Archive for the ‘Go Encounter’ Category

What Happened to a Group of Americans on March 20, 2011

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

Hello Readers,

Mary is the name.  I am a part of the Go Grace trip to Britain.

I admit, I’m a geek.  I geek out fairly easily.  March 20th was no exception.  We got to explore both Westminster Abbey (where a lot of dead people are) and the Tower of London (where a lot of people were killed).

When we got off the Underground, Dr. Sauders told us we would be coming out right under Big Ben and Parliament.  We nodded and smiled.  The day before, we had been across the street from Parliament.  All of us almost passed out because we were only a few feet from Big Ben.  *snap*  *flash* Great photo opportunity.

When we got to Westminster, we waited a couple of minutes to get into the church.  During those few minutes, I began to feel very mortal.  This church has been around for at least 700 years.  It survived fires, bombings, and being subjected to the elements.  Yet there it stood and there it would stand long past the time I was dead.  I know that we are mortal bodies and immortal souls, but just the outside of this church could quiet me from the movement and noise of London.

I found the tombs or memorials of all the people I wanted to see.  William Wilberforce and Pitt the Elder and Younger were right in front of you when you entered.  Henry V and several other kings were scattered across the church.  Queens and their favorites were here and there.  The Coronation chair was in repair, but one was able to see it through a window.  Chaucer was chilling with Tennyson and Browning.  The inventor of the pianoforte was sleeping next to two musicians.  I even got to see the oldest door in England.  (This makes me wonder what is the oldest door in the world and the second oldest door in England.  Who keeps track of these things?)

After a very British lunch of KFC, we went to the Tower of London.  I must pause for a moment in respect to my camera, whose first battery died while I was taking pictures of the edge of old Roman London.  *pause*  Okay, continuing on with bloody tower and all the dead bodies!

We went on a tour of the Tower being lead by a Beefeater.  (No, not even the Beefeater’s know why they are called such.)  We were told the history of the fortress from the Traitor’s Gate to the chapel.  In the chapel were hundreds of bodies and only about five were able to be identified.   (These five were Anne and George Boylen, Katharine Howard, Jane Grey, and one other that I cannot remember or find.)

After paying our respects to the dead, we visited the royal jewels.  Royal jewels.  That is all.  Ignore the drool.  The greed has passed.

We saw the armory and the torture chambers.  We even got too walk across the top of part of the walls!  The ravens ignored us but obviously loved the attention.

We returned to Parliament and Big Ben to see it all lit up.  Go.  See it.

I loved this day.  Both of these places were full of history and made me reflect on God, life, the universe, and everything.  I am very glad I went on this trip.



Shout Outs – Mom – I am eating well and often.  I have not been given mad dragon disease.

Dad – I got to pass by the house of where one of the members of Queen was born and raised.  J

Annie – I walked all over Henry VIII and Charles Brandon.

Brooke – I have a picture of crumpets, but alas, they do not sell them in a way that is legal.  I have something else for you though, since crumpets are just crumpled shortbread cookies.  Hope you are having fun in Florida.


Wednesday. Moving Day.

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

Today we left London and moved to a hotel in Oxford where we will be staying for the rest of the week. We had the opportunity to explore Windsor Castle and part of Oxford University (Christ Church College dining hall and cathedral) and we had a private tour of the home of C.S. Lewis. For dinner we got to eat at The Eagle a Child, a pub where famous authors Lewis and Tolkien, along with a few other cohorts, met to discuss their writings and even penned the Inklings. We have our own tour bus for the remainder of the trip so we don’t have to worry about catching anymore trains! Our driver is nice and has a very thick cockney accent, but I don’t think he likes Americans very much 🙂 The new hotel we are at is so nice, but unfortunately we don’t have free wifi still. Dr. Sauders said to look forward to a nice breakfast in the morning, so we are all very excited to have a nice English breakfast. Yesterday we got the chance to meet Tom Barlow, a missionary in London and also the father of a fellow Grace student. With him we went to the Charles Dickens museum and then some old stables that had been converted into a large market called Camden Market. It was like another world entirely. There were so many different cultures represented! Then we took a spontaneous visit to Kensington Palace and explored the grounds for a little bit (in case you didn’t know, it has the largest park in London!). While we were hanging out with Tom, the Bickels took an adventure of their own. Apparently when Mrs. Bickel’s father was in the Army he was stationed in London and even lived with a family. They were able to track down where he stayed and get a lot of information on the place and it’s history. Needless to say we are all pretty tired after a long couple of days!


