Dr. and Susan Tada are amazing people. After arriving in Arunachal Prudesh yesterday, we met with one of the very first Christ-followers among the Nyishi people. Until 50 years ago, there were no believers at all. Now, about 60% of the Nyishis are Christian. Dr. Tada (he is a skilled medical doctor) suffered amazing persecution for his faith after coming out of an animist religious system. What drew him to Christianity was the character of Christians in the face of so much unjust persecution from others. He and his wife are now in their late sixties and have as passionate a faith as I’ve every seen. Their vision is strong for new things God has laid on their hearts. They are moving forward by faith.
The Nyishi people are descendents of Mongolian people. They do not look or act like Indians. Their culture and lifestyles are completely different. They are also a very bold, agressive, and progressive people. They are determined to take the gospel to people who have not yet heard the message of Jesus Christ. They need some help on a few things, however, and that’s why I’m here. Friday and Saturday, Mike Flinchum and I will be giving some sound theological training on the person and work of the Holy Spirit (Friday). On Saturday, we will be providing some leadership training that is very practical, but should help them greatly in their desire to make a great impact for the Kingdom.
What a privilege it is to be here. I am learning so much and being challenged significantly. I have been reminded of how casual our faith can be in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. We are very self-centered in light of the great call of God on our lives. No–we can’t be just like the Indians who are sacrificing and suffering for Jesus, but we should be just as passionate and selfless in the Great Cause entrusted to us. I hope we can make progress in this as a church community.
I miss my family, but I’m only one week away from home. Thanks for your continued prayers on my behalf and for the great potential of spreading the gospel in Northeast India.
We just finished an amazing morning in Tezpur. I had the privilege of speaking at the morning chapel for the hospital staff and students, then followed Mike Flinchum’s presentation in a later seminar. I talked about being faithful on your Patmos (Revelation 1:9-11) when we wonder why we should keep pressing on. John, of course, was exiled to the rocky Island of Patmos, which was basically a prisoner camp. But because he was “in the Spirit on the Lord’s day”, faithfully worshiping God in spite of his plight, God used him to write the book of Revelation. Later, I shared about Jonathan’s faith in 1 Samuel 14 when he confronted the Philistines completely by faith. GOD won the victory through the faithful risk-taking action of Jonathan and his armor bearer.
This Baptist Hospital is accomplishing great things. Of course, the health needs here are staggering, but they also serve everyone in the name of Jesus. By the way, it costs 50 cents to see a doctor and some of the people cannot even afford that. They do treat them never-the-less.
The quality of health care they provide is truly impressive. God has brought godly and capable leaders who are rare in character and skill. They are extremely visionary and completely committed to serving everyone in the name of Jesus. They work so hard and get paid so little. They could all be working at hospitals in other parts of India and live in nice homes enjoying some pleasure. But their calling is to serve in the name of Jesus. VERY inspiring.
So our team of three are here for two days to simply encourage and inspire them on for the glory of God.
Tomorrow is a travel day. Thursday is a rest day (I’m ready for one!). Friday and Saturday, we will be putting on a leadership training conference for the Nyishi pastors and leaders. They are in Arunachal Prudesh and are actively involved in reaching some other tribes who are still unreached with the gospel. I’m excited to go.
Here’s a little God-thing that happened. When at the Boro Conference a few days ago, I met and spent some good time with a group of thirteen teens who made up a cultural dance team. They were from the Nyishi tribe! We became instant friends. Mike Flinchum has already told me, “This will pay off big when we get to the Nyishis for the training conference.” Pretty cool, God.
I’m still having trouble getting pics. Hang in there…I’ll keep working at it.
Thanks for your continued prayers. I’m feeling good, getting decent rest, ministering in the Spirit, finding my heart stirred, learning from some godly believers, loving Mike and Dan (my traveling buddies), and thanking the Lord for this amazing opportunity. And thanking Edinbrook too.
God bless you!!!
