I ended up going back to Delhi to straighten out the passport situation. It was kind of hard leaving the team behind in Dehra Dun to fend for themselves, but they were in good hands with our hosts, Uncle George and Auntie Leela.
The car ride back to Delhi was a difficult 8 hour experience. Since it is monsoon season right now in India, the roads were difficult to travel on. Then, after finding out that my driver only got 3 hours of sleep in the last 2 days, I began to worry. I offered to drive since I knew how to drive stick shift (albeit, never with the steering wheel on the right side of the car and on the left side of the street) but he quickly refused. But after the head-on collision, I was on the verge of “telling” him that I needed to drive. At first I thought he was trying to play “chicken” with the oncoming car (you would only understand if you saw how this person was driving), but then I realized that he was falling asleep. It is amazing the stuff that comes out of our mouths when we are at near death moments (I think I said something in a heavenly language).
After sleeping for a few hours, I ended up going to the U.S. Embassy early next morning. God’s grace and favor was truly upon me because the process went faster and smoother than expected. Now I just need to wait for the passport to get processed and then obtain an exit visa so that I can leave the country. Due to the fact that my train ride back to Dehra Dun was at 11PM, I spent the rest of the day fellowshipping with couple of the brothers working with brother George. I also had the privilege of preaching and ministering to several families at a house church in one of the poor neighborhoods.
On my train ride back to Dehra Dun, I was just struck with God’s sovereignty. In the process of trying to get a new passport, I was able to:
1) Build a stronger relationship with Saju, one of the key pastors and leaders in Delhi.
2) Eat some of the best butter chicken and chili chicken in India.
3) See various sites in the center of the city as we were going back and forth to the U.S. Embassy.
4) Meet a brother who translated for me back in November 2005 – he just recently moved to Delhi a day and a half ago. Coincidence?
5) Minister in a house church and saw the power of relational evangelism.
6) Gain a greater burden and vision for India.
All this was possible because of a lost passport. I was once again humbled by my limited perspective. God is always in control and He knows what He is doing even when we have no clue. Even though Satan was trying to use this whole passport situation to discourage us, God used it for good. How true are the words of God from the prophet Isaiah, “’For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the LORD. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts’” (Isa 55:8-9).
The team is doing well. We have been meeting up with the Bible College students. We also have been leading the chapel times in the morning and spending time in some of the classes. We will be ministering in the various fields where churches have been planted in the next few days. Please keep us in your prayers.