Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Rest of the Story...

Want to see pictures and a video of our trip?  Click on HERE!
Well, I'm home and recovering from jet lag.  There is so much to tell you and yet I'm sure that if I write a book full of information, many of you will not be willing to read so much.  I think I'll give you some bullet points of information that will fill in most of what happened in Raipur.  If what I write is not sufficient for you, please write me and I'll send you a fuller report to enjoy.  Here we go....
- While we were in Raipur, we had major Indian political people staying in the same hotel we were in.  This group represented the Hindu side of the political spectrum.  The hotel had many armed guards (with machine guns) and metal detectors.  It was pretty scary to see at first.  The benefit was that we received a double upgraded room.  Thanks Jesus!
- I taught about 7 hours on Tuesday, November 11th.  It was a grueling day and I was tired at the end of it.  The first few hours was full of gaining the students respect and connecting with them.  There were about 50 men and 5 women in attendance.  We spent about 2.5 hours dealing with deep questions and fears that these people had with the principles we that were being taught.  The rest of the day was spent in deep spiritual battles that needed to be broken.  After teaching, we went back to our hotel rooms with machine gun guards in place.  We had dinner and then went to our rooms and prayed together for God to break through the students pride.  We also had a great time of laughing.  Jeffery is very funny - my side still hurts!
- Wednesday began much like Tuesday with lots of question and opposition.  About 2 hours into the teaching, I was overcome by the Spirit of God to directly address these people about their opposition.  I had shared much truth with them and they only had tradition to combat the truth from God's Word.  I spoke clearly to them that many of them were Pharisee's, holding to the traditions of men and not to the Word of God.  I spoke to them how these things were holding them back.  I have rarely felt the Spirit of God so strongly.  God broke the spiritual strongholds.  Jeffery had a prophetic word for us from Isaiah 43:19-20 earlier in the week.  Those words of refreshment were beginning to flow.  God is amazing.   The rest of the day was amazing, free and full of rejoicing.  In the middle of day two, Matthew was smitten with a similar illness that I had on Saturday.  We prayed for him and he was instantly healed and was able to continue with translating the teachings.
- At the end of day two, the men began to come up to both Josh and myself for hugs, handshakes and prayer.  God was on the move.
- Day three, Thursday the 13th, began much differently.  There was freedom and a powerful and favorable response to the truth.  God was moving and I was rejoicing.  At the end of our teaching each of the men came up to us for hugs, handshakes and prayers.  We must had spent 45 minutes to an hour just praying for the men and women individually.  Friends were formed. Prayers were offered and God continued to heal.  
Josh and I made it home safely, exhausted and spent emotionally, physically and spiritually.  I know that our efforts and  your support will have several generation of affects upon India and beyond.  The spiritual battles fought and won were amazing.  God is good - He always is.
While I was gone great things were brewing in our church, ValleyLife Church here in Peoria, Arizona.  Two new house churches began, a strong move forward in going deeper with God continued and a list of folks coming close to salvation was shared with me.  I'm so grateful to God for His mercy and blessing.
Thanks again for your involvement in this adventure.  Your prayers and support made it all possible.  If you have further questions or would like more detail, feel free to e-mail me at edwaken@cox.net.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

A Prophet Visited Us

Today is a travel day. We are flying to Raipur this afternoon where we will be learning together with leaders for the next three days (and then home :-). Our time in Raipur may be the most rich and/or difficult stop in our adventure. Before I tell you about the prophet, let me quickly fill you in on what happened on Sunday. We began the day going to church. It was a very traditional (industrial - thanks again for the Mike) church. Except for the Indian accents, I could have been in a start up church in Phoenix. But God was beginning to do something new there. I shared with the church how the day of the Ordained is over and they should embrace the day of the ordinary believer doing amazing things. The people were excited. After church, we went to lunch with several folks and near the end of our time, I spent some time with the Pastor. This conversation spilled over to coffee back at Matthew's house which spilled over to dinner and further conversation. The Pastor and his family left for home about 9pm. It was a long day, but it wasn't over... During our 7 or so hours with the pastor, we talked about many things regarding Organic Church. He was very open and it seems that the Lord is opening his heart for new things. We will see what God will do through this man in the months ahead. SIDE NOTE: Days like today where we spent hours together in conversation, sipping coffee, eating snacks and enjoying 'community' is very normal here. I have not watched but 30 minutes of T.V. on the day of the U.S. elections (I am not having media withdraws). And I can hardly believe that the children I have spent time with do not watch much T.V. either. The two boys in this home (ages 9 & 12) have only watched 30 minutes of T.V. and that was on Saturday morning. They do not have gaming systems like Playstation and spend their time doing other fun things like football, cricket, playing their guitar or keyboard. The family culture is very different here. So our visit from the prophet. A friend of mine from San Jose, California happened to be in Delhi the same time we are. I did a Greenhouse (Organic Church) in his church in April and we have connected ever since. Mike arrived at Matthew's home at 9:30pm and we spent about 1.5 hours talking and sharing stories. At the end, Mike invited us to pray for one another and so we did. When Mike prayed there were two main emphasis'. The first prayer emphsis was that I would be like Philip the Evangelist from the Book of Acts as we go to Raipur. He prayed that we would be as powerful in words and deeds as Philip was. He also prayed for Josh to be like Barnabas and encourage the work of God that we are about to do. The interesting thing is that this very much confirmed to Josh what Jesus had already spoken to him before we left for India. Josh knew his role would be to support and encourage myself and those we spoke with - he has certainly done just that. It is a blessing that he is with us. The people who have spent time with Josh are amazed at how mature he is and only being 30 years old and for knowing Jesus only a few years. God is good. We'll see what God does in Raipur...I'm sure it will be amazing. I'm not sure if I'll have easy internet access in Raipur. We will be staying a hotel and our schedule is very full. Please pray for us to have clarity as we present the principles of Organic Church and please pray that we will be powerful in our love and dealings with the people there. This adventure has been fantastic...you can have not idea. Once I return, I'll tell you about several miracles that we were told about and how God is moving in amazing ways here in this land. I'll write as soon as I am able. Blessings, Ed

