Sleeping on the floor.

Sleeping on the floor.

“If the rain doesn’t stop, how will you go?” I looked away from the window to see who was talking to me. I saw my friends wife standing there waiting for a reply. I just looked kind of blankly at her while I considered my options. And keeping in mind that this was only my second full day in India, and I had no idea which part of the city I was in, my options were rather limited. Now, let me explain why rain caused such a big problem for transport. The first reason being that we had come on a motorcycle with absolutely no rain protection. And the second being that Kolkata lacks appropriate drainage for such a downpour and so with the numerous potholes and curbs that litter the streets hidden by water, it would be almost idiotic to try to ride a motorbike across the busy city in the dark and the rain. As 10pm hit, our cut off point, my friend broke the news to me that we would be sleeping on the cold cement of the old schoolhouse that was hosting a large church conference. We had no pillows, no blankets, and no sleeping mats. I was crushed. I should explain that in the 4 days prior to this I had, been awake for 34 hrs, been traveling for 12 hrs, preached in two churches, and “slept” for a combined total of about 13 hrs. I was pretty tired, mentally and physically, and honestly a little frustrated at the lack of solutions to our problem. Long story short, I ended up lying awake on a church floor in the middle of a rainstorm for about 5.5 hrs.

During this “adventure” I was reminded of the disciples as Jesus sent them out and told them to bring nothing with them. I wondered how many cold church floors they had to sleep on. I thought about the fact that there were hundreds of thousands of people who didn’t even have a hard church floor to sleep on in the same city where I was complaining about not having my warm hotel bed. Even though it was something so miniscule and seemingly unimportant, it gave me a window into what it means to sacrifice your comforts. There was no feel good reward of having helped someone by sleeping on the floor to ease the sore back and drowsy eyes. But there was an awareness that this is sometimes what it means to be a Christian. Sometimes we need to give up our comforts, sometimes we need to just go and do, and not worry about what we get in return.

What about India?

What about India?

Hello, friends! I apologize for the tardiness of this post. I have recently begun a new job and with all the busyness that it brings, I haven’t found time to write a post in a while. I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about the reason why I chose to spend three months of my life in India recently. To be more specific I was in the mega city Kolkata. To put it lightly Kolkata was chaotic. For the purpose of perspective let me throw some facts in here. Kolkata proper has an area of 185 km2 and a population of over 4 million people. By contrast Calgary has an area of 825 km2 and a population of just over 1 million people. I must admit to using a more shocking statistic than necessary here, in reality the total metropolitan area of Kolkata is 1,886.67 km2 with a total population of 14 million. This is true for most of India, as the second most populous nation on earth, and yet by area it is the 7th largest. People are everywhere! There is very few places that you can go without seeing people. But, this is part of what makes India, India. People.

India has 2,295 people groups as defined by the Joshua Project, and of these groups 2,077 of them are considered unreached by the gospel. This equates to over 1.2 billion unreached people in India alone. Out of the countries included in the studies conducted by the Joshua Project, India has more unreached people groups within it’s borders than any other country. India is one of the least reached places in the world. I think that this is something that people don’t really think about when they think about India. We see it as an exotic far off land, full of culture and adventure. Which it is, but at the same time it is a country desperately in need of the gospel message.

In 2014 I was able to go to Kolkata for the first time. And on this trip I was exposed to the depth and all encompassing nature of the extreme poverty that exists there. I realized that the reality that I grew up in – a life filled with hope for good education, and the ability to really become whatever I wanted to be – did not exist for the people in Kolkata. It was on this trip that God opened my eyes to the need for His love to be shown to these people. The reality for people in Kolkata, and the rest of India, is that Christianity a) has been portrayed as part of British colonialism, or a foreign ideology that is trying to change their culture, and b) is becoming increasingly dangerous to observe as the government leans more towards Hindu nationalism. With these two things combined, India has become a hard, and resilient ground to the message of Christ. However, God is raising up some incredibly gifted and passionate leaders from within India.

One of my closest contacts while living in India most recently was a young man let’s call him Jonathan. His story is one of miraculous healing and signs from God. When he was a young man he developed cancer, and as he prayed to a God that he did not yet know, or follow, he began to receive healing. Jonathan was healed of his disease and as a result of this turned to Christ for his provision and health. Now, he is a pastor pursuing pioneering efforts in and around Kolkata with the vision and dream to see 1,000 local people come to know Christ by the year 2020. Another friend that I had the pleasure of meeting was a man in southern India. He had grown up very, very, poor. He was not able to receive a proper education, or have a real childhood. But God has given him a great ability and passion to minister to the poor and downtrodden where he lives. He plans to begin a program that would help send young Indian men to school for proper training and equipping so that they can continue to minister to those around them. The thing is that even though India is a hard ground and becoming more hostile towards Christianity, God is doing some incredible things in that country. I have been lucky enough to meet some of His servants there and I am amazed and encouraged by the faith of these people.

We don’t always here about India, at least in a positive light. And while there are many amazing happening in India, we should not forget about this amazing place that is so in need of the love of Christ! We can’t always go and be part of the work that is happening there, but we can pray for those who are there doing amazing things in the face of such opposition. If you think about these things in the coming days, weeks, or months, take a second and pray for those who are in ministry in a country across the world that we don’t get much exposure too.

Thanks for reading friends! Please take some time to pray for these incredible people and the ministries that they are part of!

Grace and peace!