Nepal and India Conference Ministry

I visited India and Nepal in 1998 with a ministry team from Oral Roberts University. Here are some of my notes from that time from a letter I found recently.

When we first arrived in India we met our contact, Tom Adleta (he is a whole story in himself) after rushing our baggage out of the airport and into jeeps we were just in time because a rainstorm hit.  Boy!  When it rains in India it really rains. The jeeps took us across the countryside toward Nepal several hours away.

This area of India is mostly tea plantations.  The plantations were originally English endeavors from when England colonized India until 1947.

Even in the rain there were harvesters working under their umbrellas to gather the yellow leaves from the tops of tea bushes which are more than 100 years old.

After stopping at the border to fill out the customary paperwork we made our way through the streets of Karkavitta to the Hotel Rajat (King Hotel) where we would stay for the next week and hold our first conference.

Friday, Saturday, and most of Sunday we rested and prepared for the conference.  Even though it was named the “King Hotel” we had friendly geckos to keep us company.  Well, at least they helped keep the bug population down! It got pretty hot and the humidity was awful so we drank lots of water and did our best to stay cool.

Outside of my window I could see the dirt street and one morning I watched an elderly man as he washed his face at a spigot and offered water and his morning prayers to his gods.  Seeing this was just the beginning of my realizing the spiritual oppression of the people of this area.

The conference was organized by a disciple of Tom’s who he has been training for some time to take over this aspect of their ministry.  Tom is focusing on equipping pastors from Bhutan to minister there. (Bhutan is one of the most closed nations in the world.  Several weeks after this conference a church in Bhutan was raided by police and about 15 people and the pastor were placed in jail.

We held the conference in a little (10’x 30′) storage room attached to the hotel.  When the electricity went out (a common occurrence throughout the whole trip) we sweltered and prayed that it would come back on and run the two ceiling fans again. Cure for heat?  Drink water. All day long

We may have been told that it would be a “youth” conference but “youth” means anyone between 13 and 70.  What an honor to be able to speak to these people several of which were pastors themselves!  Glory to God who fills us up and then uses us if we are willing to serve.

The Conference which began Sunday night and ran until noon Wednesday.  Since we were given freedom in what we would teach on each of us took our rest time to pray and study so we’d be prepared for our session.

I can see how important it is to be, as Paul told Timothy, Ready to preach in season and out of season.  It was very interesting to see how the Holy Spirit guided each teaching to follow a single theme about growing in the Lord.  I taught on putting on the armor of God.

Preaching can be very enjoyable when you can feel the Spirit speaking through you but when He doesn’t it can really be a struggle.  I experienced both types of preaching on this trip.  A hands-on lesson on relying on God and not on self.

The crowd we were speaking to consisted of about 60  pastors, lay Christians and at least one Hindu teacher who stopped by. Some of these people were Bhutanese refugees staying in India, some were Nepalis and some had traveled for days to come to this conference.  It is very humbling to see how much they desire God yet I know that I often don’t have that fervor for Him.

About the Hindu teacher.

God specifically had him show up one evening and hear Michael Homan’s teaching on Jesus Christ.  After that session Tom told him to stay for the evening session when he taught the Salvation message again.  The Hindu teacher was ready and accepted Christ that night!  There were several others as well and rededications also.

During different services we prayed for healings and had reports of at least one lady being healed of joint problems. Praise the Lord!

Something about Nepali customs:  all through the services everyone sits on the ground and the ladies sit on one side while men sit on the other.  In Christian circles there is no longer any caste system but the women still have few privileges.  Still, those ladies worship with their whole hearts and pray with fervor.

Wednesday evening we rented an entire bus to take us the 14 hours to Kathmandu.  With seven of us on the team plus Tom; his friend, Reuben; our baggage, and the seven Adleta children (Nathaniel, Matthew, Joy, Jonathan, Jubilee, Honour, and one more), we needed the whole bus. In 14 hours it is amazing, how many different positions I tried to get comfortable….  Stretched across my seat, leaning against the window, kneeling half-on and half-off the seat.  I slept some but it wasn’t until later in the trip that I learned to sleep just about anywhere.

Another rainstorm cooled things off so the ride was really quite nice as we made our way up one of the few highways in Nepal and on toward the Kathmandu Valley.

Speciality baby supplies in Guatemala

I found a place to get speciality baby supplies (including breast pumps) in Guatemala! They continually have a variety of products and can ship items across the country very quickly!

Check it out at Babby Place (sic) on Facebook and get the baby items you need! You can email them at babyplacegt@hotmail.com to request something if you don’t see it on their Facebook site.

After my baby was born at a natural childbirth clinic in Guatemala City, I found that I needed a breast pump and they’re not easy to find in Guatemala. Thanks to La Leche League leaders in Xela, I found out about Babby Place and was able to have a shipped to me in just a few days! I paid through a money transfer at a local BanRural Bank. Just be aware that the shipping is sent as a pay-on-delivery so it cost about Q40 to receive the package.

