Sunday, December 30, 2012

Tenali's Got Talent Dance

For those of you who need something to make you smile today... please enjoy this video of white missionaries dancing in India! 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

He Hears Our Prayers - By Renee

Last weekend, we had a crusade in the Bapatla area.  Cory and Kevin documented the event while the rest of us prayed over the people as they stood with bold proclamations. The entire Harvest India staff was there along with a choir from the HI Nursing College and some talented students from the Quary School who helped spread the Gospel through dance.  Many people heard the the Good News, were healed, and experienced Christ in a new way. This wasn't just limited to the people in the surrounding village; the Harvest India staff were changed as well (I LOVE that we are considered staff now!).

As I'm sure many of you heard, Ravi wasn't at the Crusade on Sunday night. He was in a motorcycle accident earlier in the day. Here in Tenali, motorcycles are much more common than cars and helmets are a rarity. After being thrown to the ground, Ravi got up and brushed himself off assured that he was fine. Moments later, he collapsed and was taken to a local hospital in Bapatla. Recognizing that they did not had the facilitates to care for him, he was admitted into the Intensive Care Unit in Guntur.

It wasn't until Monday morning that we caught wind of the news. In an instant, the room was shattered. We were told about the accident, the hospital admittance, and that Ravi was unconscious and paralyzed on one side of his body. This news literally rocked me. God has used Ravi in huge ways in India. I first met him 2 years ago on the RockHarbor two week trip.He is the director of the Harvest India Children's homes. Ravi is such a man of God and his love for His people is so evident. He's a quiet one, but a powerful servant of the King!  Two months ago, I had the privilege of meeting Ravi's sons and aunt at a local church service. His aunt had recognized me from a picture they have on their refrigerator. Ravi told me that they had been praying for me since our 2 week trip had left nearly 2 years ago. What a blessing!

After hearing the news, we cancelled our teaching schedule and instead decided to fast and pray for Ravi. Suresh came over to our house with Danny and as a team (along with Ramaraj) we prayed like I've never prayed before. We were broken and scared. Our prayers were honest and desperate. And the good news is, God heard them!

A couple hours later, we arrived at the hospital to learn that Ravi had recently woken up and was able to move both sides of his body! His brain was hemorrhaging, he wasn't out of danger yet, but God had brought him a long way. Angela and I were the first of our team to in and see Ravi in ICU. I had no idea what to expect. When we approached the bed, Ravi simply looked like he was sleeping with a breathing mask; there were no visible signs of trauma. His wife gently shook his arm, whispered a few words into his ear, and Ravi slowly opened his eyes. We could literally watch his eyes focus as he took in the world around him. His first words out of his mouth were "Praise the Lord!" Yes Ravi, Praise the Lord that He has you in His hands! Praise the Lord that He is good and just! Praise the Lord for how He has already healed you and will continue to heal you! Praise the Lord that you are safe in his hands! Yes Ravi, Praise the Lord!

It was a hard day, but in the midst of pain His sweetness reigned.

We were able to pray for Ravi as a team in that hospital room in Guntur; but the beauty of prayer (and God for that matter) is that it is not limited to a moment or a room. Within a few hours, literally hundreds if not thousands of people around the world were praying for a single man in India. The news quickly spread via Facebook, emails, and texts. RH pastors, life groups, and the India community as a whole were lifting up Ravi in prayer. That is what we are called to do as the Church. To love and uphold one another. So beautiful!

Ravi is still in the hospital but is out of the Intensive Care Unit. Praise the Lord! We traveled to Guntur yesterday to find the hospital room in much higher spirits. Ravi was more alert with complete feeling on both sides of his body though he was complaining of an intense headache (naturally). His wife was able to smile and tell us that after asking about their father for nearly a week, his boys are able to go see him--- they may even be with him as I'm writing this.

Last we heard, Ravi is scheduled to have another MRI to assess the progress of the hemorrhaging in his brain. After witnessing God's healing hands over this past week, I'm expecting to hear more good news. Please continue to pray for Ravi: for healing, for comfort, for His story and His plans to be revealed.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

College Outreach

Performing at Amedkar College
One of the main reasons Harvest India asked RockHarbor to send a Residency Team to Tenali is to help them grow their college ministry. Harvest India is an organization that basically has ministry covered from birth to death, but they really felt like they were missing out on the college age kids. Recognizing that RockHarbor has done a fairly good job of attracting the twenty-something crowd, they approached our church about helping out.

Jump forward a year or two... now you have six Americans living in India trying to connect with the youth. How in the heck do you do that? By exploiting the allure of our "western-ness", and playing American pop songs and Minute To Win It games of course!

We've visited Ambedkar College, St. Peters College, KSK College, Harvest India Nursing College, and next week we'll be visiting JMJ College. We've spent the last few weeks performing songs, playing games, and connecting with local colleges all over Tenali. It's been a great way to spread the word about what Harvest India is doing in Tenali as well as inviting the kids to become a part of a larger community.

We've also been inviting the schools to join us at an event and competition that we are calling Tenali's Got Talent this December 28th. We are formatting it in the American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance, and America's Got Talent type of competitions with judges and prizes for the winner. Each of the schools that we've visited will send two teams of students to perform a song, dance, or drama at the competition. Our team will also be performing some songs and dances to make things extra interesting. The winning team will receive a cash prize and the pride of Tenali!

Aside from all of the fun we've had, it's been a really encouraging and exciting process to see our team grow through this experience. We are all being stretched to step out of our comfort zones by getting up on stage to sing and dance, act silly, and speak in front of large crowds when those things may not necessarily be one of our strengths. It's been an a process that has really brought us closer as a team and forced us to rely on each other for support and encouragement. More than anything it's forced us to really rely on God to get us through each event. It all seems to fit the theme of "being called to be uncomfortable".

Here are a few images from the events so far:

Suresh welcoming students at Ambedkar College
Renee, Kacie, and Angela with students at St. Peters College
Students at KSK College
John encouraging the students to engage their community