How Short-term Missions Changed My Life (Part 1)

(Let me say that conditions described in these posts are in no way intended to criticized our precious brothers and sisters in other nations. My intent is to show how disconnected from the rest of the world we Westerners are, and how comfortable we can be in our culture. Too much comfort can dull our senses to the Holy Spirit, and our ability to be used by Him.)

My first trip to India was the one that radically changed my life as a follower of Christ. I was the Pastor of a church which regularly supported an Indian pastor. My purpose for my first trip to India was more visionary than anything else. I wanted to get a good look at where the church's finances were going, and how it was being used. This particular purpose quickly gave way to God's divine purpose for my going....to change my life.

I prepared as best I could for the trip. However, nothing could have prepared me for what I would experience in India. The Indian culture is like none other on the planet. I had heard the term "culture shock", but had never experienced it until I went to India. The culture shock was amazing, but that is not what changed my life. What changed my life was the "hunger shock".

The people I visited were so hungry for the Word of God. They sat for hours as I preached through a translator. I was even told after my first couple of messages, "You must preach even longer. They are hanging on to your every word!" So as I did, these followers of Christ, hungry for the purity of God's Word began to pull from me very substance of the God they longed for. I yielded and became a simple vessel. I saw miracles, healings, and people overwhelmed with God's amazing presence. And equally as important to me, I saw God working through me like I'd never experienced before. It changed my life!

The humility of these folks, also contributed to my life being changed. The trip to India is grueling. It is long. There was a 10 and a half hour difference in time zones. I got off the fourth and final leg of my journey early on a Thursday morning. The journey wasn't over yet. It was another 4 hour drive to my final destination. In India a 4 hour journey becomes a 6 hour one! My body and mind were screaming to me (inside), "You have to crash! You need some rest!" We finally arrived at the little hotel where I was to stay. It was very humble, no a/c, and not as clean as one would like. As I entered into the very humble hotel room I glanced up. Just over the door were the words "Deluxe Room". That did it. The tears began to flow. They had given me their very best and I was humbled. Most of all I was blessed!

The shower in the bathroom was a pipe (cold water only) coming out of the wall. At this point, it didn't matter. I took a wonderful, cold shower and afterwards plunged my face into a pillow for a 3 hour nap. When they arrived to pick me up for our first meeting, I felt like I was floating off in space (somewhere)! I was exhausted!

We arrived at the meeting place (under a tent) and these hungry followers of Christ were praising God at the tops of their voices, with all of their hearts. This hunger in worship began to effect me as the Spirit of God began to rise up within me. When I stepped up to preach in India for the very first time my life changed drastically!

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