Monthly Archives: May 2015

Grace’s Reflections on India

I could definitely tell people were praying for us!!!  I was amazed at how the Lord enabled me to jump right in and join in every activity!  It was a blessing and made the trip very enjoyable!

41     One of my highlights was participating in three-fold communion.  Normally, in India, we would sit in chairs during the love feast and eat separately and even have different food than everyone else. But for this communion, we asked Paul if we could do everything with them, like they do, since we are all the same in Christ.  He said we could do it and it was a blessing not only for us, but I could tell that the ladies were also surprised and encouraged that we were doing everything with them and like them.  When we did feet-washing, our feet wereactually dirty, so the water was too.  But they also got immediately dirty again because the floor was dirty.  My first thought was, “What was the point of that?” but then I thought about how that it is the same in our spiritual lives; we ask for forgiveness and are cleansed, and then we turn around and sin, getting dirty again.

I enjoyed the Bible conference the first week, because then, when we visited other churches, there were some people whom we had already met at the conference!  It was great to experience the bond we can have with other believers even in a different culture!

42     I had a hard time learning the children’s names, just because most of them are so different from the names we have.  They didn’t care, however, if we called them the wrong name. They were just glad we were trying.  It was a lot of fun teaching the children at the orphanages through an interpreter and just interacting with them, playing games, and doing crafts since it didn’t require much talking and they understood such little English.  They loved getting their pictures taken with us and then looking at them.

There are many stories I could tell about shopping, traffic, the weather, and animals.  It was a great learning experience and an excellent trip.

I would encourage anyone to go visit and encourage our Brethren if the opportunity arises!

-Grace

Categories: 2015 India Trip | 1 Comment

A Trip Orchestrated by God: Joy’s Thoughts

Wow, as I sit down to write this article, it is hard to know where to start!  The Lord blessed our trip to India so abundantly that it is hard to condense it all.  I guess I will begin with sharing how the Lord answered my prayers regarding the heat.  I typically struggle with the heat and didn’t want to ruin my trip by being miserable all the time.  I had been asking people to pray that I would be able to tolerate the heat, but I hadn’t even considered the possibility of the Lord cooling it off for the time we were there.  But that is exactly what He did!  The day we arrived it was 98˚F in Coimbatore and the Rajans told us that it had rained the week before and it had cooled off.  I was very thankful for that news and that it wasn’t as hot as it could be.  Fast forward 2 days to Monday when everyone began arriving for the conference.  In the afternoon we had a wonderful rain shower which cooled the temperatures even more.  It felt wonderful to have a cool breeze!  Sarah told me that the children at Agape Home and Torbay House had been praying and fasting for the past 3 months that there would be rain the week of the conference.  Now to those of us who live in the USA, rain in May is a very common occurrence.  But in India they hardly ever get rain in May, which is their summer season.  Well let me tell you, the Lord answered their prayers BIG time!  Other than the first 2 days, we got rain EVERY  DAY that we were in India.  The news was reporting that they haven’t had this much rain in Tamil Nadu during May in the past 30 years.  Wow, do we serve an amazing God or what!

Making bracelets with the ladies during a rain storm.  This was a blessed time of fellowship and connection!

Making bracelets with the ladies during a rain storm. This was a blessed time of fellowship and connection!

One of the struggles I had was the language barrier.  There were many people I so badly wanted to communicate with, but couldn’t.  When only a couple handfuls of people speak English it is hard to have enough interpreters to go around.  And very few of the English speakers were women.  I was internally struggling with this, but wasn’t sure what to do.  On the second day of the conference, I noticed the ladies trying to help one of the kids fix one of the rubber band bracelets we had made during the kids session earlier in the day.  I decided to go see if I could help since I knew how they were made.  After I helped the child fix the bracelet, I noticed the other ladies standing around and I motioned to ask if they would like to make one. They shook their heads yes.  So I ran back up to our room and got the bag of rubber bands and “looms” (which were plastic forks).  I went back down and spent the next two hours making bracelets with the ladies.  That was such a blessing!  Two of the members of the group, Sarah Rajan and the house mother, Grace, both speak English and they would help us out when there was a language barrier.  But it was so cool to be able to have a connection with the ladies without a ton of words!  Later on that evening I realized how that was such an answer to prayer!  I had wanted a connection with the ladies and the Lord blessed me with that.  The other two evenings we did similar things but it just wasn’t the same as the evening when the Lord orchestrated the event.

