India Diary 2

Dear All,

The last diary note ended with five points given as to what I felt God was calling me to do. Maybe it is necessary for me to expand my feelings on this a little more, for you to understand how I feel I am guided and how to know!  How can one also be confident and sure of this.  Some people say, if God is in charge there is no need to plan!  To this I say, God gives us the ability to make choices and by following his scriptures he gives us the guidelines to be able to make the right choices, this is where He is so gracious, as He wants us to have freedom and enjoy the life he has given, if we do it through prayer He will help us.  For sure, sometimes we get it wrong, but that’s ok if we have honest hearts and repent and believe on our hearts and speak with our lips our true repentance, then He will forgive us, love us and help us to face the consequences and to get it right for the future.

Passages in the bible that have been of help to me and maybe can guide you in the same way, there are many more that you can find but these are just a few:

God’s guidance: Proverbs 19:21 Many are the plan’s in a man’s heart;  but it is the Lords purpose that prevails.

Proverbs 20:18 Make plans by seeking advice.

Evidence of planning: Genesis 41:28-36 Joseph gave the Egyptian Pharaoh a 7 year plan.

Nehemiah 2:11-17 Nehemiah plans Jerusalem’s walls

You see, ‘Man plans in his heart, but it is the Lord who determines the steps’

The points given therefore are my heart’s plans, the Lord may have other ideas so I just have to be obedient patient and watch for doors opening or closing.  This is a gift open to us all we just have to trust and have faith in God through our Lord Jesus.

Sorry if I went on too much but thought it relevant to the journey.  You also can do the same in your journey of life.

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So now it is Monday 14th Feb and I am in the DevDeep Hotel (£6 a night) just outside of a town called Mapsa, many friends are now looking for rooms for me so I just have to be patient and wait for feedback.   Set off early in the morning from the hotel to explore the area and get my bearings.  Found an Internet Café so checked my emails, the owner was a young Roman Catholic guy, we exchanged views on Christianity and had a pleasant chat.  Whilst we were talking, a German lady who lives in Goa was half listening to the conversation and understood that I was looking for rooms, she also joined the conversation on the Christian faith, she was not an active Christian but certainly recognized and saw the importance of what it tells us in Corinthians 13:13 faith, hope and love.  She gave me a telephone number of a property person that helped her on accommodation matters and thought he may be able to help me, this was a very kind gesture, we all bid one another farewell with the promise of keeping in contact.

A Hindu friend of mine called Vivek also has a small wholesale shop close by so popped in for a chai (tea) and a chat, he was very pleased to see me.  It was Vivek who helped me move from Margao to Mapsa (45kms) by letting me use his vehicle and driver, which was such a help.  We must never become arrogant as Christians to assume there is no goodness in other or no faiths at all, many good deeds are done by others and we are of course all children of God and all share in the gift of nature and of each other.  Vivek likes Jesus, but just accepts Him as just another God, to him He is just part of the many God’s in the Hindu faith. Vivek has a real good heart and has helped me such a lot.  After an hour left Vivek to do his work, as I went on my way, with Bible under the arm, off to share my smile and the Gospel with others.

It is worth pointing out here, that we do have to be careful when evangelizing, as we have to understand and be sensitive to the fact that we are in a Hindu country and the Gospels are not accepted by all, so we have to be respectful to this fact.  So when I use a phrase such as ‘off to share the Gospel’ it is done with a certain amount of caution, but I invariable do carry a bible under my arm or a prayer book in hand, it does attract questions and response from people. As an evangelist what we hope for is the questions from people so we may engage with them without fear of rejection as they are asking the questions. It is music to our ears when people say, ‘really what is all that about’ so we can freely talk about who is Jesus and why did he die for us.

The staff of the hotel are full of smiles and very helpful when they understand what you want.  They speak very little English, this is not a critism of them as they certainly speak more english than I speak their language which ranges from Hindi, Konkani, Kanada, Marathi and a few others thrown in, as if one language is not bad enough ha ha.  Anyway, thought whilst I am in the hotel I would cost save and get my own tea, sugar and powdered milk (no fridge in room) etc. and just get the staff to get me boiling water and thus make my own tea.  So I got the ingredients and approached a room boy for the boiling water, after a lot of broken English and sign language he nodded his head energetically, displayed a beaming smile as broad as his shoulders in understanding of what he thought I needed, he left with great speed in eagerness to fulfill my request.  After some time there was a knock at the and I thought great I can now make a cup of tea to my liking, I opened the door and there he stood with this wonderful smile, a very very large bucket of hot water and a tablet of soap, ha ha I think my communication skills just took a dive and certainly needs to be improved, God Bless him.  Anyway, I did use the water to bath in as it was a luxury to have hot as what I pay for a room only cold water is supplied.  Did succeed in my skills later as he did eventually get me the boiling water I requested, I was so pleased with the efforts of this young room boy and tipped him well. Ha ha never made a saving on a tea in the end.

