Impact India 360 http://www.impactindia360.org L,Ludhiana Tue, 21 Feb 2017 23:14:41 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.6.6 57113431 A Wild Ride – Land for Agape Home http://www.impactindia360.org/2016/02/a-wild-ride-land-for-agape-home/ http://www.impactindia360.org/2016/02/a-wild-ride-land-for-agape-home/#comments Tue, 16 Feb 2016 00:27:39 +0000 http://www.impactindia360.org/?p=1807 Read More »]]> 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.

We met at 4:30 and I had a chance to speak on Jaya’s behalf and ask Bhimarao to grant us the land. Then for the next 20 minutes they spoke in Teligue and Josh and I had no idea what was being said. Afterward, Jaya said that Bhimarao, who is a Christian, and who visited the Agape Home last Friday, had ordered a survey of the land after his visit. He is waiting for that report, but he told Jaya he will give his “favorable” decision before the Board Members depart. Please pray that he does not change his mind, but we are encouraged and hopeful.

imageOh, and Josh and I got the motorcycle ride in along too with Jaya, and amazingly Gina. Jaya stopped by the campus and told Gina, “come, trust me.” If I had said that, it would not have happened since the last time we were on a motorcycle we took a little spill! In any case, it was s great ride over the Godivari River across the dam.

]]>
http://www.impactindia360.org/2016/02/a-wild-ride-land-for-agape-home/feed/ 1 1807
Away we Go! http://www.impactindia360.org/2016/02/away-we-go/ Thu, 11 Feb 2016 23:25:12 +0000 http://www.impactindia360.org/?p=1798 Read More »]]> 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

]]>
1798
Jaya & Lakshmi Coming to US http://www.impactindia360.org/2015/08/jaya-lakshmi-coming-to-us/ http://www.impactindia360.org/2015/08/jaya-lakshmi-coming-to-us/#comments Thu, 20 Aug 2015 15:27:40 +0000 http://www.impactindia360.org/?p=1777 Read More »]]> Jaya&Lakshmi-0475

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.

The team at II360 had wondered if she was ever going to leave her beloved India for a visit, and we were overjoyed when we found out she was coming!

This may be a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the couple that has made such an impact in the lives of thousands of people all over Andhra Pradesh! Check out the schedule below and click on a city to get connected to the events.

Sept. 6th – 7th Dallas
Sept. 9th – 16th Austin
Sept. 16th – 18th Chicago
Sept. 18th – 21st Emporia, KS
Sept. 21st – 24th Wichita, KS
Sept. 25th – 30th Detroit
Oct. 1st – 3rd New York

 
And thanks again for your tireless support of the poor in India!

Jim Mayes
II360 Executive Director

]]>
http://www.impactindia360.org/2015/08/jaya-lakshmi-coming-to-us/feed/ 2 1777
For Your Grace is Sufficient for Me… http://www.impactindia360.org/2015/02/for-your-grace-is-sufficient-for-me/ http://www.impactindia360.org/2015/02/for-your-grace-is-sufficient-for-me/#comments Sun, 01 Feb 2015 11:30:07 +0000 http://www.impactindia360.org/?p=1761 Read More »]]> (null)

“Jesus loves me, Jesus Loves you, and so, I love you”. You cannot walk around CEM (Christ Evangelistic Mission) for very long without hearing that phrase come from the lips of the children here…and it is genuine. I am quite blown away by how welcoming and hospitable the people of India are to us. Both outside on the street and inside the complex of CEM people are very happy to see us. What is so refreshing is how welcoming our hosts have been, as you can see by some of the pictures we have posted.

It is refreshing because, “welcoming” is not one of our culture’s strong suits in the states. We have our version of welcoming people into our home and into what we are doing, but the people of India have taken this to a level most of our team has not experienced before. From the amazing foods, to the homemade garlands at the airport, to the flowers thrown onto our heads upon arriving, to the genuine smiles from everyone, you can’t help but feel as if we are genuinely wanted and welcomed here. In chapel, all the kids are begging you to sit with them, they hug you constantly, and love to hold your hand. I may bring one home, lol!

However, before this trip to India, I had my mind on another trip I am taking at the end of February and on my schedule for the next few weeks. Even on the plane, I was not even really thinking about India, but mostly on where the next stop was, when we will be getting there, and how absolutely tired I was. So, I started praying to God that He would begin to give me a heart full of passion for what our team was about to do and what He wanted from me. I wanted to love India like He does. As I write this post, I can’t believe how much Christ has communicated to my heart the absolute love He has for the people of India. The culture here is so rich, and so creative. It is almost as if He wanted to show me how creative He is and how diverse He can be. The people here are so full of emotion, love, and kindness. I hear Jesus telling me to rest in His love for me and to give that love to His people here in this little corner of India.

