Author: Beth
•Sunday, June 21, 2009
Author: Beth
•Friday, June 19, 2009
As a writer, one of the most frustrating things is when the words just don’t do justice to all the emotions and thoughts that you’re yearning to spill out. Since I’ve returned home , my heart has been overflowing… but the sentences still remain muddled in my head. I think it will take quite some time to process everything that I learned. I’m really not much of a poet, but here are a few thoughts that attempt to explain this quandary a little... in response to my last month spent in India.

What Words Just Can’t Say

An empty page still lies before me
Lord, I struggle with words tonight
My own seem so shallow, so frail
So inadequate to set it all right

Near are the memories and thoughts
Inexpressible, and yet they impart
Far more than the tongue can tell
As mirrors into the Father's heart

Words just can't say FAITH
When a little hand slips into yours,
A life full of future and of youth
Unhindered by worldly doubts and fears
With shining dark eyes believing truth

And words just can't say JOY
When small voices lift up their songs of praise
Our open arms find hugs and little hands
Eager and instant friendships form through a smile
And laughter comes from balloons and ... popsicle stands :P

And words just can't say STRENGTH
When the church is small, yet learning to stand
And as ominous clouds of opposition roll in
Faith and courage bring perseverance
As He continues to work in the hearts of men.

And words just can't say CHANGE
The blessed mystery when God moves inward
All defenses are broken, the gospel is made real
I learned to see His love and His truth
That goes far beyond what I can think or feel

And words just can't say LOVE
As Jesus permeates through all barriers
Strangers become family, bound by Him
Through worship, prayer, laughter and tears
All ... with a love that will never dim.

Sometimes, words just aren't enough.

Faith. Joy. Strength. Change. Love.

It’s meant to be LIVED.

"Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether." (Psalm 139:4)

Author: Beth
•Wednesday, June 17, 2009
As I continue to process many of my thoughts, feelings, and lessons from the past month in India, I thought you would enjoy a few glimpses of some of God's beautiful creation on the other side of the globe. Both of these short narrative videos were taken during our team's two-day trip to Tamil Nadu and Kerala... a mountaintop experience and a ocean view.
~ Beth

Author: Beth
•Saturday, June 06, 2009

The hazy mountains in the distance stretched as far as the eye could see, solemnly and majestically rising into the pink sunset clouds. Words could not even form as I looked out upon the landscape over India. The only thing that came near enough was the words that our team sang together as we watched the setting sun.

Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honor and majesty.” (Psalm 104:1)

The Psalmist’s cry is the closest thing to remedying such speechlessness. O Lord, my God, thou art very great! What a blessed thing it is to be able to say “my God” in reference to the most holy, powerful, omnipotent Eloheim. What a privilege it is to be called a child of this Creator!
God has been teaching me so many things about Himself and about His Kingdom around the world. It is hard to process it all, except to marvel at His greatness and His lovingkindness that He shows to His children.

Thank you all for your continued prayers as we continue here in India. The Lord has done so much in the last week, and we are praising Him for His watchful care and His continuing sanctifying work in many hearts and lives. Last Saturday, our team had our Gospel Presentation. Around 50 children, many whom had attended VBS the previous week, came along with around 30 parents and other adults. We were able to sing many appropriate psalms and hymns which highlighted the main points of the gospel. The rendition of the story of the Prodigal Son (starring Nick as the prodigal son and Zachary as the forgiving father) was one of the highlights of the program. We are claiming the promises of God that His word will never return void, but will accomplish His purposes in hearts and lives.

This week, our team has returned from a two day excursion to Tamil Nadu and Kerala, where we were visiting missionary friends and enjoying some of God’s marvelous creation together. We enjoyed a mountain climb, splashing around in the Indian ocean, a rather adventurous car ride, and some sightings of wild elephants… among many other memories.

Currently, our team is together at the church, cherishing the last few days here in this blessed country. Please continue to pray as we look for ways to bless and encourage these believers around us before we return. Today (Saturday) we are preparing to teach at a youth meeting with some young believers in Pastor Babu’s church. We are excited about sharing what the Lord has taught us over the years about growing in Christ. Please pray that we would speak God’s words and that He would be glorified through these young, precious lives.

In His Name,

Top picture overlooking Indian valleys from the Western Ghats mountains. Photography by Zachary.
Author: Beth
•Monday, June 01, 2009
This past Lord's Day, our team visited a Kannada church that has been partnering with the ministry here. I thought you all would enjoy seeing a little of the body of believers that we are blessed to know here in India. (If you hear "Akka!" in the background, that means "big sister." That is coming from the children who were following behind me.) Enjoy!

The team will be leaving early tomorrow morning (Tuesday) for a road-trip to visit and encourage some missionaries in the next state. We will return sometime on Thursday. Thank you for your prayers, everyone!

~ Beth

Author: Beth
•Monday, June 01, 2009

“All your rejoicing in all things should therefore be a rejoicing in the Cross where all your blessings were purchased for you at the cost of the death of the Son of God, Jesus Christ.” (John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life, p.57)

During four days last week, Dr. Rao taught a series of sessions here in India that unfolded the story of the Bible from cover to cover. He gave an overview of the Bible, highlighting the major themes and clearly explaining the gospel message in greater detail. Many of the people who came were Kannada speaking and listened very attentively as the message was translated.

On the last evening, our translator led the group in prayer in Kannada. Listening to these precious people pray to the One True God in their native language is one of the most beautiful things on earth. Although I couldn’t understand what he was saying, I could tell that it was heart-felt and very meaningful. I found out later that two women had given their lives over to Jesus Christ during that prayer. Praise the Lord!

I am continually humbled and amazed at the wonderful love of Jesus Christ. Being able to continually focus my mind again and again on the life-changing power of the gospel has been both refreshing and challenging. Going through the five colors of the Wordless Book with the children helped me to see that we must have the faith of a child in order to believe. Explaining the bridge illustration to two children afterwards reminded me of God’s whole plan of salvation as He bridged the gap between us and God. Writing out my salvation testimony to share with the community that gathered for our presentation reminded me of my own story and His powerful saving work. Hearing the salvation testimonies of my other team members as they each spoke a different evening spoke volumes of God’s sovereignty in calling people unto Himself. That’s the power of the cross.

One thing that God showed me this week is that the impact of the Gospel is truly HIS redeeming work in people’s lives. God can use people to speak His words, but there is ultimately not any effort on our part that can draw people to Him. “For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.” (2 Corinthians 4).

We have been seeing God move in the hearts of people around us, and we covet your prayers as this time of ministry here continues. The pastor has told us of many people who have shown interest – even Hindu people who have been attending church services. Hearts that were previously closed to the gospel (as in the case of one young woman who works here in the church) have been opened within the past few weeks. We are praising God for the visible work of His hand … and even more as He works in the unseen. Praise His Holy Name!