First and foremost: Please PRAY!!
1) Pray for: the Details- of the trip to continue to come together, as we are still planning the budget, itinerary, goals & purpose, as well as who will be going on the trip. Praise God for He is a God of details!
2) Pray for: Wisdom-- with the resources & finances we have to plan it, as well as when we are over there to use what we have been given for the trip to be used wisely (gifts, curriculum, money, our own talents and abilities--that we would make all that we have & are available for the Lord to use as He wants & for His glory!)
3) Pray for: Discernment-- in choosing team members out of those who apply for the trip. We try to make this kind of opportunity available for whoever is willing to go. However, we have a limited number of spots, as well as, to go to a country like India it takes a certain kind of person to go and do what we will be doing over there.
4) Pray for: Patience, Endurance, & Wisdom-- for the team leaders & co-leaders (me included) as we lead teams of anywhere from 15-30 students. That we may we be servant leaders, examples to follow, and worthy of respect.
5) Pray for: Health & Safety-- for the team to be healthy leading up to the trip, during the trip, and after the trip! That we would be cautious in the things that we eat (especially while over there), drink, use plenty of hand-sanitizer, but not being so focused on all of that, that we end up missing out on the joy of getting dirty while playing with the kids, or holding a leper's hand, etc. For safety, not only in planes, trains & automobiles, but also for the in-country contacts that we stay with and minister alongside- that they won't run into trouble with authorities since the area we will be in is fairly hostile to Christianity.
6) Pray for: India- the country itself for the Lord to pierce the darkness there, and bring people out of darkness and into His wonderful light; That they would be hungry for Him. For Emmanuel Ministries- the leaders, the orphans, the Seminary students, the school children- for we will be working alongside them, praying with them, playing with them, teaching them, encourgaing them- pray for us to be a blessing to them, as we already know they will be blessing us more than we can imagine simply by just their smiles & light in their eyes!
7) Pray for: Unity- especially within the team. That we may we walk in love, bearing with one another in love, doing everything we can to maintain the bond of peace and unity we have in the Holy Spirit. So that the people of India, and all people will see that we are His disciples because of His love. Also so that we can effectively fulfill the purpose of the trip and tasks for which He has called us there at that time.
8) Pray for: Finances- each team member, including myself, must raise money support for this trip. The cost is approximately $2900.
Something I would like to state with the above prayer requests in mind is:
As Christians, I believe each of us have a part in God's plan of redemption and the furtherance of His Kingdom in this world. In Matt. 28:18-20 it is written, "Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Christians know this as "the Great Commission."
I believe that we have an obligation to help fulfill this in some way by either being a "go-er," a sender, a pray-er or some combination of the three. This "great commission" given by Jesus, certainly was not just a "great suggestion." It is time for the Church to rise up and go, send and pray, especially in America (the richest & most powerful country in the world).
One of the biggest lessons that hit me when I was in India in January was how truly blessed we are here in the U.S. There were several times while over there that I had some hatred towards how blessed we are in comparison to them. How much "wealth" & stuff we have, that has really only caused us deep moral and spiritual poverty. Those kids have some of the most beautiful, pure, joyful smiles & lives that I have ever encountered. Not only the kids, but also the adult believers we got to meet & spend time with as well. Some of us will never know the kind of beauty, purity & joy that they know because we live in bondage to the stuff we have.
I seriously could go on forever about this, please don't take offense, I am only sharing my heart and things that I have learned and will continue to learn the rest of my life. One other thing I had to realize when tempted to in a sense "hate" America and the wealth that we all have, was that I shouldn't hate or hold contempt because that doesn't accomplish anything. But rather, live the principle, "From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more" (Luke 12:48). We have been give MUCH by just simply being born in this country. Praise God! Thank Him! Thank Him by making all that you are, and all that you have available for His use and purposes. Live for Him, for He is the Only One worthy.
All of this to say, I ask those of you who have endured reading all of this to please keep the teams, Light Ministries, Emmanuel Ministries (orphanage ministry we will be working with), all the prayer requests stated above, and me in your prayers that would be greatly appreciated!!! If you would like to make a donation for the upcoming India trip then please make a check payable to:
Light Ministries (and in the memo put what or who it is for) then mail it to:
1971 University Blvd.
Lynchburg, VA 24502
I have a couple of personal prayer requests if you have a minute to lift them up, I would be so grateful!
Mainly please pray for:
1) My Family- many issues going on in need of much prayer & guidance. Salvation for family members who don't know the Lord.
2) Wisdom-- for me with my time, finances, relationships (w/friends & family), schooling, work, etc.
3) My relationship with the Lord-- that He would truly be the Center of my life. May this summer be an incredible time of growth & maturity in He and I's relationship, and just for me as a person in general.
4) My Finances-- to be honest, I'm struggling. I want so badly to be a wise steward of the finances that are entrusted to me, but it is difficult when you have more bills than you know what to do with, and when you're income is less than your "outgoing."
Thank you so much for your love, care, and concern for the details of my life. I love you all!
Humbled by His grace,