Greetings in the Name of Jesus!



PERSECUTION - Please pray for the Brethren!!!

Brethren, for those of you who aren't aware yet I would like to first let you know of the persecution that many believers in the State of Orissa have been facing.  A few days ago some Hindu leaders were killed by Maoist rebels.  Instead of retaliating against the Maoist the Hindu's have used this incident to persecuted the Christians and are blaming them for the attack.  The reports seem to change every day regarding the persecution but the numbers seem to keep growing.  Last I heard around 25 Christians have been killed, over 600 churches burned and up to 4000 believer have fled their villages for safety.  Some of them are hiding in the jungle to flee their attackers.  The few Christian schools where I live have all been closed so the believers could spend time in prayer for the Saints who are suffering for the sake of Jesus.  Please brethren, keep these Saints in prayer during this great trial they are undergoing.  I know there are ministries like GFA.ORG who are probably already requesting help for these brethren and have the means to deliver it to them.  If you'd like to help them and share in their suffering please visit their site and I'm sure there are ways you can help.  (I haven't visited the site myself because my internet connection is too slow.  But I'm sure GFA is working to help our brethren in Christ in this area).  You can also read more about the persecution on this thread at Sermon Index :  http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/newbb/viewtopic.php?topic_id=24987&forum=44

Also Brethren, please pray for the Hindu's.  We are to pray for those who persecute us.  Pray God would be merciful to them and grant them repentance and faith in Jesus Christ!

WE ARE SAFE & FOUND A HOUSE

Thank you for the emails asking about our safety.  We live in Andhra Pradesh which is the state just south of Orissa.  We haven't experienced any of the persecution here and it seems, at this time, to be confined only to Orissa.  In fact, at this time the Lord is giving us great favor with those around us. 

After being sick for a couple of weeks and hoping around from hotel to hotel the Lord provided us a house!  We were unable to find one in the city we originally planned to stay in.  Many people there won't rent to foreigners and most of the Hindu's won't rent to Christians.  So the brethren were able to find us a house to rent in a town about 50 miles from the one we originally were going to stay in.  A couple of the brethren actually moved here with us so we could be close together and do ministry.  It's so encouraging to see brethren be more concerned with God and His Kingdom than where they live.  And they have truly been servants of Christ as they've helped us to get settled in.  We're staying in a one bedroom house - maybe 700sq ft?.  I know that seems small but it's actually a little bigger than what many people have.  There are people who are  living in grass huts just down the road from us.  For us, we're just thankful we have a place!  It's great for the kids because it has a place where they can play in front as well as on the roof.  Most of the roof's here are flat with stairs going up to them.  This is usually where you dry your laundry but it's also gives the kids a place to run around.  We're right between a Mosque and a Hindu temple.  On one side of our house I can literally throw a rock and hit the Mosque.  Which also means I can hear the calls to prayer 5 times a day pretty clearly.  On the other side, a little farther away, is a large Hindu temple.  But there are small Hindu temples in just about every little neighborhood.   So Praise the Lord, we're right in the middle of everything! 

God has given us great favor with those around us.  We have Hindu's and Muslims that constantly come by ours house to talk and just want to meet us.  In the evening there's usually about 7-15 kids from the area that come by the house.  Some of them speak English and at other times we have a translator with us.  There's actually more people who speak English here than when we lived in Rosarito, Mexico.  Most of the kids are taught English in school.  After next week, we're planning on holding Gospel meetings either in the front of our house or on the roof a couple days a week.

