India is hot. It is really hot. The hottest place I’ve ever been. And we eat curry, which is spicy. Bottom line, my team and I are always overheated and dripping in sweat. The heat drains our energy and drive, leaving us lifeless and exhausted. More than ever, I have relied on Jesus to give me motivation and charisma, because by body is so spent.

India is also Hindu. It’s really Hindu. Driving through villages we pass so many Hindu temples, and sculptures. Even Christians in India are influenced so heavily by the Hindu culture. It seems to be everywhere and inescapable. It’s so difficult for Christians to completely detach from the culture they grew up with, and the culture that is so prevalent. Many Christians attend Hindu festivals and celebrations without understanding how opening yourself up to that spiritual warfare can be detrimental to their walk. Many Indians believe that they can be Christians on Sunday, and be Hindus when celebrations roll around. This creates confusion surrounding Christianity and what it means to live as Christ.

India is also a culture dominated by men. It is really dominated by men. Men are the ones to drive and have jobs, and women simply bear children. It is rare to see women out and about, especially at night. Women are expected to cover themselves and be the epitome of modesty, while men can undress in the middle of the street to “adjust” themselves. Really. Men and women are rarely together; on public transportation, in schools and in church they sit in separate areas. Our team is not even allowed to touch men when we pray for them.

India can be dark. It can be really dark. India can also be so full of life. The stark contrast leaves people caught in the middle. The Christians are some of the strongest Christians I’ve ever met; the lost are some of the most lost. There is such great potential for good here. The devil is working here because he sees India as a threat. India is a force to be reckoned with. Even though India is full of spiritual warfare and can be extremely dark, Jesus is present here unlike anywhere I’ve been. The kids have the ability to pour life into the worst day. They can love in the midst of darkness. They can pour joy out to every single person they see. The people here are not afraid to be vulnerable and ask for prayer. They are so hungry for Jesus. They hang on every word we say and thirst for more.

India is a beautiful. It is so much more complex than what meets the eye. My heart has been opened up to so many different ideas. India is an incredible place full of colors and smells. It’s full of smiles and giggles. It’s full of Jesus. There is a lot of work to do here, but Jesus is making Himself known. Praise the Lord for this experience, I cannot wait to see what God has in store for us these next two weeks!

Fun facts about our team and our ministry:

• We are working with Indian Christian Ministries. This organization has helped to make Andrha Predesh (the region we are staying in) almost 50% Christian!

• Our team focus is on working with children. We travel to different villages where ICM has planted churches, and pour into the kids. We have the greatest ministry ever!

• We are staying in one of the coolest buildings ever. It is almost all marble, it is giant and there is a beautiful roof top that is our congregating place & it has a really nice breeze! We are so blessed!

• We eat Indian food for every meal. Recently students have made some meals for us and they have been so kind to cater to our likings. They ditched the chicken liver and loaded up on potatoes and ketchup!

• We do have electricity & running water! Praise God! There is not air conditioning, but we have a lot of fans in every room. A couple times a day the electricity blacks out, and our fans quickly stop moving. That’s when the heat really sets in.

• Apparently smiling is seen as flirting in India. We have to be very conscientious of how we treat/look at/acknowledge men.

• Indian traffic rules really don’t exist. There is no exaggeration in the movies. Staying in your lane is more of a suggestion. I haven’t seen any crashes since I’ve been here. I also haven’t seen any police on the road either, now that I think about it.

• We have been so blessed by our contacts! They take care of us and know exactly where to take us and what to do. They have been incredible! Our team can be a lot to handle and they do it with confidence and grace.

“Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous works among all the peoples.”

Psalms 96:3

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