Monday, March 21st, 2011

Cheers! We’ve been having a good week with great weather! It’s been a little chilly during the night, but pretty sunny and beautiful during the day. Tonight we walked across the Thames and looked at the Houses of Parliament all lit up. It was a long day with lots of walking and of course riding the tube, which we are all starting to figure out. Today one of the lines we needed was shut down and it took us a few minutes to figure out how to get back to our hotel, but we figured it out 🙂 Yesterday we saw Buckingham Palace and Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, then we went to the British Museum (which is probably one of the most amazing museums in the world!) and the National Art Gallery (which houses very famous paintings such as Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers”). Today we toured Westminster Abbey and the Tower of London (which happened to be many people’s favorite).  Then we had dinner in the Picadilly Circus area (by the way, circus just means circle in Latin, so it isn’t actually a circus).

We’ve found that the Brits use a lot of different terms than us, so I’ve decided to include just some of them:

Mind the gap, mind your head, mind the step= watch out for …

Give Way= yield

subway= underground walking tunnels

the tube= underground train

the lift= the elevator

the carriage= the car

Others hope to update soon about their experiences so be looking for that!



England! We have arrived.

Saturday, March 19th, 2011

Greetings from the land of double decker buses and tea! We arrived safely in London with no problems and had a great first day. First we caught the tube to St. Paul’s Cathedral and climbed up and down hundreds of steps. Then we crossed the Thames on the Millennial Bridge to take a tour of the Globe Theater. We finally found our way back to our hotel and anticipate what the rest of the week holds. The wifi situation is a little iffy so we will try to update as often as we can.



Germany (a wrap-up)

Saturday, January 22nd, 2011

The entire Germany team would like to thank you for following us in our adventure to Europe. We can’t even begin to express how much your prayers have meant to us. We know that God has done amazing things in us, and right now we struggle for words to adequately express all we thought before and all that we know know about ourselves, God, and this wonderful people group called Germans. We are back in the states now, but Germany is still a part of who we are, a part of who we always will be.

We visted a historic town, toured a castle, and stood in awe inside a beautiful church. But the things that made the trip beautiful were the wonderful truths that I was reminded of, and the beautiful people that cared for me, and showed me the grace of God.

I’ll be honest. I really wish I was back in Germany right now. I love the US, but miss the Pappas family and our Young Adult friends from the church more than I can say. I am looking forward to this semester for the fact that I know God has a plan,  but I am waiting for my heart to catch up with where I am. I really want to return to German and work with the church there. I keep praying that God will clarify and teach me what He is wanting me to do in regard to missions. Please pray for all of us as we continue to understand what God is wanting to do with this new knowledge we have about ourselves and the world around us.

We have learned so much about who God is and what it means to be apart of the Body of Christ. The Church around the world is amazing. I love that we have Christ in common. Pray also for the opportunities that have opened up because of our conversations in the schools. Pray that the students would be curious about Christ and want to know who He really is. Pray that the youth in the Church would be strengthened as they are bold for Christ, and would be given the words to say as they tell their friends about this God who has saved them.

Leaving Germany was very difficult for me, and I really miss the people there. But I know that God is working in us in this country as well as in the one we just left. He has an adventrure for us here as well.

