Summer 2009 Newsletter
India Trip #3 June 9-24, 2009
We recently returned home from a two-week trip to southeast India. Bernie Wold and I traveled to visit our GEM INDIA Team and Campus located near Nuzvid, in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India. It has been four years since we both went for our first visit and purchased the nearly 1½ acres of land on which to build. We were both excited to see the church and the residence/dorm building first hand and to visit with our GEM family and orphans there.
God truly blessed our trip each and every moment by the faithful prayers of our many supporters. We traveled approximately 38 hours each way on seven different flights but it was all worth it. We were even blessed with a business class upgrade from London to Bangalore India, (our second leg) after a very stressful and taxing first leg flight, during which Bernie was christened by a one year old boy during a diaper change. I was so glad I was seated in the aisle!
Our goal for this trip was to try, with the Lord’s help, to not grumble or complain. “Do all things without grumbling or complaining” (Philippians 2:14). Well, I am quite sure we did not completely succeed, but it truly kept us in check each day when we were stressed and physically taxed with the constant extreme heat, humidity, (it topped 112 degrees F° with no a/c available) bugs, strange foods, and Indian ways. :)
We were able to successfully accomplish our 9 purposes for this trip.
1. We spent quality time with our GEM family: Pastor Joseph Murala, wife Lalitha, sons Abraham (Sudheer) and Joshua (Prakash), their wife’s Sudha and Susanna, daughter Rachel, and other extended family who are all striving to bring Jesus to the needy and hurting people of their area.
2. We had several opportunities to teach/preach: in the GEM Church, a house church, and at a one-day pastor’s conference in a nearby Nuzvid church. We were also able to pray for many people for healing and their many other needs.
3. We documented the building progress and ministry with pictures and videos that we hope to share with many of you. Check www.gemorphans.org for some of the new pictures.
4. We assisted in ordaining/recognizing five new pastors who are currently ministering to the local people. Two of these men are Abraham and Joshua Murala – sons of Pastor Joseph. These five men are all affiliated with GEM INDIA.
5. We narrowed down our choice to replace the ministry vehicle, when the Lord directs and provides the funds. We selected the Ambassador Grand Economy four-door sedan, which can carry up to seven passengers. The cost is a little less than $10,000.
6. We were able with your many gifts to purchase some much needed items for the ministry: a laptop computer, a refrigerator, a gas cook top, a wash machine/dryer, needed repairs for the current ministry vehicle, mattresses for the orphan boys, two sewing machines–for training the needy women, a DVD player, window screens for the 2nd floor, several fans (remember no a/c), additional painting for the 2nd floor, and a few smaller items. Thank you and thank you Lord!
7. We held several important GEM staff meetings to clarify the future vision and plans for GEM INDIA.
8. We were able to receive 5 new orphan boys, for a total of 10 boys now!
9. We survived the nonstop heat and humidity with only minor bodily inconveniences. In India they call it the motions. :)
Thank you all so much for your daily prayers for us and for the GEM Ministry!!!
Sincerely, Scott Christen
Vice President/Secretary GEM USA
A funny highlight: One afternoon I was enjoying some alone time and exercising on the church roof top. Unexpectedly I was joined by some children from the colony next to our property. First 2, then 4, then finally 10 kids surrounded me on the roof top. They joined me in some calisthenics and together we counted out loud in English with each repetition. After we finished exercising, I prayed for them all before they returned home.