Had a phone call from the owner of the Villa I stayed in previously in Colva, he himself is an Indian Pastor of a Church family in Dubai.  He asked me if I would be prepared to go to Orissa (area where there is heavy persecution of Christians) and spend time with a Pastor called Sameer and to give the Lords word to the Christian people there, and basically just show solidarity with them in their fight of the right to live life as a Christian.  Initial thoughts was how exciting and wanted to say yes, even though it would be a tough two day journey by train, but thought I needed to pray on this first and consult with others, as although I wanted to go personally there was an unease within me.  So it was left that Sameer would be given my details and he would make direct contact with me.  Having spent a few days praying on the subject no clear direction was evident, in discussing with other Pastors and Christians, whilst they shared my feeling of wanting to go in support of the people, they were not convinced I should relating to the dangers involved.  Spoke to Pastor Sameer of my concerns, he said he thought it would be ok, even when I said, forget my personal safety, how about his people, would I not be putting them in danger, as I am pretty conspicuous with my fair features and it would not take too much investigating as to the reasons why I was there!  But once again he thought it would be ok, we left it open for a longer period to continue to pray on it, he appreciated my concerns,  there was still something that was not quite right about it and I needed more time in prayer and talking with others.  A friend of mine Pastor Skinnar an Indian from Kolahpur, Southern part of Maharastra then put into words what my concerns were.  It was not the direct dangers of being there in Orissa being in support that was of concern, as much as what effects it would have if an incident did happen!  What then would be the affect in the many peaceful parts of India where Hindus and Christians do live together peacefully and in harmony.  Therefore although going to Orissa on the one hand was great in Christian support, it was foolish to endanger others and therefore unwise, Skinnar was able to put my feelings into words.  Finally I spoke with Sameer and he appreciated the thoughts and feelings, maybe one day in the future I will visit but maybe now is not the right time.  We exchanged blessings with one another and agreed keep in touch.

Damodar the renting agent of the contact given to me by Susan the German lady I met, made contact and we visited a number of places that he thought would be of interest, one in particular was certainly of interest located in the Secretariat Capital of Goa called Panjim.  It was a single room with a small gas ring for basic cooking in the corner, but no preparation area with running kitchen water, no fridge, it had a toilet/shower room in another corner, total room size 15ft x 10ft. Across from the room was an open top veranda with a covered roof with open sides, it was full of rubbish and very dirty but I thought it would make a good prayer, study area and Alpha teaching room.  The accommodation itself was a fairly large villa where the owner and his wife lived, Antonio and Joanita, Indian Portuguese, both being Roman Catholic.  Met with them and negotiated a rent to 4125 rupees per month (£57)  including water (not drinking) and utilities.  Also to include for visiting guests to stay from time to time, also to possibly make part use of the veranda for Christian work of prayer and a teaching room with a small library, as Christians themselves they like this.   Did advise them that I thought the price was a little high for me (inwardly was very happy) but would agree to a month trial period together.  This was very pleasing as the hotel was costing me £6 per day with obvious restricted usage and having to eat out, where this would be the equivalent of £1.90 per day with good freedom and flexibility.  It was also in a very good area where the local Panchat (council) ministers live so it was very secure.  The added bonus was that we all seem to like one another.   Great, so I moved right away which was the second week in India so was happy with the progress being made, especially with a place I thought had great potential for future needs, of course my friends would continue to look for a place as there is no guarantee yet that I will be staying.  Most certainly the Lord is with me and helping me so much, I put my faith into his hands.  Hebrews 11:1 Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Matthew 9:29 According to your faith will it be done to you.  You see friends we just have to have faith.  Early in my first diary note it was said that patience was needed.

During this week I contact another old friend from previous visits, Pastor Archangel  (Love  the name) known to us as Arc. He is part of a Christian group called New Life Fellowship, vey prominent in India originally from Australia (maybe New Zealand!)  He has no church building but his congregation of about 100+ gathers in a hotel in Panjim called Park View, a basic hotel but has a big room where the members meet for service and for prayers during the week also occasional training sessions that were too large to be conducted from homes.  It was good service on Sunday, we met at 10am. Opened with a short bible reading, then had worship and praise for 45 minutes, testimonies and ending with a strong 40 minute preaching.  Good fellowship when the service completed.  Will meet again on Tuesday at 6.15pm for prayers.  It was really good to meet up with Arc again and his wife Alinda.  There music group consisted of a keyboard player, guitarist /singer who was the worship leader and a young lady playing the violin, they were really good and full of praise for the Lord.

Ups and downs have existed especially the location I have ended up in, never thought I would be in north Goa operating, but things in general are happening which is confirmation that I seem to be in the right place.  My budget does not include for laundry facilities so all my washing being done by hand and I dry when and where I can, a little challenging but I am getting by and pleased that to to date have not had to use an outside laundry, good self discipline.  Ha ha ha barber I do not need and the hair is getting longer and bushier.

And so my second week ends!

God Bless you all you remain in my hearts and thoughts.  Don’t forget when you see someone without a smile, give them yours.

Bye for now.

Jim

 

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