Thanks for hanging in there with me. My opportunities to post are far and few between. I am currently in a small city called Tezpur staying at a very large Baptist Hospital. We are staying in a guest house and have very nice facilities. So far today, I have led two seminars for the students and staff here at the hospital — one on Sacred Rythms (ordering our lives to bring health into every arena of our lives) and Biblical Principles of Family Life. Susan should be here…she’s the expert on this one. But both sessions went very well and were graciously received.
We will be at the hospital for another day giving encouragement and some teaching to an amazing and committed staff. They work so hard, get paid so little, all in the name of Jesus. These doctors and nurses are impacting this area big-time with their selfless service in the name of Jesus. Muslims, Hindus, Christians, and anyone else, rich or poor are equally treated with the best care and Jesus-style love. They are making impressive inroads with the gospel due to their excellent care in the Jesus’ name. This hospital was started about sixty years ago by missionaries of our denomination, the Baptist General Conference (Converge Worldwide).
The lack of proper technology does not permit me to post pictures at this time. I’ll keep trying to pass a few along because they are something incredible to see.
I am smitten by the kindness, gentleness, and humility of the Indians. They honor us at every opportunity in every way they can. As I write this, I was brought a tray of tea and two bowls of cookies. I’m doing my best to stay trim, but come on! The hospitality here makes it difficult. But I am deeply moved by these beautiful people.
I heard that Sunday’s service at Edinbrook was INCREDIBLE!!! Way to go, Chris! Way to go, worship team! Way to go, Tom! Most of all, thank you GOD!! Maybe I’ll just stay here a little longer… Nope–I can’t do that. I miss my wonderful Susan and family way too much. But what a privilege to be here for a time.
Edinbrook–thank you for sending me, encouraging me, and praying for me on this trip. God is opening my eyes, touching my heart, shaping my mind, and stirring in my soul.
I’ll keep working on posting some pics.
I’ve never experienced anything like this! Saturday and Sunday, I had the privilege of worshipping with 20,000 Indian believers that touched my heart deeply. These people spend Thursday through Sunday living in a dry rice field (it’s the dry season now) living in make-shift shelters made of bamboo and grass. They sleep, eat, dress, and mingle in this temporary city out in the middle of nowhere. Oh yes–they’ve also built a temporary structure out of the same materials that would house at least two football fields…and that’s where they pack the place our for worship. Absolutely incredible!
The Boro believers have their roots in the Baptist General Conference when missionaries planted the gospel there in the 1950′s and 60′s. Since then, they have suffered intense persecution, endure a life of poverty, trial, and simplicity, and have seen God grow the church to astounding numbers. And their faith is so real. Their worship has made an impact in me.
What a privilege it was to speak to this crowd twice. I was very humbled to be able to do this. I pray that God will take the Word that was planted and bear the kind of fruit He wants from it.
So thank you, Edinbrook for praying. Thank you bloggers for keeping me in your prayers. I have been deeply blessed. Mike and Dan and I will be leading a retreat for a whole team of Christians and students running a huge hospital in Tespur. This will happen Monday and Tuesday.
Hang in there. Tomorrow I hope to post a couple of pictures that will blow your socks off.
I’m in India! I now know why they called it “amazing”. I speak tomorrow and Sunday at the Boro Baptist Convention where 25,000 people will be gathered. I’m very excited, especially after meeting a good number of Indian leaders. I am very inspired by these people.
I need to be brief, so let me end with a quote from Dr. A.K. Lama I visited with today. As the director of the North East Bank of Baptists in India — giving leadership to over a million Baptist Christians, he said, “Yes, people will die here for their faith, but that is the history of Christianity.” Let that sink in…
I met today with two Godly men. Both of them were classmates with me in Seminary. Both of these men humble me.
Steve and Nopaluk Cable lead the Sansiuk English school. They depend on short-term volunteers from the United States to come and teach English. At the same time, they share the gospel in a very natural way through the English training. Since 2003, they have had over 5,000 different students! A good number of them are now Jesus-followers and make up the majority of their house church network. They are giving their lives faithfully and diligently to make a Kingdom impact on Bangkok.
