India Update - Fall 2015 Week 1
Hey there, Crossway!
We’ve been in Nagaland a week now, and it has been a full one!
Our trip here was one of the smoothest and shortest ever. The only minor glitch is that our final flight from Calcutta to Nagaland was delayed about 3 hours. We ended up sitting in the airport an extra 3 hours when we could have stayed in our room, had I checked the flight schedule before checking out of the hotel. Lesson learned. All this meant is that we went pretty much ran directly to our first Bible study, which was originally scheduled for 4:00, but obviously ended up starting late, not only because we were late but because the power was out til 5:50. But we just hung out with the “youths” (as Nchumpemo calls them – junior high through college-career.) and had a great time. When the power came on we started a 3-part big picture study of 1 John, which I aimed at challenging the youths with how they can know they have eternal life and how to distinguish between true Christians and those who are deceivers or those who are Christian in name only (nominalism is a big problem here).
Last Sunday I preached in New Life Christian Baptist Church. (Most Nagas are Baptists, because it was American Baptists who first brought the Gospel here in the 1880’s.) After worship, we spend a couple of hours with a family of dear friends, where we got to see 3-month old Abigail Bendangsenla in person (rather than pictures on Facebook) for the first time.
One of the things we do a lot here is make personal visit to homes or workplaces. During this first week, we have made 13 such visits. Yesterday, Nchumpemo and I were out and about with no particular itinerary, but we ended up visiting a friend who works in a hospital, a youth pastor and at the last minute, dropping in on a wedding reception dressed in shorts and a t-shirt! He assured me it didn’t matter, but I felt horribly underdressed ? Thankfully, nobody gave any appearance of caring, including the bride and groom.
After school and later in the evening after the Bible studies, we also spend a lot of time with the children in the Galilee Home. These beautiful kids are now family to us. Thanks to the generosity of some of you, yesterday (Saturday) we got to have Christmas in October. Each of the younger girls received their own doll (for the first time in their lives – talk about choking up), the older girls some ear rings and nail polish, and the boys guns, of course - Nerf-like guns - and a spinning top game they were having a blast with. Too much fun!!!
Our main teaching work so far has been Bible studies with the youth every evening. We started with City Youth Fellowship that 1st Saturday, which is Nchumpemo’s own youth outreach. Monday – Wednesday we were with the youth of New Life Church, then again with City Youth Fellowship Thursday-Saturday. I say this quite seriously, these young people are an incredible joy and pleasure to hang out with. Having this much fun in ministry feels almost like cheating!
Both Berta and I sense that this week has been spiritually and relationally very fruitful and we are anticipating more of the same over the next 2 weeks. We now have built strong connections with 3 circles of youth, as well as many adult leaders. It’s exciting to think strategically about what God is doing here. Nchumpemo and Fanny are people of vision and initiative. Together we believe God is planting the seeds of a new moving of the Spirit among the Naga youth. And as we meet or observe other leaders and ministries, we sense that it bigger and more widespread than just our little work.
As most of you know, we have a particular love for Nagaland, so really the only frustration is that 3 weeks is now feeling too short! Not only do we have so much we want to teach and build into the youths and the leaders, but we have too many friends to see and spend quality time with in 21 days. Thanks again so much, Crossway Family, for continuing to give us the privilege of coming here and for holding us up in your prays while we are here.
More from Nagaland next week. Our love to you all!
Scott and Berta