Ok, before we get going on this thing, I first want to apologize for yesterday's blog. Each day gets longer and our bodies start shutting down earlier. So, by the time I get to the blog, I'm spent. And so, if you look at yesterday's blog, you will be able to pinpoint the exact spot where I fell asleep mid-typing. It's a sentence that doesn't even make the tiniest bit of sense and just has a bunch of words thrown in. I was even too tired to proofread it, even though I knew I was passing out. My apologies.
So, to make it up to you, I have a very special treat. Instead of a daily recap (today we hung out with the North River kids - that's about it), I would like to pass the mic to Pops. Today he is celebrating his 67th birthday. In India. Absolutely amazing. I've asked him to do a special guest blog, and so I know you're in for a treat. At least the sentences will make grammatical sense. Without any further adieu...
Greetings from sunny India! Since it's my birthday, Jeff asked me to post the blog for today. I don't know if he is really that tired or if he forgot to buy me a present. Either way, I am proud to accept the honor. My apologies are extended to those of you who were looking forward to another report from Jeff's passionate and creative perspective. He promises to return tomorrow.
Some might ask why Faith Baptist Church has made a five year commitment to financially support and to send mission teams to India. Why not Poland, Vermont or even Ocean City, Maryland. Others might want to know why we are not committing more resources to local missions. While every part of the world is in need of the gospel, and while we should certainly be strongly involved in meeting the needs right at our doorstep, my answer to the question, "Why India?" Is simply two words - "David Rajan." To me it is no more complicated than this. While all missionaries and missionary endeavors need support, if God is powerfully blessing the sacrifice and faith of a missionary from your congregation, than why not start there as a priority? I firmly believe that if God had called David Rajan to minister in Columbia, I'd be writing you from somewhere in a jungle.
I'm not going to send David's praises. Each time we do that, he deflects all the praise to Christ. Instead, I'd like to give you an example of what sparks the vision and purpose of David Rajan's life.
Jeff reported in a previous blog about the 24 orphan children who traveled six hours each way by bus to join us for just two days. Financial support for each child ($20 per month) is paid by members of North River Church where we began serving today. After VBS on Tuesday, David and I were seated in the worship center enjoying some casual conversation when two of the girls - Joys (pronounced "Joyce") and Anandi - politely approached David and asked if they could talk with him for a few minutes. He knew why they had come, and he asked me to stay. Since they were to leave early the next morning, they had an important request to make. They both wanted to become medical doctors, but that requires attending "higher learning" next year at an additional cost of $20 per month. Considering the importance of this discussion, I thought the meeting was surprisingly calm! Joys and Anandi presented their cases well. Both of them have achieved high grades in school and are gifted in singing and dance. They excel at scripture memory and other kinds of memory skills. I know, because one of them beat me the day before in a word association game. ("body slammed" might be a better description.) Throughout the brief interviews, David's questioning and demeanor never gave me any concern that the decisions were in doubt. These young women had earned the right to continue to pursue the call that God had placed on their lives. After they had been dismissed, I asked David if he had money set aside for these and other scholarships. He smiled and said, "No, but God will provide."
God WILL provide, because others have begun to partner with David in the strategy that if you win this generation of children to Christ, then you will change India for the next generation. It is clearly happening here, one life at a time and one church at a time. The same is occurring this month in another nine churches where a total of over 1,000 children will attend a Vacation Bible School. Many of these children come from homes where the parents are Hindus (who, obviously, don`t understand the power of the gospel to change the hearts and minds of their children). These are just a few of the evidences all around southeast India that a ministry which began thirteen years ago by a member of our church is beginning to bear great fruit for God`s Kingdom! We have the privilege at Faith Baptist to continue playing an important role in that ministry. Simply put, that`s why we`re still here India!
In closing, please allow me to make a personal comment. After all, it is my birthday(at least still in MD)! I feel very blessed to be serving with this team sent by Faith Baptist to represent Jesus Christ. It`s an honor to see my son lead with wisdom, passion and humor. My daughter, Kristin, is the head cheerleader for the team in encouraging people to pray. I echo the fourth verse of III John which says, "I have no greater joy than knowing that my children are walking in the truth." My wife, Sandi, is encouraging me and taking care of my mom. On this birthday, I`m reminded that I am a blessed man! But this birthday also reminds me that life goes by too quickly and age takes its toll. When I was younger, I didn`t think it would happen to me, but now I`m fighting not to make it so. That`s why yesterday when playing volleyball with some youth, I received an early birthday gift. One of the boys, after I had made a rare but somewhat impressive shot at the net, said, "Uncle! You good!" I thanked God that I could still get a limited distance off the ground and placed that treasured remark in my heart for safe keeping. I also thank God that since life really does go by quickly, I have opportunities such as this to help make an eternal difference in the lives of these precious children. Simply put, that`s why I`m in India!