Sunday, December 24, 2023

Merry Christmas from India

What an amazing joy to be celebrating Christmas in our own flat (apartment) in India!   Pat and I are so excited to be able to split our time between India and America. Plans are to use India as our base for missions in South East Asia, then avoid the heavy monsoon season by spending the summer months in the US.  

The weeks leading up to Christmas have been busy with Christmas outreaches. It's a perfect opportunity to talk about Jesus in this Hindu nation.  Children at the tea garden village of Baginbari prepared a special program with songs and dancing.  They were given toys, groceries for the family and a snack box to enjoy.  

Seven families hosted evening gatherings in their homes - carols were sung, the story of Jesus was shared, food was enjoyed.  Nepali people love to sing and dance - the video is a little rough - but captures their enthusiasm. The first few seconds do not have sound.  Regardless of the setting - a humble village with a dirt courtyard or a beautiful home - the love of Jesus was shared and hearts were encouraged. 

Thank you for being a part of what God is doing in India.  Your love, prayers and support makes it possible for us to be the hands and feet of Jesus.  May the following excerpt from my Christmas message encourage your heart as you celebrate His birth - and receive the precious gift of Jesus.

Christmas blessings from India - Gary and Pat 


Christmas can be a discouraging time of year for some, because of a loss of a loved one, a failed marriage, loss of a job, poor health or a child who has not come home.

The good news is that you have a reason to rejoice because God has four amazing gifts for you. These gifts are not wrapped in ribbon and bows, but are manifested in Jesus Christ, who is the greatest gift you can ever receive.

Isaiah 9:6 reads,” For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

  1. Jesus is 'Wonderful Counselor.' His counsel is unfailing and flawless, perfectly suited to the situation, always practical and wise.  

  2. If you need a miracle, Jesus is your 'Mighty God' who is for you and wants to be invited to help you fight the visible and invisible battles you experience.

  3. When you need comfort, Jesus is your 'Everlasting Father.'  Talking about God as a Father brings complicated emotions for some. But the love of your Heavenly Father is unlike any love you could ever know.  A Father, who loves you unconditionally and will never leave you nor forsake you.

  4. If you are overwhelmed by life, Jesus is your 'Prince of Peace.' True peace is not the absence of a storm.  True peace is found in the presence of God, and you can have peace in your soul no matter what your circumstances might be.

This Christmas Season receive God’s great gift “ us a child is born, to us a son is given.”  He is your 'Wonderful Counselor', 'Mighty God', 'Everlasting Father', and 'Prince of Peace.'

Whatever you are going through, Jesus is exactly what you need!    

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Christmas is Outreach Time

Christmas is outreach time in this Hindu nation.  They worship many gods - millions in fact. Many Hindus recognize Jesus as a good teacher or one of the gods.  As we share the true meaning of Jesus' birth at Christmas time - our prayer is that their spiritual eyes will be opened and they will receive Him as Lord and Savior.

What does this look like?   Families from the church invite their neighbors and host a night of carols, food and fun.  If their home is small, the party will happen around a bonfire in the yard.  Christmas songs will be sung in 5 languages - Hindi, Nepali, Bengali, Adavasi and English.  I volunteered to be part of the Carolers and am working to learn the songs!  Whew.  I'll probably be humming along for a lot of them.

During the evening Gary will be sharing the story of Jesus - from the manager - to the cross and the power of the resurrection.  We have this hope - when we receive Jesus we are assured of salvation and now have the amazing privilege to actually have a relationship with God almighty.  We know that God loves us and cares for us; hears and answers our prayers.

Hinduism and other religions do not offer any assurances that their prayers, incense, offerings, good works, etc. will actually be accepted.  There is very little hope.  That is the difference between religion and relationship.

Scenes from Christmas 2019
Notice the snacks!
Volunteers from Master's Touch Church have been loving on the children at the tea garden village of Baginbari for almost six years now.  We've shared reports and photos in previous blogs. Click here to see the report from Christmas 2019.  

