James 4:14

"Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away." James 4:14

Monday, October 25, 2010


Week whatever it is...three? I think? Crazy week. First off, I realized I might be bipolar. I felt like it was a pretty slow week, but as I look over my journal, it was actually pretty busy. I say I'm bipolar because last week was almost overwhelming—speaking at the village church on Monday, teaching and praying all night Thursday, while preparing a sermon for Sunday. This week, nothing like that, so I got all bummed out and felt like I'm useless and not doing anything. I spent a lot of time this week praying and studying. God has been teaching me so much it's insane.

Mostly God has been teaching me a lot about me doing stuff, since I felt like I wasn't doing much this week. Sometimes, especially on missions, it's easy to get caught in the mindset that I need to DO something. Then we run around frantically trying to make up stuff for ourselves to do just so we can say we're doing something. God has showed me that I need to let go and then He'll take over and do what He wants to do. This works out a lot better because instead of my trying, it's resting in Him and enjoying peace. So yeah, I learned that it's harder in missions when stuff isn't going on than when it is. A great encouragement to me was a wise saying I read. “A praying man can never be a useless man.” The scripture reference was Psalm 27:14. It was perfect.

Speaking of prayer...I had the wonderful opportunity to pray with some of women from the church who came over to the house one day. I learned that they get together for at least an hour every day to pray for the upcoming Gospel Campagn. That's pretty amazing. I also went to Vijayawada one day this week with Pastor Daniel to organize some of the fliers and posters. Traveling and eating “pizza” is always an experience, but the coolest thing about the trip was visiting a Christian bookstore in that city. SWEET! They even had a small English section. I know it's probably the only one for a very large area, but it's still cool to see it there and be fairly busy. Praise God!

Another HUGE praise! The Hindu temple took down the new loudspeakers. Thanks for praying! We certainly serve a great God. I've heard a little bit from their other speakers, but it's far less than it used to be. Please continue to pray for the salvation of the people there. Also, a new couple has joined us here to help out. They are a great blessing to the ministry by helping take care of the orphans. Their names are Pradeep and Ester. Pradeep has an incredible testimony, coming from a Hindu family and now they are all Christians. They are just wonderful to be around. I am so amazed at how the Church, as the Body of Christ, works. The connection I have with my brothers and sisters here even when there is virtually no communication is incredible. It's our connection in Jesus that brings us together and that warmth is great to experience.

My Telugu is coming along slowly but surely. It's fun learning from the kids. I also got to teach them in Sunday School. This was fun as well. So the funny thing is, you remember at the beginning how I said I felt kind of useless and like I wasn't doing much? Well, I gave that to God and told Him that I am content with whatever. If He wants to do something through me, do it. If He chooses not too, then I will be content to just be with Him. Anyways, Saturday night Pastor Daniel asked me to preach next Sunday and said that we would also be traveling to another village church this week so I can speak there as well. Oh, okay God. I'm so glad He's patient with me. What a wonderful God we serve!

So here's a funny story. I had a dream last night where for some reason I had to be back in the States. I had to be there for a couple days and then I was stressed and trying to figure out how to get back to India for the rest of the time of my visa. “oh, praise God,” I muttered as I woke up and realized I was still here. Haha! Good times.

Wow! God is good! What a mighty, marvelous God! Man, God is just so awesome! I'm sooo pumped to see what He's going to do!

“Cease striving and know that I am God;” Psalm 46:10a

Pray for:
-Tabita's husband—salvation
-Gospel Campaign—Hearts to be prepared and logistics
-Sponsors for orphans
-Me—that God would speak through me for His glory.

Praise Him for:
--Taking away the loudspeakers
--Bringing in Pradeep and Ester
--Physical health.

Monday, October 18, 2010

3 Dozen

This is approximately the number of bananas I eat per week. Yes, that is a lot of bananas. However, they are super cheap and super delicious and super good for helping digest food. So in spite of all the spicey food, I'm feeling pretty good. I could make a new detox program. You just eat Indian food and lots of bananas. It works great! I think the only thing I eat more of than bananas is rice. It's kind of like creol, it goes great with everything...especially curry. Let's try to just list a few: fried potato curry, veggie curry, shrimp curry, goat meat curry, chicken curry, fish curry, carrot curry, beet curry, and yogurt. And that's just this week. So yeah, rice is good with everything, and it's better when you eat it with your hand.

