Please pray for our journey through India! Our flight from Chicago to Delhi leaves in a few hours.
We have spent several good weeks in the US, connecting with family and old friends while still teaching multiple courses in Malaysia and India from the east coast. We are grateful for this time, and now we are eager for our time in India. My (Rich’s) connection to India began with a chance to teach the gospel of Mark in an inductive study for church planters there 13 years ago. Since then, at various times I have had to say no to invitations to return, due to the cost of the travel in time and money. So, when the pandemic forced even rural pastors to master the rudiments of Zoom, I was able to say yes to multiple opportunities to train leaders in several cities. A desire has grown to meet in person these vibrant, faithful leaders when the pandemic had receded enough for it to be safe to travel there.
Lisa has prepared four workshops for pastors and seminary students on: narrative preaching, thriving in ministry, bringing ourselves to our sermons, and ending sermons with impact. She also has written a more formal lecture for the faculty of the two seminaries we will visit, on the nature of hope and how to preach hope in difficult environments today. We will both preach several times, and she has chosen to preach on the woman who anointed Jesus with nard (possibly from India…), breaking her precious alabaster jar in a beautiful act of grateful devotion.
Our preparation has also included the lighter project of watching several Bollywood movies, some of which tell the story of India under the British Raj and some dig into modern India’s treatment of women, religious worldviews, etc. Our top recommendation is Padman, which tells the inspiring true story of the brave and persistent entrepreneur, Arunachalam Muruganantham.
As we have prepared for our trip, I have been thinking about Jesus’ words to his disciples when he sent them out in Mark 6:7-13. He sent them out with relatively little, including no extra money. We are bringing a little money to support the ministries we are coming alongside of, and we have more than one tunic apiece, though we are traveling much lighter than the last time we left the US. But we are going in faith, to teach and to pray for people. We expect to learn a great deal, to be challenged but find strength both in our hosts and in God. We desire to see and honor people, to enjoy meals in their homes, to attend to them even when they speak to us at times in languages we cannot understand, while we wait patiently for translation. Our time will not be our own, and we will seldom control what we eat. We will depend on God and his people, our brothers and sisters, people who are or will become dear to us. Finally, Jesus sent out the apostles with partners, two-by-two. We are grateful that God has sent us to India with our partner and best friend. We help, or cheer, or crack each other up daily, and together we rely on God.
A fairly ambitious itinerary has emerged, with visits to 8 cities in 7 states over seven weeks. So, we ask your prayers for health and stamina, patience and good humor between us, and God-given connections across linguistic and cultural barriers that will allow for rich fellowship and mutual encouragement.
At the end of our time in India, we will head to Malaysia, where we plan to teach in two of the schools we serve there. We are quite confident we can get a 90-or even 120-day tourist visa for this, and fairly hopeful that a long-term visa will be granted to us by early 2023.
As always, we are so grateful for your friendship and support on this journey. We would love to hear from you! Hit reply and share how we can be praying for you.
We’re grateful as always for your gifts and prayers that make our ministry possible.
With love, Lisa and Rich
Below Photo by Evgeny Nelmin on Unsplash, though cropped inartfully by me.
Rich and Lisa Lamb