The following is a report from Christian Zebley who is currently conducting a Global Leadership Dynamics Team trip in India. Photos and videos of what is happening will be posted later as technology and internet connections allow.
Today was a good day for the ministry here. We completed the GAT Alpha training and I spoke on How I can be filled with the Holy Spirit. At the end of this talk at Alpha Trainings, we invite the Holy Spirit to come and minister to the folks.
Very different to the North American context, where one or two people typically come to the front in a timid fashion, before I could finish the prayer about 12 people ran to the front. The other pastors held their hands in the air and the presence of the Spirit was very strong. There were so many people to pray for and just me as the prayer minister that it was hard to do typical prayer ministry. I went down the line and asked the Lord to bless each person and fill them with the Holy Spirit for ministry in the Name of Jesus. During the talk I had witnessed to my own journey with the Holy Spirit and how the Church in India needed the Holy Spirit to minister effectively. They seemed to agree. God’s Spirit was moving and they were very open.
Then, we moved into lunch and many people continued to ask me to bless and pray for them and I prayed for some folks with hurt feet and one woman with a blind eye.
The GAT (Alpha training) event was successful as this is the first time an Alpha training was held in this region of India in Andrah Pradesh which is a huge region. Five pastors have confirmed that they want to start the course and we left a huge box of material here in their local language of Telegu Rather then use the DVDS most just teach the course live to their congregation from the material. You can buy a packet of seven Alpha books here for just $6!! The pastors are very poor and many were asking for support from my host pastor believing that I brought him a big chunk of money.
The poverty is overwhelming. I have traveled in the third world before but this is a particularly poor area. The house we are staying in is set apart and comfortable but the drive to the training venue every morning is unreal. People everywhere and there are no traffic rules just honk to get folks out of the way. We pass folks living in thatch mud huts with water buffaloes in the front yard and often blocking the road.
Little yellow jeeps take people to and fro and sometimes we see hogs and piglets eating trash in the street. People, people on the move. The amount of people here in India is overwhelming because this is just one small village of thousands. Our standard of living in North America and quality of housing, food, etc., parks, is incredible compared to where I am now. The beauty of Western North Carolina is a slice of heaven.
It was very hot today, mostly humidity that seeps into your bones. I slept most of the afternoon after the Alpha training. The heat and the huge meals of curry again and again were weighing me down but tonight after a good bath and some dinner I feel much better.
Before the Holy Spirit prayer time at the Alpha training, I was led to pray Krishna is under the authority of Jesus Christ again and again. This whole area has a heavy influence of Krishna in religious practice and the folks opposing Franklin Graham’s revival in Hyderabad starting tomorrow are Hindu nationalist. Pray as you feel led on this. It has seemed to be the most effective prayer for me right now. I saw God move to day and at the same time, my own limitation physically and spiritually, but sensing God wants me to rely on him like a child.
Our revival begins tomorrow, Thursday night and Mallepadu village. The pastor has shown me how many of his people continue to put trinkets from local temples on their children for protection – these are church members so I will be talking about our relationship to Jesus in terms of marriage and staying faithful to Him in an appeal against idolatry. The main emphasis will be sin as our problem and Jesus as the solution with a classic Roman road appeal for re-commitment to Christ as Lord and Saviour since the pastor has said many are nominal Christians in this area which has been influenced by churches over the years. I do believe God wants to revive this village and also call them to tithe to the church to help with the care of street children and widows.
There is a dependency on the pastor for finance which he does not have and a belief that the missionaries can solve all their problems financially which we know is not true, especially as our ministry is faith-based as well.
I appreciate all of you praying. Things are going well. GAT training completed with five course starting and I am already talking to the local Alpha team in Hyderabad about another trip to India next year. Revival starts tomorrow night and please be in prayer for a general awakening and prayers healing, especially children and the lame and any with blindness.
My strength is back up but please pray that I keep my focus on Christ and what He can do through me. I am weak but he is strong. During the day, the heat and a general sense of culture shock from the poverty can overwhelm at times but I am sensing God is moving and keeping me safe and effective as we move into the second half of our time here.
I pray all of you are blessed and protected and thank you for your prayers which are critical for the work here.
Love In Christ,