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.
Over the last 5 weeks I have been here with Kingdom Journeys to serve ICM with their vision and strategy. The team and I are supporting one another in our projects while focusing on a primary deliverable for ICM based of our professional experience and skill-sets. My project has been to research and design a program for a new ICM operations center in Hyderabad. Our goal with this project is to assess the land and design ICM’s headquarters as the centralized location to run all of their operations, host volunteers, and serve as a collaborative space for ICM staff. My background is in Industrial Design and over the last few years I’ve worked for Adidas, New Balance, and Reebok (most recently) designing athletic shoes. Much of the design approach we use to design the form and function of a shoe can be carried into the humanistic approach architects use to define how we interact with space and light. I’ve done my best to discover ICM’s needs and fabricate this data into a design that fills the need of its staff and organizations growth.
Working with James and his management team is a blessing. They work around the clock to build God’s Kingdom. And the reason they have had such great success is a result of their hard work and late nights serving their staff and the needs of their organization. It’s amazing to see how God has blessed James with the capacity to run an organization that with mutliple growing programs and still allow him to maintain relationships with his volunteer staff and community – truly, James is an apostolic leader and the heart of this organization.
The future of ICM looks bright and – I hope – even brighter as more talented missionaries come to serve India, one of the most unreached and neediest countries in the world.
I was a consultant and graphic designer for ICM’s visual communication strategy and “brand” platform. My job was to assess their current situation with communication, graphics, and marketing material and see where I could fill needs within the short time I was here. I’ve completed my assessment and now II can pass along any insights generated to future volunteers and visual communications staff changes to me made and updates to these areas. I also had the privilege of visiting local villages and the children’s homes, which is always a huge blessing and refreshing encouragement as a believer. Having other young volunteers around and being able to interact with them, get meals with them and hang out was definitely a huge plus. This part of India is definitely not the easiest place to live, but having peers around me has made it definitely a more pleasant and comfortable experience.
ICM is on the verge of even more expansion, through God’s help. It’s inspiring to see how many children and villages they have impacted and how it’s still all held together on common values and high standards. I personally did not get the chance to really interact with many of ICM staff but everyone has been super accommodating, clearing out desks to make space for me in the office, serving our team tea, and James especially, has gone out of his way to make it the best experience and work environment possible for us. ICM’s going to grow big and be a huge driver for good transformation for India. I see them being more involved with even community development and hosting hundreds and hundreds of volunteers.
India is definitely a unique place. The food is intense but delicious. The people are very communal and the kids are very cheerful, always greeting us in the streets. This part of India is particularly difficult for me to adjust to, because of the humid climate and dust. Seeing the faith of the people at the churches we visited was incredibly inspiring. They came up to us, with full faith that God could heal them through just our touch and prayers.