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This is part two of of two of an update from our missionaries in Rameswaram, India called Body of Christ Ministries that is going to really bless you. I'm dividing it because it's long. I do hope you take the time to read - it could change your life and your walk with your Savior. This is Body of Christ Ministries and we have personally known and supported them for many years. I quote a woman who has recently been there working with this ministry:

Joshua has been given a new name. Previously recognized for his involvement with a radical terrorist group, he is now recognized as a Jesus follower—and a completely different man. He first encountered God in prison—and there, behind bars, he made a promise, “Lord, if I am released,” he prayed, “I will live for you and you only.” Though that prayer was three years before his actual liberation, he remembers God continually speaking words of comfort over him in prison. Previously a violent murderer, Joshua has melted into the role of a comforter himself—and his peaceful presence and story of change has drawn countless lives to the truth.

Originally from Sri Lanka, Joshua first started ministering with Sri Lankan refugees in Tamil Nadu, India. After discipleship training with Pastor Moses Paulose, he left with his family and limited financial support (around $20 a month) to start a church in a very difficult jungle area of Tamil Nadu.

The region Joshua ministers in is primarily dangerous because of the masses of wild animals. Joshua and his family travel from one area to the next to share the gospel on a bicycle—his wife sits on the back, and his two sons crowd close in the front near the handlebars. Several times, they have almost lost their lives in close proximity of wild elephants. Joshua even remembers one time his bike’s breaks failed and he nearly collided with an elephant—it’s giant tail whipping him in the side of the face, leaving him feeling like he was, “being beaten with a giant bamboo stick,” he recollects. Without proper transportation, such conditions are a continual risk—a risk that he and his family willingly take for the sake of sharing the joy of Jesus Christ with surrounding villages. And their work is fruitful—within a year and a half of being in that area, their church (which gathers in an old shed) has grown from twenty members to 150 members. Like Shanmugam’s church, many miraculous healings are constantly taking place.

Wild animals are not the only trials Joshua’s family has faced since beginning their ministry work. There have also been many attacks against the health of both his wife and son. When his wife found out she had blood cancer, she simply stated, “I’ve seen how God comforted and took care of you in your life Joshua; God definitely will take care of me, too.” With that, they prayed fervently for one month and she was completely healed of her cancer.

Perhaps more frightening was the day Joshua and his wife found out about a septal defect in their youngest son’s heart that could soon lead to severe shortness of breath and complete inability to move his limbs efficiently if left untreated. When they noticed his constant fatigue and occasional bleeding from the mouth, they took him to the nearest hospital who recommended a costly operation. With only $3 to his name, Joshua was rendered completely helpless in the situation. They took their son home and put their trust fully in the Lord’s healing power, praying and fasting for their son’s healing for twenty days. On the twentieth day of prayer, their son (who had already lost nearly all mobility in his hands and legs) was propped outside, watching some neighbor boys playing a soccer game in the street in front of their house. While Joshua and his wife were inside praying, they were interrupted by their son walking into the room by himself, stabilized only by a plastic chair. He is now fully healed of his heart defect and able to move about freely.

By faith alone, Joshua continues to move forward. His hard work for the Kingdom has produced several church congregations in the jungle area of Tamil Nadu. One, in a primarily Hindu area, grew to forty new believers in just one month. In that village, there was an elderly man with an extreme mental illness who had been roaming the area naked for over fourteen years. Entirely ashamed, his family tied him by his hands and feet to an iron rod inside their home—leaving him struggling there day and night. After Joshua’s family prayed with him twice, the old man was fully healed of his mental illness and immediately baptized. He is now one of the believers in the new church in that village.

With several small church plants started, Joshua’s vision is to have one large, simple church building in a centralized location for all of the surrounding villages—one that he and the existing church members would build themselves. With only $20 a month for his family and the church work, he is putting his trust entirely in God yet again. With such trust, the future seems undaunting. When Joshua recalls God’s protection, care, and moving power in his ministry and family life, he simply states, “I know that if I do my work faithfully to God, he will take care of my needs. I’ve already seen it!”

The unshakable trust displayed in Shanmugam and Joshua’s stories challenges and compels me. Trust in the midst of beautiful simplicity—holding no possession higher than God himself. Shanmugam and Joshua have depths of hunger for things not of this world, but of the Kingdom.

Please remember Shanmugam and Joshua in your prayers. I was reminded this morning through one author’s writing to be, “as wide open towards people and their needs as you are
towards God. Windows open outward as well as upward. Windows especially open where people need most!” The most important need in Shanmugam and Joshua’s lives is the continued filling of the Holy Spirit to do the work set before them. There is, of course, a list of immediate physical needs as well—roof repairs, improved transportation, proper facilities. I encourage you to consider praying on how you might be involved in opening windows towards these needs. I love Paul’s reminder of what happens when we freely give to those in need:

“God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. As the scriptures say, ‘They share freely and give generously to the poor. Their good deeds will be remembered forever.’ For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you. Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God. So two things will result from this ministry of giving—the needs of God’s holy people will be met, and they will joyfully express their thanks to God. As a result of your ministry, they will give glory to God. For your generosity to them and to all believers will prove that you are obedient to the Good News of Christ. And they will pray for you with deep affection because of the overflowing grace God has given to you. Thank God for this gift too wonderful for words!” -2 Corinthians 9:8-15

As we consciously give freely to those in need, we are—in a way—engaging in simplicity. Living simply, so that others may simply live. Our hearts of giving are grown along with an increased life of simplicity. The grace of giving was designed by God to multiply his blessings…the greatest blessing of all being increased encounters with Him.

That ends the update. If you wish to be part of this great work of God in a Hindu nation, click here and contribute what you are able. I do hope you support them with your prayers as a minimum.

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3 comments: to “ NylonBowCrmGld_by_LynettesPhotoArt

  • Anonymous
    January 18, 2009 at 12:28 AM  

    Thank you! Your blog post will be advertised on the DigiFree Digital Scrapbooking Freebie search engine today (look for timestamp: 17 Jan [LA 08:38pm, NY 11:38pm] - 18 Jan [UK 04:38am, OZ 03:38pm] ).

  • AmeyasA
    January 18, 2009 at 2:47 AM  

    thankyou for sharing.....

  • Γεωργία
    January 18, 2009 at 7:36 AM  

    Hello how you know what mean all this by Greek?
    Yes you are right about
    we write all this up Cross in all Greek orthodox church you will find & read this words ( ΥΧΘΥΣ )
    am Greek orthodox priest grandchild
    my grand mom explain to me this words...i go every Sunday with her i red all this but i was not know
    i ask & she says to me the meaning
    Have a wonderful Sunday
    hugs & love from Greece

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