Many tears, as we said goodbye

Many tears, as we said goodbye

The hardest part of making the trip to India is saying goodbye at the end.  We all became so close! Here, there or in the air!!

The hardest part of making the trip to India is saying goodbye at the end. We all became so close!
Here, there or in the air!!

Saying goodbye was very hard!  I was dreading that moment when we had to give our final hugs goodbye!  The ride to the airport is never fun because there is so much to say, but I didn’t want to say goodbye prematurely.  When we arrived at the airport, the Rajans went into the visitors area inside the airport and we had to go to the passenger area.  These two areas are separated by a fence, which meant we had to give “fence hugs” when we said goodbye.  We walked to a clear area of the fence and began the dreaded goodbyes.  As Sarah and I hugged goodbye there were many tears streaming down both of our faces.  The bond in Christ that we all have is amazing!  One of my favorite things from this trip was getting to bond more with the entire Rajan family as we spent so much time traveling and ministering together!  I can’t wait for the time when we are all in heaven together and there won’t be anymore goodbyes.  One of my favorite sayings is “Here, there or in the air” because as a Christians we have the assurance that we aren’t saying goodbye forever, just see you later. This trip to India was most definitely orchestrated by God and we could tell we had many prayer warriors in the USA praying for us!  I thank you from the bottom of my heart for the prayers you offered on our behalf! Love you all! – Joy

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Pictures…pictures…pictures…

So the final count of pictures and videos that were taken on the 2015 India trip is…4,325.  Wow!!  That is a lot of memories to share with you all!  I thought I would make a post of almost all pictures since that is my favorite part of any blog post. 🙂 Hope you enjoy them!     – Joy

Unloading at the airport

Unloading at the airport

On our first plane headed for India.

On our first plane headed for India.

Waiting for our luggage to come in Dehli.  PTL it all made it safely!

Waiting for our luggage to come in Dehli. PTL it all made it safely!

Our last place heading to Coimbatore.  I had the privilege of sitting by this believer and his family.  It was such a blessing to talk to them!!

Our last place heading to Coimbatore. I had the privilege of sitting by this believer and his family. It was such a blessing to talk to them!!

Loading up to head to the hotel after arriving in Coimbatore.  It was so great to see the Rajans!!

Loading up to head to the hotel after arriving in Coimbatore. It was so great to see the Rajans!!

Supper with the Rajans

Supper with the Rajans

The children at Agape Home welcoming us when we arrive for morning worship on Sunday.

The children at Agape Home welcoming us when we arrive for morning worship on Sunday.

Vijay Kumar, one of the

Vijay Kumar, one of the “graduates” of Agape Home teaching the boys before the morning worship service. It is so great to see the children serving the Lord as they grow older! Vijay Kumar is in Bible Collage and will be graduating May 2016.

Walking into the mountain village where there is a house church.  WE had the privilege of being part of one of their worship service.

Walking into the mountain village where there is a house church. WE had the privilege of being part of one of their worship service.

Inside the house church.  We counted 45 people in this 12x12 room plus more outside.

Inside the house church. We counted 45 people in this 12×12 room plus more outside.

Skyping with our families and church family.  The timing worked out so that we could talk during lunch at church so we had quite a few church members come and go through out the conversation.  It was so great to see them all!

Skyping with our families and church family. The timing worked out so that we could talk during lunch at church so we had quite a few church members come and go through out the conversation. It was so great to see them all!

