Mushtaq, the priest of Christ Church, Shimla had invited us to come to his home state of Punjab, (the land of 5 rivers), to conduct some pastors conferences.
It was at one of these conferences that Mushtaq and I had just finished preaching. The presence of God was heavy as Shema played the guitar and sang. We stood on the platform together, becoming spectators as we watched the pastors respond to the presence of God, crying out in prayer with loud voices.
Suddenly, one of the older pastors stepped out of the congregation and walked toward me.I thought he was coming for prayer but instead he stepped onto the platform, wrapped his arms around me and wept. He kept saying, “thank you, thank you, thank you,” as he held me in his arms. After some time he turned and went back to his seat.
It was just a moment in time. A short moment that has been burned into my spirit. At that moment this man was not embracing me but was embracing the Jesus inside me. He was embracing the presence of God. He was embracing the love of the Father, and he was embracing the move of God that was being released in this region.
We have been invited to return next year and conduct more of these meetings, gathering entire regions of pastors together to encourage them and ignite faith and vision for them to work in unity to build the Kingdom of God. Then in 2017 plans are being made for us to return and conduct a 3 day conference for all the Christian leaders in the state of Punjab.
During almost 4 weeks our team of 4 people made countless house visits, leading people to Christ, healing the sick, casting out demons and encouraging the believers. We also traveled to Himachal Pradesh where we ministered in two CNI churches as well as ministered with a number of independent pastors. Through the generosity of ministry friends and partners we were able to finance the start-up of 10 small business projects, helping believers and pastors become more self-sufficient and prosperous. These projects included tea stalls, a milk cow, (never blessed a cow before!) looms for weaving traditional Indian clothing, and sewing machines to make sweaters and jackets. What a great joy to help people’s dreams become a reality.
With each trip we make God opens greater doors and expands our territory. I will be returning in September to work in Himachal Pradesh where we will be conducting pastor conferences in 7 different cities. The last conference will be held at Christ Church, Shimla where the CNI leaders will be uniting with all the other pastors in the region. Mushtaq will set up a large tent and place it next to the church on the Ridge. A place tens of thousands of tourists and locals walk by every day. “God is using you to bring all of us pastors together in unity. This is unprecedented,” Mushtaq told me.
India is ripe unto Harvest. We get to go and reap where we have not sown. One sows, another waters but God gives the increase…abundant increase!