Thursday night we had all night prayer with the fifteen or so pastors from the village church plants. This was also a great time. It was a blessing to pray with them and their wives and some of the believers from the church here. We then had a “pastor's meeting” Friday morning. I thought there would be more discussion, but it was pretty much just like church: Singing and praying and getting into God's Word. It was fun to meet all the pastors anyway. Pastor Daniel also gave me some time to teach Thursday night. I hope it was an encouragement to them.

The spiritual battle here is raging. Sunday morning, I had a good alarm clock that woke me up at 5 something. It kept going and I couldn't find the snooze button. Well, the Hindu temple next door doesn't have a snooze button. They do have another set of speakers though. Yes, they got two more loudspeakers and placed them on a telephone pole right next to the church with them facing toward us (as if they weren't close enough already). Pastor Daniel went over to talk to them about it, but it didn't seem to accomplish much. They kept the speakers going all the way through the church service into the afternoon. The purpose of the new speakers is mostly to disrupt us. Please pray that God would give us wisdom with how to deal with this situation. More so, pray that these people would get saved. The biggest thing is not that these speakers are loud and obnoxious, but that these poor people have yet to meet their Savior. They need Jesus!

On a different note, Pastor Daniel's family asked me at lunch on Sunday how I lost all the hair on my forehead. Haha! Oh yeah, good ole receding hair lines. Thanks for those genes Granpa! I told them it's because I'm getting old. They laughed but said that in India it's considered favorable to have no hair...so I guess I'm well on my way. I probably should have just told them that receding hair lines are considered attractive in America.

Anyways, it's hard to take pictures and update more on the culture now because so many things have begun to be normal for me. It's normal to see ox-carts and water buffaloes on the road along with bikes and bike-rickshaws and auto-rickshaws. Near collisions don't seem all that strange or out of the ordinary when traveling. Or seeing tons of people and playing real life frogger when we're in the city. It all just seems normal.

It was a joy to preach on Sunday morning, even with the loudspeakers going off. I don't know if they were turned down or not, but I honesty didn't notice them at all while I was preaching. I noticed them before and then afterward when I was praying for the people to be saved, but that was it. Praise God! Another praise is that one of the guest speakers for the Gospel Campaign confirmed that he would be able to come on those days.

The weather has been relatively cool here and we've had a little rain from the cyclones. God has blessed me with good health physically. He also continues to work on me spiritually. I'm learning so much about drawing near to Him and He gives me new ways to trust Him all the time. My mission and ministry seems to be solidifying here and I'm so stoked to be here and be a part of what He's doing. I'm also excited to see what He's going to do in the future.

“I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance” Luke 15:7.

Please pray for:
-Tabita's Husband—salvation
-Wisdom and Discernment—for the spiritual stuff and also for the loudspeakers.
-Gospel Campaign—Hearts to be prepared and logistics
-Sponsors for orphans
-Me—that God would be glorified through me.

--Confirmed Pastor
--Physical Health
--Clarity while speaking Sunday. Praise God!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Your not in Kansas anymore....

You're in Nebraska! Pastor Daniel informed me the other day that the area we are in is mostly agriculture and it's very flat, like Nebraska he says. Anyway, it's very hard to give an update for the past week but I'll do the best I can.

First off, I am continually amazed at the godliness of some of the believers here. We've had great times worshiping together on Saturday evening and Sunday morning as well as fasting and praying on Friday. It was so cool to see the believers show up on Friday and pray all morning into the afternoon. It's obvious that they love the Lord. I've also been blessed by the family devotions we've had every night. I think sometimes in America we do some of these things just because we feel like we should or because that's what “good Christians” do. God has used the believers here to teach me that if we are consumed by a love for God, these things are a joy and it's not about whether I should or shouldn't. It's not about us at all. It's all about God. If our focus is on Him, we won't have time to think about ourselves. I also got to meet a spiritual giant named Tabita whose story is way to crazy to write in a letter, so you'll just have to wait till I get back to hear it. The short and skinny of it is that you need to pray for her husband to be saved.

I've been able to help the orphans with some of their homework in the evenings, but they have been gone since Thursday because there is a big Hindu holiday and they get 5 days off from school. Most of them went to be with relatives during this time. I asked Pastor Daniel why their relatives don't take them in and he explained that they can hardly take care of their own kids, so they can't support the orphans too. So the past several days have been fairly quiet around here.

