Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Hide it Under a Bushel? No!

It's Wednesday night and the sky is darkening as I squeeze into a small Ram Tekdi slum house with countless other children. They have come for the weekly Bible Club led by Missionaries from the YWAM Pune base. There are thousands of slums just like this in India, filled with thousands of slum children eager to hear Bible stories.

After some rowdy fun worship songs the leaders settle the kids down to learn a new Bible verse: Mathew 5: 14-16 “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”

”What a perfect lesson for them to learn!” I was thinking as the leaders explained what Jesus meant in this parable.
You see, during my time in Pune I have interviewed several Missionaries and pastors who talk about the “secret Christians”. Many people know God and believe in Jesus, but they are not willing to confess Him to their family or community.

Understandably it would be difficult to proclaim Christ in a Hindu/Muslim country. Many Indian States have anti-conversion laws, and Christian missionaries and pastors undergo tremendous persecution, even death every day.
But if the Christians do not stand up for Christ, how will they be a light to their community? How will they be a city on a hill that points to the Truth?

I pray that this generation of children sitting around me, listening to the Bible story, will be bold and stand up for Jesus. Perhaps when they bring their coloring papers home with the Matthew 5:14-16 verse written on it their parents will be convicted to stand up for Jesus too.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Isaiah 49:15

Do you ever have days where there is so much to do, but everything simple becomes more complicated?
Today was one of those patience testers for me =)
I kept saying "God, I could use a little help here. Where are you? Have you forgotten that I'm doing Your work down here?"

and this is what He told me
"See! I will not forget you....I have you carved on the palm of my hand."
Friend if you want to know perfect peace, His hands are very big.
There is room for your name too.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Beautiful Children of the Slums

Today I helped teach a nutrition class to mothers in a slum area.
I can't believe how little they know about basic health and nutrition. They learned for the first time today why it is important to wash their hands after going to the bathroom and then hand feeding their babies.
And that their babies are probably sick because they crawl all over the slum "streets" which are narrow squeeze spaces between each shanty. Throughout the streets children wander along with AIDS infected animals and raw sewage from thousands of is so heartbreaking.
There are amazing tender-hearted missionaries here who have started a free medical clinic and health classes...but they feel overwhelmed with the surplus of needs.
The other side of the world is so different from home.
We are so blessed.
I know the Missionaries are going to need continued help and supplies. So today I am writing/designing a brochure for their ministry so we can send it out and raise awareness of what they are doing and how people can help...
If you are interested in learning more please e-mail me and I will gladly send you a brochure and information.
For now will you at least please pray for these beautiful children? That as the Missionaries reach out to their physical needs, they will be allowed to feed their spiritual needs as well?

Thursday, October 12, 2006


Namaste! Greetings from India!
I apologize for taking over a week to write. I have been so busy here in Mumbai and Goa setting up interviews with Missionaries, writing stories, taking pictures, helping with the street kids ministry, slums, prostitutes, Bible clubs, hospital visits, orphan homes.....there is always some way to share the wonderful love of Jesus here. Last night I finally went to bed after 40 hours straight of ministry without sleep.
It's been fun though. God is good and is teaching me the mighty greatness of His grace, strength, and joy in my weakness =)
Praise Him!
India is a very sad place. Every city I have seen is dirty, diseased, hot, crowded, and crumbling. I was shocked when told that 40% of Indian people living in cities, stay in slums.
It is heartbreaking. There is such division between the people in castes. Such division between the few very rich, and everyone else who is poor.

Many people have no concept of how miserable their conditions are.
I freaked out yesterday at breakfast when a mouse ran over my feet. But then I went to the market and saw a huge fat rat ambling along in the middle of a restaurant and people noticed but ignored it!
So it’s a little different from Stanwood, but God is doing great things through His people here. He is bringing hope and healing. Everyday when I see people with Siva's ashes rubbed on their foreheads it reminds me of my Father's longing to bring beauty from the ashes of this country.
Thank you for praying for the missionaries here and the people of India.
In this picture some of the local missionaries are teaching me how to eat with my hands - the true Indian way. Then there is another picture of me, Sony, Divya, and Lydia in an auto-rickshaw going to church.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Bring it!

But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved!
Hebrews 10:39

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Shameless Little Advertisement

Hear ye! Hear ye! Anyone interested in serving in missions I have good tidings of great joy!
With a multiplicity of YWAM ministry locations the world over, there is surely a perfect place for you!
Right here in this photo I am joined by Ellen from Australia who came with a team from her church to do outreach in Chang Mai. Look at how happy she is serving the Lord while painting the kitchen walls of the Home of Joy!
You too can experience such joy serving anywhere the Lord calls you to – it could be in your own city, or it could be on the other side of the world. Pray about it today and ask God how you can use your special talents or learn new ones, to refresh others!
YWAM needs you!
p.s. I get lonely sometimes moving around every week - little vagabond that I am. Soooo if anyone is interested in photo journalism I would love a partner!
(Said partner must be willing to love everyone; move every week; travel daily on dangerous forms of transportation when you usually do not speak the language or know exactly where you are going; sleep anywhere; eat anything; cannot be afraid of cockroaches the size of hotdogs, spiders that will bite you in your sleep, rats that will scurry accrossed your floor, or rabid looking animals in the street. You can take showers sometimes, which are guaranteed to be cold, but that is o.k. because you are guaranteed to be hot and dirty all the time anyways so it's actually a benefit =)
Other benefits include: living by faith everyday, watching God do miracles, meeting amazing people in amazing cultures, and having alot of fun =)

Birthday Elephants and Humility

I had a fabulous 22nd birthday! I signed up for an all-day Elephant ride through the jungle with a tour group of 8 other people.
One couple was from Canada, another was from Malaysia, 3 were from Spain, 1 from Japan, and myself. We all got on splendidly learning about each other’s countries and swapping travel stories. I quickly became known as the “extremely religious bubbly birthday girl Jen from America!” haha. We had fun.
I’m not sure how I feel about the “extremely religious label”. That conjures up pictures of Pharisees – I sure hope I wasn’t giving them the impression that I was more pious just 'cause I’m a missionary working at an orphan home.
I am reminded everyday that the fact God is using little ‘ol me for anything is a testimony to His grace, sense of humor, and that He likes to use small unimportant things and people to shame the “wise” and shine His glory! Yeah God!
Sometimes I set up interviews with people over the phone, and when I meet them in person they’re shocked saying (either verbally or non-verbally) “What?! I thought I was meeting with a highly experienced reporter!
How old are you? Do you know the hierarchy of YWAM leadership and the 7 steps to our visionary strategy with the 4k network….?” and I say sheepishly “Er…well no. But God’s funny with who He calls for His work isn’t He? I mean he used David to slay Goliath, and a teenager to birth the son of God, so surely He can use anyone, right?” =)
Soooo I hope I am quick to give Him every bit of glory if do anything well.
But back to the elephants =)
We sat 2 people in a saddle while a Thai professional elephant rider man led us over a mammoth mountain, through banana trees and dense jungle foliage.
Since it was my birthday and all, the elephant driver let me out of the saddle to ride the elephant’s shoulder!!
He jumped off to smoke cigarettes and beat the elephants butt with a bamboo stick. I do not believe animal cruelty is edifying for anyone so I petted my elephant, rubbed his ears, and told him nice things. I think he responded much better to the positive encouragement, than the stick.
See how happy he looks in the picture?
We ambled down into a valley which was so green and lush, and spent the day there. It was paradise!
But it wasn't over yet....that night at the Home of Joy the children and staff surprised me with a sweet celebration. Here is a picture of some of them looking all cute and covered in cake.