Pray BFF Letter #138

September 23- October 2, 2008

pdf printable version

South India Short Term



Dear Prayer Warriors,

Again we ask that you come and raise up your prayers. This time for the southern team. They have already arrived in Delhi, India. Here is Ed's comment,

"Philip and I have just arrived at New Delhi about an hour ago. And we are now sitting in our hotel room very comfortably. Praise God that the flight over was very uneventful except for a few air bumps while we flew from Pittsburgh to Newark. Weather here in New Delhi isn't bad at all. Hope the climate won't change when we get to Vizianagaram tomorrow. I doubt it though... Please continue to pray for us. Thanks."

After they fly into Vizianagaram, they will travel up to Orissa with a busy 3 day schedule.
24th evening meetings (tomorrow!) with pastors and believers
25th day meetings with pastors
25th eve with pastors and believers

On the 26th, they start another similar series in Andhra Pradesh. They are busy traveling and speaking.

- Do pray for their messages each day.
- Seek the Lord for protection especially while in Orissa but each day.
- Ask the Lord to wonderfully minister to the hearts of the listeners.

We hope to give you regular updates.

Paul on behalf of the Southern Team (Ed and Philip)

Do note that the southern team actually will spend their first 3-4 days in northern India!


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Below is the exciting report from Philip and Ed. They have safely returned to Andhra Pradesh and will be busy with meetings and a youth rally on Saturday. Church services on Sunday. Please continue to pray for them and thank the Lord for protection while in Orissa. – Paul



We started the day off with a 6:00 am flight from New Delhi to
Vishakapatnum. Pastor Stephen, his father Paul and his son David came
to pick us up. After an hour and a half's driving, we arrived at
Pastor Stephen's place for breakfast. They knew we are Chinese so they
especially prepared noodles for us, which is something they eat only
once a month as a special. After lunch we visited the church building
we have been praying for and supported financially. Even though it's
not yet complete, services are held there each Sunday. They have great
hopes and visions of growing the church to eventually have two
services at the same time.

After a somewhat spicy lunch, we started off for a remote area in
Orissa. It took us over five hours bumpy and hilly ride to get here.
We got here just in time to unload our belongings and get ready for
the first session. Pastor Ed preached on suffering and the living hope
we have in the midst of it all. This is the theme of the meeting this
year. Many pastors from all over the state of Orissa came. We were
surprise that more sisters came to the meeting, along with their
children, than brothers.

We had a late but enjoyable meal after the meeting. Both of our
stomaches are doing well so far. Please continue to pray for our diet
and health.

We stayed at the home of a brother in the church. They were very
gracious to let us stay in their bedroom. Everyone else slept on the
concrete floor in the living room.

Staying at this brothers house made us appreciate the many
conveniences we have in the US. Yet their simple lives gave them more
time to devote to studying God word and in prayer.

They wake up early in the morning and spend one hour in singing
praises, reading the Bible and praying.

Philip was woken up several time at night as several mice roamed
around the room knocking over things and fighting with each other. We
also saw big geckos on the walls doing what they do best: Catching


Today concludes our stay in Orissa. We have been staying in this small
mountainous community consisting of workers of a regional hydropower
plant and their families. We are told there are 500 households, that
is about 1500-2000 people. Our stay here is short, 1.5 days. But
things have been exciting, newness all around us.

Our ministry took place in the small church in this community, about
the only safe place for Christians to gather in numbers in the state
of Orissa. The elder brother of the pastor hosted us. They were so
kind to give us the only 2 beds in the house
to sleep on. This is the church that was founded by the fathers of
Pastor Stephen and Pastor David. It's great to see the second
generation of ministers are now working together. Besides being a
full-time pastor, Pastor David also does some medical ministry with
the local tribal people. It's a way to open doors for the gospel. We
need to pray for him and hopefully find ways to support him
financially (needs about $10 per day for the medical supplies).

