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India / Highlands Winter 2014

Undisclosed Location January 24 - February 8, 2014

We will be training pastors in India and a closed country. The pastors we work with serve in difficult situations.

Follow along as teachers in the field offer their experiences as they share theological training with local church leaders.

Feb  5th,  2014I Bought A Church

I bought a church today. It's a building project. And the price was amazing.

There's no parking lot. I'm pretty sure there's not even electricity. No overheads, stage, or sound system. No plaque with a name of dedication. That's all fine with me. The pastor and people there will love it. They presently have nothing. Soon they will have a place to worship and meet together and I'm told they will be overjoyed.

Please don't think I'm some kind of hero. I'm certainly not.

The church costs $50.

I've spent more the that on a sports game, a meal out, or a single piece of clothing. But it is a heck of a lot more satisfying to have purchased a church.

One of the pastors here at the training in India has an amazing story. He grew up in harsh jungle village conditions where his father was basically a witch doctor and he himself came to performing human sacrifices to appease the gods. Human sacrifices...

In this brutal environment he later found himself running in the jungle from a group who wanted to kill him. As he hid in a tree fearing for his life he heard the strangest thing. It was a song...a song about Jesus Christ and what He has done for sinners. This man, whom I call JP, began to realize the depth of his need and pursued the source of the music.

It was a church. A little church in a village. The people fled when he arrived as he was infamous for his violence. But one man bravely stayed - the pastor. He talked with JP and by the end of the conversation the one who had done human sacrifices had repented and was trusting in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on his behalf.

Some years have passed. JP has faced much opposition for his faith. He has also become a pastor. The work has often been hard and discouraging. There has been slander. But there has also been growth and training and some people in a village who have turned to Jesus despite the dangerous persecution. They call JP their pastor. Though they are the real thing when it comes to church, they've needed a place to meet and gather but could not come up with the funds. They want to have a church in the village where people can run to Christ.

Today I bought a church and couldn't be happier about it.

I share this story for two reasons. One is to thank those who have supported this work. This TLI trip plays an important role in training these precious pastors to better understand God, His Word, and to teach these things to others. I was honored to meet JP as he took part in this class. The content and interactions left him very encouraged.

The second reason is to encourage you to continue to support this work. In India TLI partners with Reach All Nations, a fabulous network that trains and sends church planters all across Andhra Pradesh. Through RAN you can provide essential support to pastors like JP.

Pray for these pastors and consider support their work and their training!

You might even be able to buy a church.

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Jan  31st,  2014First Day

It seems difficult for me to know even where to begin.  This trip has always been surrounded with excitement tinged with concern about all the details that have to fall into place.  I have vacillated back and forth from complete and total trust that God is sovereign and providential and thus in charge of even detail to utter worry that everything revolved around my ability to make sure it happened.  From visas, to travel details, and even now the question of how these men will receive what we bring.  

Yet, having our small, tired, but  willing team assembled in Paris  I began to picture how Isaiah must have felt in his own struggles with the calling God had place on his life (Isaiah 6).  He sensed his own unworthiness in the midst of the task.  He knew God needed to do something in him and deal with his sin first prior to anything else.  In his wrestling with God he realized that he lives among a people who are torn and tattered by sin and that he is one of them.  Thus, his pleads for God to deal with him.  Then he willingly volunteers to go wherever He might send.  I think for us, for our ragtag bunch of servants, we know God is both dealing with us and sending us.  We have no idea if we are prepared for what awaits us, but we know that even in this moment we are being prepared.  Like Paul we realize we can only seems dimly what God sees fully, so we return to the knowledge that the sovereign, providential care of God is enough for and will always be enough.  

Matt, our trip leader, has chosen Psalm 48:9-10 as the theme verses for the trip: "We have thought on your steadfast love O God, in the midst of your temple.  As your name, O God, so you praise reaches to the end of the earth.  Your right hand is filled with righteousness."

May the praise of God spread as does the knowledge of His Name. And may our efforts play a small part in this great mission.  


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Jan  3rd,  2014Final Preparations Underway

We have 3 short weeks until the team departs for Asia.  Please be praying for us in our final preparations. Also, please pray for our hosts as they prepare to receive us and pray for all of thosethat we will be ministering to. We look forward to positng updates for here when we arrive.



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