Pray for us in the transition, and for the church in Aalen Germany. Pray for the Pappas family that they would be strengthened and given grace as they continue to minister to these people.

-Katelyn Mithoefer

A week ago…Germany Tuesday

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011


One week ago today we started speaking English in the German schools. It is amazing that we have had so many experiences and learned so much in the time we have been here.  There are so many little things that make up the culture that we have been participating in. We wonder how we are going to communicate all of our discoveries and understanding to the people we love at home. What will it be like to integrate back into American society as Americans who have been living in Germany? Time will tell!

Today we went to the Realshule (school) in the morning and all of us ended up classroom. After the class we went on our “official” tour of Aalen with John Pappas as our tour guide. He showed us around the little town and told us about how the town was originally a Roman Outpost in ancient history. He also included some town legends which were very interesting as well.

After this, Felcia, Regina, and Janell went with John to the Hauptschule (the lowest type of school in this society for those who do not learn as well as others -there is a great stigma if you attend this school instead of the Realschule or the Gymnasium schools). But on the way we stopped at a bakery that a girl who lives with Brittany, Felicia, and Janell’s family works at. We had different kinds of pastery and one that had marzipan (delicious!) and hot chocolate/coffee. Hiking up the hill, we went up to the school. The class was AMAZING! It was probably one of the best so far. They asked tons of questions and always had their hands in the air to ask more questions. After the class the principal wanted to sit down and talk with us for a bit. We shared some conversation, and he fed us coffee and Bretzels (big soft pretzels that are made specifically in this region of Germany).

Meanwhile, Nate, Kip, Janell, and Brittany all went back to the church/ or shop and got pastry also. When we all met back up at the church later, we ate lunch (Maltashen -AMAZING FOOD, kind of like ravioli only not) Cleaned up the dishes, and then headed out for our next adventure….

Gummy Bear Land.

Yes. It does exist. It is a large store filled with gummy candy. Oh yes, it was great. Never had I seen so many different kinds of gummy bears in one place in my life. We had been looking forward to visiting this store, and enjoyed ourselves.

Then we drove to this church that used to be an Abbey…I’m sorry, I can’t remember the name right now. It had beautiful frescos and it was overwhelmingly beautiful. The outside of the buildings were great as well, and we got some great pictures. As, we left, the sun was setting. It was gorgeous.

We got back to the church, and some took naps while others headed into town. An hour later, John, Becky, and all of our group were headed to a woman’s house. She is from the church and has 5 daughters that she has raised by herself. Their family has had a lot of struggles, but they are the sweetest people. Three of the girls are triplets! They had prepared a great dinner for us, and showed us around their beautiful home.

Tomorrow is our last day in the schools  🙁 We are already missing parts of Germany, but are determined to make the most of the couple of days we have left.

Germany on Monday: Schools, A Bible Study, Shopping, A Prayer Meeting

Monday, January 17th, 2011

Today marked the first full week since we began traveling! It was a week ago that we sat in the Detroit Airport and began this great adventure to Europe.

This morning Regina, Katelyn, and Nate went with Kip to the Realschule (the school for average students) and spoke to a class of (I think) 5th Graders. The teacher said that they were very excited that we were coming. At first we could not find the teacher and were waiting outside of the classroom. But Kip went down to see if she was standing somewhere else to meet us and they came back up to the classroom shortly. She said that when she didn’t see us she began to wonder how she was going to break it to the children! They were a very attentive class and asked lots of great questions. They wondered if we had seen a movie star, what our favorite food, color, and animal was. Nate and Katelyn handed out American bills for them to look at, and explained what was on each bill and coin. Later, Brittany, Janell, and Felicia were in the same school, only in a different class later in the day. After the school, Nate, Katelyn, and Regina all went to the Gymnasium (see below for an explanation). Zach Pappas (John and Becky’s son.) leads a short Bible Study during the 15 minute lunch break between classes for a group of students and he wanted us to come tell the group what our favorite bible verse was and why it was important to us. He translated after a couple of sentances. Some of the students in this group are probably not believers.

