It’s REALLY long…but here is my testimony from India:
When I was 12 years old, I went to a teen girls conference and went to a session on missions. The speaker had been a missionary to India. As I heard her story and learned about the 10/40 window, that only 1% of the worlds missionaries were there and .05% were Christian, I knew God was telling me to go. I came home so excited and passionate about India. I read everything I could get my hands on—about religions, culture, food, history, everything. During that time, my dad told me that he became a Christian at age 17 because he went to a retreat where the main speaker was a missionary to India. He told the missionary that he felt called to go to India as well—and the man told him to grow in his faith and become a pastor and then go, so he did. When I heard this, my dad and I decided to go together someday. Christmas 2007 he surprised me with news that we would go on a 3 week trip in February 2009 together. It didn’t happen because of my internship, so we decided we would go when I finished my masters. That didn’t happen because he passed away. He dreamed of and prayed for India for 34 years and never got to go. After 13 years of daily praying and dreaming—I got to fulfill our dream.
Preparing for India was filled with mountains and valleys. Even though I went to trainings, up until Thanksgiving I didn’t really think I would go. I just knew something would happen and I wouldn’t get to go. Once I realized I was really going, it hit me hard. Satan used my unbelief to strike me with fear. I had SO much anxiety—and that lasted for about 3 weeks. My anxieties and fears were that India wouldn’t be all that I dreamed, for my motion sickness, not feeling like the trip was successful, and worrying about what to say for my testimony and evangicube. After much prayer, about a week before the trip, I gave these fears to Him and prayed that he would answer them in His own way. I finally began to get excited. I couldn’t wait to see what God would do!
On the plane to India, God brought me to Psalm 115:1—“not to us, Lord, not to us, but to your name be the glory for your love and faithfulness.” This became my payer for the trip. Even though India had been my dream—I didn’t want the focus to be on me or my expectations for the trip. I wanted to fix my eyes on Christ and give him ALL the glory for everything that would happen—because he is worthy of our praise and glory and he is faithful to keep his promises. I prayed for Him to make me small so that it would be Him that people see. I prayed for Him to give me the words to say and to use me as His tool. I had no idea what to expect so I prayed He would keep me joyful, patient and flexible.
My heart broke at the poverty that I saw everywhere—the absolute brokenness that I saw in peoples eyes and faces. One thing that really struck me was the way that so many people just sat, staring at nothing, just looking empty. I wondered what they looked at, what they were thinking, what they struggled with. It was so hard to see the way that many people lived. Yet when we started doing work, my cheeks literally hurt from smiling so much because of the JOY that I saw in the believers. They are on fire for God and to listen to them pray and worship and commit their lives to His calling was so convicting. God really taught me to pray for others and how to pray His words back to Him. I began to really understand the Lords prayer—and daily I begged God to let us see HIS kingdom come and HIS will be done in the villages and ministry workers retreat. I was brought to 2 Cor 6:2—it says “Now is the time of Gods favor, now is the day of his salvation.” I would pray His words, and in return feel His presence in a way I’ve never seen.
In the villages, it was a blessing and a privilege to share the gospel with them for the first time. They were completely encaptured by the story of salvation and confessed to Him and turned their lives to Him without hesitation. It was frustrating at time to not know if they truly understood the prayer they were praying, but I believe that was satans way of trying to get me to doubt Gods work. I began to pray “Lord, I believe. Help me in my unbelief,” and I prayed for workers to be raised up and a revival to start in the villages. I felt the holy spirit in an awesome way that I never had before. I prayed that God would know their names and hearts and reveal himself to them throughout their lives.
Sunday morning, God opened my eyes to spiritual darkness and war in a new way. I didn’t really believe demon possession was real anymore—I thought that was in biblical times but not today. I thought you had to be a pastor to cast them out. Watching a woman become demon possessed and the prayers of God’s people cast it out was the scariest and most powerful experience I’ve ever had. I prayed harder than I ever have before and I realized how unprepared I am for spiritual battle. I questioned at the time who could become demon possessed, why it happens and how. Dave brought up to Ephesians 6:10-18 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”
I know now that there is a spiritual darkness and war being waged every day, and if we are not strong, alert and prepared—our faith will be attacked. Even here in the United States, there is a spiritual war—but it isn’t as obvious. I pray that God will open my eyes daily to be strong in Him and pray against darkness—seen and unseen.
The last lesson I learned was to always be ready for anything and to be obedient to Christ. My testimony that I shared in India was different every time—and my prayer was simply, “God, speak through me. Use me as your tool.” I want that to be my prayer daily. I want to listen to his calling and be obedient, even when I don’t fully understand. I am nothing without Christ, and I want to be reminded of that through everything I do. He is the only thing worth living for and He is worthy of everything we can give.
God answered every anxiety I had. I had motion sickness but never threw up (a HUGE deal for me!). 1900 people heard the gospel for the first time—definitely a successful trip! God spoke through me and gave me words every time I needed them—and India was BEYOND my expectations.
The things I want to remember most from this trip are:
**The JOY in peoples faces after receiving Christ
**Fervently praying for each heart we would serve
**The excitement people had for the gospel
**How the strength and presence of Christ takes away all fear
**The faithfulness of God
I saw my dad in SO many ways while in India:
**While watching Dave preach and encourage the future leaders of India
**The pride of watching our students grow in confidence
**Sharing his story and our dreams of India
**Singing his favorite hymn “great is thy faithfulness” on the way to a village
**Giving the Pastor one of my dads shirts that he had worn on missions in the past and hearing the Pastor tell me that my dad was part of the “great cloud of witnesses” cheering us on
My dad was on the trip with me. My joy is complete because I know Christ, and nothing else matters. Whether or not I return to India, my life has been changed and enriched in ways I never would have expected and I can’t wait to see what he does next in the lives of the people we left behind and in our lives here.
You can see pictures at https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10100741188404383.2554208.9210871&type=1&l=82a5798617 (you don’t have to have a facebook to view the album)