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Fever, Chills, Kidney Stones, Spiritual Warfare and Healing

Thank you for your prayers! They are so valuable to us during these days. The Lord is doing amazing things and I cannot wait to come home and tell you more detail. Yesterday, I woke up with a headache and feeling pretty yucky. I took some Advil and things calmed down. Much of the rest of the day was spent in strong conversation about internal and relational issues here in India. I could sense that healing was necessary for this ministry to move forward with power. About 2pm, we had to make a run to the airport to pick up one of the board members and on the way, I started to feel terrible. By the time we returned, I was feeling very sick. I went and took a nap and that is when the chills came upon me and I felt like a wet noodle. I knew that we had a very important meeting that afternoon and so got out of bed, ate some light food and then we sat down to talk about 3:30pm. That meeting did not end until 7:30pm and it was a spiritual battle. There was some tension between two people and we needed to sort it all out and get to the root and cut it out. The Lord was gracious to allow us to get to the root and destroy it. I felt such relief at the end of the meeting. The two who had the issues ended by feeding each other a cookie, much like we might see at weddings when the cake is cut. This was a cultural and symbolic event that says we have settled it and we are friends to support each other. God was so good. My friend, Josh, sat there and prayed the whole time which was so precious. At the end of the meeting he said a few words that were very powerful and helpful to the healing process. During the evening, Jeffery had to go back to the room he was staying because he was having some kidney pain. In the middle of the night, he passed a kidney stone. He actually showed it to us this morning and boy, did it look like it would have been very, very painful. This morning I'll be teaching at a local gathering and this evening, we'll enjoy an Indian wedding which should be a treat. Tomorrow we will travel to another city to teach on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. These have the potential to be the most difficult days from a spiritual perspective. Your continued prayers for our strength, wisdom and power in the Spirit are so needed. Blessings, Ed

Friday, November 07, 2008

You'll Never Believe it...

Right after I entered my last blog (this morning for me), we left to walk to another apartment in the same complex to have breakfast with Matthew's aunt and uncle. We began breakfast about 9am and left their home about 2pm. What took place in those five hours was amazing! Breakfast consisted of pallappam (a flat bread like cake similar to a tortilla made of coconut milk, egg and yeast) and some stew that sopped up in the pallappam. It is a traditional south Indian breakfast. Yep, we ate using only our hands. So after breakfast we ended up just conversing and I thought we would leave about 10 am. But the Lord had a different plan. This couple had a son whose name was Rinson. Rinson passed away about a month ago. He had suffered his whole life from Muscular Dystrophy. Rinson was 21 years old. They were obviously sad. At one point, we were talking about church and they brought out a brochure about their church and the new building they wanted to build. They even asked us to give some funds to help with the project. We then began to talk about church leadership and how this couple felt like they could only attend. We walked through some Scriptures and landed on Matthew 28:18-20. I began asking them who is responsible to disciple people. They said, we are all responsible. I then asked who is responsible to baptize, their first answer was the priest or pastor. I asked them what this verse teaches us. Their answer was that they could baptize and teach people about Jesus. Smiles began to shine on their faces. We then talked about communion and they quickly understood that they could enjoy communion on their own without the assistance of the priest. Now the smiles were brilliant. This family attends a high church that is fairly formal. The auntie asked me why pastors and priests have held this information from them all their life? I could not answer directly but encouraged them to pursue Jesus with all of their heart, soul, mind and strength. With that, I asked them to bring some more pallappam and some juice. They brought the bread out covered with a clothe and the cup also covered with a cloth. After putting the bread and cup down, I asked the husband, John, to pray and serve the bread and cup. His mouth almost dropped. He responded, "I cannot serve the holy elements of the bread and cup". After some more discussion, John agreed to pray and serve the bread and cup with four pastors - and he beamed as he served us. At the end of our time together, John and his wife, Anna, actually hinted that they may even want to begin a church in their home. It was an amazing time where the Holy Spirit was certainly in charge and moving powerfully in our hearts. John and Anna joined us for a short worship time at Matthew and Suma's home. God is moving. We also met another man who is doing organic churches in the villages in North India. It was exciting to hear about what God is doing in amazing numbers in the lives of those outcasts of the world. Your prayers are working - thank you so much. Blessings, Ed