We've gone to town a couple times which is always fun. One day we went to the fish market, but Daniel asked me beforehand if I had a strong stomach. Needless to say it smelled a little fishy. There's just no way to describe it. Lots of people and lots of fish and lots of bartering. I also bought a shirt in town. It took a couple different tries because most places didn't have my size. I finally found a shirt that fits perfect—XXL. Apparently I've put on a couple of pounds since being here. Just kidding. I guess I'm just an extra extra large Indian. So, aside from being a 6' tall white guy, I feel like I blend in pretty well. The first day we went to the Internet I was standing by Pastor Daniel waiting for him since my updates wouldn't work. I was wearing shorts (and no, I'm not the only person to wear shorts here. Just the only white guy to wear shorts, but I'm the only white guy in the town so it's okay). Anyway, there were three ladies who were leaving and as we were crowded by the door, one of them stooped down and felt my leg. Not sure if it's because it's white or because it's hairy....or maybe cause it's just so attractive...jk. I didn't want to embarrass her so I refrained from looking down, but I did laugh to myself, a lot.

Other than that, the days have seemed to be slow. This has also been great because it's given me the time to get more and more intimate with Jesus and press into Him. I'm learning that God often works in us before He works through us. Things picked up for me a little bit this weekend. I was asked to teach a story to the children for Sunday School which was wonderful and a lot of fun. Then Daniel told me that we would be visiting one of the church plants in a village on Monday and that I should prepare a message for that. This church was just starting a three day period of fasting and prayer. After the service, several of the people came up and wanted me to pray for them. Many of them had health problems.

Now, this part of the update is very hard for me to write simply because it can be taken in so many wrong ways. As I write this I am still debating whether or not to delete this paragraph. For now, I will include it and pray that it will be received in the right way. I include it because it is an issue that needs much prayer and I know some of you are standing firmly with me in your prayers. Okay, here goes.
After the service, one of the elderly women in this church came up and asked me to pray for her back. As I was praying for her, she suddenly grabbed my hand and pressed it to her face (my other hand was on her shoulder) and began yelling. At first I was startled and a chill went through me. Immediately I tightened my grip on her shoulder and knew I was in a battle and that I should pray against anything unclean in her. I prayed for this intensely while she was shouting. After a short time, she stopped yelling and went into soft crying and I finished praying. I asked Pastor Daniel about this in the car on the way back. He said that some people have unclean spirits in them but they think it's the Holy Spirit and that this lady is known for disrupting the peace in this church by breaking out in yelling and she says that she is speaking in tongues. It does not surprise me that demons would try to impersonate the Holy Spirit by giving people some “spiritual” experience. “No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds” (2 Corinthians 11:14-15). If Satan disguises himself, and false apostles disguise themselves, I don't doubt that demons follow this example. There is a great need for spiritual discernment. My fear is that some people may read this and be wowed by some “spiritual experience” that happened in India. Or..(I wish I didn't have to even mention this) but the terrible thought that some people may try to glorify me in some way. There is nothing here to glory about. This is incredibly sad and my heart is broken about this whole thing. I'm broken that this woman has this and that the enemy has created so much confusion and chaos. I pray for this lady, that the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard her heart and her mind in Christ Jesus. I would be here all day if I were to address every other wrong way I know this could be taken. I am not trying to make any point with this story or take any certain denominational stance, but I share it simply to ask for prayer. However you feel about it, please just pray that the love and light of Jesus would shine clearly in the midst of the darkness, confusion and chaos. I give this to God and trust Him to help it be received in the way it's intended.
Also, please be praying for me for Sunday. Pastor Daniel asked me if I would give the message. Pray that God would speak through me and show me what it is they need to hear. We will also be having a Gospel campaign in November with some guest speakers coming in. Pray for that as well.

“For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:13-14

Pray for:
-Tabita's husband—that he would be saved.
-Gospel Campaign—that God would prepare the people's hearts. Also for the logistics.
-Sponsors for more orphans
-Me—that God would speak through me Sunday and that He would be glorified.

