I’m sorry – two serious blogs in a row, I've incorporated two into one to ease the pain! I’ll have to come up with something humorous soon. I hope the videos work, you might want to start loading them and read the rest of the post before you try to watch them.
What a fantastic day Christmas is! Being able to celebrate the birth of our Saviour – Jesus Christ.
I was able to celebrate it in English and Hindi, even though I know very little (zero) Hindi! Gateway Church (which meets 3 floors below my room) put on an outreach event and it was an enormous event. The Gospel Fusion Band put on a fantastic show, then Pastor Biju challenged the whole group that was there. When he asked who at the meeting (or Aagaman as it was called) was a first timer, about ¾ of the room stuck their hands up – what an amazing turnout, Praise God!!! Dinner was served well into the night as many fruitful conversations were had. Even when I was talking with people who know very little English, it was clear that they were experiencing the love of Jesus throughout the night, what a privileged way to spend Jesus’ Birthday.
Here are some snippets from the night, hopefully they are easy enough to watch. The guy on the bongo-like instruments is incredible, between every song he spoke for 1-2 minutes [it was in Hindi, but he sounded really passionate about it and I heard a few ‘Prabhu’ s in there which means God – I reckon he was saying some good stuff!
Video 1 - Even Rudi and Spider, the bongo brothers don't compare to these guys. Just have a look how quickly their fingers work their drums. The audio on my camera doesn't do it justice, because as each finger hits the skin, a slightly different sound is made. I'm no music person, but it sounded incredible.
Video 2 - It turns out that flute/pipe players do more than charm cobras in India. They play inspired solos too! Once again, my camera only allows the aural sense to be indulged slightly – let your imagination run wild as to the incredibility of the music played and then double it to get near the true effect of this guy’s genius.
Video 3 - This one is a little hard to hear. It is the band pianist's story about his near death in the Mumbai terrorist attacks of November 26, 2008. I've uploaded it so that you can hear it for yourself, however the story in brief is below if you struggle to understand him in the video (the one telling the story in English - on the left as you look at the screen - is the man who owns the story).
He was in South Mumbai when the terrorists struck. There were 14 people in the room he was in, 5 died and another 2 were badly wounded. He says that he saw his son in his mind and said goodbye to him, as he was sure he was going to die. As one of the gunmen had the gun to his head, he prayed to God for protection, as soon as he prayed that (silently to God), the gunman pointed the gun in a different direction. It was incredibly powerful to all who were in the room and I hope that it makes you think about how blessed we are to live in a country where this sort of thing doesn't happen.
Update on my work with VR
After having the wonderful experience to help out on the buses which I shared with you last time, I now have a clear idea of how, God willing, I can help this wonderful organisation.
Vision Rescue have recently made plans to create a branch of their organisation where they can empower the teenagers and young adults who they minister to by giving them sporting equipment and the coaching required to make it to the top level. Pastor Biju’s vision is to have one of these kids represent India in the next 5-10 years in Cricket, Football, Basketball etc, etc.
If you haven’t worked it out yet, Cricket is the biggest sport in India, they love it. You walk down the street and you are bound to see a game being played somewhere (when walking home from the mall today, there were a bunch of teens playing under a highway overpass!) so I figured that the sport which Vision Rescue needs to focus on first is Cricket.
The plan which God has given me is to approach the Mumbai Indians who play in the IPL (the IPL is India’s equivalent to the AFL or NRL but for cricket. We’re talking the world’s best players being paid bucketloads, full stadiums, all the glitz and glamour of any sporting competition in the world) and get them to sponsor the VR teams with equipment and coaching.
This is a huge task and I wouldn’t have been able to even contemplate doing this by myself, so it is clearly God at work. Please partner with me in prayer for this with the applicable prayer points below.
So many of you have told me that you are praying for me, you have no idea how humbling that is to hear that it is not only me in Mumbai, but the prayers of a whole Church, the wider Christian community in Sydney and other associated parts of the world. Thank you, and please keep praying! If there is anything that you need prayer for right now, please give me the joy of praying for you because it is an enormous privilege that God has given us to have him on a direct line!
Praise God for being a provider to so many in India
Thank God for the musical gifts he has given the Gospel Fusion Band
Thank God that they are using those gifts to glorify God
Thank God for the powerful work he did and continues to do through their
Thank God for the success that was Aagaman
Ask God that those who gave their life to him at the service will grow in their new faith
Ask God that I will get the chance to meet with someone from the Mumbai Indians
Ask God that he will give me courage to boldly represent a Christian organisation in front of an Indian Sporting Club
Ask God that he will give me the words to say to them
Ask God that they might be generous in their response