This year's Christmas outreach party will bless 16 mothers & young married women and 55 children at Baginbari. At a second location, the party will bless an additional  20 children.  They will receive groceries for each family, toys for the children, beauty products for the mothers, and a small box of Christmas treats for everyone.  (Slice of cake, a samosa, and a delicious crunchy snack called Bhujia )  There will be singing and sharing the Christmas story in their tribal language: Adavasi. 

India's Prime Minister Modi’s BJP Party has been pushing Hindu Nationalism and we have noticed that people have become much harder to the Gospel than in previous years.  

Will you join us in prayer for these outreaches?  As you prepare your home and your hearts to celebrate  Christmas, would you lift up these lost souls who will be hearing about Jesus' love - many for the first time.  Agree with us for:

  • Hearts to be dramatically touched by Holy Spirit
  • The Love of Jesus to penetrate their hearts so that they receive Him as Savior
  • Christians in India to stand strong and boldly share their faith in Jesus in spite of opposition
Your love and prayerful support make it possible for us to be here.  You are part of all we do - and we are so grateful.  This Christmas, may you find the joy that only Jesus can give.  

Praise the Lord! How joyful are those who fear the Lord and delight in obeying his commands.  They share freely and give generously to those in need. Their good deeds will be remembered forever.    They will have influence and honor.  Psalm 112: 1 & 9 NLT

~ Journey with Joy ~ Pat

My morning meander lead me down a new path
 that opened up to this beautiful view with the
 foothills of the Himalaya's in the distance. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

An Early Morning Walk

Early mornings are the most peaceful time in our neighborhood.  It’s that magical hour when the sky is light, but the sun has not fully risen. The cool, crisp air echoes with birdsong – it’s energizing.  

The road is mostly clear of school buses, goods carriers, gravel trucks, tuk-tuks, motorbikes and other conveyances that normally raise clouds of dust.

Cows are on the move, they seem to know where they are going, while I dodge the ‘offerings’ they leave in their path.

Hindu worshippers search for flowers to gather for their morning worship. Street dogs sleep curled up on piles of gravel.  

My route takes me down Military Road,  the only smoothly paved road nearby. At the end of the road a block wall with heavy gates and ‘Keep Out’ signs are a reminder that India’s army is always on alert.

The neighborhood is stirring.  I pass a few other walkers, see porches and entrances being swept, watch laborers offload a delivery of bricks (by hand), and greet house servants as they cycle to work in their bright-colored sarees, their long scarves (chunni’s) trailing like banners.

Did I mention the cows?

Quiet street. Hindu altar. 
Unloading bricks by hand.

Walking, praying, singing - my favorite way to start the day in any country.

Wherever you find yourself today, I encourage you to start your day by talking to the Lord. Share your heart with Him.  Look up to Him. Find strength for your day.

The Journey Continues ~ Pat 

“Give ear to my words, O Lord, consider my meditation. Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God: for unto thee will I pray. My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.” Psalm 5:1-3 KJV

Join us for Bible Study at Master's Touch India
English teaching, translated into Nepali.
Find more teachings on our YouTube channel 

Friday, October 27, 2023

Back Home in India

What a journey!  It took four flights, across 12 time zones and the international date line to get to our final destination in India.  

Originally our trip was 41 hours including flight time and layovers. That was before our flight from Las Vegas to Phoenix was delayed by 3 hours - resulting in missing our international connection, spending the night in Phoenix, and rebooking our flights 24 hours later. The airline agent who rescheduled our flights was wonderfully patient and calm. (Thank you Harriet.) 

Sixty-five hours after leaving our house (you read that correctly - 65 hours) we arrived safely in India - our second home.  We were warmly greeted, fed delicious Paneer Butter Masala with fresh roti, and put to bed. It's wonderful to be home. 

How can it feel like 'Home' when it's so different from our life in America? 
While listening to a worship song based on Psalm 84, I was reminded that our true, eternal home is not a place, but a person.  His name is Jesus. As we follow the heart of God, wherever He leads us - our home is where His heart is. 

