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