Author: Beth
•Friday, May 29, 2009
The laughter and singing of children that rang through the halls of the church building last week have been replaced with some new sounds this week. Here in India, we have been enjoying a somewhat relaxed, yet busy schedule as God has blessed new areas of ministry. Instead of practicing hand motions for children’s songs, we are harmonizing psalms and hymns together as a team. Instead of cutting out crafts, we are learning to weave Biblical themes together in a meaningful way. And instead of chasing children around, we are chasing each other around as we brush up on our amateur acting abilities. All of these together are preparations for a Gospel Musical Presentation that we will be giving to the Indian community this weekend.

The children from last week’s VBS program have all been invited, along with their parents, to a presentation called “The Greatest Rescue.” This will be a presentation filled with songs, Scripture verses, salvation testimonies, a sermon from Pastor George, and a short skit that illustrates the gospel through the Prodigal Son story in Luke 15.

Please be praying for us as we deliver this life-changing message. Our audience is primarily Kannada speaking, so be praying that God’s word would go forth in a powerful way even though the language barriers. It is our earnest prayer that lives would be touched and changed, just as we have seen God do so many times already. May God be glorified through our efforts and bring many to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Thanks for your prayers, everyone. We serve an amazing God and He is working.

~ Beth
Author: Beth
•Sunday, May 24, 2009
The following video is a short review of our VBS week. Many thanks go to Zachary for the editing, Anjali for providing the Hindi worship music, and for the rest of the team who contributed as well. We hope you enjoy this preview of what God did during this past week.

~ Beth

Author: Beth
•Thursday, May 21, 2009

The sounds of running feet, laughter, enthusiastic singing, and quiet shhhs have been familiar ones lately. The lyrics from the Wordless Book song: "My heart was dark with sin until the Savior came in…” ring through the halls and the sounds of children reciting their verses echo the enthusiasm that they have shown all week. As VBS continues here in India, we are also continuing to see evidences of God speaking to individual hearts as well.

"Tell me more about Jesus, Akka.” Those few words have been the highlight of this week for me. We have been blessed to have many spiritual conversations with these young children, many of whom have some very profound questions. We are encouraged that so many have come to VBS already having Christian influences, and it is a blessing to help them understand more about Jesus.

The last few days, we have been focusing on the concepts of sin, the price that Jesus paid on Calvary, and the need for forgiveness, using the corresponding colors of black, red, and white to illustrate the message. We are so thankful that the Lord is continuing to work in the lives of these children, in spite of our own weaknesses, inadequacies, and language barriers. Although all of the fruit may not be immediately evident, we are confident that God is doing a great work here.

God has blessed this VBS with many more children than expected, so we are spending our afternoons preparing even more supplies and craft materials for this influx of children. Today (Thursday), we had a total of 79 children, with more expected for our final day tomorrow.

Thank you for your prayers this week. Please continue to pray for us as we prepare and teach our final day tomorrow… that the seeds that have been planted would grow and bring forth much fruit. Pray especially for the children that have expressed a serious interest in learning more about Jesus – specifically Ashivarya, Jonathan, Rohan, Hannah, and several others. Many of these children have already made a commitment to Jesus Christ, but have many questions and concerns about their faith – especially when it relates to the culture around them.

Last night, Pastor George read portions of Psalm 89 during our team prayer meeting. It reminded me where our focus should be as we continue into this last day.

"Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O Lord, in the light of Thy countenance. In Thy name shall they rejoice all the day: and in Thy righteousness shall they be exalted. For Thou art the glory of their strength: and in Thy favor our horn shall be exalted. For the LORD is our defence; and the Holy One of Israel is our King." (Psalm 89:15-18)

~ Beth


Top right: Maria Delphia enjoying a rousing game of "Duck, Duck, Goose" before VBS began

Middle: Pastor Babu translating for the Kannada class

Bottom right: Nirmala answers questions from a few young girls

(All pictures courtesy of Nick Rao)

Author: Beth
•Monday, May 18, 2009

“Akka! Akka!” (Big sister! Big sister!)
... ... Two beautiful brown eyes looked up at me, beckoning for assistance. She knew very little English, and I knew absolutely no Tamil, but the language barrier was broken with the assistance of a few crayons. Together we colored her paper basket that went along with the story for the day. It was the first day of VBS, and around 50 children from around the city gathered for songs, stories, verses, and crafts at the church.
... ... Today, we focused on the color “yellow” from the Wordless book. This color stands for God and the concepts of his holiness and power. We told the Bible stories of Jesus feeding the 5,000 with five loaves and two fishes … and the story of Jesus filling the nets of the disciples with fish. The verse that they committed to memory was Matthew 16:16: “And Simon Peter answered and said: Thou art the Christ, the son of the Living God.”
... ... Many of the children who attended today have some Christian influences from other churches in the city. It was a blessing to see their enthusiasm and instant warmth. Even though they were familiar with the concepts of Jesus and God, it was a refreshing reminder to focus our minds together on the greatness of the one True God.
... ... One of the songs that we taught the children this morning was “My God is so Great” – a familiar childhood song.
... ...
My God is so great!
So strong and so mighty
There’s nothing my God cannot do!

