It was with mixed feeling that I climbed into my parent’s vehicle to head for the airport in Chiang Mai, Thailand. There were sad feelings were due to saying farewell to my wife and 3 younger sons for 9 days. Those feelings of sadness conflicted with the emotions of excitement as I was finally traveling to India with my father, Raymond, to participate in an MTM youth conference in Gyalshing, West Sikkim. This was a dream that both my father and I had for many years that has finally coming to fruition. It was also exciting that my two oldest sons, Kyran (11) and Raygan (9), were going along as well.
As you read the title, what were your first instinctive thoughts? Where in the world is Vietnam? Depending on your age you may have immediately thought of the horrible atrocities of the 10-year war that the US was part of in this small Asian country. A war for freedom that ultimately was lost to communism. Or perhaps your immediate thoughts were a restricted, communist, closed to the gospel country. All the above facts are true, but what about Vietnam today?
Upon our MTM team arrival in Andra Pradesh, state of India, Pastor Abraham Samuel hosted us in remote tribal village visitation. Just ahead of our arrival, there had been heavy storm activity in this region which downed trees and cut off the electricity and swelled the rivers. On our way to the first village we came to a river that we needed to cross but the river was to high for our auto to cross-over. Now what to do?
“Thank you for coming and teaching us.” “Thank you for showing us”. We have never heard these kinds of teachings before, and we did not know.” This was the repeated response of the youth attendees of this Youth Advance Conference at Bhubaneswar, India. This city is very dark and has great spiritual needs. There are more than 700 Hindu temples in the city and it is known as “Temple City”. Odisha state is a region of India well known where Christians face great opposition. To this very day there remain 79 gospel unreached tribal people groups in this state alone. God is calling native men and women to fill the great need to passionately “Pursue the Heart of God” to carry the gospel message of Jesus Christ unto the lost and dying of this region of India.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”, Rom 3:23. Yes, Lord, I know those heathens in India! That they are Buddhists, Hindu’s and who knows what all other false religion cultures there are, that have fallen short of the glory of God, but me?? But, surely not me! I mean I have Christian relatives going back more generations than I can count, and I have went to church and Sunday school ever since I was born and I really haven’t been all that bad, have I God? “ALL and that is what it means, ALL.” Some of the all who have sinned are part of the 1.1 billion, yes, billion who have never heard, and half of those live in southeast Asia. We argue and fuss over Jesus 2nd coming while billions have NEVER HEARD of Jesus first coming.
Isa. 61:3, To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.
Cambodia is a very poor and struggling country, where the average wage is less than 5.00 per day. Prior to 1975 there was estimated around 10,000 Christians. In the 1975’s a dictator rose up and after 5 years of torture, starvation and genocide, nearly 2 million Cambodians lost their lives. Reports claim 100-200 Christians survived. Today there are approximately 300,000 and growing. As we traveled and interacted with many pastors and Christians, we felt as though truly God has given beauty for ashes.
It was a privilege to once again travel with Raymond to Ree village in Nepal. We had the pleasure of taking with us his assistant Joshua Slabaugh and a young man from my home church, James Schwartz. I had been there with Raymond in 2011. At that time we walked about 4 ½- 5 hours UP!!!! the mountain from the end of the road and had a very special time with believers from across the mountains. This time there is a road up the mountain a bit further than we had gone the last time but still UP!!!! The “road” required a 4 wheel drive vehicle to scratch and bounce its way up from the river at around 2000’ elevation to the village at around 4600’. The 8 seat vehicle had 14 adults plus a couple young children and all of our luggage and supplies. At the top, we were greeted by very friendly brothers and sisters who helped get us and our luggage the final ¾ of a mile up and down the path into the village where we were shown to the village home of the local pastor and his wife who warmly welcomed us and treated us very hospitably although they spoke very little English.
It has been a great privilege to serve the Lord in India for over three weeks. It has been a stretching, inspirational, humbling, encouraging, convicting, faith building experience, and has increased my hunger for the Word of God. What a privilege, what a blessing has been mine! Thank you Lord. God is so good. And…
“I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.” What a joy to again have the privilege of serving the Lord with MTM in India! This time the venue was Himachal Bible College and Seminary in Palampur, Himachal Pradesh. February 3-10, 2018…
…said the 88 year old pastor who attended the MTM Kingdom Builder’s Conference at the Pamati Church of Christ, in Myitkyina, Myanmar. This 88 year old pastor gives a clear testimony to the MTM team of God’s faithfulness. His touching story brought tears to our eyes! The following true account was given in person to…