India (Part 8)

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Alex arranged for Marita and me to conduct today’s seminar attired in garments traditional for Kerala. Here I am attired in the dhoti, a rectangular piece of cloth wrapped around the waist at least twice and knotted at the waist(ours had velcro). It feels cool but you have to develop the knack and lack of inhibition involved in lifting your ‘skirt’ to facilitate your ease of walking.

Our seminar today was in a church of the Indian Pentecostal Church of God, the largest indigenous Pentecostal denomination in India. The language was Malayalam. Several of Alex’s relatives are ministers in this denomination. We were warmly received.

We left at 8:30 pm after the Wednesday evening service to travel approximately 2.5 hours over mountain roads to the Kochin airport for our 4:20 am departure for home on the Etihad airline.

We had a very productive trip. Thanks be to God. Marita and I are both eager to get home following this two week trip. (Marita and Todd’s 20th anniversary was the 16th)

 

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India (Part 7)

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There are daily newspaper reports of attacks on churches across India. When the church complains there is often a ‘false charge’ filed against the pastor accusing him of “forced conversions” Consequently the church can expect little justice.

India has been known by the international community as a multicultural democracy. However the present administration by its silence appears to lend support to those who would desire to change India to a fully Hindu nation which would among other things ban the use of beef and restrict people to the religion of their ancestors,i. e. Hindu.

India (Part 6)

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Flew yesterday 1,500 miles from Delhi to southern India to city of Coimbatore.

Participated in a combined worship service of PTL India churches in the area. Language is not Hindi but Tamil.

I am always surprised how many people can be crowded into a small space if everyone sits on the floor-in this case over 300 passionate worshippers for a 3 hour service.

In these settings I ask myself, “What do I have to give to these wonderful believers, refined by the fires of persecution. Who am I that I should presume to have a message for them?”

Then I recall that I was not called to be a great preacher or a great expert. I was called in weakness to humbly serve my brothers and sisters with the word given to me, trusting Him to make it “strong” in the life of the believer.

A pastor came to me this morning and told me that because of intense persecution against his church he has found it difficult to keep moving forward. But this morning the Lord spoke to him and he now sees a way forward in spite of the persecution. We praised the Lord together and I assured him I and others would be in prayer for him.

India (Part 5) Graduation

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It was a “solemn joy” to participate with PTL- Institute of Mission Studies in the graduation ceremony for 49 students: 16 with M.Div degrees and 30 with B.Th degrees and two with Certificates in Theology.

“Solemn” because you know that these graduates are going out all over India in church planting at a time when persecution against the church is a daily occurrence.

“Joyful” because Christ has promised to never leave us or forsake us and has clearly said that persecution for His name will be a special opportunity to share His glorious good news (Gospel).

India (Part 4) The Father’s Blessing

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Father’s Blessing

I spoke on the Father’s Blessing in the women’s conference today in Delhi where my daughter Marita was the featured speaker. I said that a blessing speaks to our identity and our destiny and that a blessing enables us to prosper.

As part of my presentation, I knelt before Marita, looking her in the eyes, my hand on her shoulder, as I gave her the Father’s blessing. I told her I was pleased with her, that I delight in her and that God has a great destiny for her and her family.

Marita reminded me, through tears, that I had blessed her many times but that each time was powerfully meaningful.

I realized anew that each of us carry the power to enable the people around us to prosper through our spoken words of blessing. Yet Satan often convinces us that our words are unnecessary or will be ineffective. So we withhold the blessing.

And I saw in the tear filled eyes and subsequent testimonies of the conference participants that many still long for the father’s blessing.

I told the one’s whom I blessed that while I was not their father, I would speak the words that I believe God would have wanted their earthly fathers to have spoken to them.

In fact, our blessings bring heaven to earth and enable those we bless to walk with new expectation and realization of heaven’s favor.

India (Part 3)

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After an 8 hour road trip from Khuttar to Delhi, Marita and I decided to have a friendly father-daughter competition. We will each write an essay describing what it is like traveling in the passenger seat of a vehicle ‘hurtling’ through the jam packed roads of North India.

I am convinced I will win the competition and Marita is convinced she will. Alex will be the judge. In order not to unduly create fear and undermine tourism in ‘Incredible India’ we have decided not to publish the results on Facebook.

Marita did say that the experience driving here has been like a flooding therapy which has intensely exposed her to her fears in a way which, she believes, has forever cured her of backseat involuntary exclamations while her husband is driving. She is anticipating Todd’s surprised response when he experiences her therapeutic recovery as he drives with her on the streets of Baltimore.

If Marita’s recovery proves to be sustained, we may advice others who have spouses afflicted with ‘backseat exclamationitis’ to invest in a road trip in North India.

India (Part 2)

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We asked God to refresh, empower and position the conference participants for life changing breakthrough. And God did just that. Praise His name.

Here Marita ministers to a women’s conference at Mainiya.

India (Part 1)

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Ministering with my daughter, Marita Scholtz (husband Todd), with P.C. Alexander of PTL-India for two weeks. We will participate in leaders’ and women’s conferences from near the Nepal border to Coimbatore and to Kerala, southern India. We will also participate in the graduation ceremonies of IMS (Institute of Mission Studies) at New Delhi.

This morning we ministered in Christian Fellowship Centre, New Delhi. Tomorrow Marita conducts a women’s conference near the Nepal border and I speak at a leader’s conference.

The church in India is facing great challenges. We rejoice that we can partner with them in these critical times, praying for increasing boldness and that God may “stretch forth your hand to heal and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus.” Acts 4:30.

Survivor’s Guilt

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How does one handle ‘survivors guilt’?

We just completed a great week at the Ukunda Missions School. Vaughn and I and his leadership team are in a two day planning retreat at Chale Island. The setting is beautiful and God is moving us into clarity and unity about next steps.

But then I hear from Ruth and read on line about the historic snow storm back home. I am writing this at 3 am as the waves at high tide crash against the shore, spraying me with their mist. This spot is perfect but I struggle to be present to the beauty of this moment for my mind and heart are back in the States at a home alone Old Hershey Road.

Will Ruth and everyone else be safe? She says they are fine. She will wait till tomorrow to determine if the snow blower will work properly. I am believing God for everyone’s safety.

So should I delight that I have escaped the biggest snow storm of the last 100 years or should I feel some vaugue mixture of guilt that I am not home, mixed with regret that I will never be able to say, “I lived through the Storm of 2016.”

Whatever I should feel, I do feel something of all of the above.

I am reminded of the Apostle Paul’s words in Philippians 4:11-13:

“I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content….For I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

So thank God, He enables us to enjoy Him whether we are in a blizzard or on the shores of the Indian Ocean.

Thanksgiving 2015

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Our Thanksgiving Day family time was significantly enriched by a guest from Saudi Arabia. We shared stories and laughed and cried together.

As part of our time together I told the story of Squanto as recorded in the children’s book by Eric Metaxas. Squanto was the Native American who had been kidnapped and taken to Europe and then came back and actually helped save the struggling Pilgrims. In many ways Squanto’s life paralled the life of the Biblical Joseph.

We had a contest for the best instant message inviting Squanto to the first Thanksgiving Dinner. Everyone was a winner.

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