Sunday, July 12, 2009

A lot of little notes

The weeks have flown by and we are now down to our final 10 days here in India. It is a difficult time as we plan out our final week and become forced to schedule our goodbyes. This last week has had ups and some downs. Pastor Jeff and Johnathon arrived late tuesday night. It has been an awesome encouragement and joy to have them here with us. It has been such a blessing to be able to share what we have been experiencing with Pastor Jeff, and through that be reminded of the great amount of support we have coming from our close knit Norco family back home.

Tonight, in just a couple of hours, an Indian friend of ours will be coming over to talk with Dr. Mooney about Christianity. For several weeks now she has been spending time with us, becoming more and more comfortable with our team. Stephanie has connected well with her and had the opportunity to share great words of truth. This afternoon she shared with Stephanie that she would like to talk with Dr. Mooney and so we look forward to this converstaion. She is an extremely bright girl, having already earned a masters and looking towards a Phd. We ask that you please pray for this conversation and for for the Holy Spirits work in her life. We are so excited about what God is doing; praise him for his work and plead for her salvation.

Scott and Stephanie are heading off tomorrow evening to stay in a India state farther south for four days. Stephanie's great grandparents started a school years ago. Although her grandparents are no longer living, the school remains; and so they will be going to enourage those who now run the school. Pray for safe travels and that they may glorify God through the encouragement they bring.

On a not so happy note, but a necessary one to share; Aunt Linda is very sick. She has been fighting a fever for almost two weeks. Yesterday she was admitted to the hospital and they have diagnosed her with a bacteria infection. I spent the morning with her while the others were at church. She was feeling better today and was fairly talkative, which was good to see. Pray for her healing. We love her and want to see her well, so please be praying with us that her body is restored to health.

God is faithful and his plan does prevail. We are excited for the work he has done and is now doing. Thank the Lord and continue to lift us up as we embark on our last week in India.

Sarah Lopez

Friday, July 10, 2009

Wednesday Discipleship

The Peeps...
(left to right: Pankaj, John, Charu, Sarah and Niveya
Top row: Ryan and Sam)

Every Wednesday we have been traveling to Madipur. Earlier we asked you pray for our time and God has been so faithful to us. Pankaj and Charu are growing and learning a lot. Last week we made a list of characteristics of God and went over it with them. Instead of going to their house, we met at a market half way and over lunch we discussed this very important topic. Sarah was with our friend Neha (a 15 year old girl), whom she has really connected with. Ryan had a great conversation with Pankaj (21 year old college student). John had some great conversation with Rohit (Neha'a 19 year old brother, they both translate for us and have become great friends.)  I was blessed by a talk with Charu, a 19 year old girl.  

This week we met at their home and despite their monetary situation, they are so prompt to bring out chai and snacks. We love their mother. Though she does not speak a lick of english, her sweet presence blesses me every time. On a personal note, I have been struggling with the fact that I am not seeing much fruit. I have been praying for the Lord to humble me and accomplish His purpose and not mine. On Wednesday July 8th, we started our meeting with each of them asking questions that they had from their week in reading. It quickly turned into one on one.  Charu has finished reading the book of John, and is now reading Acts and Matthew. We started our time by me answering some questions from her reading. It was a blessing to explain the Ethiopian Eunuch and the parable of the unforgiving servant. The conversation flowed from talking about sin, to baptism, to forgiveness. She interrupted at one point and told me that before she met us she would only read her bible once a month but since we have been meeting with them, she is reading 5 times a week. This humbled me... God in His mercy chose to show me some fruit. He by no means needed to or should have, but in His grace He blessed me with this conversation. I am astounded by the truth found in Isaiah 55 that His word never returns void. He accomplishes what He wills, when He wills.  

Continue to pray for these believers as they will be starting a group for students their age. Pray for boldness and confidence in the word. Pray that Christ would continue to reveal Himself to them as they seek His word.

We will see you all in 8 days! Pray for our last week here, it's going to be difficult. 

For the Norco Team: Sam Hauser

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Girls Orphanage

We have been going to Grace Home Girl's Orphanage since we arrived in India. Sorry it has taken so long to tell you about these beautiful girls. When we fist went, we were with girls from the Florida team that was here the first three weeks with us. We played hand games (lots of hand games), told a bible story, had a craft and one of us shared our testimony. 30 girls packed in a small room laughing, running and jumping around. It was a sight to see. I learned more hand games in an hour than I have known in my whole life. When we would tell the Bible stories the older girls would correct our mistakes, they knew them so well. These girls have stolen our hearts. 

They love to have their picture taken... 
They Love to sing for us... 
They love hand games... 
And more hand games... 
How could that not steal your heart... 

Their smiles could light up 1,000 rooms and their roaring laughter is sure to bring brightness to anyone's day. This particular day, I found myself observing a lot. It hit me that these girls, despite their present circumstance had amazing joy. The thought of them not having any parents, sleeping 4 girls to a bed and wearing the same clothes day in and day out didn't seem to phase them. Praise songs filled the house and the joy of the Lord was evident there. 