About 20 pastors from the other areas of Orissa came to join us. We
delivered 5 messages/workshops altogether. 3 were specifically for the
pastors to encourage them and equip them for more ministry in this
persecuted state. The other 2 sessions were for the general public. We
are told many of those who came were non-Christians. But for one
reason or another they came to hear the gospel preached. Some of these
individuals came for prayers and blessings on the last evening. We had
about 100 people during the last session, 60 of them women. It was
also when we found out 2 more pastors in Orissa were murdered today.
We spent much time mourning and praying upon that sad news.

We also played tourist for a little. Today was the local market day.
So in the morning we spend half an hour in the market. The tribal
people come out to trade their vegetables and other goods. One tribe
is famous for their homemade wine. And we saw a couple of happy
customers pretty early in the morning! There were mainly two tribes.

One tribe is marked by the many nose rings their wear. And the other
is marked by the high stack of neck rings. Apparently that tribe must
have a good resource of aluminum, for all the neck rings are made of
aluminum. And they are thick. One older woman grabbed me and demanded
10 rupees because Ed took a picture of her. She also charged Philip 10
for the picture he took! Our host Pastor Stephen took care of the 20
rupees. It was mainly the women who came out to sell their goods. The
wine merchants were men. There was also one man with a set of bow and
arrows, apparently not selling anything. Not sure if he was some kind
of a bodyguard, or if he was just hanging around doing nothing.
We also took a look at a small waterfall (from far away) and the
hydropower plant itself. (Interesting thing about this power plant.
It's situated in Orissa. But 70% of its output goes to Andhra Pradesh.
Pretty unfair for Orissa if you ask me.) Great views. It's a beautiful
area. I would've enjoyed it more if it were for the bad road condition
(translates to a very bumpy ride) and the long pants and long sleeve
shirt I had to wear. Also, I had no real camera to work with! Only the
puny 2MB thing on the iPhone. Pity. We also were on a pretty tight
schedule to stick to. Weren't there for sightseeing after all.
Tomorrow morning, we leave at 6.


We left Orissa at 6:00 am to return to Vizianagaram. After saying
goodbye to everyone and praying with the pastors, we left. Pastor Stephen took us to see the
well known Borra Cave on the way.

Please pray for Pastor Ed as he is having a sore throat, a mild fever
and sneezing on and off. He seems to be doing better after taking some
Here is the latest for Ed and Philip there in Andhra Pradesh, India.
They have three days left for ministry.
Sunday usually is a busy day of ministry. Remember their day starts about 8 hours earlier than ours here.
Monday and Tuesday will take them to two different places to minister among pastors and believers.
Praise God Ed is on the heal.

- Paul


The youth program was supposed to be Friday and Saturday, but was
cancelled because the youth were unavailable.

Here is our update for today:

We did three sessions today with the pastors and one general session.
About 70 pastors came to the Pastors' Meet. Ed encouraged and
challenged the pastors in the morning. Philip spoke on the reliability
of the Bible and the topic of growing in godliness. Ed concluded the
evening with a message on overcoming strongholds. After the meeting,
many people (20+) came up for us to pray over them for illnesses, job
search, direction in life, etc.

We have been eating dinner at 10:30 to 11:00 pm after the meetings.
Our stomachs are not used to this schedule and we are often hungry by
9:00 pm.

Pastor Ed is getting better even though he still has a cough. Fever
and sneezing are gone.



Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The Lord continues to be with Ed and Philip. They have one more day of ministry in India before heading back. Please read below.

9/28 (SUN)

We went to Pastor Stephen's church for Sunday service. Philip shared
from Ps 138 for their time of devotion and Pastor Ed gave the message.
We met at the church building that was constructed partially with the
help of financial support from PCCO.

As usual many people came to us afterwards for prayer.

After church we met with Lakshman and his mother. Many in our church
gave towards Lakshman's operation. He is recovering slowly and able to
move around on his own. His mother said he will go to school starting
next year. In the afternoon Philip shared a message during Pastor Stephen's
church's youth group meeting.

Before dinner time, we had some free time for the first time in this
trip, we went to walk around in the local market. Both of us started
having stomach problems last night and this morning. We believe the
coconut we got at the market was the cause of these problems.

