“This is Sunday the 10th in India. We spend last night in the home of Pastor S. C., enjoying a fabulous meal cooked by his wife, S. And they have hot running water – so great after a week of cold bucket showers!
Our first conference is over and we have MUCH to praise God for! Although we had planned for 50 women, about 55 attended plus 8 men. About a third were illiterate and the others wanted training for reaching illiterates. The mini SD phone chips were loaded into their phones so they could listen to the stories in their own language and learn to navigate the menu. For 5 days, they met in groups of 4-5, for 4 sessions per day and worked their way through 27 stories that spanned Genesis to Revelation, following the theme of God’s desire for intimate covenant relationship with mankind.
In the evenings, we had times of ministry and healing. It was truly amazing to see the transformation over the five days. On day 1, they were so shy and timid about engaging in discussing or sharing their opinions. Just being asked to THINK was new to them. As poor women in this culture, they have been taught to believe that an education would be wasted on them. “don’t think; don’t talk – just work and do as you’re told.” Many felt amazed that we were taking the time and trouble to teach them. Once they realized that their thoughts really were welcome and valued, and they had MINDS that could think inductively, things started to pop. Whereas the morning of Day 1 was a struggle to get through just 2 stories, by Day 3 they were tearing it up. At first I was afraid I had greatly underestimated how long this would take and thought, “We’re going to need 3 weeks, not 5 days!” But we finished all 27 stories by 11:00 a.m. on the last day! When the last story was done and they realized they had just made it through a summary of the entire Bible, you should have seen their faces! Just BURSTING with pride, relief and joy!! The illiterate women were jumping up and down and cheering for each other. Some were weeping, saying they had learned so much! Su, one of the illiterate tea plantation workers, said, “This is the happiest day of my life!”
Friday afternoon, we had a graduation ceremony and presented each one with a diploma saying they had completed the “Oral Bible Training Course.” It was a wild celebration. These women, normally so quiet and reserved, were whooping and shouting as each of their sisters come forward. When the presentations were finished, the whole room broke out in 30 minutes or so of spontaneous dancing and singing.
On that last night, many stood up to share that they had newfound confidence to share the Gospel and were so anxious to go home and pass on what they had learned. Many have already been doing ministry but now felt so much more adequately equipped. Many said that the fear, shame and inadequacy they had felt was now gone through the ministry of the Holy Spirit throughout the week. Hallelujah!!! Remembering their faces, it’s hard for me not to weep as I write this. J. and I feel SOOOO blessed and privileged to be able to participate in what God is doing here.
We want to express our profound thanks to those of you who helped to make this possible through your prayers and giving. We could not be here without you.
Today we have a 7-hour drive in the mountains where we will be conducting a 3-day conference very different from the last one. This one will be very foundational with brand new women. Please be in prayer.
Love and blessings in Jesus…”
**Names of our team members and contacts have been changed or shown as initials for their protection in these dangerous times. When commenting on this blog please do not refer to anyone by name- Thank you! and Thank You for all your support in prayer and donations!