Our prayer for you, wherever you are on your own journey with Jesus, is that you will experience the peace, joy and love that results in finding your home in His heart.

~ The journey continues - Gary & Pat

Listen to Shane & Shane's worship song based on Psalm 84

How lovely are Your dwelling places
Your Holy Spirit here in us
Oh how I love to sing Your praises
One day with You would be enough

Wherever I go is home
Because You're here
In my soul
You're an oasis in the desert
Living water overflow

Thursday, October 5, 2023

It's Not Glamorous

Counting down: It’s less than three weeks until we head to India for an extended stay. 

It looks like a bomb went off in the house. 

  • Piles of items set aside for the neighborhood yard sale clutter the downstairs and garage. We’ve cleaned out dark corners of our closets, borrowed tables, and slapped bright yellow price tags on everything. 

  • The spare room overflows with piles that need to fit into our four allotted suitcases.
    • An entire suitcase will contain eyeglasses for village eye clinics.
    • Another one will hold children’s church materials, gifts for our Indian family and friends, a few household items for our apartment (called a flat) plus specific vitamin supplements and personal care items that are a challenge to find in India.
    • We’ll fit our clothes around everything else to cushion anything breakable.

Pre-trip planning also involves preparing our hearts.  

  • Staying open to what God has for this trip. Although we have been to India many times, every trip is different.  
  • Times of prayer and fasting where we invite Holy Spirit to speak to our hearts, expand our vision and capacity to walk out His will and purpose. 

A song called “New Wine” speaks to our hearts.  We need to know what God is doing now, at this time, for this trip and the people we will minister to.  'New wine' speaks of a fresh anointing from Holy Spirit.  We are very aware that we need Holy Spirit to lead, guide and protect us as we go. This is why your prayers are so important to us. We feel ‘bubble-wrapped’, at peace and safe because of your prayers for us.

Make me Your vessel
Make me an offering
Make me whatever You want me to be

I came here with nothing
But all You have given me
Jesus bring new wine out of me

So I yield to You, into Your careful hand
When I trust You I don't need to understand

Siliguri Sunrise Awaits (Photo by Samuel Kahling)

(Photo by Brenda Williams)

Thank you for following our journey.
Thank you for praying.

The Journey Continues ~ Pat

"Now Lord, .... enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus." 
Acts 4:29-39 NIV

Saturday, September 9, 2023

The World is Calling

In the book of Acts chapter 16 we read the account of Paul's Macedonian call:

During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.  Acts 16:9-10

Gary and I have heard a similar call from the hearts of our ministry partners in India, Sri Lanka, Thailand and other nations.  There is a great peace as we answer the call and prepare to travel back to India on October 22, 2023.  Plans are to base in India for seven months, travelling to other countries from there. 

Wow right? There is a deep sense of awe and amazement that we are finally living out what we have longed for our entire lives.  It has always been our desire to spend more time on the mission field than in America.  We thought we were ready for this decades ago.  God had other plans and the perfect timetable.  Now - we believe it's His time.  

Faithful God
You hold my life secure
and all my days are yours

Powerful lyrics from one of our  all-time favorite worship songs 'Faithful God' by Gateway Worship. We serve a  God whose faithfulness endures.  Because He is the same yesterday, today and forever, we can trust that He knows what is ahead and how to lead us through it in victory.

Thank you for your ongoing love, prayers and financial support.  We truly do feel the strength of your prayers.

As we embark on this seven month adventure, please pray for wisdom, guidance, protection and the direction of the Holy Spirit.  

You are part of our journey.  Stay strong in your walk with the Lord. Remember that He is working all things out for your good. Stay in peace as you wait. 

  The journey continues ~ Pat

You will be encouraged by Gary's message "It's Another Touch"
shared at The Place Church in Hamilton, Montana 

Saturday, August 5, 2023

Montana Reflections

What a joy to experience summer in Montana. Days filled with blue sky, mountains, good friends and family, precious fellowship as we share God's Word and highlights of our India Mission trip.  Even as fire season starts, and the mountains are obscured by smoke, we see the goodness of God. 

