As the sleepy-eyed MTM team emerged from the sleeper cars of their overnight train, we were greeted by many strong hugs, warm handshakes, and an eruption of voices joining together in cries of “Praise the Lord!” It had been about thirty-six hours since we left Chiang Mai, Thailand, but the Lord of heaven and earth had brought us safely to Rayagada, Orissa state (also called Odisha), India. We were escorted to a local hotel, where we rested and studied until mid-afternoon. Brother Raymond began the conference that evening with a convicting message from Deuteronomy 6.
The Full MTM Team Along With The Odisha Brethren Who Hosted This Conference
L-R, Marvin Kauffman, David Brown & Raymond Burkholder (MTM teacher), Pastor Prabas, Pastor Suresh, Pastor Binay (Odisha Pastors), Will Jenkins (MTM guest), Judy & Merle Flory (MTM teacher)
The conference, which lasted from Monday evening to Friday afternoon, consisted of six sermons each day: morning devotions, two topical messages by Brother Raymond, two topical messages by Brother Merle, and an evening revival sermon. A team of Orissa brethren organized the conference and were responsible for all logistical duties. They sent out invitations, arranged lodging, reserved a building, organized meals, and performed numerous other tasks in order to help make the conference a success.
Brother Raymond’s series of teaching was titled “Forgiven Much, to Love Much”, with subtopics of “Offences ”, “Forgiveness ”, “Unforgiveness”, “Bitterness”, and “Deliverance from Bitterness”. Brother Merle’s series of teaching was titled “Developing Servant-Leadership”, with subtopics of “…In my Mind, to Reach the Heart”, “…In my Home, to Reach the Family”, and “…In my Church, to Reach the Lost”. The evening revival sermons were titled “Three Altars”, “8 Signs of Revival,” “Honesty”, and “Forgiveness and Fruitful Ministry”.
Several pastors in attendance testified that the messages were “heart breaking”; indeed, the Word of God was not bound, and the Comforter was faithful to reprove of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. In addition to the many hearts that were touched, the week was filled with much good fellowship. Many of the attending pastors have turned their homes into orphanages, many have suffered persecution and abandonment as a result of their faith in Jesus, and many have lessons from which we could learn; it was an honor and blessing to meet many new friends, to hear their stories, and to learn from them.
The Orissa brothers organized the conference, the MTM team taught, and you provided the necessary resources and prayers. This is how the Body works together: some organize, some cover logistics, some preach, some interpret, some cook, some clean restrooms, some carry luggage, some give hard-earned funds, some pray; and the Kingdom moves forward. The Word of God is spread. The Spirit convicts. Hearts are opened. Forgiveness flows. The proud robe of pastoral prestige is cast aside and the apron of servant-leadership is humbly taken up. Shepherds follow in the steps of the Great Shepherd, and walk the path of brokenness, forgiveness, service, and humility.
The Rayagada MTM Pastoral Full Conference Group
So was the conference a success? Was it worth the efforts, the labors, the preparations, the travels, the prayers, and the dollars? Well… What is success? Many hearts were certainly impacted at the conference, but the greatest fruit will only ripen as the pastors return home. The messages preached will continue to be passed on as each pastor returns to his congregation and the Word of God is preached throughout India. I believe the conference has already proven to be a success, but only Eternity will tell the true results. Thank you for caring, thank you for sharing, and thank you for praying. As the writer to the Hebrews shared, “God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labor of love, which ye have showed toward His name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.” Today, let us each faithfully continue on in the labors and ministries that God has called us to! “We have all eternity to celebrate our victories, but only one short hour before sunset in which to win them!” – (Scottish Missionary Robert Moffat, 1795-1883)
Editors Note; The above article was written by brother Will Jenkins. Brother Will is a young man from Rossville, Indiana and has just recently graduated from Purdue University. Will has a passionate heart for missions and is seeking the Lord for a long term missions opportunity in this region of the world. Therefore he was an invited guest of the MTM team. He served as a hidden servant in multitudes of different capacities. Thank you brother Will for your wonderful hidden servants heart. Your service as unto the Lord was very much appreciated and our prayer is that the Lord would reward you openly.