Friday, October 8, 2010

School Situation

So I think there is a lot of confusion about the school situation here. Most of you know that the school has been a huge part of the ministry here and were very sad when you heard about it's closing. After speaking with Daniel tonight, I have a much better view of the whole situation and I hope to clarify some things for you.
First, I need to give a quick look at the ministry for those who aren't familiar with it and also because everything is tied together in this ministry. Everything is on the same grounds here, the school building, the orphanage, Daniel's house, and the church building. Right now there are about twenty children in the orphanage. Previously, there were about seventy children in the school, the twenty from the orphanage plus fifty from the neighborhood. The fifty neighborhood children came from Hindu families.
The trouble for the school came this last year when a Hindu temple was erected literally right next door to the premises. This temple has loudspeakers on top of it and it broadcasts their ceremonies throughout the neighborhood. Although they only do it less now, it used to be every day for several hours. Pastor Daniel tried to talk with them to get them to shut it off, but they became angry with him. The conflict comes because Daniel broadcasts the church service on Sundays through our speakers. So the Hindu temple guys are obviously not to happy about hearing Daniel preach about the Only God every Sunday. So, because of this conflict, the Hindu parents took their children out of Daniel's school. So Daniel had to close the school because he only had the twenty orphans left.
The orphans now go to a public school a short distance away. This is not a good school and doesn't care much about the kid's education but is more of a waste of time. The first question then, is, “Why don't we just hire one teacher for the twenty orphans?” The government requires that the children attend a government certified school for a certain number of days out of the school year in order to take the government exams. This means it is not possible to homeschool the orphans and then just send them in for the exams. The predicament that we are in is this. The government requires that in order to be a certified school, you must have at least fifty children. This is why we cannot hire one teacher for the twenty orphans we already have. The government would not certify it as a school and the Department of Education would not approve any of the children or give them certificates.
Right now, we are helping the orphans understand what they have been taught in the school and helping them understand it, as well as giving them a Bible story or Bible reading and prayer at the end of their study time. These kids also go to Sunday school to learn about God. The kids have not been abandoned as far as their education goes, but it's still not the Christian education they were getting.
So, the vision is to get fifty orphans in the orphanage. This way, we will have the minimum requirement to stay open even if there are no other kids, although they would certainly be welcome to come. In order for this to happen, we need sponsors for the thirty additional orphans ($40/month/child). I forgot to ask Daniel about it, but I'm sure we would also need to hire at least two teachers (apprx $150/month/teacher). So this is the vision and we are trusting in God to provide. Please pray for all of this. It is sometimes easy to look at the external things and forget that it is a spiritual battle and prayer is our most effective weapon. We would love to have the school back up and running and training these little ones to grow up and be ambassadors for Jesus in this country that is so spiritually darkened. Daniel shared with me tonight the story of one of the orphans he had a long time ago who is now the pastor of a house church. This is what we are praying for. Please pray for the kids and for us as we train them as best we can with the time we have with them. I hope this clears things up a little bit.
If God has placed it on your heart to sponsor a child, you may email myself (jesusfreak41488@yahoo.com) or Pastor Daniel (ncm_daniel3@yahoo.co.in) with your mailing address and we will send you the profile of the child which will have a number on it. You can then send a check to either Restoration Fellowship or Crossroads with Daniel Motakala and the child's number on the memo line.

Mailing Address:
Restoration Fellowship
264 Village Dr.
Pagosa Springs, Co, 81147

Super Travels and More!