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Attacks

I knew it would happen. I received a call last night from my wife, Debbie who told me that she has had 2 gall bladder attacks. These were very painful episodes. She had our daughter, Bethany, stay at our home in case she had to go to the ER and leave Rachel with Bethany. The attacks subsided at this point. We gathered together here to pray for protection and healing on Debbie, I'm trusting the Lord is responding with love. The people in this land are full of bondage to so many things. This culture is full of idols and false gods that hold people in fear. We have seen a few temples where ugly worship of statutes and books take place. Women are often treated as second class citizens in the villages due to the concepts of reincarnation (one would prefer to come back as a man and not a woman) and the caste system, although illegal, remains strong in the rural areas. There is also bondage to shame, cheating and manipulation almost everywhere we look. But God is powerful to break every bondage and everything raised up against His name. I am reminded of Paul's words that say, "...and such were some of you, but have been washed...". Pray strong for us. The hardest work is yet ahead. Blessings, Ed
Hello! Thanks for praying for us as we are experiencing some wonderful discussions in these days. I have been meeting with some folks and we have had some amazing discussions about organic church principles. It seems that God has been preparing many people to receive these principles and those folks are excited to expose others they know to the principles. We are already invited to come back and 'infect' other people with the organic church principles. Tomorrow we will be meeting with both directors of Evangelism in Depth ministry here in India. These will be very important meetings to hammer out some of future needs current challenges. Saturday we will be meeting with the Evangelism In Depth - India, executive board to talk about how we can mutually support each other to move the Gospel forward in our countries. Sunday we will be teaching in a local church. Please pray for their hearts to be soft to the new things that we will be sharing with them. Josh and I are adjusting well. We each have had our stomachs yell 'enough', but we keep on pouring more of this wonderful food down our mouths. We could use some sound sleep, but we are managing. We are all feeling a sense of attack as we near our trip to our second stop. Please be in prayer for open hearts of the students and clarity of presenting the truth on our part. No sickness and we are feeling strong - your prayers have been, are and will be needed. Thank you. We have been learning much about the culture, religions and people. It is a dark place that needs much light.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Getting Adjusted

The pictures will have to wait until we return. I am sorry about that. I forgot my connection things to get the get the pictures off of my camera and onto the internet. We had a good day yesterday that consisted of discussion and rest. I learned many things about the Evangelism in Depth ministry here in India and we will continue our discussions today and tomorrow. These will be very important discussions as we help move forward the ministry in India in powerful ways. There is and will be much spiritual distraction regarding these issues - strongholds have a tendency to die horrific deaths. I love these people and they all want to honor Christ and move forward for His Kingdom's glory. We may get a chance this afternoon to travel to Old Delhi and see some more culture. The food is amazing and wonderful but my stomach is beginning to say something like, "hey dude, do you KNOW how much new spices you are pouring down your throat". Please pray for this weekend's meeting with the Evangelism In Depth board members. We have some very important things to discuss and solve. There is much excitement that evangelism in depth is something this land needs deeply. Love to you all, Ed

Monday, November 03, 2008

Safe in India

It is 12:30am Tuesday morning and we have had little sleep. We are praying that sleep comes quickly tonight. Our flight was long, about 16 hours, but uneventful. There were a bunch of cheesy movies that 'could' be watched...I mean, endured but it help to pass the time. We landed in Delhi and proceeded to get our baggage, we exchanged our dollars for Rupees and exited the airport to find my friend Matthew. After a half hour of searching, we finally connected and began to drive to Matthew and Suma's home. Delhi is building huge new airport and there was much dust in air near the airport, so much so that it looked like fog and you could smell the dust in the air. Both Josh and myself felt a sense of anxiousness as we waited for the plane in Chicago but I knew that ValleyLife was praying for us and I received a call from Clive Craigen in Chicago and his house church began to pray for us too. The peace of God warmed our souls and the anxiety left us. We will try and sleep now and tomorrow, I'll write some more and try to upload some pictures. Our plan for Tuesday is rest and recoup from a long hard and profitable seminar over the last weekend and a long fight. Thank you for your prayers, love and support for this trip. May the Lord be glorified through all that we here in India and where ever you are. Blessings, Ed

Safely i

Sunday, November 02, 2008

"In the Beginning..."

Our beginning of this adventure has been amazing!  Josh and I have been in Chicago for the past three days teaching Organic Church principles.  We taught about 40 people and they really responded well.  Your prayers were answered sweetly by Jesus - Thank You.  At the end of the teaching, the whole group gathered around Josh and myself to pray for us as we embark on our International trip.  Pray that tonight we sleep well on the plane and then go to sleep well once we arrive.  Please also pray for spiritual protection and for our families as we travel.  We are on the winning team!