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 



Wednesday, June 10, 2009


The church service went well. I bet it was a bit more mellow than they are used to but worship was a blessing.  John, Ryan and Sam led worship with a mix of english and Hindi songs so everyone was involved.  Ryan brought the word from 1 Corinthians 3:5-9.  It was such a blessing to the church as well as our team.  Scott and Sarah shared their testimonies with such boldness. Overall last week was a success in the friendships we made and the things we got to share with them... 
Here is some of the group that stayed for fellowship and lunch...

This week we are finally slowing down a little bit!!--- which is good and bad. Bad because it's easy to sit around and be comfortable at home, but good because we now have more time to invest in the relationships we've been making the past weeks.
PRAY for us as we meet weekly with these new friends of all castes and religions. Clear communication, fun times, deep conversations, boldness to share our stories with them, receptiveness, etc...
Speaking for myself, I (Steph) am excited! My introvert side looks forward to one-on-one time for sure! I'm more than happy to be the wall-flower if I feel overwhelmed by people or others take the lead. So, pray that all of us introverts (except for Sam because she most certainly is the vibrant extrovert- in a good way-- lol) BREAK out of our shells and take advantage of this one-on-one time.
All for now. Much love.
P.S. It was Scott and I's 1-year wedding anniversary last Friday. It was a blessed day-- and unique to be sure! God is good.
Steph R. (with a side of Sam) 

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Pray Today Please...

Three days ago we were asked to lead a church service for this next sunday. We have not actually been to the church for a sunday service; but, we have been with the pastor and a few student members, working alongside them to go to the universities all week. We have come to realize that this church is quite different from what we are used to and comfortable with. They are a bit on the charismatic side. Sam, John and Ryan are leading music, Scott, Stephanie and I (sarah) are sharing testimonies, and then Ryan will be preaching as well. We are all pretty nervous. These people are used to services a bit crazier then what we are used to. We would prefer not to bore them to death. Pray that we could be used powerfully to speak truth into the lives of our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Pray that we would not withhold truth out of fear of contradicting an idea they may have. Ask that the Holy Spirit would be evident among us to this body. The service will start at 10 am our time so that would be 9:30 pm your time. Please be praying. We'll be sure to let you know how it goes. Thanks so much for your prayers, they are greatly greatly appreciated :)

Sarah Lopez

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Sad Goodbyes and New Greetings...

This evening we said goodbye to the team from Florida that has been with us for the last three weeks. They were a great blessing to us and we thank the Lord for them. Their joy was contagious and their passion for Jesus overflowed. We became united as a family and will miss them dearly.

The last few days we have spent some time in North Dehli University area, having conversations with students. We are working alongside another group of Christian students, many of them being from other parts of the world as well. Our first day was filled with a number of tense frustrations. We really struggled with their methods in sharing truth. As we began to share with them methods that we believe are more effective, they allowed us to use our methods and by the second day they were beginning to really see the effectiveness and use our methods as well. We have been able to have some awesome conversations with the university students and been able to share the truth with them numerous times. For many of them, hinduism is cutlural not personal; they seem open to ideas of other possible truths. Praise God for the awesome work he is doing in the lives of the Indian students, for the willingness they have to listen to the truths we have to share. Please pray as we continue to converse. Ask the Lord to soften the hearts of those who remain hostile and firm in their beliefs. As we make these contacts, we hope to continue the relationships and pour out truth regularly. We are doing well. Some of us have adjusted quicker than others; but, we are becoming a bit more comfortable each day and continuing to learn as we watch and listen.

Sarah Lopez

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Learning & Growing (AND the Taj Mahal!)

