India: Day Nine
Today we travelled to the city of Vellore. On the way we stopped at a mountain that was over 1 mile high. The view from the top of the mountain was fantastic. India really is a beautiful land - the vast mountain ranges, the amazing landscapes, and the beautiful countryside.
There were many hairpin turns - but what caught my attention was some of the signs they had on the way up the mountain. They were hilarious!
- If you want to stay married, divorce speed
- You have only one head - wear helmet
But the funniest sign we saw was the last one. We were about halfway up the mountain when we came upon a sign that read:
- You have been sufficiently warned
That just pretty much says it all, doesn't it?
One highlight of my day was meeting the church planters. It was great seeing the training. The thing that amazes me most is their dependence on prayer. They circle the village that they are going to evangelize and pray over the entire village. Then they visit every home in the village and ask if they can pray for each of the family members.
In India, prayer is a very important spiritual practice. Almost no one refuses prayer. This is how the Lord works - He works through prayer.
Going to church was awesome. The music was different, the language was different, and the people were different; but we were worshipping the same Jesus.
It really was inspirational to be worshipping alongside people that God has reached in incredible ways - like Guna, the former Hindu priest that came to Jesus Christ and was later ostracized by his own village.
This entire trip has taught me something - God really is the God of the whole world. I know that in my head and I was taught it throughout my life ... but being here ... seeing what I have seen - now I have experienced the truth of it.
God is our God and He wants to be India's God too.
We enjoyed an incredible time of fellowship together, and afterwards we were able to speak to some of the believers and take pictures - and we also had a man climb a tree and get coconuts for us. He climbed the entire thing and got the coconuts in one minute. I'm pretty sure I couldn't do that!
After church, we went to a pastor's house. What an incredible meal! He served us seven different courses ... and I have never been so full in all my life. In India, everyone is focused on hospitality and making you feel welcome. The food was spicy, but delicious!
Today Chris enjoyed a special time of worship and fellowship with Indian Christians.
Click on the photos below for more behind-the-scenes shots from today's episode!
Preparing God's People
Today's memory verse: "It was He who gave some to be ... pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up..." (Ephesians 4:11-12)
"I can do it myself!"
So ... have you ever said that to your parents ... sometimes loudly?
Want to know a secret? Your parents may have said those words to their parents, too.
As we grow up we want to do things for ourselves. And actually, that is what parents want for their children. Tie your own shoes, clean your own room, and a whole bunch of other things ... some we enjoy and some we don't like so much.
Can you think of some times when you just wanted to say, "I can do that myself?"
In 2 Timothy 2:2, God gives Paul instructions to pass on to Timothy: "What you have learned, pass on to faithful men so that they can teach others also." Paul taught Timothy so that Timothy could "do it himself." But, now Timothy must teach others so they "can do it themselves," and they are to teach still more...
This is what your parents want for you... to learn about God so you can follow Him on your own. Are you making progress?
Sometimes churches say, "We can do this ourselves!"
Many missionaries from Europe and North America went out to start new churches in places that did not know Jesus. But these new churches "grow up." God has given them pastors and teachers. So now the churches in India and Colombia and China ... in fact, churches all over the world ... are saying, "We want to do it ourselves!" "We want to send our own missionaries to reach others in our own country who do not yet know Jesus."
Talk about it: How are the dollars and coins you are putting in your suitcase helping India's church to "do it themselves"? What special ways is God using in India to help prepare His people there to tell others about Jesus?
India is open to the Gospel as never before in history!
During My Passport to India, you've explored India and seen how God is moving in this incredible nation.
One of the most powerful ways He is working is through India's children! As boys and girls come to know Jesus as their Savior through Children's Bible Clubs, they become
God's "little evangelists," telling their friends and family the Good News.
These Bible Clubs are not only opening the doors to the Gospel in India, they are also an effective way for our Indian ministry partners to plant new churches in
Our local partners introduce the 10-day Bible Club, and later it often develops into a "junior church," or worship group made up primarily of kids (Chris visited a
junior church in Day 7!). Children in the Club continue to be discipled within the local body of Christ.
These small worship groups grow as more parents and adults come to a saving knowledge of Jesus - and new churches are planted! Thousands of new churches are
established each year through doors opened by Mission India's Children's Bible Clubs.
Mission India works exclusively with local ministry partners who are committed to the communities they are ministering in. These churches and mission agencies share
our vision to see "India Transformed by Christ" - and their passion is planting churches that will grow and plant more churches!
India has over 600,000 villages ...
Many of these communities don't have a church - yet. As you fill your suitcase with loose change for Children's Bible Clubs, you are making it possible for more of
Mission India's local partners to bring a Children's Bible Club into neighborhoods that haven't yet heard about Jesus!
