Jul 9, 2014
Jan and I just returned from a 3 1/2 week mission trip.
We went to India and a place that for security reasons we called “the Northern Highlands,” where we joined a Training Leaders International team in helping pastors grow in studying and preaching God’s Word.
We also went to Thailand, where we visited dear friends who were sent out from our church to work with an unreached people group.
We could tell that many of you were praying for us, because we saw so much evidence of God’s grace —
- Helping me teach in India’s heat.
- Enabling Jan to endure six hours of stomach upheaval.
- Giving the team wisdom to teach and answer questions.
- Speaking through Jan as she urged the men to love their wives
- Bringing someone to help Jan and me when we were completely lost.
- Strengthening me to preach in Thailand.
- Giving us patience with minor discomforts and inconveniences.
Church leaders said that because of this training there are now more than 50 pastors in India and the Northern Highlands who are studying God’s word more carefully, and preaching God’s Word more clearly and powerfully.
Much of this is due to your prayers. Thank You.
And here’s what happened in India, as I described it on the Training Leaders International website —
Right at Home
Monday evening we arrived at the Reach All Nations compound. The rest of the team had flight delays, and would not arrive until late Tuesday, so it was just my wife and me.
It was hot — we were dripping — but we soon forgot that as we met the 25 pastors who had come for the training.
These men lead churches in difficult areas. Many of them face danger and public opposition. To come for this training, some had traveled over eight hours on difficult roads.
As they greeted us their faces were shining with love for Christ. We immediately felt right at home.
Overview of Genesis 1-11
Tuesday morning, after a bucket shower (a bucket of water and a dipper — what more do you need?) and a breakfast of hard-boiled eggs, toast, and Nutella, the training started.
We met on the second floor of an unfinished school building in the compound. There were no walls, just pillars holding up the floors. It was open on all sides, so from where I taught I could see buffalo grazing, thatch-roofed huts, and women cooking over fires.
All the students sat at tables with their Telugu Bibles open. The interpreter and I sat at a table in front, facing them. We prayed for God’s help, and then I gave some background on Genesis 1-11. We talked about how the Old Testament is the foundation for the New Testament, and how the book of Genesis is the foundation for the Old Testament.
Then we looked at Old and New Testament passages which show that Moses wrote Genesis, and we saw that what Moses wrote was for both the nation of Israel, and the church today (1Cor 10:6,11).
I ended with an overview of Genesis 1-11 — showing how Moses describes God’s goodness in Creation, Adam and Eve’s sin, and the spread of sin and God’s curse throughout the world to set the stage for God’s promise that through Abraham’s seed he will overcome the curse and bring the blessing of salvation to every people group on the earth.
God’s Perfect Goodness
Then after a break, we started the second session — on Genesis 1:1 – 2:4. We explained that our goal was to see what Moses is saying in this passage, by reading carefully and noticing what he repeats and emphasizes.
Then we worked on the passage, by having a student read a section out loud in his Telugu Bible, talking together about what we observed in the text, having another student read the next section, and so on.
We saw how Moses wants us to understand that God created everything by his sovereign power. We also noticed how often Moses repeats the word “good,” showing that the God who created everything is good and does good. We rejoiced together in this God who is perfectly good, infinitely powerful, and flawlessly wise — and talked about how he deserves our complete trust.
Then after a lunch break we studied Genesis 2:5-25. Again, we read through this passage verse by verse, reading carefully, noticing what Moses emphasized, and trying to understand his flow of thought.
We saw that one point was to explain the origin and sacredness of marriage — which gave us an opportunity to discuss the importance of loving our wives, and how we must not let the ministry cause us to neglect our marriages.
It was pure joy seeing these pastors studying their Bibles, carefully reading God’s Word, and rejoicing in the God they saw displayed.
God’s Promise of Salvation
Then after another tea break we tackled Genesis 3. We saw how Adam and Eve stopped trusting God’s goodness (and how one way to fight temptation is to see how God’s goodness is displayed in Genesis 1 and 2). We saw how sin brought God’s curse upon the world, but how God promised to raise up one of Eve’s descendants who would crush the serpent’s head.
As we celebrated this prophecy of Christ’s victory over sin and Satan — the men burst out with Amen’s.
That wrapped up the teaching for the day, so we went back to the house we were staying in. Soon we were joined by the rest of the team, went to a local restaurant for dinner, and then back to the house.
I went to sleep thanking God for the privilege of studying God’s Word with these men.
If you know someone this would help, email it to them using the “share” button below. Or use the other buttons to share it on your favorite social media.
If you would like to interact with others who are seeking to live by faith in Christ, visit our Forums page.
If you would like to receive a Saturday email summarizing the week’s posts — go to the top right of this page, fill in your email address, and click the “Submit” button. (I will only use your email address for Living By Faith Blog communications, and you can easily unsubscribe at any time.)
And here are some related posts you might find helpful –
- The Plight Of The Unreached (6-min video)
- How James Fraser Overcame Satanic Attack
- Are You Willing to Go