A shot of some of the people that popped in and out of our skype call.  If you are wondering why the camera is on a plate it is so help amplify the sound. :)

A shot of some of the people that popped in and out of our skype call. If you are wondering why the camera is on a plate it is so help amplify the sound. 🙂

Shopping/Exploring trip on Monday morning

Shopping/Exploring trip on Monday morning

Moving to Agape Home for the week of the conference

Moving to Agape Home for the week of the conference

The men from Odisha arriving.  There were so many Paul rented a bus to bring them from the bus station.  These men traveled almost 48 hours to attend the conference.

The men from Odisha arriving. There were so many Paul rented a bus to bring them from the bus station. These men traveled almost 48 hours to attend the conference.

Playing

Playing “toss the towel” with the boys and trying to memorize their names with the game of “Do you Like your Neighbor?”

First lesson on Revelation taught by Pastor Ike and then interpreted by Nehemiah and Paul into Odiya and Tamil.

First lesson on Revelation taught by Pastor Ike and then interpreted by Nehemiah and Paul into Odiya and Tamil.

Grace teaching the first lesson on Joseph to the kids during the kids session.  Our interpreter was Gilbert for most of 2 of the days and Sarah interpreted for 1 of the days.

Grace teaching the first lesson on Joseph to the kids during the kids session. Our interpreter was Gilbert for most of 2 of the days and Sarah interpreted for 1 of the days.

Making bracelets with the ladies during a rain storm.  This was a blessed time of fellowship and connection!

Making bracelets with the ladies during a rain storm. This was a blessed time of fellowship and connection!

Playing games.  Such fun times!!

Playing games. Such fun times!!

Joshua, Joy & Grace singing for one of the conference sessions.

Joshua, Joy & Grace singing for one of the conference sessions.

Baptism Service at the end of the conference.  There were 7 people baptized.  One of them was Christopher who has lived at Agape Home for quite a few years.  He is now in college.

Baptism Service at the end of the conference. There were 7 people baptized. One of them was Christopher who has lived at Agape Home for quite a few years. He is now in college.

Feetwashing during the communion service.

Feetwashing during the communion service.

Joy riding

Joy riding “shotgun” in the Rajan’s car for the trip South. We all got a turn and wow is that a different feeling riding in what we know as the “driver’s seat”

Sarah, Grace, Joshua & Paul with the believers that were baptized in Cholapuram.

Sarah, Grace, Joshua & Paul with the believers that were baptized in Cholapuram.

Offering during the service at Cholapuram

Offering during the service at Cholapuram

Medical clinic that was held at Torbay House for the people of the surrounding village.  We had over 250 people come through.

Medical clinic that was held at Torbay House for the people of the surrounding village. We had over 250 people come through.

Paul & Sarah sponsors of the medical outreach with Joshua & Benny, the pharmacists, in the background.

Paul & Sarah sponsors of the medical outreach with Joshua & Benny, the pharmacists, in the background.

Gilbert, the Rajan's son who just graduated from medical school checking the breathing of this child.

Gilbert, the Rajan’s son who just graduated from medical school checking the breathing of this child.

Sarah loving on the girls from Torbay House during the medical clinic.  Those kids all LOVE Paul & Sarah!

Sarah loving on the girls from Torbay House during the medical clinic. Those kids all LOVE Paul & Sarah!

I got to hang out with the girls of Torbay House after they were done going through the Medical Clinic.  We made bracelets and played games.

I got to hang out with the girls of Torbay House after they were done going through the Medical Clinic. We made bracelets and played games.

After the medical clinic we invited the 2 woman doctors that helped with the medical clinic to come  play games with us.  Our rooms were right beside each other in the hotel.  This was a lot of fun!

After the medical clinic we invited the 2 woman doctors that helped with the medical clinic to come play games with us. Our rooms were right beside each other in the hotel. This was a lot of fun!