MY MUSLIM NEIGHBOR

I met a young Muslim man (maybe 27 yrs old) who lives across the street from us.  He's very nice and has spent some time showing me around the town.  Peter and I spent a good deal of time with him the other day sharing the Gospel with him.  He was a little hard at first - giving all the answers that the Mosque teaches them to give.  It's amazing, no matter where you go, when you talk to a Muslim they all have the same responses.  They give them not because they've actually searched out the truth but because it's what they've been taught in the Mosque to say.  Instead of arguing about the differences between Christianity and Islam I reasoned with him about God's righteousness, his sin, and the coming judgment.  As I began talking to him about his personal sin against God, God's just condemnation for his sin, and the coming judgment his heart seemed a little softer I think he could see more clearly why we say Jesus is the only way to be saved.  He's not converted but the seed of God's word is being sown in his heart.  And he's still coming around!  May God give him the revelation of Jesus Christ!

1st VILLAGE OUTREACH

Last week myself, brother Peter, and brother Vali went on our first village outreach together.  The village is about two hours from our house.  We took a little three wheel auto (taxi) to get there.  These are SMALL little taxis and they manage to get about 15 passenger inside just one!   It was a pretty cramped ride.  There's no a/c either and it's been very hot and humid.  After about a two hour drive in the taxi we were dropped off at a rice field.  By this time is was pitch black outside…it was probably about 7:00pm.  We hiked for a mile or so through the rice fields before we got to the village.  The path through the rice field was about eight inches across.  There were these huge frogs everywhere.  Maybe the size of softballs.  You had to be careful not to step on them!  But after walking for a while we began to see lights and made it to the village.  It was a small village where most of the people live in grass huts.  It was very poor.  I'm sure most of the people there probably work in the rice fields.  There is a brother in Christ there who lives there and has already been preaching.  So the village is made up of believers and Hindu's.  They had set up a pretty loud speaker and amplifier and called people from the village to his house for a meeting.  Usually they hold meetings outside but because it was raining and too muddy to do so we had the meeting in the brothers ONE ROOM house and on his porch.  It was a good crowd with a mixture of believers and Hindu's.  We sang some songs, prayed, and then I preached the Gospel for about an hour or so with brother Peter translating for me.  It was a good first meeting.  We spent the night with the brother and slept on his floor.  The next day we went to another city and did a bible study with some Hindu's the brother knew who wanted to know more about Jesus.  It was a blessed time as we preached Christ to them and explained how they could be saved and receive everlasting life!  There was one girl in particular who was really concerned about her sin and wanted to know more about Jesus.  We were able to get her a bible so she could read the Word's of Life for herself.  The next day we had another night meeting at a different rice plantation.  There was a brother who works and lives there and he had invited his Hindu co-workers to come to his house to hear the Gospel.  Most of the workers seem to live on the rice fields in these row homes that are just small narrow living spaces.  They usually have one living area that would fit two beds, another small room and a kitchen.  There will be a row of about 10 or 15 of them attached together.  When you open their front doors you can see the rice fields where they spend their day working.  Our meeting was similar to the other one and I was able to preach the gospel for a hour or so.  I had brought my amplifier so I'm sure some of the neighbors who didn't come were able to hear as well.  After the meeting we found an auto (taxi) and headed home.  It was a good first outreach and was good for me and Peter as we're learning to work together in preaching and him translating for me. 

NEXT OUTREACH

On Tuesday we leave for four days of village preaching.  We'll be going to a village that is totally Hindu.  There are no churches or believers in that area.  I'm really looking forward to this time.  We'll be visiting people one on one during the day, preaching and praying for them.  Then we'll be holding open air meetings in the evening.  The village is about 3 hours from our house and we'll be traveling there by bus and train.  It was good to preach in the other village but I'm excited to preach in a place where there are no believers and where we're not building on another mans foundation.  If you would please keep this upcoming outreach in prayer.  And also pray for our family as Lisa and kids will stay at the house while I'm gone. 


