Saturday, August 1, 2009

From Joey Reim

I had expected that at some point in the trip I would have had some kind of life changing moment where I felt overwhelmed with the power of the Spirit working, or seeing extreme poverty, or seeing all the evil that sin has caused. I experienced all of this while in India, but it never struck me all at once.

It is easier now that i am home to reflect back on the trip and recognize everything the Lord was revealing to me. I saw the Spirit working in the children as they listened in wonder to the messages we had for them in our stories, and i saw it in the many seminary students who were, out of a deep love for their Savior, preparing to spread His Word throughout their country. I saw it in the leaders of the BELC as they continually thanked us in their words and actions for taking the time to share God's message of salvation with their members. And I saw it in our own group as we worshiped and prayed together daily, and encouraged each other as we taught our lessons. I also saw the poverty of the country when people would beg desperately for food or money. The shabby clothes, tiny huts and churches with no air conditioning or fans that people crowded into to hear the Word of God showed me that most of those people could not possibly imagine the luxury we enjoy and sometimes take for granted. I saw the evil which darkens the country in the huge, elaborate Hindu temples surrounded by people waiting for a chance to enter with gifts for their worthless idols. One of the most frightening places we visited was the town of Tirumala, an entire city dedicated to the Hindu temple built up on a hill. The "Disney Land" of the Hindus. Satan had used the misleading religion to disguise the city to look like fun and excitement, attracting devastating amounts of worshipers and pilgrims. All of these things were not overlooked on the trip, and certainly will not be forgotten.

"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things I have commanded you." ~ Matthew 28:19-20

These are the words Jesus left His disciples with before He ascended into heaven, one of the greatest of His commandments. I can remember back years ago when I was much younger, memorizing this passage and wondering how I would ever be able to do this. I prayed for the strength to spread His word and not be afraid, and the opportunity came while I was in India. With the support of my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, we were able to evangelize to hundreds of God's children these past two weeks. It is my prayer that our message not only strengthened the faith of those who are already believers, but that it also reached the ears of many unbelievers for the first time. I pray that those who heard us were moved by the Spirit, that those who lack the comforts and necessities of life find comfort and hope in the news of their salvation, and that those who may be easily lead astray were brought closer to their Savior. I thanks God for the opportunity He gave to me to plant the seed of faith in their hearts and I pray that the Spirit will continue to grow and nourish it.

"And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." ~ Matthew 28:20

The first part of the passage motivated me throughout the trip, but the second part comforts me now that I am home again. I felt the Lord's presence close to me while in India. Being around others with such solid faith helped me to strengthen my own faith during the trip. But now that we've gone our separate ways and another year of college is looming ahead I will be missing the close companionship of those who believe the same things that I do. It is easy to be distracted and lead astray with sinful temptations surrounding me, but this passage reminds me that I am not alone. I am assured that the Lord is on my side and will guide me wherever He wants me to go. I pray that after these weeks in India my faith is strong enough that I can be secure in my beliefs and be open about it with the people I meet this year. I have seen how powerful God's Word is in the Hindu stricken nation of India, and I trust that it will guide my thoughts, words, and actions as I grow spiritually and emotionally in the coming years.

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