.

While Gary and Mike were away, I stayed with Megha, and was blessed to share the Word on Sunday morning and teach a three-part series at Wednesday night Bible study on the Armor of God.
The Journey Continues ~ Pat

Gary was privileged to give the young boy,
on the right with his Mother, his Biblical name. 
'Andrew'.  One who will bring many to Jesus.  

Village Church Worship and the Word

Neighborhood walks include interacting with friendly residents.  
They question me in a string of animated Hindi - which I do not understand - but
assume to be the typical Indian greeting, "Where are you going?"
I reply by windmilling my arms to mime running, and announce 'Exercise!'.
This earns a smile, sideways head nod, and a satisfied 'Tika tika' (okay, okay)

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

What's the Mission?

India is our second home. It's been three years since our last trip, but Gary and I truly feel comfortable and ‘at home’. Sure it's vastly different than life in America, but we have become accustomed to:

  • Starting our day with a hot cup of chai (tea) instead of coffee
  • Walking to various neighborhood markets for groceries which we pay for in Indian rupees
  • Using gestures to indicate what we want from the vegetable vendor (accompanied by lots of smiles and nods)
  • Dodging cows, goats (and their droppings) as we walk to and from church
  • Singing Nepali worship songs by phonetically reading the words on the screen

Our primary mission this trip is to come alongside local churches to strengthen and encourage the Pastors, leaders and believers. We are enjoying rich times of fellowship as we worship, study God's Word and pray together. 

Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers.  Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. Ephesians 4:11- 12 NLT


India is ranked #11 on the Open Doors World Watch List: an annual ranking of countries where Christians face the most extreme persecution. Even though the area we are in is more accepting of Christians and religions other than Hinduism, it is safer for the people we work with if we stay behind the scenes encouraging them as they share the good news of Jesus’ love.

While the weather can be a challenge (right now it’s hot and dusty, yet still feels humid to me); India is a beautiful country.  Tropical plants and flowers overtake any untended space; and the food is delicious.

For more about daily life in India, check out this blog post from 2019 – Vignettes from the Rooftop.

Wherever we go, whatever we do, we have the awesome opportunity and privilege to represent our Lord Jesus.  Our prayer is that you will find joy in your journey, as you represent Jesus in your mission field.

The Journey Continues – Pat 

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 the capital city of Delhi, 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.