If you’re looking for a good connection to specialty baby products and you’re in Guatemala, give Babby Place a try.

Here’s another source of baby/kid supplies and accessories that I found in Guatemala City.

Training Guatemalans to reach the world

It was late April and the volcanic slopes of Guatemala were dusty green as warm breezes gradually made way for the coming rainy season. Clouds growing in the sky signaled that it wouldn’t be long until fresh rains would water the dry volcanic slopes until they burst into colorful bloom.
For 13 years missionaries John and Sharon Harvey have experienced this cycle of dry and rainy seasons as they’ve shared the Gospel in the Central American nation of Guatemala. Each season they watch more than just flowers bloom as thousands of lives have been saved, pastors trained and children fed through the Asociacion Equipando a Los Santos Internacional (Association for Equipping the Saints International (ASELSI)). This ministry provides physical care and spiritual training to villagers across the remote mountains of northwest Guatemala.
Based in the department (state) of El Quiché, ASELSI includes both medical and Bible training branches.

Sharon Harvey, a registered nurse, organizes medical care for the villagers and trains Guatemalans to provide a much needed milk distribution program to battle the six-percent or higher mortality rate for children below the age of five. In 2004, ASELSI provided medical care for 5,700 people including milk for 250 children each month.

“I’ve always wanted to make a difference in their lives,” Sharon said. “By reaching them at the point of their need, it opens the door for me to also pray with them and to minister to them on the spiritual side.”

While the clinic helps care for physical needs, many of the local pastors had few educational opportunities until John Harvey started a comprehensive Bible training institute. ASELSI is providing Bible training in a region where many of the pastors and church leaders have less than a third grade education.

Through the training classes at ASELSI and in 12 extension centers scattered across the mountains, pastors and church leaders expand their basic knowledge of the Bible and actually earn diplomas and degrees in two or three year programs. Currently, ASELSI is looking for ways to expand training to other countries in Latin America.

ASELSI’s courses provide excellent Bible training that is practical and something that pastors and church leaders can understand and teach to others. Not only are students learning, they’re sharing that knowledge with others.

“About all the students…are doing discipleship,” John said. “Communities are being transformed.”

The combination of medical clinics and outreaches also provide positive opportunities for ministry in new communities where medical teams along with Bible students work together to provide for physical and spiritual needs.

The lives the Harvey’s touch have blossomed in these villages and towns as they take the fresh rain of the Gospel throughout the nations.

Resurrection Life Church is one of the several churches helping support this ministry in Guatemala. For more information about the Harvey’s visit www.aselsi.org.

Worth it all.

Honduras church service

A church service in Honduras, 2007.

La Ceiba, Honduras—Since he was a child, Wilford Dilbert, Jr., dreamed of working alongside his father to plant churches in his homeland of Honduras. That dream was nearly shattered by two bullets from a murderer’s gun.

Dilbert was in the United States studying for a future in ministry that first Sunday of 1993 when his schedule of studies and family life was interrupted by a phone call.

The message: Dilbert’s father had been shot and killed at his own front gate.

“When I got the phone call I felt like the whole world fell apart,” Dilbert said. “I felt, boy, I don’t want to go and be in the ministry anymore. It was really painful for me.”

Stunned by the news, Dilbert tried to convince his mother to join him in the U.S., but she was not about to abandon the ministry. Continue reading

One by one — Fort Hope, Ontario, Canda

Eabamet Lake lies under a blanket of ice in the foreground of this photo showing Fort Hope, Canada, an Ojibwe village in central Ontario.

Photographed in early March, Eabamet Lake lies under a blanket of ice in the foreground of this photo showing Fort Hope, Canada, an Ojibwe town in central Ontario.

(Eabametoong First Nation) FORT HOPE, ONTARIO-One by one, lives are changing in Fort Hope.
This year pastor Jim and Judy Walters coordinated three ministry trips to Fort Hope: one with a team to minister specifically to the children and provide a marriage seminar, one with a team of pastoral leaders–including Resurrection Life Church senior pastor Duane Vander Klok–to teach adults and meet with area leaders, and another trip to take a team of Native Americans to minister among their Canadian cousins.

An Ojibwe girl and a local dog peer at village guests through a wire fence

An Ojibwe girl and a local dog peer at village guests through a wire fence.

On the first trip, the emphasis was on marriages and children. A ministry team from RezKidz in Grandville organized ministry for children and drew crowds of more than 100 to the John C. Yesno Education Centre gym as they played games, sang songs and taught them about the love of God.

“The team is doing a lot of background work,” Jim Walters said. “They?re hugging kids. They?re talking with kids. They play with the kids. They?re making friends.”
The RezKidz team reported that five children responded to accept Christ as savior. During Vander Klok’s visit to the village the ministry team hosted a a five-hour long radio show and nine people accepted Christ.
As the Walters and others bring the practical message of God’s Word to Fort Hope, Chief O’Keese and other Ojibwe band leaders recognize that applying Christian principles to marriages will help families and the entire community grow stronger.
“When it was first brought to the attention of myself and my council, we had one hundred percent support,” O’Keese said of the plans for the marriage seminar. “We told our staff, ‘If you want to go to the seminar, you can go and take (the day) with pay.”‘

Pastor Scott Rogers animates  his lesson as he teaches a group of children at the Fort Hope elementary school gym during an outreach in Ontario, Canada.

