This was a crazy day.
First: the persecutions. No, i wasn't persecuted but everyone else i met today has been. Everyone here has suffered physically for their faith. I am not exaggerating. Daniel was stoned by his father. Suresh's sister-in-law married a muslim, and when she later converted to Christianity he broke both of her wrists (she now requires two hands to lift a tea cup). Sunil's family cast him out of their city when he converted, and he cannot return upon pain of death.
Honestly, the rest of the stories blend in together...there are that many, mostly at the hands of Hindu families but with plenty Muslim blame to go around.
How do we not hear more about this in the West?
Interestingly, many of the Christians here love George W Bush because he refused to trade with India unless the Prime Minister could guarantee that the government was (1) not involved in persecuting Christians and (2) was a actively attempting to protect persecuted Christians.
Since the government had been in full support (if not celebration) of much prior persecution, this was a huge catalyst for positive change.
Christians here use the term "persecution" every day. It's weird to hear them talk about it. "oh, i was persecuted badly last year, but God is good and i survived to give Him praise."
They talk about persecution like i talk about exercise: it will inevitably occur, and it's not pretty, but it is worth it.
I feel like a child in comparison to these humble adults.
Say it together with Wayne and Garth: we're not worthy
Second: the tent meetings. We had good, ole fashioned revival meetings in village tents today. It was 110 degrees and we worked and preached and prayed from 9am until 8pm. I was the first caucasion anyone had ever seen in those villages, which made it a treat for them to hear the gospel. Our hosts are smart - they knew i'd draw a circus crowd, but they also knew that even a wrongly-motivated attendee can still be affected by the Spirit.
And they were.
People slain in the Spirit.
And conversions...lots and lots of people who decided to leave Islam and Hinduism and follow Jesus.
After the last meeting i was literally mobbed. There were 3 dozen people clutching some part of me. I prayed for people in groups (because there were too many to do individually) for over an hour.
Then they followed me to the car.
They tried to break open the windows to get prayer.
Suresh kept sneaking people in through the trunk 2-by-2 so i could lay hands on those who wanted to go into ministry.
Meanwhile, our Hindu cab driver began working his way through his address book on his cel phone and asking me to pray for his friends.
So...the car is being rocked by people outside of it, trying to open the doors and windows and get prayer; and Suresh is sneaking people into the back seat so i can lay hands on them; and all the while i'm on speaker phone praying for a widow to be delivered from demons and receive healing from God.
That's different than a typical Sunday back home.
Anyway-a great day...superbly memorable. And two more villages are on the books for tomorrow. There are over 1,000 villages in this area. Suresh visits several every day, "pastoring" 200 of them with his mixed bag of ministerial has-beens and wanna-bes. He's a good man, and they are doing good work.
It was nice to be one of the super-friends for a day.
P.S. I can't get over how much pray support i feel. Nevermind that i've bee safe, traveled well, haven't gotten sick, or haven't seen any spiders...i feel super in tune with God and totally free to follow every little prompt by the Spirit. Things are coming to me while preaching and praying and training that i haven't rehearsed or prepared or previously thought through. It's been surreal.
A big thanks to everyone spending time on their knees. Prayer works. I feel the power of prayer like a cloud of possibility and protection around me. It is good.