While they were in the English class, Nate, Katelyn, and Regina visted “Kaufland” (the equivilant to our Walmart) which is right next door to the church. We browsed a bit. This store is set up kind of like a mall with the clothes in one section, the bakery as another store, etc.

When we all got back to the church, we ate Chili con Carne made by Stephanie (called “Shtephy”). She is the daughter of Sabina (Janell, Brittany, and Felicia’s host mom). It was delicious. After cleaning up the kitchen, our entire group walked to the Gymnasium (not gymnasium, but Gim-nahs-ee-um)-the school that Zach Pappas (John and Becky’s son) attends. This school is for the gifted students in Germany and starts in the 5th grade. We participated in a 1 1/2 hour long English class at this school. This was the class that Felicia, Nate, and Janell had visited the first Tuesday we were here in Germany. The teacher was very good and engaged the students in a discussion on the topic of money and it’s importance or lack of importance to people in society. They were reading an American drama called “A Raisin in the Sun” about African Americans living in Chicago in the 1950s.

After this class we went shopping in downtown Aalen. It is pedestrian, and our group split up after we went to a couple of stores. We shopped for 2 hours and then met up at 6pm at a designated meeting spot to walk to a resturant to eat a Turkish meal. It is called a “Doner” (Pronounced “Du-rn-a” -we still can’t prounounce it correctly and they laugh at us when we try to say it). Nate hadn’t had one yet while the rest of us had. It is a wonderful meal that consists of a pita filled with shaved meet and lettuce, something like ranch dressing (which they call “yogurt”), tomatoes, and curry sauce if you like. I am definitely going to miss German food!

After a wonderful team dinner we went to Kaufland again with everyone and happened to run into a girl from Colorado who speaks fluent English and is married to a German man. After hearing her story and inviting her to the English and German church services, we went back to the church for the prayer meeting led by Dennis.

 It is so cool to pray alongside Germans. Even though you don’t know what they are saying, you can still understand the emotion of their words as we both come before our Heavenly Father. Dennis opened the meeting reading and talking about Romans 12:1. John translated for us. We prayed for the persecuted church in different countries (which I LOVE to talk and pray about), missionaries supported by the church around the world, and for us as the people from Grace and Aalen -because we are missionaries also! We all went our seperate ways after the meeting. Regina and I talked to Dennis (who took us to our host parent’s house) about her church in the USA on the way home. (Also: Radom Fact: German people call any type of SUV a “Jeep”).

Tomorrow we head to the schools again and then we are going to a woman’s house for dinner. She is part of the Aalen church and has a set of triplet girls our age and two other daughters whom we have already met. I can’t wait!

A Sun-day in Germany

Sunday, January 16th, 2011

Felicia, Janell, Regina, Nate, and Brittany in the back of the van on the way to Rothenburg on Thursday.

Dennis and Vanessa: Two of the Young Adults on Friday night at the Young People get together. They were playing ping-pong. Dennis is in his "Civil Service"-all German youth must give something like 1-2 years of service to the community after highschool and before they turn a certain age.

Nate and Kip on the Carosel in Downtown Aalen. The carosel is like one of those in our parks where we run around to spin it and then jump on. Nate and Kip pushed to spin all of us girls so we could ride, and then we pushed them so they could ride on it.

I titled this post Sun-day because for the first day since we came to Germany that we saw the sun! Previous days have been very gloomy outside. Though the country and the red housetops against the background of the valley is beautiful, the sun just set everything shining!

This morning we were picked up for church by John Pappas since the Schurr family (Regina and My host family) only have 7 seats in their mini van (with “children seats” it would have been impossible for both Regina and I to ride along). We were very tired because we were up late the night before, but it was good to see everyone at church. First was the German church service which was 2 hours long. We sang both German and English songs (including Amazing Grace). I have been surprized at the knowledge of English praise songs (though from the 90s) this church has! I was expecting to listen to German songs all the time. John Pappas translated the service for us. He is incredibly bi-lingual and even speaks the dialect of this southern-German region known as “Schwabish.” The Germans say that he does not have an accent (He has been in Germany more than 25  years), and he does not have any kind of German accent while speaking English.