... Such simple words… such powerful meaning. Do we believe it?
... ... We are blessed with how well the VBS program went today. God granted us all safety, and good relationships were established. Please continue to pray for the rest of the program this week – that we would be able to accurately convey the power of the gospel and that the Holy Spirit would move in many hearts to draw closer to God.
... ... ~ Beth
Author: Beth
•Saturday, May 16, 2009

The sun had just barely risen over Indianapolis on Wednesday, when the 2009 India team set out for the other side of the world. Around 30 hours later, this same team was greeted with the balmy midnight breeze of Bangalore.

Thank you all so much for praying for us as we traveled to India the past few days. The team has now safely arrived and are settled in (and almost over jetlag!). Internet is scarce here right now, but I wanted to give you all a brief update. God has already taught me SO MUCH in the last two days that it’s hard to process it all. As I think back on our travels to this place, however, one scene stands out in my mind as being particularly significant.

I will never forget my first glimpse of India. After being on a plane for so long, a glimpse of the ground below was a welcome sight. It was pitch black outside, but as I looked closely, I could see the faintest lights on the ground. As we got closer, the lights became more and more brilliant – scattered all over the landscape like little stars. INDIA. It was an unforgettable sight.

That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world” – Philippians 2:15

The lights shining out of the darkness reminded me so much of our mission as a team. We are the lights in this land of spiritual darkness. I prayed fervently that God would allow us to shine as brightly as those lights that I saw from the plane. Only God knows what He has in store for us… but I’m so excited to be called His child and given this mission to carry His name. What a privilege!

We are settled in with the pastor’s family at the church and are getting ready for worship tomorrow and teaching VBS all next week. Please pray as Dr. Rao preaches in the Kannada worship service (through a translator) and as we build relationships with the small congregation meeting here tomorrow. This next week will be an exciting and very intense time of ministry with the children, so we greatly covet your prayers.

~ Beth

(for the team)

Author: Beth
•Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Dear Praying Friends,

After hearing an account of the spiritual needs in India, [it was] remarked: “There is a gold mine in India, but it seems almost as deep as the center of the earth. Who will venture to explore it?”
“I will go venture to go down,” said Carey, “but remember that you must hold the ropes.”

The man who uttered those words was William Carey, a poor cobbler whom God called to the mission field. He spent much of his life serving the Lord in India and God used him to spread the light of the gospel in that land. Yet, Carey, like so many missionaries after him, understood that it wasn’t just him going out alone. There were people “back home” that validated his work of missions abroad by their faithful uplifting in prayer.

I am humbly asking all of you reading this to “hold the ropes” as well.

Tomorrow, I will be boarding a plane to the country of India. God has graciously opened up the door for me to travel with a small team from my home church to the city of Bangalore in south India to spread the gospel to the people there. I wanted to make you all aware of this so that you could be upholding us with your prayers.

We will be working with a small, growing Reformed church within the city of Bangalore. We are looking forward to leading a Vacation Bible School with the children in the area, being involved in outreach ministry, developing relationships with the people (particularly the young adults), and assisting the host congregation as they settle into a new facility… as well as being open to whatever else God would have for us to do. It is my prayer that this team would bring spiritual encouragement as well as open our eyes to how we can best serve Him in this context.

I truly covet your prayers as this team embarks on this mission... as it is God alone who can turn any feeble effort on our behalf into something wondrous for His glory. Please be praying …

  • -That our Father would be preparing our hearts spiritually to serve Him joyfully, to share Him boldly, and to surrender all the results to Him.
  • -That He would use the gospel that goes out from the evangelistic programs and VBS to plant seeds and that many would respond by putting their salvation in the only God who is able to save.
  • -That we would be a source of encouragement and blessing to the believers there, so that they might be encouraged in the Lord and strengthened in their faith (in spite of religious persecution that they may face in the future)
  • -That above all, Christ would be highly exalted, as the ends of the earth come to praise Him.

God has impressed these verses on my heart as a theme for this trip.

There is none like You among the gods, O Lord,
Nor are there any works like Yours.
All the nations you have made shall come
And worship before You, O Lord,
And shall glorify Thy Name.
For You are great and do wondrous things;
You alone are God.
Psalm 86:8-10

In a country that is full of gods, may these precious people come to know the one True God as they see evidences of Him and understand His saving work of forgiveness and grace. In a country where there is much spiritual darkness, may they come to see the God who is to be worshipped and glorified as their Creator. As we travel and live there, may we come to see our God in a whole new way as He does things far beyond what we could ask or think.

“Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God.” - William Carey

For the next several weeks, this blog will be a travel log for the team. Be sure to check both the blog and the "updates" section (on the left sidebar), and I will post as often as I am able. Thank you so much for praying!

~ Beth
Author: Beth
•Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee.
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be

Graduation from Regent University this past weekend is a memory that I will cherish for a long time. A regent is a person who is chosen to rule in the place of the King until He returns, and that was certainly the emphasis placed on the commencement blessings this weekend. Those who serve under Christ’s name have a responsibility to leadership and service to the King, while eagerly anticipating His return.

Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy Faithfulness, Lord unto me.

On Friday evening, there was a commissioning service for the undergraduate students. With “Pomp and Circumstance” ringing in our ears, the students filed into the auditorium for a special blessing. This was a time where the faculty and deans specifically charged the students to use the knowledge that we have obtained to change the world for the glory of God. When the familiar strains of Great is Thy Faithfulness began to play, I could hardly keep the tears from falling. The theme that God had been impressing on my heart for my college years was sung beautifully, reminding each of us of our Father who will never change but will be with us every step of the way (it was also the song dedicated to the Class of ’09… I just had to smile at how God perfectly plans even the smallest details!) One of the highlights of this entire weekend was a special and sacred time during this service when each of the graduates were individually anointed and prayed over by the deans and professors. I was so blessed to see this example of the family of God, uplifting and equipping each of us for service in the Kingdom.


Summer and winter and spring-time and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above
join with all nature in manifold witness

To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

After a night of thunderstorms, Saturday dawned with bright and beautiful skies and glorious sunshine – a picture-perfect day for the outdoor graduation ceremonies. About 5,000 people gathered to watch the ceremony and conferring of degrees upon about 650 graduates. I was so blessed to have my entire family present during the graduation, along with my grandparents. Even though I was the one walking across the stage, I felt as if it was a joint accomplishment – one that could not have been possible without every single person who influenced my life along the way. It was truly a moment in which I could visibly see the hand of God, carefully directing my every step to bring me to this point in life.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thy own dear presence to cheer and to guide,
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

Now, it is all over. The sun sparkled off the water droplets on the fountain as I walked the campus one last time. I passed by the rows of thousands of empty chairs, that were filled only a few hours before. The charge that the president of the University flashed through my mind. “You will leave here and take power under His authority. God is faithful. He will absolutely take care of you if you take His way.”

It is just the beginning.

As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be. Great is Thy faithfulness!

Read those words over again. He does not change. In a time when it seems like everything else in life is changing, this is the promise on which I stand. His faithfulness endures forever.

From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank every single one of you who have stood by me and uplifted me in prayer during these past four years. God has shown His incredible love through every one who walked along this path with me. You know who you are, and I praise God for you.

For His glory.

CBN News: Regent University Holds Graduation Ceremony
(look for me at the 1:03 – 1:05 mark)

Entire Commencement Ceremony
(check out 8:45, 1:19, and 2:05)

Personal Graduation Pictures
Author: Beth
•Thursday, May 07, 2009

I’m done with college.

… every time I write those words, I have to go back and re-read them. It hasn’t quite hit me yet. But yes, ladies and gentlemen, as of 5:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 2, 2009 (yes, my last all-nighter) I am officially done. The sky was just barely beginning to change its color as I sat in front of my computer and hit the final “submit” button. Everyone else in the house was asleep, so I stifled the urge to run outside and scream at the top of my lungs... but instead just relished in the moment quite happily before crashing into bed. =)

I’m not really sure how college graduates are supposed to feel. Perhaps doing my entire college education online has given me a different perspective than most, but I am intensely relieved to have this milestone behind me. It’s been a long journey, but I can certainly say that God taught me things about Himself far above and beyond just academia. One of these days, I’m going to write it all down, but until then, I am just marveling at the reality that God does indeed “fulfill His purposes for me” (Psalm 57:2) in ways that are beyond what I could ask or think.

My heart is full as I remember all the ways that God used to help me through the past four years. I was sitting on the plane this morning, overlooking a brilliant blue sky and fluffy white clouds on my way to Virginia to graduate… and this verse echoed in my head:

"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end; They are new every morning… great is Thy faithfulness!” - Lamentations 3:22-24

This time of graduation is really a celebration of God’s faithfulness. I have come to a realization over and over again at how weak I am. Long nights of seemingly-meaningless study, tears of frustration, academic disappointments and changes have all helped me to come to grips with my own human frailty and powerlessness. Working with four different colleges brought me to understand that God was directing my steps and I needed to follow in faith. Living 769 miles away from school (but having a commute of 2 feet to class!) helped me to see that God can keep my focus undistracted and yet help me to see the “home mission field” right at my fingertips. As the thousands and thousands of words somehow formed into papers, articles, essays, debates, and discussion assignments, I began to understand a bit how Moses felt when God promised “I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak” (Exodus 4:12). Each time the grades came in, I learned a lot about humility and (lots) of faith. =P And now, as I sit back and reflect, I can see the faithfulness of God shining through like a golden thread that held every single minute together.

As I sat in the plane this morning, the past four years flashed before my eyes. I thought about how today was my last day to be 21 years old. I thought about how I would not be considered a “college student” anymore. I thought about how life was changing and how things would never be the same… and I thought about the future. Honestly, it’s rather intimidating. As the airplane rose above the clouds, the sun began to shine directly and brilliantly… and the words “great is Thy faithfulness” seemed to write itself across the sky. As I look into the future, whatever it may be, I cannot think of a better reminder.

Praise the Lord for His faithfulness. And yes, I still cannot stop smiling. =)