CONDITION OF THE CHURCH


It's been interesting to be here and meet different believers.  The town I live in has quite a few churches from many denominations.  I've had the opportunity to meet many people who call themselves Christians.  I would say the majority of the church here, at lease where I live, is in a similar condition as the Church in America.  It's mainly filled with FALSE CONVERTS!  People who think they are saved but still in their sin never having been born again by God.  When you ask them to share their testimony they tell you when they were baptized.  They have no testimony of being saved from their sins, trusting Christ for their salvation, or of God giving them a new heart.  They just tell you of another "work" they've done that's made them a Christian.  But that's what it seems like many of the believers here preach.  So many people here are trusting in their baptism instead of Jesus Christ for their salvation.  Reminds me of a lot people in America.  You also meet many "believers" who say they've been believers since birth.  They say they were born into a Christian family and have always been a Christian.  The only thing is the BIBLE says that's IMPOSSIBLE.  You can't be born a Christian.  Jesus is clear that one MUST be born again if they are to be saved and enter the kingdom of God (John 3).  So we've had a lot of opportunities to preach the gospel to professing believers.  I know for many of them it's the first time, and will be the first time, they've heard the Gospel preached.   I'm praying God will grant some of them repentance unto life.

We did meet a great brother in the Lord the other day.  It was truly a blessing to meet a brother filled with Spirit of God who has a deep love for God and a testimony of being saved by Grace.  He had us over for dinner and we had a blessed time just talking about Jesus and getting to know each other.  He lives pretty close to us and hopefully we'll be able to fellowship often.  He has two kids and our kids really enjoyed their time with them.  We had been praying that God would give them friends who spoke English and God has answered our prayers.   


OPPORTUNITIES  

If you would please be praying for me regarding the opportunities here.  Being a foreigner the opportunities are endless.  I've had several pastors who heard "a foreigner" was in town and came by my house.  They all want to set up crusades and speaking engagements at every church.  I had one pastor come by who was ready to plan the next year of my life!  It's actually pretty sad because none of these pastors even know the Gospel that I preach.  They have no idea if I'm a false teach or what I'm preaching and yet they are opening up their pulpits and want to arrange meeting for me.  While that can be a good thing  for them - allowing them to hear the Gospel - it's a scary thing to think anyone can work their way into these pulpits and spread false doctrine and fleece the flock.  And of course it already happens.  There are lots of American prosperity preachers who hold massive crusades in some of the larger town spreading their false doctrines.  So if you could just be praying that I would hear from God regarding which places to preach at and which ones not to.  I'm actually praying that God would also give me a brother who speaks English who is willing to go street preaching in the places where other won't go.  I think most of the believers shy away from preaching in market area's, by temples, mosque's and in the more busy areas out of fear.   But these are great places to preach at with lots of people who need to hear the Gospel.  When you walk down the main street in our town you'll sometimes see the Communist party openly trying to recruit members to their organization (there is a Communist political party in India).  If they are that bold for a wicked earthly political party shouldn't believers be even more bold and zealous since we hold the truth of God?  I pray God would give believers grace to not save their lives but to proclaim the truth of God with all the power and authority it should be declared with! 

Outside of the Church the opportunities are endless as well.  Especially for foreigners.  There's hardly a day that goes by that I can't walk down the street without being invited into someones house for tea or coffee.  One day it literally took me about 1.5 hours to go about 100 yards.  Everyone kept asking us to come into their home and meet them.  Even if you don't know the language God will provide a translator and you can spend the whole day preaching to people who really know very little about Christ.  I know that's not just the case here in India but is similar in many places in the world.  So if you've ever thought about missions offer yourself up to God.  Maybe you'll hear Him call you to preach to some of millions of people who've never heard about Christ or to those who may have heard about Jesus but have never heard the Gospel.  I'm sure if more believers offered themselves to God in this way, and currently lived in such a way as to show they were ready to go, that they would hear the call of God to go to a place where people haven't heard the Gospel!   I'm still working on uploading some photo's but our Internet connection here is SLOW.  We're working on getting a fast connection at our house but it's taking a while to do so.      Thanks to all who have been praying for us and please continue to do so!   IN Christ,   Sean & Lisa

 


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