March 3rd – April 3rd, 2014
During this season, many agricultural labourers in Andhra Pradesh are at risk of starvation because there is no work. To help them, ICM, along with Paya Lebar Methodist Church of Singapore and Communion of Covenant Churches, held an emergency rice distribution.
Communion of Covenant Churches identified the highest-risk families in the slums and villages of Krishna District, Paya Lebar Methodist Church raised funds, and ICM facilitated the distribution. Each 25-kg back will feed a family for a month, and 400 bags were distributed, feeding around 2400 people. These were the villages that received rice: Nehru Pet, Potharra Padu, Nagvarappadu, Sobhanadhri Purnam, Kothuru, Ganguru, Uddhandarayuni Palem, and Ibrahim Patnam.
An excerpt from a World Race blog by Ken Betancourt. Read full blog here.
These children’s faith is so great. In the evening right before leaving, a small boy approaches me. He says “Please pray for my mother. She has much pain in her body.” At the time I thought his mother was nearby so I tell him “one of the sisters can pray for her”. I ask him if he wants prayer and he say’s “of course!” As I’m finishing the prayer he starts to whisper “my mother, my mother, please pray for my mother”. Then I realized that he understands that God can hear our prayers whether we pray for them in person or in spirit!
People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them (Mark 10:13-16).
This is a quote from a World Racer, Nathan Hauser, on his expectations of India and what happened when he actually came. Read the full blog here.
India originally held the top spot for countries on my route I was least excited about. In fact, I sometimes selfishly prayed for it to change, so we could bypass India altogether. I wasn’t excited about the environment, the people, the culture, and especially not the food. Yet, from the moment our plane landed on Indian soil, I felt a strange sense of peace. In an inexplicably surreal sort of way, it felt like home.
This is an excerpt from a blog written by a World Racer, Sha’terika Perkins, on her experiences in India praying for people. Read the full blog here.
Being someone who has always strongly believed in the power of prayer, I am usually excited for every opportunity I get to pray for someone. I admit that for the past few weeks I was deceived. I chose to believe the lie that only certain acts of God counted as important or significant and that I wasn’t really being used by him if I was not a part of those things. The truth is that Jesus & the apostles both proclaimed and demonstrated the kingdom of God through preaching the Gospel, healing the sick, and casting out demons. These same manifestations of the Holy Spirit are expected and available to Jesus’ disciples today. I’ve learned it’s not wrong in itself to desire to be used in those ways. But the heart behind it, as in all things, is of utmost importance to God.
Here is an excerpt from a World Racer, Sophia Nalty, on her experience working with a CCC pastor in his village. Read the full blog here.
This month my team and I are guests of a village pastor and his family of 14. His two teenage sons, 13 and 14 years old respectively, serve as our translators. His wife and the 10 orphan girls they house (aged 6-9 years old) make our stay as comfortable as possible. The concrete house is divided into two stories, one large room on each floor. We sleep in tents on the second floor and their home is on the first.
We share an open bathroom in the back of the house on their floor. We flush and bathe with buckets. The food is jam-packed with flavor, spice, CARBS, and unusual textures…diarrhea is inevitable. There’s nothing quite as humbling as doing the “doo” in a house where the inside dividing walls are only about 6 ft tall…or outside in the middle of the night when you don’t want to disturb the family. We wake up at dawn whether we want to or not because the whole village comes alive as the sun rises. And in such a communal culture, privacy is not common. We’re often prone to spontaneous visits from the locals or the children, some of whom who have never seen Westerners (especially those with paler skin), who may enter our room at anytime to take pictures with us or just peer at us in our tents. We were even featured in a local newspaper when we visited a neighboring village for miscellaneous shopping.
Despite all these adjustments, I know that this is the best place for me to be. It’s hard to explain even as I sit and write about it, weighing the pros and cons… There’s just something about the “bush”. Away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The peacefulness of open air. Nights just filled with stars like the Lord showed to Abraham in the Old Testament. Here we have the time and quiet to seek the Lord individually and as a team about everything from ministry (which is so AMAZING, I’ll have to write a separate blog about it), our own faith-walks, and preparing to come back home. Not that there wasn’t time before, but the distractions are simply way less weighing. Don’t get me wrong, by no means am I planning on heading for the boondocks when I get home, but I’m definitely thanking God for this change of pace.
A recent team of World Racers had their parents come visit while they were with ICM. Here is one WR mom’s experience in the village. Read the full blog here.
