« July 2010 |
| October 2010 »
September 23, 2010
Update from India!
Forgive me for not writing more often but Jeff and I have been constantly on the move going from village to village. We visit 2 different villages each day and many are an hour away on very bad dirt roads. Most evening services begin around 9:00 PM because villagers are usually out working in the fields until late, so sometimes we find ourselves even eating dinner at midnight.
When we arenít out in the villages, we try to spend time with the kids here at the childrenís home where weíre staying. I wish you could have seen their little faces when we gave them the Beanie babies. They were SO excited!
This trip is truly unlike anything I have ever experienced in my life. Being here is like stepping back in time (especially for us Westerners), almost as far back as Jesusí day. Itís very common to see shepherds walking with their sheep and people carrying hay on their heads. Many village homes donít have running water or electricity so we often see people washing clothes in nearby streams. Itís a completely different culture from ours in the US. I wish you could see how gracefully they eat with their handsÖthings we would need a spoon or fork for, itís amazing!
It is so wonderful to be a part of the work that God is doing here in India. Iíve shared my testimony in 9 villages so far and people are coming to Christ everyday. We hold our meetings in small village churches (sometimes outside) and everyday Iím amazed to see how many people attend. There is usually a very loud speaker outside that can be heard throughout the village so even those who donít come will hear the message. Sometimes I can see people running down the street to come and see who is talking and to listen closer to what Iím saying. Before long, the tiny building is full of colorful people sitting ďIndian styleĒ on the floor. It is custom here for everyone to leave their shoes at the door, for women to cover their heads and for men and women to sit separately in church. Itís mostly women who come out to our meetings but I do notice quite a few men sitting outside the churches and peering in at me through the windows. Men are definitely listening and a number have made decisions to follow Jesus! As of today, we have records of 146 new believers as a result of our ministry.
I cannot express to you the feeling I get when I see hands going up to accept Jesus. Even if itís only one, itís such a big deal here in India where there are 330 million different Gods being worshipped.
Converting from Hinduism or from being Muslim is a huge decision that will have lifelong social consequences. Here in the childrenís home, there is a Muslim lady who was abandoned by her family because she accepted Christ. She now has no place to go and would be a beggar on the streets if the home had not given her a job and a place to stay. So whenever a person opens their heart to Jesus in one of my presentations, I rejoice but I also begin praying because I know the road ahead will not be easy.
Well, Iím off to bed . itís after 2AM here and I'm sharing my testimony in two more villages tomorrow. Please keep praying for us as we continue serving here in India.
In His Strength,
Posted by Bernadette at 04:45 PM
September 20, 2010
Hi From India!
Greetings from India! Just a quick email to let you know that Jeff and I made it here safely on Saturday. Sorry I havenít emailed sooner but weíve been on the go since our plane landed. In fact, our 10 hour flight from London on Friday was actually a Ďpiece of cakeí especially when compared to our drive to Narasaraopet. Just imagine being on a rough and bouncy ride on a severely potholed and uneven road for 6 hrs straight and youíll get the idea. It was without a doubt backbreaking (particularly for me) but far less than what Jesus had to endure to secure our salvation. I kept thinking of that the entire time as we drove by different people, remembering His sacrifice for them. Oh how I just couldnít wait to tell them.
As you can imagine, we havenít really slept well the 2 nights weíve been here due to jet lag and our body simply needing a bit of time to adjust to our new surroundings, new time zone and our new 3 times a day curry diet. Our national hosts, Sushil and Sangha have been wonderful to us and are doing everything possible to make us feel at home in their country.
Iíve been speaking twice a day and have shared my testimony in 3 villages so far and it has been amazing. People are so welcoming everywhere we go and eager to hear what it is that Iíve come to say. Many have never even seen a wheelchair before and have come simply out of curiosity. Itís not long however, before they hear about Jesus, the one true God.
The response has been tremendous with a total of 96 making commitments so far! Please know that not a day goes by that we donít remember that it is because of your fervent prayers and financial support that we are able to carry this message of hope to this part of India. On behalf of those whose lives will be forever changed, I THANK YOU!!
In His Service,
Posted by Bernadette at 10:25 AM
September 13, 2010
Greetings from Edinburgh!
