Pray BFF #75 July 9, 2005
Dear Prayer Team,
Last year’s visit to India was full of unknowns. This year we know what more to expect. Paul now knows Pastor Stephen, the national Indian pastor. (Paul had the privilege of naming his son in an elaborate ceremony). Pastor Stephen’s father is an apostle for that greater region who has braved many new regions with the gospel.
An average of 150 Christian leaders came for two three-day training seminars. They slept on hard cement floors in the heat. There was and still is a great need for more training for these poor pastors. Even though most of them are poor and have minimal formal ministerial training, but they do have a deep zeal for the Lord. Their faith and zeal propels them to start one or more churches in their little towns. It is likely that the training we bring forms part of the answer to their prayers for renewal, training, direction and encouragement in their lonely ministries.
The Lord’s special word of encouragement to Paul proved faithful when God raised about $6,000 from many sources at the last minute, in less than two-weeks time. It was an incredible experience to see the power of God at work. We hope, however, for our planner’s sake and for ours that it is not the last 'minute' again!
Pastor Stephen is an excellent coordinator. He and his father are held in great esteem with all the churches in that area. We are thankful that they heartily welcome us to return.
I do not often mention BFF financial needs as they have to do with our own lives. We want to focus on ministry. Ask and we can share more with you. However, the needs of the pastors in India are something we can quite readily make known to you.
Download the special India 2005 report. See if you can identify Paul in the photo!
Needs for the India Trip
We need wisdom to decide whether to plan for 3 or 4 seminars. Last trip, each seminar cost about US$1500. Each participant pays a small registration fee, but it does not even begin to cover the cost. The speaker is expected to cover most of the cost of each seminar. We anticipate that it will be higher this time because of possible increase of people and the lower exchange rate for the US dollar. Our meeting rooms last time were more than full. Those Christian leaders not being able to find a spot had to look in through the windows in order to see. Fortunately, it did not rain. The number of seminars depends on the length of the trip as well as finances available.
We hope to have one brother from our church join in on this trip. He is now asking his employer for the time off. And of course pray for the Bucknell family. Linda has left the world of cyber school and will have five active students in her ‘manual’ homeschool. We are now taking steps to make plans to help see that everything works out when Paul is away for over three weeks.
Let me share with you one thanksgiving from last year. We drove everywhere last year. The vehicle was nice but it was hard driving on Indian roads for the many days that we drove three to six hours a day. Again, we were trying to cut corners to make finances work out. None of us knew what it would really cost. The driver stayed with us the whole time. He is a recent convert. His brother rents cars and rented us one with air conditioning. Having seen our ministry, in the end he asked for US$476 for the 2 1/2 weeks (including the driver)! This was a full 50% discount (a real significant donation considering people live on $30/month). Praise God for answering prayers for finances in many such ways. Keep praying for him. The driver's wife was taken away from him by her parents after fearing that she might become a Christian. He still has not been reunited to his wife.
If you want to contribute to this Short Term Mission trip, please make sure you designate it to STM or India. If you need a tax deductible receipt, that is fine but you must let me know on a note or email. The Pittsburgh Leadership Foundations helps us process these checks. We have about $1,300 that was given to this fund after our trip last year. This serves as a good starter for this year’s trip. Thanks for your kind help.