Joshua teaching the children at Torbary House the story of Joshua and the walls of Jericho during their VBS.

Joshua teaching the children at Torbary House the story of Joshua and the walls of Jericho during their VBS.

Shopping trip with the Rajans.  Gilbert and Joshua had fun picking out shirts for each other...very tiny shirts. :)

Shopping trip with the Rajans. Gilbert and Joshua had fun picking out shirts for each other…very tiny shirts. 🙂

Prayer before saying goodbye to Benny when we had to drop him off at college.

Prayer before saying goodbye to Benny when we had to drop him off at college.

Shopping trip for Saris with Sarah.  So many beautiful choices to choose from!

Shopping trip for Saris with Sarah. So many beautiful choices to choose from!

Hugs and goodbyes at the airport.

Hugs and goodbyes at the airport.

The hardest part of going is saying goodbye.  We all became so close!

The hardest part of going is saying goodbye. We all became so close!

Here are 3 excited faces to be touching down in the USA!

Here are 3 excited faces to be touching down in the USA!

First text message to our families!

First text message to our families!

When we tried to get on the tram in Chicago to go to our next gate, it was really full.  As we were trying to squish ourselves on, the doors started to close and Grace got left behind.  Oops!!  This picture is after we were reunited at the end of the line. :)

When we tried to get on the tram in Chicago to go to our next gate, it was really full. As we were trying to squish ourselves on, the doors started to close and Grace got left behind. Oops!! This picture is after we were reunited at the end of the line. 🙂

Many hugs as we greeted our families at Cleveland Hopkins.

Many hugs as we greeted our families at Cleveland Hopkins.

Categories: 2015 India Trip | 3 Comments

Update on the Ministry in India : May 2015

Note: Update send from India on May 12th

CGBCIndia Conference:

The 2015 Conference of the Conservative Grace Brethren Churches of India is history now. Attendance was 90 which included about 40 pastors and church planters. Some of them are new men who have come to discuss joining CGBCIndia. Pastor Ike Graham and Joshua Steiner instructed the believers through the entire book of the Revelation.

ConferenceINDIA 2015

It has been heart-wrenching to hear the reports of greater persecution and government opposition to Christians. It is even more disheartening to hear of socalled “pastors” causing problems for the Brethren and even dividing churches. Brother David Hanu told us that Hindus attacked the Brethren in Amkoteguda, Odisha and beat them. They warned them not to return or meet again. As a result, the Brethren there are afraid and do not want to continue meeting. Please pray that the Lord will strengthen his people in the midst of stiff opposition.

On the positive side, Brother Simon Senon is with us. He wants to join CGBCIndia and reach tribal groups in the State of Jharhand. On Sunday, May 3rd, we visited an independent house church of tribal believers in the mountains of Coimbatore. The draw of white people from the U.S. brought a number of unbelievers and Pastor Ike Graham had the opportunity to preach the Gospel to them. There are 2 house churches there which want to join with us. This would expand the ministry in Coimbatore. Other opportunities are opening up so please pray for all the opportunities and pray about the opposition.

We also had strategy meetings with the men to discuss how they can be self-supporting. Financial support will begin to be scaled back beginning in 2017 over a 5 year period. Brother Paul is a good business man and he asked many hard questions regarding the viability of some of the ideas presented. This caused some tension in the meeting, but the Lord relieved the tension through Pastor Ike. His chair collapsed and he went sprawling onto the floor. Joshua Steiner did the reenactment of in this picture.

Chair Story

We appreciate your prayers and will have more to share at Conference in July. In the
meantime, check out our experience at this web site: www.insightintoindia.wordpress.com

If you would like to download the bulletin insert version of this update, please click on the link  below.
May 2015 India Update Bulletin Insert

Categories: 2015 India Trip, CGBCI Foreign Mission Updates, Ministry Update | Leave a comment

Hello after a week of silence :)

Wow, it is hard to believe it has only been a week since we were last able to update you all.  So much has happened in that period of time that it is impossible to share everything in one post.