(null)

As I spoke today in church on the message of Grace it dawned on me how powerful His grace is. In a nation that is predominately Hindu, Christ offers His grace. There is no earning His love, no working toward acceptance through actions, and no trying harder. Grace is free…here in India and in Austin.

John Short

]]>
http://www.impactindia360.org/2015/02/for-your-grace-is-sufficient-for-me/feed/ 1 1761
Gateway Austin Team: Travel & Day 1 http://www.impactindia360.org/2015/01/travel-day-1/ http://www.impactindia360.org/2015/01/travel-day-1/#comments Sat, 31 Jan 2015 16:17:13 +0000 http://www.impactindia360.org/?p=1740 Read More »]]> “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.

(null)

However, nothing could prepare anyone for the enthusiastic and inspiring arrival at Christ Evangelical Mission (CEM). After so many hours of travel and very little sleep, we, the 13, walked into the courtyard filled with cheering children and a confetti of orange flowers. The reception was beautiful for several new missionaries, but especially thrilling to see those returning. Children corralled their remembered friends. Hugs, stories of memories and even secret handshakes began to overwhelm our 6 returning missionaries. To see such love, and lasting relationships was inspiring.

(null)

(null)

It is only the first day of many, but knowing these are the relationships we are cultivating makes the whole trip come to life.

(null)

]]>
http://www.impactindia360.org/2015/01/travel-day-1/feed/ 1 1740
Smile! http://www.impactindia360.org/2014/10/smile/ Fri, 31 Oct 2014 01:25:08 +0000 http://www.impactindia360.org/?p=1732 Read More »]]> 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.

I sit here this evening as an impending physical end nears for our trip with a seemingly endless array of thoughts and more importantly, sights to process. If ever a time that writer’s block has had me within its clutches – this is the time. I am just an ordinary person trying to build extraordinary, God-like relationships in this world. To be able to summarize in a few paragraphs that which I have been blessed to experience this past week is indeed proving to be a daunting task in this quiet moment. No doubt that this processing may take up the duration of my life.

I believe it now to be an unlikely reality, to move forward each day without the following verse filtering through all futures images on my human eyes and heart. Romans 12:1-2 – “Therefore, I urge you, brothers in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

God has good, pleasing plans for his children. He wants us to be transformed people with renewed minds, living to honor and obey him. We should joyfully give ourselves as living sacrifices for his service. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 – “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

I stumbled to find a tissue today to wipe away the tears of an elderly villager I was praying with during a church planting ceremony within an Indian village that is not on most maps. I found my hands instead drying her tears. Tears founded in the lie that her walk is proceeding in solitude. Selfishly, I admit that I simultaneously felt my American worries wash away with each wipe of her tears. And in response to my simple act of kindness for this person, she cradled my head and held it securely with a pair of the most gentle human hands I’ve known. I’m sure I was, in that very moment, being touched by the hand of God.

The experiences I’ve had in the last week – when one of the children from the Grace Children’s Home made a fish face to blow an air kiss over my way from across the courtyard ‘just because’ or hearing Jaya convey to our team tonight at dinner of the impact we have made at CEM – are moments that my two human lenses captured and imprinted on my brain. But I wish they were captured on a memory card or photo paper for others to see as well.

I have truly experienced God at work this past week. Through all the children and staff of Grace Children’s Home, The CEM hospital, The Agape Home, and my new family of mission teammates – truth, need, and patient love was conveyed into my eyes from various generations of India. Despite my flaws, despite my fears, despite my weaknesses, and sin, God found a way to do miraculous things through my life and will continue. His will and love is greater than anything we could ever do or not do. And yet by His grace we are saved and forgiven and we are called to save and forgive others, and to help those in need.

I am so grateful for the opportunity to admit that God has once again become the primary rhythm of my life, no longer muddled amongst distractions, since leaving my hectic Western lifestyle. To quote a fellow mission teammate tonight at our last dinner here in India together, “God, I just pray that you move me forward with my India heart and continue to wreck and rebuild me every time it’s needed after I return home.” This is the prayer that I will be diligently praying for myself as well as my team – that we all take advantage/seize the day.

I’ve been challenged this evening to go out and do something for others after I return home. To do Gods work. I certainly will be up for the task – but not without my Bible and of course my human lenses.

