I’ve been back from India for just over a week now. My body is finally getting back to normal and the case of Delhi Belly that hit me upon my return home is finally gone. I’m finally sleeping at normal hours and getting back into my normal routine.
As I’ve taken time to reflect on my time in India, there are a few things that stick out:
First of all, God used my absence to bring about some strengthening in those around me.
My first Friday out of the country, Mike and Kim learned that their brother-in-law had been killed in Afghanistan. Mike and Kim were able to be a source of strength to their family, even though they did not have my presence to draw from. Mike and Kim were forced to lean on the Lord in a way they had not had to draw on His strength before. Carol also felt led to join some meetings that I normally attend, and also led out with our monthly overseer’s meeting. This was a large growth step for Carol as well and she now sees her role as my ministry partner much more clearly.
I believe the second primary purpose of this trip was my influence on some key people:
My interactions with Tom and Santhosh, in particular were part of a molding, shaping and directional process that the Lord is taking them through. In the case of both of these men, I watched God take them through some stretching of their comfort zones and standard modes of operation. Additionally, in two of the cities where I led meetings, the pastors came under conviction about their need to work cooperatively towards the purposes of God’s kingdom. In the wake of our meetings, these pastors have committed to working together towards the fulfillment of God’s plan for their individual communities.
The third key issue was the reminder of the completeness of God’s power and strength.
On two particular occasions, I was speaking with almost no physical or mental strength. On both of those occasions, I spoke not with force or vigor, but the power of God was incredibly overwhelming. On the first occasion a demon manifested in a man as I was speaking and threw this man into the adjacent river. He was immediately delivered from the demon and received the life giving touch of Jesus that night. The second time I gave the invitation after making a very simple gospel presentation and I watched as over 30 people came forward to give their lives to Jesus.
It was good to be back home on Sunday. Sunday was the first anniversary of the launch of Simplicity – Corpus Christi and the Simplicity Church Network. We all marveled at how quickly the year has gone, and how much God has molded, shaped and changed us in this first year. We also decided to replace our big orange water cooler outside with some of the sack lunches we have put together. Sunday we set out 6 lunch bags with Vienna Sausage, fruit cups, and crackers. By the time church was over, only one bag was left.
Tuesday was a great day of victories as well. Carol and I were short on making our house rent. Our rent is $1,000/month and we only had $179 to our name. We asked some people who are close to us to pray with us over this need. One of those individuals told Carol, “I’m praying that someone will show up at your doorstep with a check in hand.” Not 10 minutes later this same individual called back and said she would be bringing a check by…she ended up being the answer to her own request.
Tuesday evening we were praying at the church when we heard a knock on the door. A young man entered and said, “I believe God sent me here.” We then told him how he got to us and he agreed…I told him we were praying for him to come, we just didn’t know it was him that we were specifically praying for. This man has been in Corpus for 2 weeks. In the past his life has included many pitfalls, and of course he found himself in the epicenter of those things here in Corpus Christi. He knows he has a call on his life, but his frustration with his circumstances had led him back to some places he swore he would never go again. After speaking into his life we offered to walk with him as he works to rebuild his life. Over the past two days I have had the opportunity to help him find new housing arrangements and to begin looking for work. While I was in India, the Lord spoke to me about someone he was raising up to become the leader of Simplicity – Corpus Christi…something in my spirit, says this man may eventually be the one God was speaking to me about.