Kevin and Cynthia Walton are serving the slums of Bangkok. They are leading an effort at actually sending people to live among the poorest of the city to be the presence of Jesus among them. They
want to bring hope, change, and Jesus to the lost among the poorest of the poor. Even Kevin still goes and lives among the poor in a tin shanty for a time to keep his heart soft and passion strong. They are giving their lives to express the love of God for the most needy and “least” among us.
I am humbled. I am also inspired. I know God hasn’t called me to do either of the things that these couples are doing, but I do know that Jesus has called me to give my all as a pastor. My passion is increased, my resolve infused with new energy to stop playing games and start doing what it takes to make an impact in the Twin Cities suburbs. Jesus loves the people there, too.
OK — now for a little fun. What an amazing experience I had getting on the water taxi and riding for 45 minutes to get to the center of Bangkok. When you watch this, keep in mind that the water is super-charged with sewage and stinks worse than two-hole outhouse. Yes…I got water splashed on me. It’s all part of the package.
I’m leaving Bangkok for India tomorrow. Once in India, I will have much less access to the rest of the world. I’m not even bringing my computer in since it would most likely get stolen.
I would value your prayers as I go. It will be a very busy two weeks. I have included my schedule below so you can track with me day by day. I will be 12 hours ahead of Central time.
Here’s what the general schedule looks like:
- Thursday (2-4) we fly into India. We stop in Calcutta and go through customs (they’re pretty picking about letting in Christians, I guess). We then fly to Gwahatti which is near where the Boro Conference is held. An Indian man by the name of Puhor will meet us in Gwahatti and be with us the entire time in India. I guess he’s a really great guy.
- Friday and Saturday (2/5-6)– Boro Conference
- Sunday (2-7) — travel by road
- Monday and Tuesday (2/8-9) – We are spending time at Tezpur hospital to give them an on-sight spiritual retreat of sorts. These are believers who work so hard. They have over 1000 patients come through the hospital every day. I will be teaching and preaching on a variety of topics — mostly to encourage them and pump them up. Also give them some very practical tools…like help with family issues, spiritual development, etc.
- Wednesday (2-10) — we’ll be at a school (I think it’s a graduate school) that needs some help with leadership, vision, etc. I’ll help there however they need me to.
- Thursday (2-11) — we travel to the Nyishis in the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains.
- Friday and Saturday (2/12-13) — Putting on a leadership development conference for the Nyishis. I will be speaking/teaching on things like the theology and ministry of the Holy Spirit (they need help here), leadership principles of multiplication and team ministry (they’re not too good at this), and a number of other things.
- Sunday (2-14)– ?? Maybe we just worship with the Nyishis somewhere. Mike says I need to always be ready to preach.
- Monday and Tuesday (2/15-16) — travel back on road to Gwahatti and then fly back to Bangkok.
- Wednesday (2-17) — debrief with Converge President, Jerry Sheveland, Director of Internation Ministries, Steve Dogget, and Mike Flinchum in Bangkok. Get ready for trip home.
- Thursday (2-18) Coming home, the Lord willing!
I will be blogging as much as possible. Whether I post or not, your prayers on behalf are GREATLY valued. Thank you, bloggers!!!
Bangkok is a spiritually dark city. One of the thrills today was going into the heart of the city to get a feel for what this place is like. We visited a Buddhist temple, saw innumerable idols, hundreds of worshipers bowing before images of gold and stone, and walked through the sea of impoverished and lost humanity. It’s sad. It’s heart-wrenching. I cannot imagine what God must feel, loving these people so much, but in return He finds only cold hearts and closed ears.
On the way back to our hotel, we traveled for over an hour by bus through endless city. People are everywhere! We saw one church. One! Temples to other gods are all over the place with their ornate decor and imposing structures. Churches, however, are almost absent.
In the midst of the prevailing darkness are some faithful believers. We get to meet a few of them tomorrow. Mike, Dan and I ended our day by praying together for the city and the persistent believers we will be spending time with tomorrow.
How grateful I am that Jesus has redeemed me from the pit and has infused me with joy, purpose, and a future. I cannot take that for granted.