Hi Dear Friends,
Just a quick note to let you know that Jeff and I are doing well here in Scotland. We're finally over the jet lag and are adjusted to the time zone. Our hosts, Stewart, Liz and Kathleen are taking great care of us with traditional Scottish hospitality and getting us ready for our journey to India later this week. The weather here has been beautiful for the most part with sunny skies and temperatures in the low 60's. We visited the Princes Street Gardens below Edinburgh Castle on Saturday and the flowers were still in full bloom.
The Lord moved in a mighty way at Liberton Northfield Church on Sunday. This church reaches out to those in the community struggling with life. There were tears everywhere from the moment I began speaking and read Psalm 34:18 ďThe Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.Ē After the service, I was utterly speechless as one by one, young and old, privileged and deprived came up to me in tears, sharing how God used my life to speak to their hearts about His unconditional love for them. I heard so many painful stories that literally broke my heart but what a great encouragement it is to know that our God loves the unloved.
After church, we were invited to the Manse (the Pastorís home) for lunch. Jesus truly shines through Pastor John. He's a pastor's pastor who really rolls up his sleeves and gets involved in the lives of the people in his church and his neighborhood. What a joy it has been to co-labor with John in carrying the Gospel of Christ to those rejected by others.
Well, we will be resting here and gearing up for India over the next 2 days. As you can imagine, getting there is going to be quite a challenge. We leave Edinburgh on Thursday afternoon and will arrive in Narasaraopet, India on Saturday afternoon.
Jeff and I have been preparing and praying and there is an incredible sense of expectancy in our spirits this week as the trip approaches. We just can't wait to see what God will do and how He will move in the lives of the people of India. As it is written: "Those who were not told about him will see, and those who have not heard will understand." Romans 15:21
Excited in Edinburgh,
Posted by Bernadette at 06:01 PM
September 03, 2010
Mission to India
In just one week Jeff and I will embark on one of our most challenging ďMission of HopeĒ endeavors so far. Weíre headed to India and we are so EXCITED! Some may ask why India? After all, the journey there is an arduous one, even for the most physically fit. Well, I can think of 500 million reasons Ė thatís the number of people in India who have never heard the name of Jesus, not even one time in their lives. Imagine for a moment a land where for millions, it is their birthright to live a life of poverty and oppression, a land where cows are more sacred than human beings and where disabled people like me are considered untouchable. India is home to over 1 billion people and less than 2.5 % are Christians. In fact, over 500 thousand villages are without a church or a Missionary. Nonetheless, India is desperately looking everywhere for salvation, worshipping 330 million different gods. As you can see, we have before us a tremendous challenge.
Please keep us in your prayers as we begin our journey to India next week (Sept 9). To make the trip a little less difficult for me, we will stop in Scotland as a halfway point where I will speak in Edinburgh on Sunday (Sept 12). From there we will fly 10hrs to Hyderabad, India and travel 6 hrs by car to the town of Narasaraopet in the southern part of India. From here we will travel daily to 22 different villages where we will host strategic evangelical outreaches in churches, schools, jails, and orphanages.
As we prepare to go, pray that the Lord would use our lives to leave a lasting impact on the people we will meet. Pray with us that God will already begin working in the hearts, minds, and lives of those who will attend our outreach services, even before they arrive. Pray for hearts to be opened to the gospel and that many will come to put their faith in Jesus Christ as their one and only Savior. Pray specifically for courage. People in India pay a huge price to follow Jesus. Once they convert to Christianity, their family will likely disown them. We need to understand and pray for the spiritual battle that will surely be taking place in their hearts and minds.
A special "THANK YOU" to those of you who have recently joined my monthly support team! I feel so blessed to have such loyal friends like you that enable me to go "into all the world" and see lives changed by the gospel of Jesus Christ. Be assured that you are making a huge difference in the lives of those you enable me to reach. THANK YOU!!
Until next time... this is your missionary, Bernadette... headed to India!
In His Service,
To support us, please make your check payable to:
Global Faith Mission Agency (or GFMA)
P.O. Box 3326
Chattanooga, TN 37404
** DESIGNATE in the memo for "Jeff & Bernadette Todd" so they'll know itís for our ministry. Thank you in advance for your support!
Posted by Bernadette at 09:09 AM