Ryan had a pretty cool conversation with one of the older girls that I overheard. Ryan asked her a bunch of questions but the last question was, "What does India's youth need?" And with great certainty, as if she had thought about it before she said, "Studies and Jesus." Straight from the mouth of a wise 13 year old girl. 

The smiles of each girl grabbed a different part of my heart. I can remember each face vividly. Oh for grace to understand the weight of their present reality, to hurt with them, but to rejoice in the same hope that they rejoice in... JESUS. 
For the Team: Sam Hauser

Friday, June 19, 2009

Simply Tools in His Hands

Angela Mooney commented on one of our blogs and reminded us that we are "simply tools in the hand of the Master." This statement has become a full reality for us as we lean on our Father for strength, discernment and grace to be obedient. We have been going through the book of John in our morning devotion time as a team and today we came across John 6:44 "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him." It was a blessing and an encouragement to know the sovereignty of our great God and to trust Him with the lives we are pouring into.  All of us came to the conviction that we want to share the gospel with more boldness and present decision opportunities. I personally think (and most of the team would agree) that "the sinners prayer" and walking the aisle has been so overplayed in America, that we somewhat shy away from it.  However this is a different culture and we are learning to adapt and give opportunities where people have never been offered that opportunity before. 

Here are a few things we have been up to...

Ryan and John hanging out with Ali.
They met him at New Delhi University and have been hanging out since.
Sarah has connected with his sister, Rukshana. 
Steph, Sam and Supriya.
Supriya is Malveka's sister. Malveka is Indian and is going to school at CBU right now, and her younger sister Supriya lives here in New Delhi. We are loving getting to know her!
**On Sunday night we were able to share the gospel and challenge her to think about the idea of absolute truth. Keep her lifted up. 
Team Norco and the international students at New Delhi University.
(Representing Kenya, Uganda, Fiji, Maldives, India, and America!)

On Wednesdays we travel an hour to a colony called Madipur.  Quick context: Auntie and Daizy have started "life groups" in this area with some of the women. They meet once a week. It has been a blessing.  But as of yet, there has not been a place for the college believers to meet. So a vision that Auntie wanted to see accomplished was that these 2 believers would be leading a group for their own age. That brings us up to date... We have started a discipleship process with these students and for me personally, it has been such a joy.  It is so interesting to see how different aspects of this trip have captured different team member's heart.  We all still serve faithfully but for example but particularly enjoy certain things. For example, Stephanie has such a burden for a pastor's wife and Sarah adores the ministries with the children.  Discipleship is my heart.  To see believers mature brings me such satisfaction.  Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 3:8, "For now we really live if you are standing fast in the Lord."  This has been my prayer and I can't wait to see how the Lord works in this specific situation.

4 weeks is our countdown... 28 days til we get on a plane and come home.  We are pushing through and trying to be the most intentional we can be.  Keep us in prayer and know that we love and miss you all!  

In His Love.... Sam Hauser

Jaya and Amit

Alina and Amena playing in our taxi ( Alina is handicapped
and is 3 1/2 yrs old and Amena just turned 2!)

Pastor Amit loving on his daughter Alina.