To end tonight, my advice to anyone hesitating to go on a trip because of there not being a perfect time or not feeling emotionally or spiritually ready – just go. But most importantly remember to Navou and enjoy all of the images you process through your human lenses.

Monique for the Team

]]>
1732
Doing Instead of Wondering http://www.impactindia360.org/2014/10/doing-instead-of-wondering/ http://www.impactindia360.org/2014/10/doing-instead-of-wondering/#comments Wed, 29 Oct 2014 09:47:25 +0000 http://www.impactindia360.org/?p=1686 Read More »]]> emily-1273
 
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.

Crafts have been a big hit for the children. Our time has mostly been spent gluing things and cutting out paper birds. Although we had craft time all figured out, the JEMS school has their own way of doing things – it’s complicated. Aside from that, we were able to walk down to the Godavari River yesterday. It was about a 20-minute walk that my eyes could barely handle. There were children going to the bathroom on the street and people bathing in the filthy water. There were little girls walking each other to school, hoping to not get hit by the chaotic drivers on the roads. There were people fishing in the river for coins just so they could get by. There was poverty everywhere I looked.

You know what, though? These people were still happy. Smiles were still worn and laughs were still shared. Friendly hellos were exchanged for some pictures (pronounced “pichas”). I even received a hug and a kiss on the hand from a girl around my age who just wanted to give compassion and get it in return.

If that wasn’t life-changing enough, we went to prayer at a home that was opened to the public for the night. Transportation came in the shape of a motorcycle. Riding there through the night gave me a chance to see the beauty of India, aside from all of its filth and misfortune. “Never in my life would I imagine myself on a rooftop, in a random neighborhood in India, under a crescent moon, worshipping the one true God with you (Indian men and women)”. My team member, Chris Cook, could not have said it better. That picture will forever be imprinted in my mind. That picture is something I will cherish for the rest of my life.

At this very moment that I am writing this, I am having my solitude with myself and with Christ. Let me tell you, I fell flat on my face sobbing to the song Overwhelmed by Big Daddy Weave. To me, it was one of the most beautiful moments of this trip because I just felt God in His entirety. I was so “overwhelmed” that I started crying from the beauty and wonder of my Lord. Times like these are so important in order for us to grow with God. They show us just how much we truly need Him and cannot depend on anything or anyone else. I am out in the middle of India, though surrounded by an incredible team, still feeling the loneliness. I am at my weakest right now, yet God wraps His comforting arms around me. Without this opportunity, I would not have had that moment of surrender to Christ.

Speaking from my opinion, I could not imagine a life always wondering. Wondering what beauty lies in a different country, or even wondering if I could have saved a life. Life would have no meaning if we always sat around wondering instead of doing.

This trip has completely changed my perspective on where I am and what I have. We are all more blessed than we could ever fathom. Mission Trip Tip #2: Unless you experience this yourself, your perspective on life will not change, even if you think it has. How do I know? Because I thought the same thing before this trip and I was not even close.

]]>
http://www.impactindia360.org/2014/10/doing-instead-of-wondering/feed/ 3 1686
Never Forgetting… http://www.impactindia360.org/2014/10/never-forgetting/ http://www.impactindia360.org/2014/10/never-forgetting/#comments Tue, 28 Oct 2014 12:23:53 +0000 http://www.impactindia360.org/?p=1725 Read More »]]> 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.

To achieve his plan, God will open doors of service for each of us. Our part is to watch for opportunities and be ready to take an active role. When we answer his call, we will discover that he has equipped us with everything that we need to fulfill our mission (2 Peter 1:3).

The beautiful faces of these children melt my heart! When they leave morning chapel, they look us in the eye and say, “Jesus loves me, and Jesus loves you, so I love you.” They want to be loved and remembered. They repeatedly ask us what their name is. It’s difficult as there are so many of them and the names are so culturally different. I could feel the disappointment when one little girl kept asking me and I couldn’t remember it, let alone pronounce it; but I made a point of finding out her name and rehearsing it.

When I spotted her the next time and called her by name, her face lit up and that beautiful Indian smile spread across her face. Sadisha, I will never forget you!

Phyllis for the Team

]]>
http://www.impactindia360.org/2014/10/never-forgetting/feed/ 1 1725
“Sup-er” http://www.impactindia360.org/2014/10/sup-er/ http://www.impactindia360.org/2014/10/sup-er/#comments Tue, 28 Oct 2014 05:20:35 +0000 http://www.impactindia360.org/?p=1715 Read More »]]> Peg-0876
 
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.

