I don’t know where to begin. I’d rank today as one of the top five days of my life. Here, halfway across the world, in India. We set out with Ravi Kandal and the Kingdom Foundations staff to minister and witness to the people of two small villages about two hours outside of Bangalore. Wow, words can’t describe the spiritual significance of what happened today. The countryside was beautiful in its own way. It’s quite hard to describe. We passed many villages in our journey. Some Hindu, some with Muslim influence. All with cows, goats, chickens and dogs roaming the streets. It’s organized chaos on the roads. We headed back toward the airport and stopped at McDonald’s for a sundae and pit stop and traveled on through towns and villages, some very small and some much larger. The streets were lined with people moving about from place to place. They all knew where they were going but it was hard to sort it out. We picked up a Christian Pastor in the ministry van and kept going. It was one of the pastors that Ravi sewed into as part of his church planting ministry.
We finally arrived at our first destination village and the team assembled, all 14 of us. We prayed and teamed up with the intent to canvas the whole village in an effort to bond as team and also to establish a rapport with the community, stopping at houses, taking off our shoes and hopefully being invited in. Our mission was simple: provide our testimony and present the gospel as clearly as possible.
The first house I entered with three other staff members I came to find out was inhabited by a widow with her two sons. Needless to say, there was heavy Hindu influence here, but she had been ostracized by the community on account of losing her husband. That’s just the way it goes over here. I shared my faith with her through a translator but she passed on the opportunity to accept Christ. We prayed for her though and moved on.
Waiting for the Pastor to re-direct us I bumped into what turned out to be the village “Father.” The one that all villagers go to for help and advice. He reports to a higher authority in the “system.” It turns out that over 100 years and 3 generations have passed down this responsibility to him. I was able to get my picture taken and continue on. Vanay is a riot. This young man, one of Ravi’s son’s, is a lot of fun. He’s a photographer, doing weddings and the like and shoots for the team. As photogenic as they come, he hopped into one of our photos while grabbing a sheep and baby calf around the neck. How funny is that?
Ravi joined us and I was able to share again with a young man and his little daughter. I gave my testimony (which he translated) to them and after he took it from there and spoke in the native language of this State. This man was open to knowing more but didn’t accept Christ at that moment but he will. We prayed and kept moving.
The next stop, I’d come to find out, was even more amazing. We were invited into the “home” of an older woman in her 60’s and her mother, who was in her 80’s. Again I shared my testimony and Ravi jumped in. The amazing thing is that she seemed open to consider more but as it turns out she’s the wife of the town witch doctor. Ravi had spoken to her in the past but to no avail. Progress today though. She said she was open to it but not ready. Witch Doctor: can you imagine?
We continued on and gathered for lunch in one of the huts. Taking our shoes off at every stop along the way we just gathered around for a good time. Once we left there and washed our hands with water over the local sewage trench we assembled as a team for prayer. Thinking we may continue, Ravi got a sense that we needed to leave. So we packed up and headed for a tiny village of about 15 people. This was the most broken of the broken. They’re called the “untouchables.” The lowest caste in India. They are literally not allowed to have others touch them.
The caste system was outlawed by the government years ago but unwritten rules say otherwise on how people are often treated. The cast name is still registered on every person’s birth certificate. The last village had satellite TV. This one had tents for houses and a weathered spirit. They were the downtrodden of the world, full of ailments yet intrigued by our presence. Jay, an operator from Chick-Fil-A, and one of the conference speakers, was able to give his three minute testimony and Ravi ended up leading the whole group in a prayer to accept Christ. I never saw anything like it and probably never will again unless I return here. It brought me to tears and has to be one of the most memorable moments of my life other than my wedding day and my daughter’s birth. Crippled, ailing and blind; accepting Christ. Ravi then asked me to pray and lay hands on (yes, lay hands on an “untouchable”) a woman who was partially blind. I prayed for healing. She has night blindness so I don’t know what happened to her. Her little daughter cried when we reached out to touch and pray for her due to what she’s been told. Horrible.
We went on and left them wrapping up with prayer. The local pastor will follow-up. Amazing. We headed back continuing to watch the bedlam in the streets as we raced around to get home, dodging every vehicle on the road. Our day was capped off by trees full of bats, a muslim cemetery and a few photos of burkas, customary apparel for this region.
Oh what a night (and day).
-Steve Adams – Business & Life Coach