The message was wonderful. It was given by John Pappas’ (the missionary here) son-in-law. Dietmar is German and married to Stephanie (Pappas). He is from a church in Stuttgart. he did a great job preaching on the topic of Obedience from John 14:15. I absolutely loved it. I can tell you all more about it later. It was one of the most mind-blowing things done completely by the Holy Spirit in my life on this trip so far.

We ate some pizza (provided by Dennis’ family) and then had a quick practice of our English church service. This is only the second English service they have had. They said that it was up to us to see if there would be more in the future (sort of kidding, sort of not kidding). We had invited people from the classes and the village to come to the service. There were quite a few people I did not recognize there. Some of the  highschool/college kids also came. There were 2 exchange students from South Africa (who will be returning to South Africa on Friday), and 1 friend of Lein Le (pronounced Le-own-ae) who was from Togo, Africa. We sang some praise songs to start off the service with all of us in front singing, and Janell and Nate trading off playing the guitar. The congregation knew part of the songs, and the words were in English on powerpoint behind us.

Regina and I both gave our testimonies. There was no translation, but we tried to speak slowly (although I think I went a little fast). Regina and I (Katelyn) were talking afterward and found a similarity between our experiences. Both of us had originally prepared something written down word for word to share with the church. However, when we got up there we skipped part of what we had to say and added other parts. This had to be the leading of the Holy Spirit because we did not feel like we ran out of things to say, or were at a loss for words during the time we were speaking. Praise God!

Kip Cone (our Team Leader) also spoke, but he did a 1st person narrative. It was great! He played the role of one of David’s mighty men, Abishi. He told the story of David taking Saul’s water jug and spear while Saul was sleeping. He said that desert experiences are hard and often lead us to want to do things our own way, a convient way that will get us out of the feeling that nothing is happening to get us out of our situation, instead of trusting God, doing the right thing, and then leaving the results to God. He did a great job and I know that for me, it was one of the best parts of the church service!

After the English Service, we stuck around to eat amazing German cake with the congregation after the service. AMAZING desserts, INCREDIBLE people! Then we went to spend the rest of the afternoon/evening with our host families. For Regina and I, this meant a wonderful trip to a German Ice Rink for some Ice Skating. We took two trips because of the lack of seats in the car and it was not a problem. I watched 3 of the kids (Micha, Aaron, and Judith) while Andi (our host dad) went back for Regina, Annika (our host mom), and Lucas (their oldest boy-8years old).

It was the first time I had ever babysat children who did not speak my language. Talk about a fun challenge! There were some minor bumps in the road, but it went pretty smoothly, and showed me once again how incapable I am of doing anything on my own. Take away the commonality of language and you realize how much you depend on it to get by! But I did discover during this time with the kids, that a kiss on a boo boo will heal all ills. The two boys were having a small argument over points in the Fooseball game they have. This was unusual because they are always very well behaved and hardly put up a fuss when told to do something. The older one put his hand down hard on the littler one’s hand and the younger one started to cry and fuss. I instinctively picked up his 4 year old hand (where the “boo boo” was) and gave it a quick, get-better kiss. He stopped crying and went back to the game. Kids are kids even when they are in different countries!

Later we ate dinner and after Andi and Annika put the kids to bed, we drank tea and talked with them in the living room. We talked more about German Culture, American Culture, how they met, and showed them some more pictures of our siblings. Tomorrow we head into the schools again for more English classes.

-Katelyn Mithoefer

The Week In A Nutshell

Sunday, January 16th, 2011

Sorry for the delay guys! Had a few computer problems, but here’s our week in Israel in a nutshell 🙂

Day Three: Mount of Beattitudes, Nazareth, & The Jordan River.