Pastor Scott Rogers animates his lesson as he teaches a group of children at the Fort Hope elementary school gym during an outreach in Ontario, Canada.

O’Keese said he and the band leaders recognize that the status of families are reflected in the community and that suffering families equal a suffering community.
He said stronger marriages are “part of the healing the community is looking for.”
In this village where live-in couples and single-parent families are the norm, individuals also recognize the need for help when it comes to marital commitment and faith.
“We need that marriage counseling,” said Barb Oskineegish, a single mother. “It’s helping us a lot.”
With the help of mission teams, prayer and support the Walters are taking practical Biblical teaching to the Ojibwe people as God touches Fort Hope one life at a time.

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Sites with more info about Fort Hope:

Another Fort Hope post

Fort Hope: Where hope grows

An Ojibwe boy lounges by his bike in Fort Hope, Ontario.

An Ojibwe boy lounges by his bike in Fort Hope, Ontario.

FORT HOPE, ONTARIO-Something was different about the twin-engine bush plane as it taxied to a stop on the dirt runway.
Unlike most of the freight and passenger flights that briefly land in this remote Canadian village, this plane carried 14 passengers who came to Fort Hope for one reason-to tell the Ojibwe people about the true hope they can find in God.
Led by Resurrection Life Fellowship pastor Jim and Judy Walters from Saint Ignace, Mich., the passengers were from Resurrection Life Church in Grandville, Mich. They came to help show the Ojibwe villagers what the Walters have been telling the local leaders for the past two years-that God knows them and wants them to know him personally.
Mission trips to Fort Hope began after the Walters had a remarkable meeting with a Christian Ojibwe chief in 2001. After months of prayer and calls to encourage the chief, the Walters made the first of what has become frequent trips to Fort Hope where they offer encouragement and Biblical teaching about building strong marriages and breaking spiritual strongholds.
“This is just a pocket of hopelessness,” Judy Walters said. “How can we say no? How can we stay away from here?”

Jim and Judy (pictured) Walters teach about building strong marriages during a seminar held at the village meeting hall in Fort Hope, Ontario.

Jim and Judy (pictured) Walters teach about building strong marriages during a seminar held at the village meeting hall in Fort Hope, Ontario.

Along with the Walters, mission teams from ResLife are helping show the people there is hope and point them in the right direction. Even with the short-term teams, the spiritual needs in the village require a long-term response-a commitment the Walters have willingly made.
“That’s one of the things the chief told us,” Judy Walters said. “He said, ‘Please don’t just come once and go away and forget us. Come back.’ So we keep coming back again and again. God’s heart is for these people.”
Indeed, the Walters have gained a heart for this Ojibwe village where they gladly travel 12 hours for each visit.
Located less than 1,000 miles from the Arctic Circle and only accessible from the air for most of the year, the Ojibwe living on this tiny reservation have learned to survive the wilds of northern Ontario, but their chief, Charlie O’Keese, wants to help them do more than just survive.
Faced with the social woes of alcohol, drugs, incest, suicide and broken families, O’Keese-a Christian himself-has been praying for a way to teach his people about the life God has in mind for the 1,200 people who live at Fort Hope.

(Then) Chief Charlie Okees takes a phone call while taking a break from making announcements on the radio. The night before this photo a local residence burned to the ground.

(Then) Chief Charlie Okees takes a phone call while taking a break from making announcements on the radio. The night before this photo a local residence burned to the ground.

“I want to see a Christian training center in our community,” O’Keese said. “We need more Bible teaching.”
With the help of the Walters and teams from Resurrection Life Church and other churches, the practical Bible teaching O’Keese has been praying for is starting to reach the people.
“Every time we come, we’re reaching one person or we’re reaching two people or six people, that’s how you win them-one person at a time,” Jim Walters said. “It’s not an impossible task and with God’s anointing upon not just our ministry, but the other ministries that are working with us, we can see things turn around in these remote villages.”
With each trip and each team that goes with them, the Walters are seeing a change in the people.
Already the villagers are showing openness to the idea that there is more to life than merely struggling through life’s troubles. They are starting to recognize that the truths in the Bible are for people everywhere.
After a recent marriage seminar, the Walters reported that several adults responded with requests for prayer and a desire to have the lives and families they heard are possible with Christ.
The Walters continue to minister at their church in Saint Ignace and make trips to Fort Hope. Future plans include taking a team of Christian youth to minister directly to the teenagers of the village.
“God is wanting to do something in the lives of these people,” Judy Walters said. “So we keep coming back and we’ll keep coming back as long as God keeps the door open to us.”