We had the opportunity to visit the Ganges River the other day. It was an incredible sight. There were literally hundreds of thousands of people all lining up along the river to dip into the water. There were also many people who were carrying ornaments on their shoulders to offer to the Hindu gods. It reminded me of the passage in Isaiah 44 – “This is what the LORD says – Israel’s King and Redeemer, the LORD Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God. Who then is like me? Let him proclaim it. Let him declare and lay out before me what has happened since I established my ancient people, and what is yet to come – yes, let him foretell what will come. Do not tremble, do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago? You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me? No, there is no other Rock; I know not one. All who make idols are nothing, and the things they treasure are worthless. Those who would speak up for them are blind; they are ignorant, to their own shame. Who shapes a god and casts an idol, which can profit him nothing? From the rest he makes a god, his idol; he bows down to it and worships. He prays to it and says, ‘Save me; you are my god.’ They know nothing, they understand nothing; their eyes are plastered over so they cannot see, and their minds closed so they cannot understand.” (Isa 44:6-10, 17-18). We are praying that God will open their eyes to the truth.
We also went into an area where all the churches in the surrounding villages would meet together in joint worship once a month. It was amazing to hear how some people would walk 30-40 miles just to go to this service. Many of these churches are house churches and they would come together as a bigger Body to worship and encourage one another. This area is known for the spiritual warfare due to several holy sites for the Hindu gods. In fact, the pastor that we met had a special anointing for deliverance ministry – a.k.a demon casting. Almost half of their congregation were people that came to know the Lord after Pastor Reggie casted out a demonic spirit in them.
We experienced the demonic spirit first-hand because after my message and during the prayer time, there were some ladies that were manifesting some demonic spirits. Therefore, we had to pray over these women and cast out the demons. We then spent some time praying for the area and for God to break some of the strongholds. After the meeting was over, we went to the pastor’s house for some fellowship.
One thing I am being reminded about is the generosity of the Indian people. Their hospitality is hard to beat… I think it is just in all the Asian cultures. The thought that constantly goes through my mind is – “how can people with so little give so much?” But then again, it just reaffirmed a lesson that I learned a while back… it is the people that do not have much that are usually the ones that give the most. Oh how subtle is the sin of hoarding and greed! The tendency is that the more we have, the less we want to give.
The team members are doing well. Some of us are still trying to overcome our colds. Please continue to pray for us. We are now just getting ready for the important Church Planters and Leaders Conference starting from 18th-19th.