Sunday Worship Gathering 11 AM @ North Community Lutheran Church
114 Morse Road Columbus, OH 43214 (Map)
To get to Kalimpong, we have travelled far, nearly half way across the world. Unsurprisingly, this has come with some difficulties:
- One team member's carry on bag was lost on its way to Delhi, with all its clothing and supplies for the trip.
- One team member, then another, and another, and another have become very ill for 24-48 hours. We are not sure what is causing the illness.
- Our internet connection has been erratic and unreliable, making updates and connections with friends and family difficult.
Despite these troubles, we are in good spirits. It would be understandable to worry, complain, or give way to feeling sorry for ourselves. And yet... we keep choosing joy.
In the back of my mind, a verse keeps whispering: "In all these things we are more than conquerors... " I can't quite remember the rest of it, or the context, but it lingers, just out of reach.
The church in India has it's own troubles. In a country whose Christian population is less than 3%, the threat of persecution is always near, and churches were burned just 10 years ago. In the aftermath of the earthquake in Nepal, Christians are being accused of bringing the earthquake on the city of Kathmandu by worshipping a foreign god. The "proof" is that 17 Christians were killed in the earthquake while they worshipped.
And yet... the church in Nepal is strong in faith, and in Kalimpong the church grows and ministers to orphans thru Asia's Hope.
"In all these things we are more than conquerors.. "
Rescued from trafficking, abandoned by parents, or just orphaned with no one to care for them, their stories are compelling examples of God's grace. These dear children now live in a home with parents and siblings, full of love and the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
We had the privilege of joining our sponsored home for dinner. We played bubbles with the little ones, colored in coloring books with the medium size ones, and played soccer with the older ones. And every one of them loved the candy we gave out!
But the best part of the evening was when the children all gathered together to worship the Lord. With Saul, their music teacher, playing the guitar, the children belted out praise songs to Jesus.
And then - they prayed. From the smallest to the tallest. All out loud and all together.
Rescued and redeemed by grace, these children love Jesus.
"In all these things, we are more than conquerors... "
At night, we return home, and I search for that verse that is just out of reach. I find it, in Romans 8:37: "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loves us." (ESV)
The Bible I'm carrying is in the New Living Translation. I open it for context, and the verse reads:
"Can anything ever separate us from Christ's love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted or are hungry or cold or in danger or threatened with death? No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours thru Jesus Christ, who loved us.
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from his love... Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can't keep God's love away." Romans 8:35,37-38
Overwhelming victory. Not 'just enough to get by' or 'he'll get you to the finish line." Overwhelming victory.
Our God's love is big enough for troubles small and large. His love helps us overcome all of our difficulties, be it contentment with one t-shirt while traveling or choosing to love a difficult boss or strength to withstand persecution. He is El Shaddai, the all sufficient and all powerful one. There is nothing too difficult for Him.
I have been blessed to visit with the Christians here and to learn from their example.
The church here in Kalimpong does not use the traditional Hindi greeting: namaste. Instead, they say 'jai mi shi,' which means 'victory in Christ.'
The church in Kalimpong sends its greeting to you:
Victory in Christ!
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