If you are in the area join us Sunday August 13th at 10:30 a.m.  as we minister at The Place Church, 273 Fairgrounds Road, Hamilton, Montana. 

Looking Back - Love and the Taj Mahal

On our way home from our recent India mission trip, Gary and I spent a couple nights in Delhi and visited a UNESCO World Heritage Site, one of the Seven Wonders of the World – the Taj Mahal.  

Commissioned in 1631 by Shah Jahan, as a tomb and memorial to his wife, Mumtaz Mahal, it is one of the most impressive pieces of architecture in the world, especially its intricate marble and stonework.  Each year, over 3.3 million people from all over India and around the world visit the Taj Mahal.

I was captured by the story – a memorial to love. I was captivated by the detail that went into its construction: a perfectly symmetrical layout, pure Makrana marble hauled from Rajasthan, India, 231 miles by river barge and then on carts pulled by oxen or elephants.  The marble was intricately inlaid with precious stones, finials of pure gold topped every dome.

People are drawn to the Taj Mahal because of its beauty, because of the story. It’s a love story. I was struck by this thought: scripture says that we are the temple of the living God. It made me wonder – does the story of my life, does the beauty of my life, draw people?
That’s the challenge and privilege of having the spirit of almighty God live within us. To be a worthy representative of His great love; demonstrating the love that brought Him to earth to die for our sins.  

The prayer of Paul in Philippians chapter one contains a key to becoming all that Jesus destined and purposed us to be – His glorious church, a pure and holy temple:

I continue to pray for your love to grow and increase beyond measure, bringing you into the rich revelation of spiritual insight in all things. This will enable you to choose the most excellent way of all —becoming pure and without offense until the unveiling of Christ.  And you will be filled completely with the fruits of righteousness that are found in Jesus, the Anointed One—bringing great praise and glory to God! Philippians 1:9-11 TPT

When light shines from the inside the Taj Mahal, through the translucent marble, the radiant colors of the precious stones are revealed.  When the light of Jesus shines through us – His glory is revealed.

The Taj Mahal is a monument to love:   The one who built it is dead. The one he loved is dead. You and I are a living monument – a living memorial to love. Jesus is alive. We are alive because of Him.

Let’s make this our prayer today and every day: to grow in spiritual insight so that we will wisely chose the most excellent way of all as we follow Christ.

The Journey Continues ~ Pat

Tuesday, June 13, 2023

Montana - The Journey Continues

The first half of 2023 has been a busy and very enjoyable time of ministry for Pat and I.  After three years of waiting to go overseas, our first 2023 India trip is over.  We’re expecting to return either late October or early November.  Plans are to base in India, and from there fly to Sri Lanka, Thailand and Cambodia to reconnect with our ministry partners.  We’ll keep you posted when the dates are set.

Now our focus is on Montana.  It’s a great opportunity to have a time of rest and refreshing, minister in a few churches and visit with family and friends. After 4 years, Pat & her sister Cyndy will be taking a road trip to Canada to visit family.

We will be leaving Las Vegas on June 28 and returning August 15.  Pat and I so appreciate your love and prayers and ask that you keep the following times of ministry in prayer.

  • Sunday July 16th - 10 a.m. CrossPoint Church, Corvallis, MT
         with Pastors Scot and Shelly Colwell
  • Tuesday July 18th - 10:00 a.m. Women of Worship,
         at Light of the Valley, Stevensville, MT
  • Tuesday July 18th -   6:00 p.m CrossPoint Women, Corvallis, MT 
  • Sunday July 23rd - 10:30 a.m. House of Praise, Victor, MT
         with Pastors Jim and Lorraine Andrusky
  • Sunday August 13th 10:30 am The Place Church, Hamilton, MT
         with Pastors Mike and Denise Echterling

It will be great to see many of you in the Beautiful Bitterroot Valley! Words can never express how important you are to us. Thank You for faithfully standing with us through your prayers and financial gifts as we walk out the destiny the Lord has set before us.

The Journey Continues – Gary

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.