It has been an exciting 2 1/2 weeks so far! Scott and I were talking yesterday in the car ride home from the Taj Mahal about how much we have been learning from just BEING here-- let alone how much Dr. Thom and the other believers have been teaching us, etc. I have observed how we are all being challenged in different ways- especially this past week. Whether struggling with doubt, daily prayer, supporting each other, loving this culture and people, or just plain missing home-- we appreciate prayer through these battles.
I appreciate the struggles and strengths of each of our team members. You know that feeling of putting yourself on a pedestal?? Well, maybe it is just me-- but I struggle-- and being here is reminding me of how much we ALL struggle and also contribute to the Kingdom. When you might not agree on everything, you do agree on loving God, giving of yourself and sharing the gospel. What a beautiful thing. Being away from the distractions of daily life that seem so important at the time. Cranky because the chicken isn't defrosting fast enough to make dinner, upset because life is busy and there's no time for my quiet time...oh my. When did I forget and begin justifying all of my little busy tasks?
I feel like there's so much more I should be writing here. All of our funny, terrifying, and interesting stories...but too much to share at once. However, a brief recap: Sam, Scott and I (Steph) almost died several times on the way back from the Taj Mahal thanks to a suspiciously-crazy driver, John was offered marijuana, we continuously fit our whole team of 6 into a rickshaw meant for 3, we have fallen in love with a few Indians, been asked to take a LOT of picures with Indians (apparently we are famous here!), have encouraged an Indian believer to tears b/c of the love and attention we showed her, been asked to simply hold a baby because we're white, was called a Barbie, had monkeys do back flips for us, and have gotten "loose motion" to top it off.
Whoever is reading this-- know that we love and miss you-- and pray hard alongside us-- even though we are far away.
Stephanie & Scott Rendel

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Haps...

We have done quite a bit this last week. Friday we got back from Hisar and did laundry and rested.  Saturday morning, 10-12 or so pastors and church leaders came over and we learned about telling Bible stories. At first I was a little hesitant but the reality in India is that the people here respond to stories more than theological debates or apologetic conversations.  We told our life stories to each other and I got to hear some really interesting things.  Our team had a great conversation because it has seemed that there has been a break down in communication. We discussed the fact that there are 5 introverts and me, an extrovert.  I was extremely blessed by my teams ability to show immense sincerity when it comes to listening.  A few of us have talked about coming out of our comfort zones to be vulnerable with each other to better love one another. 
Saturday afternoon we traveled to Lotus Temple which is of the B'hai faith.  It was so beautiful, we will try to get pictures up soon.  We had an interesting experience.  As we went in to sit down, it had to be completely silent.  There were ushers there shushing anyone that made a sound. After about 5 minutes of praying for the people we decided to get up and leave but were quickly ushered to sit back down. 5 more minutes passed and we tried to leave again.  We had to sit back down. I thought we would never get out!  Just then a girl sang this beautiful song in the temple with a beautiful echo. (We talked about how cool it would be to sing praises all alone.)  Then they read some things in different languages from all the different books and then we were taken aback when they read John 15 in English.  As we were walking out we were asked if we wanted to go to the information center so we did.  As we were reading all the signs a white girl dressed in a kurta asked us if we would like a tour.  Turns out that she is from Canada and she is just volunteering here for the summer. We had some really cool talks with her. Please pray that we could hang out with here and share truth. We are going back to the temple on Thursday night. B'hai's believe that truth is relative and all religions are correct. 
This week so far, the girls have been going to an orphanage telling bible stories and sharing that these girls are created in the image of God.  The boys are teaching English at a Hindu boys school. In the afternoons we have been feeling out different areas so that we can place ourselves in the most effective spot to meet locals.  Already we have met some believers that we get a chance to encourage and some different workers. I am excited to build relationships and share truth in a place that is so extremely dark. 
We have quite a few things that you can be lifting up for us.  We ask that you continue to be faithful in prayer. 1.) For our team: that we might love each other better and that we will be more diligent in prayer. 2.) For the relationships that we have started, that He would soften their hearts to hear truth. 3.) Continued joy in the heat and through battling personal struggles. 
We love and miss the body more than you know! 

--Sam Hauser--  
(John and I stayed home sick today, so please lift that up)  

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Our Team...

The beautiful Laura Moore took pictures of us before we left. Our hope is that it gives you a visual as you pray for us... We love and miss you guys.

We got hops... 
Sam Hauser
Sarah Lopez
Stephanie Rendel
Scott Rendel
John Sachs
Ryan Christie

Train Trip

We just got back from our trip to the girls hostel and school in Hisar. It was a great trip. We got the opportunity to stay at an amazing home that is over 120 years old and is on the same property as the girls hostel and the school. We were treated like royalty and had our best Indian food yet! We spent a lot of time hanging out with the girls from the hostel and playing games with them; we taught Bible stories and basic english in pairs of two in their classes.

Some highlights of the trip were a day excursion with the hostel girls to a water park. This was an adventure in itself but it was also a real treat because it has been extremely hot. The girls loved it!

Some things to pray for: the expansion of the school in adding 11th and 12th grades, the discipleship of the girls, and the leadership of the school.