Tuesday, October 31, 2006

September 2006 Update from Steve

Receiving letters from missionaries keep me encouraged. Here is the latest update from a friend, a missionary in India.

Subject: quick news, bike trip, etc
Date:Thursday, September 07, 2006 6:20:27 AM

Very quick news and updates:
1. The older of the boys I tutor, Yograj, just told me last night, "We
want to come with you on Sundays". Now I just have to figure out
transportation. Already the two girls from my house come on my bike.
Three is quite enough on that machine. Taxis can be taken, but for a
couple kids to and from town, it amounts to probably half a day's
salary for their mother.
2. Karma, my sort of messed-up village friend who I've shared about a
few times, has not changed, though we continue to have good
discussions sometimes. I've pra.yd for his family, also – younger
sister, wife and mother, and was VERY pleased to see his younger
sister in attendance for the first time a couple weeks back. Please
intercede, that she would return again and seek Him.
3. I'm heading to Leh, Ladakh by motorcycle within the next two days.
Been very busy readying the bike, and hope it'll make it w/o trouble.
It is a smaller / lighter model (100cc) than what is generally
favored for such travel (350-500cc), but a couple local mechanics say
it should be fine. I'm trying to travel light. One good fallout from
this already is that I've gotten to know two new mechanics plus the
three guys at the metal fabrication shop nearby, all for the first
times. On the journey, I hope to meet up with another rider, Alin,
whose background and beliefs I know nothing about, but whose last
name, "Dev" means "god". I hope we'll be able to meet up, and that
I'll have some chance to speak with him on pertinent themes. Also
will look for any opportunity to be a "good Samaritan" along the way -
it's a long ride over sometimes rough roads / mud / etc through very
remote and barren areas amounting to about 300miles one-way. The ride
should take 2-3 days, depending how man and machine are holding out.
The annual festival is going on in Ladakh and should be interesting
and a good photo opportunity. I also have a couple of friends there
whom I met last year and hope to see again, one whose home was flooded
out recently and who is trying to set up a new place. A young
"secular" Muslim shopkeeper I met in Nepal nearly two years ago
e-mailed me and said he was back in his home in Kashmir, and that I
was invited to visit. But that involves more riding over potentially
snowy and cold roads, roads that were the highpoint of last year's
adventures, if any of you may remember (nearly sliding off a cliff
backwards on the ice, losing the luggage carrier and all the luggage
over the precipice, etc). And besides that is all the ongoing
terrorist activity in Kashmir. I don't think my sense of adventure
(or my calling) is enough to pull me through to that point. But I'll
let you know if anything changes.
4. There've been some wonderful workings of God's power here through
the min. of the hospital, along with the counseling room. One woman
had been unable to sleep at all, even with medications, since her
daughter's suicide eight years ago. She was prayed for and now is
sleeping fine, and says she went out to the field to work for the
first time in years. Two other local village ladies, in separate
cases, had been verifiably stark, raving mad for ten years of so, a
fact well-attested to in their villages of residence (one is a
relative of one of the hospital staff, even). The first was delivered
after pra.yers, and started attending on Sundays. I was participating
in the pra.yers for the second one, who had gotten to the point of
being so agitated that she was hospitalized here. When we were done,
she had her eyes closed and was sleeping restfully. She has been fine
ever since. The ongoing intercession needed is that it would not stop
here. God has done wonderful things – but will the people turn and
now serve Him? Some do. Others leave and end up in a worse situation
("when a spirit comes out of a man...and his final state is worse than
at the first"). What we would hope to see here is deep and lasting
transformations, a change of direction, a change of loyalties. Not
"mere" miracles!!!
5. Lastly, I've had a couple of lessons in humility lately. Times
when I had opportunity to applaud myself or to forget the One who'd
given me the ability to do whatever noteworthy I'd been able to
accomplish, clever or talented as it may have seemed to me at the
time. And those same things subsequently went awry in some way. The
last time that similar thoughts had come to mind (yesterday!), I
caught myself. May the lessons sink down deep, and may my only
motivation become to bring glory to the One who has done and been all
for me.
6. I'd been concerned after the conflicts coming up with
relatives over my non-drunkenness at the wedding in Kangra district
("Can You Drink this Cup?"), as I related in my last letter -
wondering if all hope of connection with this family and that region
had been obliterated on account of my own wrong attitude / mistakes.
By God's grace, I was reunited with my friend and his family last
Sunday, who had been in Manali since my return here - and we had a
very nice time. I had them out to my place and cooked chicken curry
(of a sort!) for them. But the best thing is, his wife said more than
once that I should come back to Dharamsala and stay with them again!
They even wanted me to come right now. That I can't do, but will
probably go again in October. A wonderful opportunity, as I see it,
and an answer, again, to specific intercessions. We serve a great God.

Grace & Peace,

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