So turns out, India's pretty much the exact same as Gunnison only different. Okay, just kidding, it's a lot different. I LOVE IT! It's everything I'd hoped and then some! Traveling was lots of fun. I had a wonderful conversation with an elderly Jewish lady on the flight from Denver to New York. God opened the door for our conversation. After explaining where I was going and what I would be doing, she asked me how I got interested in religion. I was able to share my testimony before we even took off! The conversation continued for the next couple of hours. It was good, but also very difficult. Like so many people, she believed that she was “good enough.” I was reminded of Mark 3:17 where Jesus says, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” She felt like she was old and there was no point in changing now. How sad to see the spiritual blinders on people. It helped reinforce for me that people will not understand the Gospel unless God first opens their eyes. Please be praying for Beverly.
Pastor Daniel found me easily in New York and we then flew to Dubai in some 12-14 hours. Less conversation on this flight and more sleep. The woman next to me spoke hardly any English. Next flight to Chennai also went well. There were fewer people and I slept most the time. The taxi ride to the train station was very interesting as well. It was heartbreaking to see all the people sleeping on the sidewalks going there. Driving in India is super exciting. I don't even know how to describe it, it's just something I wish every American could experience just once in their lives. We waited at the train station for a couple hours before our train came. This was a busy place. Despite what you may think, there's actually quite a few people in India. Pastor Daniel said that with each train that comes in, there's probably about 5,000 people who get off. Glad we were there during the slow time. It was here though, that Pastor Daniel reminded me of a very hard thought. As we gazed at the FLOODS of people coming from the trains, he reminded me that the saddest thing is that only 2% of India knows Jesus. It was truly heartbreaking. It is so hard to see people wearing the dot on their foreheads that signifies them as Hindu. It is nothing short of the mark of the beast, a sign that they are on their way to eternal destruction. May God save these people!
We rode the train for 8 hours and then waited for Daniel's family to arrive. His family is amazing. We all jumped in a taxi and had another not-so-leisurely drive to Eluru.
God gave us so many blessings during our travels. First, we didn't have as many bags to carry because one of Pastor Daniels bags didn't make it. Second, I don't have to worry about breaking my sunglasses here because I already accomplished that on the plane..yeah..apparently me and sunglasses and pockets aren't a great idea. Also, the inside of my backpack will not be getting any bug bites or malaria this trip due to one of my bottles of bug repellent exploding in it. In all seriousness though, God has blessed us greatly and we are very thankful to be here safely.
As we came to the grounds, some of the orphans had apparently been expecting us and came running out jumping an laughing. I LOVE them all already! They are all so precious. I learned that some of them have infections. I have already been able to play some games with them and get to know them. We played freeze-tag, steal the bacon, and other games. They have been teaching me more Telugu than I can keep up with. Very few speak English. So, with the ones who don't, our entire conversation is “trading” languages. For example, last night we were hanging out and we saw some frogs. I pointed to it and said, “Frog.” They smiled and said “Kappa” (spelling is probably wrong). So now I know how to say, “Praise the Lord,” “Come here,” “Go away,” “Give,” and “Frog.” Good start. “Come here, give me the frog. Praise the Lord, go away.” Seriously though, if I can retain everything they teach me, I know I will pick up the language quickly. Please pray that God would strengthen my mind so that I can effectively learn Telugu.
Church here on Sunday was absolutely amazing! The believers in this church are few but mighty. Pastor Daniel had me preach for a little bit yesterday. God gave me great clarity of mind. I've heard it's hard to speak with a translator when you're not used to it. I thought it was great. It gave me time to think before I spoke my next sentence...which some of you know I need sometimes. Might have been helpful to have a translator in America. “Okay, here's what Paul actually means.” haha. Anyways, it was great.
Physically, God has blessed me as well. I am already adjusted to the sleep schedule and feel great. The food is delicious. Everything is spicy, but good. It's almost like they just put Creol seasoning on everything, which is what I did in America anyway. It's great! Spiritually, God has already been showing me things inside of me that need to change. Areas of my life that are still focused on me. I have been handing those areas over to God. I realize more and more every day that in order for me to be effective for His kingdom I must be dead to myself and my own desires. He has taken me in His mighty hand and given me His strength and I trust Him to keep guiding me. My devotional this morning was very encouraging. Oswald Chambers said, “One of the difficulties in Christian work is this question--'What do you expect to do?' You do not know what you are going to do; the only thing you know is that God knows what He is doing.”
One of the things I told the people on Sunday was that even though I am very far away from my physical home, home is where your family is, and so I am home because they are my family in Christ, which is the greatest bond of all because it lasts for eternity. I told them that they are not alone and that they have family in America who love them and are praying for them. They are also praying for all of you! I can't tell you how incredible it is to hear them pray for the believers in America. I cannot see the spiritual state of things here very well yet, but I trust that God will make it clearer to me as time goes on. I feel like I could write an update every day and it's impossible to get even half of everything in one update a week. This will have to do for the first one though.
Thank you so much for praying for us. We will need it in the days to come. You are all so special to me and I love you very much.

“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us.” Ephesians 1:7-8a

Pray for:
Beverly—that she would feel the weight of her sin and turn to Jesus for salvation.
My brain—that God would give me the Telugu language.
The Hindu people—that they would come to Jesus and be born again
Your family here—that they would be filled with the Spirit and be bold witnesses to their neighbors.
Me—that God would be glorified through me.