Haley Moore – MC – South Asia
I'm home! So, while I am still processing and resting in what happened this summer, I thought it would be a perfect time to catch everyone up! It's a long one, but a good one! :)
From the last time that we met, our team was able to partner with local Baptist churches in our city, which honestly was one of my favorite parts of getting to serve this summer. Our week began with attending their services - Ours was in Telugu!! The church, which felt like home, packed as many people as it could inside its modest space, and had an overflow of people that sat outside the building under a tarp during the service. What a blessing it was to worship with our brothers and sisters! Every time I have the opportunity to worship the Father in another language, I can't help but think that I am getting to experience just a hint of what worship in heaven is going to feel like - voices, hearts, hands, tambourines - all joining together to bring an offering of worship at the feet of King Jesus.
The rest of the week, one of the ladies from the church, we'll call her Akka (sister), walked us through the neighborhood surrounding the church. She would lead us to a doorway and say "prayer, prayer!" and would walk right into the homes. The church is well known for its prayer list, and people from all backgrounds (Catholic, Hindu, etc.) come and write down names and prayer requests on the list because they have seen over and over peoples' prayers get answered. During this time, we were able to pray for and encourage the believers in the area. Their prayer requests are much like what you would find on this side of the Pacific…that their children would grow up and choose to follow the Lord, that those fathers/sons/nephews that are battling with addiction would be made clean and that they would lead and love their families well, that couples that have been longing/praying/fasting for months/years would be blessed with a child. The Father allowed us opportunities to have Gospel conversations in several of the homes, even ending in a girl wanting to begin reading the Word to hear more about what she had heard.
The first night we went out to do this with Akka, I was completely overwhelmed in the best way. We started by praying for some of the believers in the area, hearing how they came to know the Lord and encouraging them as we could. Then, we began visiting homes of those that weren't believers. I remember two things pretty vividly from this night: how amazed I was at a group of older ladies who met every morning at 5 am to read Scripture and pray over their community (one experiencing persecution in her own home and forced to sleep outside because she believed in the Father), and how thankful I am for the Gospel and the Father's faithfulness. Over and over that night and the rest of the week, we saw how the Good News pierces hearts and offers hope to tired and searching hearts. During the next two weeks, we did this almost every night, with a few exceptions. Two of the nights we served with this church, we gathered the youth and had an EV training time and worship/study time. These times were so encouraging to us, as we were able to see and encourage these believers to share with those around them, as well as getting to dig into Scripture and learn from each other.
One Saturday, we attended a meeting in our Pastor's home. The meeting consisted of pastors from all over our region and neighboring regions and was a wonderful time of getting to hear how the Father is moving as well as a time of worship and prayer. Later that week we were able to visit a few of these pastors and the villages they are serving. Travelling to the villages was an experience in itself, but was another of my favorite times. Getting to worship, pray, train, encourage, and fellowship with the believers in each of these areas was so special. This is the abridged version of those two weeks - but I would love to share more in person if anyone is interested!
We took time for a small getaway to the beach for spiritual recharging and rest, went on a hiking trip that left our team incredibly sore and terrified of monkeys, and experienced bittersweet goodbyes with our friends. There are almost too many stories to type here, but if you would like to hear them, I would love to sit down and tell you about everything the Lord has done this summer!
One thing that has stuck with me since my time serving over Christmas and that first night with Akka, is just how beautiful the Gospel is. Sometimes I think we get a little numb to it, and we forget how it has changed and impacted our lives. Friends, my prayer for all of us is that every time we hear the Gospel that it would be like the first time we heard it. That when we hear of the Father's love for us, it would bring us to His feet in worship and repentance. I have seen a lot of things this summer - thousands of Muslims bowing down to the final call to prayer of Ramadan, people prostrate to golden altars and idols in massive ivory temples, men and women hiking a grueling mountain with bare feet to bring their offerings before an idol that couldn't see them or hear them, let alone bless them, spoken to people that believe if they just work hard enough, do more, be more, give more that the gods will give them favor. But I've also seen how Jesus and the Gospel changes lives. I have seen men and women dig into Scripture seeking the Truth, I have seen a mother in tears after she had heard the Gospel as she told her son that she wishes with all she has that he would follow this Jesus, I have seen village believers fasting and praying for hours that their families/friends/neighbors would come to know the Lord, I have met believers that have been kicked out of homes and exiled from their families because with every thing within them they believe in this Jesus, I have seen a flicker of hope in someone’s eyes as they hear the Gospel for the first time and wonder if this could possibly be true. I have seen the Father change lives. I have seen Him change my life. And I hope with everything within me that you can say the same, and that it causes our feet to move to those who have never heard of the Father's love.
I'll leave you with a quote that I have held closely this summer: "In light of God's truth, I will choose discomfort over disobedience any day." Let's choose the uncomfortable conversations about Jesus with our friends/family/neighbors/co-workers every time in light of what we have seen Him do in our lives and what we know to be true. They are so worth it. HE is so worth it.