This is the ninth report from India. It was filed by Dr. Paul Collins on March 24, 2006.
Email Message #9 – March 24, 2006 – Paul Collins
We were ready for our next destination in our excursions around India and today we were headed to visit Pastor
Mikael and his congregation. Cathy was feeling better, so we had our full complement of people and Rev. Glory. We completed our
long hot drive and finally arrived at the church, but did not expect a very unusual happening as we arrived. The Hindus of the
city were completing a festival and had their clothes and faces covered with very vivid colors of powdered material, bright reds,
orange, green, and fuchsia. As we approached the entrance to the church they gathered around our vehicle and we were not sure what
to do, so Ann took out her camera and started taking pictures and they were fascinated with seeing themselves on the picture. We
then went into the building without any incident.
The church was a well constructed building with nice facilities. As we entered the sanctuary, we left our shoes
outside, as is the custom for all the churches in India. There were about 75 women sitting on straw mats on the left side and the
right side had only about 15 men. Apparently some of the men had responsibilities with the festival that was going on. After some
explanation about the Wings Ministry, Ann led the congregation into the actual experience of the dimensions of the program. We
sang some action songs, played some games with the balloons, and then acted out the story of Jesus and His disciples in a boat
when suddenly a storm arose and the disciples were afraid, but Jesus was asleep. The Pastor played the role of Jesus and everyone
else had a different role to act out the story. The scripture passage in Luke 8:22-25 was read by Ann and everyone participated
in acting out their portion of the story and then Paul shared some practical applications of the story. Everyone then got into
groups of about 8-10 people and we had our afternoon meal and discussed the questions that were presented. Instead of plates,
the congregation had their meal served on banana leaves, and of course there are not utensils. The only member of our team who
uses her fingers faithfully instead of utensils is Kathy. The rest of us are very slow in adopting this practice.
We asked for feedback from our discussion groups and were very pleased to have several. One of the responses
came from a female Pastor who said it was the first time she had spoken up in a church meeting and others were very appreciative
of the Wings Ministry and the opportunity to have fun together. We concluded the service by giving gifts to all the people of pens
and pencils, crosses, soaps, and seeds. We then dedicated a new computer center in the church and this will be an additional
ministry of their congregation.
We thought we were ready to leave but were informed that our vehicle needed some repairs and it would take
about an hour. During that time, we prayed for many people and also were the recipients of beautiful necklaces, made by a member
of the congregation. We finally departed and it was decided that we would go back to Salem by a different route and that was a
very good decision. We drove through a mountainous area that was especially beautiful with the rice fields and banana and mango
groves. We also encountered a group of wild monkeys and stopped to take pictures. We finally arrived at the Mission and it was
a real relief, after a very hot and humid day.
We are certainly thankful to God for these memorable experiences in India and are anxious to return and give
an account of all the highlights of this pilgrimage to an unforgettable country.
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