My dear friends,
This journey in India ends very shortly as I depart for Mumbai by train on Tues 20th Dec, leaving Panjim by 8.30am, train from Kamali train station at 10am getting into Mumbai at 11pm. Staying overnight on 20th, My friend Maria has arranged a hotel for me at a rate of 650 rupees (about £8) which is really great. Have arranged to meet with Maria and friends on Wednesday 21st for discussions on our Christian faith. What a journey it has been, my life has changed in so many ways, I am in free fall with the Lord and being constantly challenged but I know that he will be with me Matthew 28:20ff and that I have to play my part and follow him Luke 14:33. This will be explained in greater depth when I return to India.
The Alpha course was considered a success, did not have the numbers we expected but there were over forty of us with thirty five being new so we were pleased and positive to this, what is more encouraging is that the follow up has been good and people who subsequently heard about the training but sent no representative now want to get involved, so good seeds were sown. We did have some difficulties, like the last minute change of venue through double booking which we had no control over, this we feel lost some of the candidates and with it being mid-week people were also at work. Some of the candidates that booked then felt it was too far for them to travel as we did travel up to 50 kms away when inviting people. Next time we will do things a little differently, but it is all about experience and making ourselves better for the future. It was a lot of fun and had a really good bunch on people in support namely, the music group from the River of Life Church led by Wellington the Pastor who is a really good singer, Arianne was on registration and many other things she is extremely positive, professional with lots of spirit. Two testimonies were given, one by Rajesh Kalogi who came from a Hindu background and second Sister Francis Diass from a dysfunctional family background, both were good but needed more emphasis on Alpha content. Next Alpha is planned for 18th April which will be a youth Alpha. Also the team from Bangalore were very good and agreed to support us further in the future.
In Ministry here, we never look for sponsors or ask for donations we leave that to God, what we do is just evangelise, tell people that we are available to be with them in prayer, and to sometimes actually work on specific projects that we consider worthy. People have heard what we do, by the support we give to churches, Alpha, prayer and fellowship gatherings, prayer walking and evangelising and they give gifts to help us. One such love gift (2nd time) came from Paul my preacher friend from Nigeria, it was linked to our prayers, it happened like this. Arianne, fellow evangelist and I were discussing that we needed an electric fan to keep the veranda that we use for prayer and fellowship, a little cooler for the people that come. We agreed the type of fan and what we thought it would cost us, which was 1500 rupee (about £20), we feel God likes us to be specific sometimes when we pray. So as we often do, we put the request to the Lord to find a way for us. The following day I received a text (sms) from Paul who was on his way back to Nigeria but had stopped off in Dubai, in the sms he told me that he had sent via Western Union, a money transfer company, a gift for our ministry of 1500 rupees, he did not know what our need were or that we had been praying for that exact same amount he had sent, how cool is that. God you are awesome and arrange such wonderful gifts for us, thank you. Pau,l thank you so much and we are now the happy and joyful owners of a fan, black in colour and on a pedestal stand, your love gift now keeps us cool, so you are now with us.
Sister Francis Diass has a simple humble home that she has partly converted into a prayer room and children’s Sunday school. It was not in good repair and needed to be painted badly, with tender loving care. We all prayed for the Lord to help and provide for this project. A New Zealand friend of mine who works on a cruise liner paid a visit to a port called Vasco, about an hour from where I live, she came and paid me a visit with Chris a friend of hers. Sister Francis joined us for lunch as did Arianne, we had a splendid meal of Tali a local Goan dish of dips and dried fish, and cost for all of us was about 300 rupee (£4.00). Ngafhira my friend had butter chicken, little spicy she added with a smile as she consumed many cups of water. We then jumped into a rickshaw and went to a homeless area where she could see the work Sister Francis does of providing some nutritious foods for the people and teaches them the Gospel, we then went to see Sister Francis humble abode where the Sunday school and Prayer room was, some of the renovation was underway which they were happy to see. Ngafhira and Chris gave a love donation to Sister Francis, which God had put on their hearts. Thank you Ngafhira and Chris and thank you so much God. We are truly blessed.
I would like to add here, that quite a number of Love Gifts have been given from people in the UK in support of my ministry here in India, this money is used for worthy causes and it goes 100% direct to a project or simply to help people in need, no deductions are made and records are kept in basic form. It is always given in materials or services to people and not by cash. Some Alpha materials are bought and given to help Pastors in their churches that have very little financial resources. Thank you, all you lovely people that have so joyfully given, it is received and distributed in love. The givers name(s) are not given for you know who you are and so does God; I know God will bless you abundantly many times over. God Bless you.
Fellowship meals have become part of the routine here when people come for prayer. The fridge now always has simple things in like cooked rice, spiced cabbage, cooked vegetables, dried fish, Indian type flat bread and fruit, its low cost but good fresh food. Indian people like to eat later at night so often they arrive at 9 or 10pm, sometimes I go off to bed and leave them to it as I am normally up by 5am, Does not happen all the time of course as I cannot leave the place open when I am not here, but I am working on that for the future.
The last two days has been spent at The Global Leadership Summit Conference organised by Willow Creek Community Church from USA, Snr. Pastor Bill Hybels. The speakers were Gary Haugen, T.D. Jakes, Steven Furtick, John Otberg, Jim Collins and Wayne Cordeiro. Good speakers and most have written books, was particularly impressed with a young guy called Steven Furtick, only 31 and has churches with numbers up to 8000, impressive speaker. T.D. Jakes was also very good. It was all done by video on a large screen in a local hotel; food was supplied for the two days all for £1.40 ha ha that helped my food budget and gave me some good meals. Arianne my fellow evangelist also attended so it was some good teaching and preaching.
Went to the Leproseria (Leprosy Colony) today hoping to meet up with all the people from last time where there were eleven. We bought fruits of pineapples, chico, oranges, applies, papaya, water melon, grapes and bananas for the eleven people and took off early in the morning with joy in our hearts. Arianne and I went to Margoan about 45 kms away where we met with a friend of mine named David Newton. Had not seen David for over a year and Arianne had never met him so it was really good to see him again. On arrival at our destination we went to see the nurse in charge, alas there were only five people left, three men and two ladies the other six had passed in the last six months. We said prayers together, read from Matthew 3 the baptism of Jesus, we then sang two worship songs, this was repeated twice as the men are housed separated from the ladies. It was sad not to see the others but we enjoyed our time with those left and left with warm hearts. David then took us to his place where we had lunch of rice, dhal and a splendid creamed chicken dish, we swam before lunch and after we sunbathed a little, caught the bus back about five pm. Sonia Gandhi was in town so the traffic was horrendous and what would normally take us an hour ended up taking three hours. Fortunately we had some food, were able to pray so we were happy enough, and we shared our good and drink with others on the bus, it was good to spend some time with the Lord. Looking back on this time, we went from people who had nothing but the cloths on their back but at least were housed and fed well, to a luxurious villa with ten bedrooms all on suit, with a swimming pool and beautiful and expensive furnishings, but you know both parts gave to us with love in their hearts and we were blessed. David and his indian wife Ann both have fantastic hearts and it was such a pleasure to be with them.
Much has been achieved on this trip with the Grace and help of God. Never got to go to West Bengal or Orissa as time did not permit but have spoken a number of times to Bishop Probal Dutta at Durgapur, West Bengal and Pastor Sameer my friend in Orissa, will pray to make it next time which will be early part of next year..
Good night and God Bless. See soon.
To see photos from Jim’s travels, please visit our ‘Jim in India’ gallery.