The best thing about today at least in my opinion was that I got baptized! Tiberius Rata baptized me (Jaimie Ove) in the Jordan River.  The same river that Jesus was baptized in 2,000 years. It was an amazing experience and I am so glad to have wonderful group of people there to support me in my outward dedication of my faith. And the rainbow afterwards just topped it off 🙂

Day Four: Beit Shean, Qumran Caves, & The Dead Sea.

It was so neat to see the caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found! How perfectly formed is God’s plan? A shepard boy had lost his goat and he went searching for it by throwing rocks into caves to see if he could hear it. One cave that he threw into made a strange sound and when he went to investigate he found jars and jars of scrolls. These scrolls contained the books and pieces of Bible all except for Esther.  So cool to be in the spot of one of the greatest archelogical finds ever!

You havent seen joy, until you have seen John Sloat’s face floating in the Dead Sea. What a surreal experience to be floating in the salty water. We all just bobbed along, doing silly things, trying to figure out this strange feeling. 

Day Five: Masada, Ein Gedi, Jericho & Abraham’s Tent.

Masada – The Jewish 300. Wow, I couldn’t believe that I had never heard the story of this Jewish Rebellion in 70 A.D. The Romans had conquored Israel and had nothing left to stop them except a small group of Jews numbering under a thousand. They had fled to the top of a mountain where Herod had built a fortress and had managed to live as free men.  The Romans quickly surrounded them and for months the Jews held them off. Eventually, the Romans built a ramp of earth that lead up to the mountain. The night before they stormed the city, the leader of the Jews made a compelling speech in which he said ‘let no man be another man’s slave’. When the Romans stormed the city the next morning – all the Jews had committed suicide. A hollow victory to be sure.

Not many people can say they saw their professors ride a camel. Well I’ve seen three of mine ride camels. What a blast!

Day Six: Temple Mount, The Upper Room, The Holocaust Museum, & The Israeli Museum.

Today we had devotions lead by Adam on the same temple stairs that Jesus walked many years ago.  It was amazing to sit there and reflect.  The stairs were actually built for a time of reflection as they were uneven and staggered. That was purposeful so that people had to watch where they were going and to give them time to contemplate on the reasons for going to the temple.

The Holocaust Museum was an incredibly emotional experience. I had studied and learned alot about World War 2 before but I had always missed one important fact: There is no difference between the a Jew and myself.  Meaning, it could have very well happened to Christians.  These people were just like you and me; young, old, students, professionals, mothers, fathers, children, left-handed, right-handed, short or tall. This day was a time of overwhelming emotions of sadness as well as thankfulness.

Day Seven: Mount of Olives, Garden of Gethsemane, Western Wall Tunnels, House of Caiphas & Pool of Bethsaida.

Today we had time to ourself in the place where Jesus had cried out, “My Father, if it be possible let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” Being in the garden, where Christ I believe showed perfectly how He truely was 100% man and 100% God, was a surreal experience.  Knowing that Jesus had been there and been afraid but nevertheless completely willing to give His life up for me, made the time there emotional and moving. I think we all felt a sense of complete gratitude and thankfulness that we are worshipping a being completely made of love.

Day Eight: Dome of the Rock, Wailing Western Wall, City of David, & Bethlehem.

It’s hard to describe the feeling that one gets when they see that the Dome of the Rock (one of the Holiest places for Muslims) and the Wailing Wall (one of the Holiest places for Jews) are mere feet away from each other. Not only that, but the church of the Holy Sepulchre (the supposed place of the cruxification and grave) is within a mile of both of them.  It’s overwhelming to see two religions completely different from each other and yet completely distant from the truth.  Seeing those woman cry, touch, and stuff their prayers into the wall where they believe that they can get close to God filled me with a sense of overwhelming gratitude that I can call upon my God whenever I choose.