Remember, it takes $1 to send another boy or girl to a Bible Club in their own neighborhood.
Together, let's see how many more boys and girls in India we can reach with the Good News of Jesus Christ!
You can count up the loose change and dollars in your suitcase and make a gift to Mission
India in that amount at anytime!
My name is Tarun.
I have three children and we live in a small rural village in the state of Chhattisgarh. Our family is from the Mahara people group and we worshipped the Hindu god Iram dei. I served as a priest at the Hindu temple.
My wife died when my two youngest children were just 8 and 5. My oldest daughter was already married and living with her husband's family in another village, which is the custom in India.
I had no one to take care of the household - so I told my 8-year-old son, Jayraj, that he was finished with school. Instead, I expected him to do all the cooking, cleaning, and caring for our animals. Jayraj also had to take care of his younger sister.
I wasn't a very good dad. I was angry a lot after my wife died, and I often spoke harshly to Jayraj and his sister. I didn't help at home or even pay much attention to my children. I just carried out my duties at the temple each day and came home to sleep.
Jayraj was about 13 when I noticed he and his sister disappeared every afternoon for a few hours. They always came home with smiles on their faces, and sometimes as Jayraj did his chores I overheard him quietly singing songs I had never heard before.
I asked Jayraj where they went every day - and he said that he had been invited to a Children's Bible Club. Imagine my surprise! But I didn't say anything. I couldn't see any harm in them going to play with other village kids for a few hours.
When anyone in the village asked me why I was allowing them to attend the Club, I just smiled and said, "My children are learning many things and are leading a happy life. They are learning about cleanliness, songs, stories and are also able to study. I am happy that my son is going there."
Then one day my curiosity was too strong, so I walked over to the Club a few minutes after Jayraj and his sister left the house. I was really impressed to see the rows of happy faces. I watched silently during the prayer time as the boys and girls shared with each other about their lives and as they sang songs praising someone named Jesus.
I couldn't understand the story about Jesus sacrificing His life to save sinners like me. I've worked in the temple my whole life - all the gods demand sacrifices from people, but they never sacrifice themselves for us.
I started coming every day to the Bible Club with my children! I wanted to know more about Jesus Christ. My heart opened up more and more each visit, and I made a decision to follow Jesus. My favorite Bible verse is Psalm 51:1: "Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions."
I quit my job at the Hindu temple. I am working as a farmer to support my family. Every week I go with Jayraj and his sister to the worship group that includes many families from the Bible Club. Now my family is happy and we have peace and joy in our home.
I love the Children's Bible Club and I think every child should attend the Club. I am telling every parent in my village to send their children to the Club.
Here are some ideas from other My Passport to India families on how to get started filling your suitcase with loose change to send more of India's kids to Children's Bible Clubs! Remember, each $1 you give will allow another boy or girl to attend a Bible Club in their own community.
"My 7 year old daughter is making handmade greeting cards to sell to raise money for Indian children to go to the Bible Club."
"I make handmade jewelry and donated a portion of my proceeds from a recent sale I had."
- "We've been taking some clothing the kids have outgrown to a local resale shop. Our plan is to put the money we earn from those sales into our Mission India suitcase."
"Each week, as I am preparing the grocery shopping list, I go over the things I am buying especially for the kids - juice boxes, fruit snacks, etc. They choose an item (or items) they are willing to give up for a week to put the same amount of money in their Mission India suitcase. It's a small scale sacrifice, but every time they go to the fridge or pantry, they see what's missing and remember that lives may be changed for eternity through their gifts."
"We decided that at any meal if a family member drank water instead of the other beverages offered (iced tea, juice or milk) we would put a quarter in our box. How could we not sacrifice something so small for those needing the Gospel in India?"
"My boys' Sunday school class just held a bake sale outside a local grocery store today to raise money for My Passport to India and earned $368! The kids and adults alike were thrilled."
"My daughters (6, 8, 10) are using my Cricut to make gift tags for Christmas gifts. All sizes and many Christmas colors, some with printed papers, using punches, etc. They are selling them for 25 cents each or 5 for $1."
- "[Our homeschool group] gathered with about 7 dozen muffins and cupcakes to sell for $1.00 each - each one to send 1 child in India to Bible Club."
"My girls filled the suitcase all by themselves, doing extra chores for their grandparents and even giving money from the tooth fairy. We learned a lot about India and had fun!"
Share your story
How is your family using My Passport to India? What ideas do you have about raising loose change to fill your suitcase for Children's Bible Clubs? We invite you to email your photos, stories, and ideas to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kids - we want to hear from you, too! Tell us what you've learned so far, or share your prayer for the boys and girls of India. Include your first name and age and, if you'd like, your state or country.
(By sharing your stories and photos you give Mission India permission to publish this information on our website and/or in other print materials.)