Peg-0862Yesterday our team spent the morning with the elderly. These men and women have literally been left to die by their families. It’s a very humbling experience to see what so little effort on our part (like polishing their nails, rubbing lotion on their hands, wrapping our arms around them or taking their photos) can make in their lives. I’m grateful that we could bring a smile to their beautiful faces and hopefully, a memory that will last in their hearts for a long time.

For those of you who sponsor children through NoChild.org let me tell you that the kids are “sup-er” – their word for everything. Your dress is “sup-er”, your pictures are “sup-er”, your hair is “sup-er” (this is NOT true), every thing we do is “sup-er”! At 5:30 each morning, the children assemble in the courtyard for morning exercise – yep, I’ve even joined them each morning. At 6:00 we gather for chapel, which is my favorite time with the children. To hear them worship together with singing, Bible reading and prayer is the best way to start my day. These kids know and love Jesus!

Before bed last night I was reading Ephesians 3:14-19. Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians is one that I have for the people of CEM and all of India…

“For this reason I kneel before the Father from whom his whole family in heaven and earth derives it’s name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints to grasp how high and deep is the love of Christ.”

Paul goes on to say in the next verse that God “is able to do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine”. I’ve seen first hand this week how God has done more than I could have asked for.

Peg-1037
 
Hopefully, the children have seen Jesus in us… we’ve certainly seen Jesus in them!

Peg for the Team

]]>
http://www.impactindia360.org/2014/10/sup-er/feed/ 1 1715
Let Them Come http://www.impactindia360.org/2014/10/let-them-come/ http://www.impactindia360.org/2014/10/let-them-come/#comments Mon, 27 Oct 2014 14:56:29 +0000 http://www.impactindia360.org/?p=1710 Read More »]]> LettheChildrenCome-

 
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.

I wondered how this was all going to work out. But God provided confirmation each step of the way. He provided the funds, support from family and friends, and a mission team that is amazing. Many of them I feel like I’ve known for years. The connections are indescribable. Sure, the fears were there. But once I began to trust and know God had a plan for me, a plan to change me, to protect me, and to love me on the journey, I pushed through with full force.

I’ve always had a heart for serving children, in their innocence and natural closeness to God. They teach me to not take life too seriously, to be playful, and to find pleasure in the moment we are living. Have you ever just wanted to BE in the moment? To not think about the past or the future, just be. That is such a beautiful thing to me. “Whoever welcomes one of these children in my name welcomes me.” Mark 9:37

While here at CEM I have found that the children and adults love our presence. I thought we were here to serve, and instead, I feel like they are serving me! They make us feel welcome. The children swarm around me, asking my name, and telling me theirs. They want to know everything about me, and about my family. They ask to see pictures and want to know if I’m married. They tell me they love me because Jesus loves me.

This morning, I forgot to bring my Bible to chapel. I almost went back to get it, but decided I would do without. When it came time for Bible verses, the girl next to me turns to Psalms 111 as instructed, in her English Bible, and gives it to me. She uses her Telugu bible. If that is not God, I don’t know what is!

These children have been abandoned by their parents, many have lived in poverty, yet they are so kind. Instead of being angry, they forgive. They are like Jesus. What humbles me most is that everywhere I turn, there is joy, love, peace, kindness, and smiles on their faces. These children praise the Lord twice per day. If I am being honest, I would tell you that a part of me wants to stay. A place where praising the Lord daily is normalcy. I have never seen anyone praise the Lord with such passion as these children do.

What Jaya is doing in the community is inspiring to say the least. He houses and feeds and provides for not only his own children, but 130 or more orphans. And he gives them an opportunity to have a relationship with God. He has the Agape home on his property that consists of 25 elderly people who have been abandoned by their family. He houses several people on his staff. He built and owns the CEM hospital just down the street from where we are. In a village full of people living in huts, sleeping on mats on the cement or dirt floor, he provides hope and the love of Jesus Christ. Jaya opens his chapel to people in the village on Sundays to worship. He is humble in all he does, and has much respect from the children.

One of the verses that has stuck with me since being here at CEM is from 1 John 3:15: “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.” My purpose in being here was to serve, and I have found myself changed. I will go back to the United States with a new perspective of what love is, and how our love comes from one source only, Jesus Christ.

Jen for the Team

]]>
http://www.impactindia360.org/2014/10/let-them-come/feed/ 2 1710