Hello all-
My job is to share about a local pastor and his wife and kids who have touched our hearts. Both Amit and Jaya grew up in Hindu homes and decided to follow our Savior years back and met each other at a Bible college here in India. They have 2 beautiful daughters, one of which is handicapped. Jaya is about 7 months pregnant and is having an extremely painful pregnancy. All moms out there can relate I am sure. She can hardly sleep at night and during the day has to keep up with a 2 year old and a hyperactive handicapped child by herself. Talk about humbling for me! I thought my days were tiring! But what a blessing she has been to me (Steph). I have cried with Jaya, and I watch how she struggles to pursue God when she is so tired... and I then look at my own faithless heart and see how I struggle over things of no comparison! Pray for this family and their faithful ministry. For financial provision, spiritual blessing, Jaya's health and for them to learn how to raise their children well.
Something else that has struck me every time we go over to their house-- Pastor Amit is full of smiles and asks "How many hours have you been praying?" Needless to say-- we all laugh quietly and wonder in our heads "Is he serious? Should I answer? How awkward! Did I even pray today yet?? What do I say?? How much does HE pray???" Challenging. He told Scott he prays 6 hours a day.
Ryan and John have been busy teaching boys English out where Pastor Amit lives twice a week.
Sarah and Sam have been teaching the girls. What a blessing they have been to those kids who desire to learn! Scott and I hung out with Amit and Jaya- helping them with their children and encouraging them.
As I finish-- I would like to share a funny story that has a good point to it. Bear with me....
Once upon a time, an itty-bitty girl began a journey to India. At the LAX airport, 2 of her teammates and her forgot to finish their water before going through security. The 2 others got passed through within a minute. However, this little girl had to wait for the slowest security lady in the WORLD to walk her around security...and she had to wait in line again while her team waited for 15 minutes. Finally! After arriving at her desination in New Delhi, this little girl and her team had to go through more security for "bird flu" checks. Joy Joy. However, lo and behold she was the only one singled out to get physically checked for it! Out of EVERYONE in line, the security pulled her aside and shoved a thermometer in her ear! What?? So, she awkwardly stood there for 10 minutes as the man who apparently had no idea what he was doing was shoving a thermometer in her ear. It kept beeping, and he would put it in again. Meanwhile the line is pushing past her- she feels like an idiot- and stares are being directed their way as the WHITEST person in the airport is being assaulted by a thermometer! Nervous giggles escape her...and he finally realizes that the CAP IS ON THE THERMOMETER! Finally, it works and she escapes. Weeks later, this little white girl takes a subway across the city. You receive a chip that scans you through security. All 5 other teammates pass through. BEEP BEEP. "Unauthorized". Not again! She scans again. BEEP BEEP. Everyone is waiting. The security man asks her for 5 rupees to pass! She laughs. No way! Her tall husband walks up and asks what the problem is. The smaller Indian man scans her through with no more questions. lol. THAT part was funny. Whew! Made it!
Then.... one day this little girl's head was curiously ITCHY. Odd. Maybe dry scalp? She waits 2 days and finally asks Aunt Linda and the girls to check her head. The diagnosis? Lice. Yes, I said it: Lice. The little girl cries. She cries again. LICE? Auntie Daizy declares war on the little girl's head and self-titles herself as "The Great Hunter" and gets the lice out. Whew! However, lice takes weeks of combing to get their naaaasssssssty eggs out as they hatch. DID YOU GET THAT? Hatching eggs. 3 hours of combing a day-- which has led to bleeding scalp. Not her cup of tea.
Now- why did I just share all of this with you? Most of you are strangers to me...probably feeling a little itchy yourselves now..=)
I share this story because for a few days I was a WEE bit cranky about my lice situation. It is still not over. But it was my personal "breaking" point. I am learning humility and a need for Christ. I saw my anger and selfishness. The security checks were pretty DARN funny to me. I blame it on my size and color (extra extra white, green eyes, light hair, 5'2"...) lol. But the lice? I have not fully processed it all- but I would have to say a not so pretty side of myself was revealed to me. And over what? A little bug. What would I do if my health and posessions and family was stripped away as Job's was?
Did you all bear with me through it? Perhaps it was more rambling than anything. It was therapeutic for me. Maybe you got a giggle. Maybe you feel more itchy than ever. Or maybe you got a chance to examine your own sinful and selfish heart for a moment.
Joyful in any affliction?
He has saved me from so much filth!
God bless you all.
Have an itch-free day with my blessing and love to all. ;-)
Steph Rendel

Hindu Boys School

The Norco ladies and the boys!

The Norco men and the boys!

These are the younger boys singing a Christian song in Hindi...

Some of our favorite boys coloring a picture of Jesus feeding the 5,000

Our sweet boys... they stole my, Sarah's and Stephanie's heart...

So we taught them a game called "Ninja"... almost one of the greatest things ever invented... (they got a little violent after a while.) ooops...

These are pictures from a Hindu boys school that we are now going to every monday and tuesday. During our time there, us girls spend time with the little ones while the boys spend time with the older guys. A bible story is shared, some songs are sung, a craft is made and a number of games are played. The little ones listen intently to the bible story and are often filled with laughter during the songs and games. The older boys have now heard the gospel and been given a bible in their own language.

This opportunity to spend time at this Hindu boys school is an amazing blessing from the Lord. It is a very special and unique opportunity to be able to openly tell stories about Jesus at this school ran by Hindu followers. The light of Jesus is being shown brightly in this dark place. Please pray for these boys; pray that the seeds planted would impact the boys greatly. Pray that God would cause these seeds to grow. We know that it is only through Him that growth will take place and so pray that He will work in their lives.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Just A Few Pics...

Steph, Sarah and I with three sweet girls...
 (left to right:) Neha (holding Sammy), Sheba and Jerry

A local pastor that the boys will be helping with teaching English as us girls encourage his wife... more to come about them.... 

If it doesn't get all over the place... it doesn't belong in your face...

Our men with the guys from the church... These guys are on fire for the Lord! 

A family we met in a nearby village. Steph and I got to 
share our testimonies...

We were blessed with a lot of fruitful conversations...
Scott with new believer Palandro.

Sarah jammin' with some boys after church...

Kids at a different village when we went to tell stories and pray for the people...
So fun, even when the power went out and a bird pooped on me! 

Continue to lift us up... A typical week schedule will look like this from now on:
Monday-Tuesday: Teaching English in the slums with a local pastor.
Wednesday: appointments with the contacts we've made...
**Discipleship with new believers.
Thursday-Friday: Teaching English and telling stories at the Hindu Boys School.
Saturday: rest day... appointments 
Sunday: church and fellowship.

So you can see all of our free time :)! Would you pray that we would be diligent in the word and faithful in prayer. Steph and John have a ton of school work to finish on top of all this! 

We are all still working through things that God is teaching us and challenging us with. We love and miss you all! Be blessed this week! 

For the Norco Team:
    Sam Hauser