Last Monday, May 4th we left the city to head to Agape Home for the week of conference.  The conference officially began on Tuesday and went till Friday afternoon.  It was a great time of Bible teaching and fellowship!  On Saturday we left for 3 days in the south visiting the churches there, Torbay House and held a medical outreach for the village near Torbay House.

I have hundreds of pictures to share with you but for now here are a few fun pictures and memories.

In Christ, Joy

One of the highlights from the week was getting to spend time playing games with Gilbert & Benny Rajan. As you can tell from the pictures we spent a lot of time laughing!

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Another big blessing was being able to do some craft projects with the ladies.  I wanted to be able to connect with them so bad but was having a hard time since most of us don’t speak the same language.  The Lord blessed us by dropping the opportunity to do a craft with the ladies right in our laps.

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On Thursday we all more our India outfits.  The kids and adults both loved it!  The kids kept saying SUPER and the ladies asked if we had put them on by ourselves. 🙂

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Note from Grace : May 4, 2015

Note from Grace:

Today we three, Joshua, Joy and I went shopping/sight-seeing on our own. We even walked across the road safely, a few times and it isn’t too bad 🙂 I still would not want to drive in the traffic though 🙂

The honking horns of the vehicles is definitely louder outside when you are walking than inside or riding in a car 🙂
You can hear the honking at night too, but it isn’t nearly as much and doesn’t keep me awake 🙂

We bought enough plantains (bananas) for each of us to have 6-1/2! There are leftovers and Joshua will probably help us all out 🙂

I can definitely tell people are praying! I have been able to jump right in with everything and it has been awesome!!! Thank you so much for your prayers!!!

Grace Steiner

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Categories: 2015 India Trip | 1 Comment

Update from India : 5-4-15

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On Saturday we arrived in Coimbatore and where met by the Rajans at the airport. They took us to our hotel so we could get settled before they came back to take us to supper in the evening. We went to a very good Chinese restaurant! After supper we came back to the hotel and Pastor Ike and Paul talked about the schedule and the written plan for the future, while the rest of us talked and laughed quite a bit.

Sunday morning we got up and headed to Agape Home for church. Joshua preached about conflict and how to have peace with all men. After we ate lunch there we loaded up into the car for the very windy, bumping, hilly 2.5 hour drive to a remote mountain village where we visited a house church. The 3 of us in the back were looking pretty green by the time we got there. ( there are some funny stories about this. 🙂

When we arrived we walked about 1/4 of a mile into the village and found a house full of people worshiping the Lord. (There where 44 people in this 12×12 room which is the home of one of the pastors.)

Pastor Ike preached a great gospel message with about 2 seconds warning from Brother Paul 🙂 par for the course in India 🙂 be watching for a video of the singing in the facebook page.

After the service we made the long windy trek back to the city and went to supper. After we got back to the hotel we had a fun time getting to skype with family and quite a few people from church.

Today we will be moving to Agape Home so our internet will be very limited. Thank you so much for the prayers!! I can definitely tell people have been praying!

Joy for the 2015 India Team

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We made it Safely to Dehli

Wow was that flight long! We are praising the Lord it was shorter than we thought it was going to be, but it was still very long! About 2 hours into the flight (which felt like it had been 7-8 hours) Joshua looks at his screen and says look we have been in the air 2.5 hours. Grace and I both agreed that ignorance was bliss and we would rather not know how long (or short) we had been traveling. 🙂

Thank you so much for all your prayers. We survived the long flight and are now at our hotel cleaning up before going on a tour of Dehli. We will need to head back to the airport at 5am tomorrow morning for our final flight to Coimbatore.

Thanks again for your continued prayers!
Joy for the 2015 India Team

If you would like to see pictures check out the Insight Into India facebook.

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