Our God is an awesome God, a loving God, a sacrificial God, a giving God, and an eternal God.
“God made known to us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment” (Ephesians 1:9-10a). The good Lord put it on my heart and then on my wife, Debbie’s heart, that I was to go to India during part of my Christmas Holiday. I can summarize the trip as being wonderfully and successfully exhausting.
I flew from Los Angeles International Airport on December 17 and arrived back in the United States on December 29. Due to some flight delays, I did not reach my final destination in India until 7:30 PM, December 20. On December 21 and 22, we had a pastor’s conference from 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM. I was the guest speaker. During the first day of the conference, 94 pastors from Nuzvid and the surrounding area attended. On the second day of the conference, 104 pastors attended. Because the Lord had directed me as to what to teach during the two days, it was well received by the pastors. They were encouraged and exhorted in various ways from the Lord’s teaching. Though none of these pastors are directly affiliated with our ministry, it was a tremendous opportunity for networking with the local pastors. Most of them knew of the good reputation of Reverend Joseph Murala, but they did not know any of the board members from the States. After the two days, they were comfortable with me as a fellow brother in the Lord. Since our land and future campus is seven miles from Nuzvid, we wanted the local pastors to feel comfortable and to be accepting of the GEM ministry.
During this visit, I stayed with Joseph, Lalitha, and their sons in Nuzvid. They are currently renting a small two-bedroom house until we have their living quarters built on the GEM land. I worked with Joseph and Abraham Murala to make the final design for the campus. Ultimately we will have seven or eight buildings on the campus. The buildings will include: a church; staff housing; dormitories for our male orphans and male seminary students; dormitories for our female orphans, female seminary students, and our widows; a kitchen/dining hall; a medical clinic; our seminary building; and a small circular building for meditation and prayer. The cost for all of these buildings will range from $262,000 - $400,000. We currently have $25,000 set aside for the building fund in India. Please pray to the Lord of the Harvest, that GEM will soon receive the rest of the money so that the campus plans can move forward smoothly and steadily.
One of our pastors under the GEM umbrella will use our blueprints to construct our campus. He is also an engineer, so he is very qualified to be the foreman of the total operation. Based on the normal costs by other construction companies in India, our pastor/engineer will cut our total costs by twenty-five to up to thirty-five percent. That is a savings that ranges anywhere from $65,500-$140,000 in U.S. currency! Members of our GEM churches also want to give of their time and skills and at a much-reduced rate of pay. God has brought together our India workers in His normal miraculous ways of doing things when He has total ownership.
We currently have four independent churches under the umbrella of GEM. We expect two or three more independent churches to join us in the near future. From this association of churches, we will have easy access to our future widows, orphans, and seminary students. The pastors of these churches will be able to direct the appropriate candidates to our campus.
On December 23, I had the privilege of participating in the engagement party of Abraham and his soon-to-be wife, Sudah. I was asked to present a brief message of exhortation, anoint them with oil, and offer a prayer of blessing for their future marriage. It was a wonderful time of celebration. We ate our food Indian style - with our fingers!
During the evening of December 23, we went to buy a vehicle for the GEM ministry. One of our fellow brothers in the Lord had spent that entire day looking at about 25 used vehicles. The one we looked at that evening was the best one he had seen. After careful inspection of the vehicle and a short season a prayer, we felt the Lord giving us His approval to buy the vehicle. It is an Indian made vehicle called the Mahindra, the Bolero model, a four-cylinder diesel engine, 60,000 miles on it, a 2001 model, an 8-passenger vehicle. It cost us $5,046.00 in U.S. currency. It is just what Abraham had been looking for during the past year and a half. God was so good to allow us to find and purchase the vehicle while I was in India.
On December 24, I preached in Abraham’s “church” (with no building). There are only a few Christians and many Hindus who attend the meeting every Sunday. After the service, some of us went to the local river and I had the opportunity to baptize one of our GEM widows and another Christian man. That evening, Joseph and I attended a Christmas Eve service at a boy’s orphanage in Nuzvid. Joseph was the guest speaker.
On December 25, I celebrated Christmas with the Murala family. Then we went to encourage the villagers who live adjacent to the GEM land.
On December 26, we went to the GEM land in the morning to observe the drilling for water on the land. Much prayer had preceded this drilling day. Joseph and another pastor had prayed on the land. The local village Christian women had prayed on the land. The GEM board had been praying about the well before I came to India. The place that I felt we should drill was the exact location that the Lord had indicated to Joseph, the other pastor, and the local village Christian women. With God indicating to three different groups of people the same location to drill, we drilled there. At 50 feet we hit water, at 90 feet we drilled through bedrock, at 300 feet we hit a wonderful source of underground water. This is our first miracle on the GEM land. We accept it as a wonderful sign from God. I am reminded that Jesus’ first miracle in His earthly ministry was to change the water into wine. We need this natural water for our people on the campus and we look forward to Jesus nourishing our people with his spiritual bread and His life-giving water. While the drilling was in process, we held a worship service on the land. The text I used was when Jesus met the Samaritan woman at the well. After the service, we gave sarees to the widows and several other women who attended the service.
On December 27, we spent most of the day getting $10,000 in U.S. currency that had been wired to India via Western Union. What would have taken no more than 45 minutes in the U.S., took us over seven hours due to some unusual rules that Western Union has in India.
On December 28, I finished signing documents in the presence of a notary public. I transferred the power-of-attorney for buying materials, paying bills, and building the campus in India to Abraham Murala, the President of GEM India. We finished this last task two hours before I flew out of India.
I am so grateful to the Lord for sending me to India during part of my Christmas holiday. God accomplished so much during my time in India. Praise His holy name!
Please continue to pray for GEM and please ask God how you can help GEM this year. Thank you and may God wonderfully bless you.
Desiring to allow Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit to work in and through the GEM team for His glory,
President of Global Evangelical Ministries