9/29 (MON)

We shared at a Pastors' Meet in Gantyada in the morning and afternoon.
We were both encouraged by their eagerness to learn and their

In the evening we were at the general meeting in Pusapatirega where
over 300 people came. Pastor Ed shared his testimony and about the
living hope we have from Roman 8.

Pastor Ed is feeling better even though he still has a cough. Also
pray that both of our stomach problems will go away soon.

Please pray for Philip's preparation of an evangelistic message for
tomorrow evening's general meeting.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

We so much appreciate your prayers and support over this month's time of traveling and ministering. The South team (Ed and Philip) safely returned yesterday.

I do want to encourage you to pray for two things upon their return. The evil one wants to steal fruit. (1) He wants to steal our joy and memories away with troubles. For example, I found my main computer went down when away and still is not fully functional which slows my ministry down. (2) He also likes to steal from the Word to bear its full fruit there in India. So pray as intensely for those in India for this next week.

Their extended report of their last several days is below. - Paul

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Wow, we have reached the last day of our trip. Tomorrow morning we will fly out of Vizianagaram. I'm not sure if Philip had mentioned this in his most recent update, but we've been running on fumes for the last couple of days. The length of the trip has taken a toll on us. What was bearable last week, all of a sudden have become unbearable this week. A good night of sleep is no longer as refreshing as before. Both my taste buds and my stomach can no longer take too much of the native cuisine. So, I've been eating less this week (perhaps to offset the overeating of last week). And in terms of the talks, we also started to feel like we're just simply repeating them. We were looking for ways to improve but don't really know how.

So, we prayed for God to rejuvenate us. Amazingly, God answered our prayers right away. The group of pastors we met on Monday was the most zealous group out of the whole trip. Their singing, their responses and reactions during our talks were the exact kind of encouragement and rejuvenation we needed. Some of them even nodded their heads – together with raising of their hands and saying Amens – when they were encouraged by our messages! (For those of you who don't know, the Indians say yes by shaking their head and no by nodding their heads. It was so confusing for us.) For some reason all these little things added together to give both Philip and I an extra boost of energy. God is great!

For the two evenings, Monday and today's, we spoke to the same group of about 300 people. I spoke on the gospel and suffering last evening. Philip shared his person testimony and the "Roman Road" tonight. Tonight's meeting was wrapped up with a fiery sermon from our host pastor's father, the retired Rev. Paul Suryanarayana. Although I had no idea what he preached, I was greatly impressed simply by the old pastor's body language, tone, and gestures. And the crowd was responding very positively too. The entire evening you could really tell that God's Spirit was working. Pray that the seed of the gospel will continue to grow in those non-believers, and that the Christian brothers and sisters will continue to grow in their understanding of the gospel and love for Christ.

Tomorrow morning we are leaving at 9AM. We will have about 9 hours of layover in New Delhi. So, we will spend some time in the capital. Please continue to pray for our safety and good rest. Thank you for your support!


Hi all! We are back. Philip and I got back around 8am this (Friday) morning. Below are some final quick thoughts about our trip.


We are safely back in the States! Praise God! Looking back, so many things were evident with God's finger prints as we've mentioned in our previous updates. This has been a great learning experience for me, not just about the culture but also about the lives of the believers in this country not so friendly with Christians. Pastor Stephen and we have already started discussing the possibilities of future short-term missions. Throughout this trip we've seen how effective we can be as teachers and trainers, but not necessarily as pastors and evangelists. On the latter responsibilities, the local pastors and laypeople are so much better. This is especially true with the father of our host pastor. Older pastors like him who have been in the ministry for 20, 30 years are just treasures to God's kingdom in India. Let's continue to pray for their ministry, health, and the raising up of a new generation of ministers.

For Philip and I, please pray that we will adjust quickly back to our work schedules here. Praise God that both of us have been relatively healthy. All that's left of the cold in me is a slight cough. God has been good.

ed j.

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