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imageToday we had an amazing breakthrough. Josh Procknow and I had asked Jaya if we could ride motorcycles through town. At 4:00, as we were getting ready to leave, Jaya got a call from Raja Babu, the city representative of Dowlaiswaram. He said to come to the district government office to meet with Bhimarao about the Agape land. Jaya had told Baba Raju that many Board Members of Impact India 360 would be here this week, and that was all it took for Baba Raju, who has been a good friend of CEM over the year, to push the agenda.

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We are a small team of veteran travelers to India with big hopes. We have claimed Ephesians 3:20-21 as our verse as we have all been witnesses to God who has already done more than we could ask for or imagine on the CEM Campus through this incredible family of believers! So it is natural for us to expect to see God move in incredible ways throughout the week. Please pray that even deeper friendships would be formed with all those on the campus who have committed their lives to the amazing work God is doing in this poorest region of all of India, of all of the world. Jeff Petherick

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Greetings to all of the supporters of CEM and Impact India 360!

I’m really excited to tell you that CEM India founder Jaya Sankar is coming for another tour of the US to connect and share his new dreams for the future of CEM.

But that isn’t the end of the great news! Many of you who have spent time at the CEM campus know that there is someone else who supports Jaya and makes your stay in India very special. For the first time, Jaya’s wife, Lakshmi, is coming with him to the US.

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“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, or of me as a prisoner, but share with the sufferings of the gospel, according to the power of God.”- II Timothy 1:7

Gateway Church set out with 13 people late Thursday night. 3 flights, 34 hours and 3 countries later, we made it to India.

The journey was truly blessed with a smooth experience. It is easy to find moments in prayer with God when you are worried about making connections, or experiencing turbulence; the true test of faith and gratitude is if you thank Him when everything goes right. We flew from Austin to London, to Hyderabad to Rajahmundry with hours of layovers in between. Without distractions of stress we were able to bond, pray, prepare and find time with God. We are so filled with gratefulness for getting us here without hazard or stress. God truly did bless us with the ability to enjoy our spirit of courage, spirit of love and a sound mind to prepare for our arrival.

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Navou! … A perspective from behind the camera lens.” – Monique J. Nienstedt

Monique-1157Navou is a Telugu word that has become a standard one to leave our teams’ lips when taking a photograph during our stay here in India. Through scientific method and testing of such, humans have discovered that our eyes process visual images to our brains in the same manner a camera was developed. Thus, the invention of the camera was engineered to recreate the very image of our human eyes from God’s flawless design. Light is refracted through a structure in our eyes known as the ‘lens’. And just like a camera filter dictates the detailing/lighting of a photograph, God’s love and direction filters the images we see with our lenses. It’s of my opinion, however, that as convenient as this invention of the camera has been for our brains, it is unable to perform the specific filtering of what is written on our hearts by the pen of a third world country.

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Emily’s back. Did ya miss me?! I can certainly tell you that I really miss all of you; and I admit homesickness is kicking in lately. We seriously only have 1 day left and Satan decides to mess with my emotions at the perfect time. Up until now it’s been difficult to process what I’ve experienced because there has been so little time to do so. From the kids screaming “Games?! Games?!” in your face to the days when we’re out and about exploring, quiet time is a scarcity.

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IMG_0638.JPGLord, what am I doing here in India? I’m just an ordinary person with no particular skills. I’m certainly not a missionary in the normal sense of the word. But I do serve an extraordinary God, and I did choose to say “yes” when I heard about this trip.

“Yes” was the right answer. Luke 12:48 says, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” And I have been incredibly blessed.

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It’s day six of our mission trip and I’m beginning to get that feeling you get when you know a great vacation is about to come to an end. Don’t get me wrong, this is no vacation. Actually, truth be told, it’s so much better! It’s just a little sad to think that our time here is half over.

God has shown me some amazing things this week. He has spoken his heart (loud and clear) through the children, the elderly and the staff of CEM. The joy that these dear people have is beyond amazing. Their courage to be bold in their faith, their endurance through hardship, and their gift of love is inspiring. It has challenged me in ways I haven’t been before.

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As I begin to write, I pray for the words. This experience has left me speechless. To say that God has humbled me is an understatement. He is showing me that He is Creator and He is in control, not me. He is showing me that many of life’s stresses don’t matter. What matters is following your heart, following Him.

This trip to India has been God’s desire for me. Before I knew where I was supposed to serve, I heard him say during prayer, “missions” and I’ve had visions of brown skinned children. I wasn’t sure where He wanted me to serve, but with more prayer and guidance, he spoke to me. I had many fears including cost of the trip, and leaving my 2-year-old child behind.

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