Day Nine: Garden Tomb & Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

The Garden Tomb was a place that we all agreed we wished was the true place where Christ had been buried. It looked like what we had always imagined it. The setting was a quiet garden with a tomb inlaid in a wall of rock, a beautiful area. When we went to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which is more likely the place of burial, it was overdone with gold and silver and jewels and art and candles, even though it was beautiful.  I was thinking how sad this place had been turned into a holy mess of people and junk and not much else. But Dave Ferrier made the point of saying that maybe it was a good thing that it was overdone because it helped keep our perspective focused on what had happened rather than where it had happened. It made us focus on the Savior and what He had done for us, rather than the actual place.  What a good reminder as we sometimes get caught up in the mundane details rather than focus on the true purpose!

Overall this trip made the Bible come alive for all those who went on the trip.  We now understand so much more about the age where Christ came to die for each and every one of us. Thank you all for your support. I’ll leave you with one last thing.


Dear America…

Sunday, January 16th, 2011

Zach here…

Sad to say I’m getting a little used to what they call a squaty potty; it’s actually much cleaner than a toilet because it’s really just a hole in the ground where you don’t have to touch anything. But I still can’t handle some of the food here. Today I joked with Ryan (who loves spicy food) that he has an iron stomach while mine is a delicate flower being trampled on — my pepto bismol caplets are like a pez-dispenser.

Yesterday, we went to Uncle’s childhood home, where his mother made us some great Indian food, which we ate with our hands of course. Though Margaret, who is left-handed, forgot she was using the poopy hand to eat her dinner. The last course is a yogurt, which helps with digestion…it really does. I was SO dehydrated this morning, because I’ve been in the bathroom so long. I thought I either have malaria or I’m dieing, or I’m dehydrated and if it gets any worse I’ll need an IV. Luckily the gallon of water brought me back to health, and now I have to pee like crazy.

But anyways, Dheej’s grandmother has an amazing testimony, translated by her daughter in-law; basically the family bull (the bank account) was sick. She heard about Christ and thought well I’ll pray to that God, and if he can heal my bull than I’ll send a quarter to the church. So she prayed, and against all odds the bull lived, so she sent a quarter. And then when one of her children got sick she prayed again; the child recovered and she sent another quarter. So for a time she prayed to Christ along with the other Hindu Gods, until a pastor of a lower caste came along and started meeting with her in the home and praying with her (a very immodest thing to do in Indian culture). Eventually she claimed Christianity as her religion, without even fully understanding the gospel; her family was very angry with her. Her relatives and the whole community disowned the family, but eventually her son (Uncle) became a Christian and explained to her what the gospel really meant, and what it means to be saved by God’s grace. So as a result, all of the children are Christians, all of their children are Christians, her sister and some of her children are Christians. And Uncle runs a bible school training pastors who go into the villages and low caste areas proclaiming the gospel. We have heard so many stories like that where the Lord finds some way to infiltrate the heart, and Christ just takes over. The low caste people find the message of Christ’s love and his grace so appealing, because in their world they are worthless.

One thing that has really impressed me is that Indian Christians are such prayer warriors. Today we visited a bunch of churches, run by pastors who are part of this association and graduated from this seminary. There is such a culture of prayer in the churches here; at least a quarter of the service is prayer. Anytime you do anything you pray. And in general, there is such a sense of surrender among the Christians here, because some of them have really lost everything.

The majority of this trip has been sight-seeing and doing all the cultural and historical things, but even among those times I think all of us really have heard such amazing testimony, and according to Uncle, have left really strong impressions on some of our tour guides. Part of that really comes from some us; there are people in our group who carry the Lord’s faithfulness with great passion, and you really see it when you spend this amount of time with them. So I came to India, just because I thought it sounded cool. And…India is the bomb, but I am so blessed and energized to see the Kingdom advancing here.

Zach Davidson