Our first day of ministry with our kids was at one of the slums, basically a small 10 or so family neighborhood that was literally built out of “trash” in the middle of the trash dump. When we walked in I saw two young boys playing a game with rocks, they were so happy, just playing like any other little boys their age would be, and God quickly told me to love on these people, but not to pity them. He continued to show me how happy these people were, with nothing, they were happy, this was their normal and they knew nothing different. They were so hospitable, they brought out their beds and best blankets and mats for us to sit on, they so wanted us to join them and they wanted us to be comfortable. Their homes that were made of trash were so very clean, they took great pride in their homes, the children were clean, wearing clean clothes, with clean hair that obviously had been styled. It was a joy to see how little these people had but how hospitable they were to us. We prayed with them, gave them rice and toothbrushes, told them testimonies and played games and sang songs with them.
Testimony from a World Racer, Christina Kehres, on the unexpected experience of helping a pastor and his family re-build their house. Read the entire blog here.
We were headed to the house of a pastor that recently caught fire and needed cleaning from smoke damage. Pastor Binny runs a church in his home for people who live in the slums and gives free guitar and piano lessons. Pastor’s wife was uncomfortable with slum ministry and didn’t understand the calling that Pastor has and chose to abandon her family. Pastor and his two daughters were asleep when God shook him awake to see the fire in their living room.
Princey is the oldest of the two girls who has taken over many motherly responsibilities in their household. She is a fantastic cook and served us tea several times during our visit. She is 14 years old and the only Christian (besides her sister) in their Hindu school. Princey reads her class a story from the Bible every single day for three years now and although none of her classmates have accepted Jesus as their Savior they all believe in Him and pray to Him. Can you imagine being so on fire for God at age 14?
The youngest girl is Pinky; she is passionate, spunky, and full of joy. She helped us clean and took our pictures and made all seven of us leave our autographs. The girls collect money all year long to fill their plastic piggy bank to give gifts and school supplies to the slum children. They are going through so much themselves at such a young age and still carrying around God’s heart for others.
When Pastor went to pick the girls up at school our contact, Ravi, told us that while part of our group was getting chai tea this morning his sister called about Pastor and the house fire. Ravi hadn’t heard about the fire that happened weeks ago but said he had a team that could come immediately; our ministry for the day changed that quickly and that last minute. Pastor said he asked God to send someone to help him and we were who God chose to send – an answered prayer.
The girls walked in the door saying, “praise The Lord, praise The Lord!” Their father had told them visitors were at their house and they worried but he reassured his daughters that the visitors were angels. “It’s true, you really are angels,” they told us.
God told me again, “It’s not how you serve but who you serve.”
Before we left the house I had my seventh cup of tea for the day and Princey and Pinky gave each of us a necklace from their personal collection. They might have been praying for us to arrive but they were the angels I needed.
It’s not how you serve; it’s who you serve.
I am so glad I get to serve Jesus.
This came from a recent World Racer working with ICM, Jenny Kuehn, on what India was teaching her. You can read her entire blog here.
Counting the Cost.
When your feeling uncomfortable or things don’t seem to go the way you had imagine them, just remember: those are the moments that reveal where we need to grow.
“And you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one.” Hebrews 10-34
When we realize the reward it doesn’t seem like sacrifice.
As I write this, it is the 8th of March, International Women’s Day. However, as far as our nation is concerned, it feels like a huge farce. Appreciation for women rings hollow in a country where girls are killed inside their mother’s wombs simply because of their gender; where, even if they survive, they are abandon somewhere; where every moment they are treated as second class to males and receives less food, education, medical care, and still does the majority of the work. All her life, an Indian woman is told she belongs to someone: her father, husband, or even her son. And this doesn’t even include the horrific abuses like rape, acid attacks, honour killings, and other forms of abuse that stalk every woman in India.
Survey after survey has revealed that India is still one of the worst places in the world for women. Despite attempts at modernization and equality, sexual violence and extreme gender inequality are some of the worst in Asia.
ICM celebrated International Women’s Day with a rally and city walk to honor the women of India. They also distributed 30 sarees to poor widow women. It was held in Ongole, Prakasam District, under the leadership of ICM Director James Rebbavarapu on March 8, 2014. DTC-DSP Mr. Ashok Kumar’s wife, Sneha lata garu joined us as the chief guest, speaking about women’s rights. She said it was about time we stopped accepting abuse as a way of life, and that until we can treat women with dignity, India does not deserve to be called a democracy.
Indians take great pride in their so-called values, where women are expected to dress and behave in a certain way. Sneha said, however, that these expectations are not Indian by any stretch of the imagination, but 19th Century Victorian English values, known for their narrow-mindedness and conservatism. She called for India to move into the 21st century, where everyone is treated as equal, as the Indian Constitution promises, irrespective of their gender, religion, caste, skin color, or creed.
Sneha also appreciated ICM and its leadership, saying that ICM is the best social service organization for the poor and needy people in Ongole, Prakasam.
ICM would like to sincerely thank all of the great women who have helped advance God’s kingdom, especially those in the office staff, volunteers with our CCDC, SCH and international volunteers.