Life in an Indian Christian School with John Ebenezer in AP India by Steve Martin
Our ride finally came to the hotel at , just a tad bit after the time we were told. As I said earlier, "on time" here just isn't what I am used to. (Don't tell the staff about being two hours late. I still have over 24 clocks at the office. Those who have seen my Charlotte office know that I am not "evangelistically speaking" one bit.)
During the 30 minute one-way journey to the church property again, there was an extraordinary quantity of cattle and water buffaloes walking on the two lane highway. Pastor John said Wednesday is flea market day.
Now I have been to many flea markets (Laurie and I love them, as does Timmy the Bryant), and even a cattle auction before. Mixing the two is very interesting. Sounds like a new business adventure in Pineville, NC, heh?!
Pastor John Ebenezer's son is the administrator of a private school here, named after this village of 15,000, called the Mucherla Global School. Kids range in age from 1st grade through 10th grade. They number 480 in all. Both Hindus and Christians attend, all wearing their blue and white uniforms.
is a high priority, and parents see to it that they get the best they can afford.
To have seen their one or two room homes later, and to hear what the parents earn working, it is a big price they pay.
As one of the male teachers took us to each class, the kids stood, said " " in English, and smiled very sweetly when I photographed them. Several classes met outside under trees or an overhang. Those in the crowded classrooms were taught without lights, but it was easy to see they were enthusiastic in being instructed.
Their plastic lunch baskets reminded me of a beach towel small basket. They were lined up along the outside classroom walls. Their sandals were also neatly placed in a row outside their room door, or under the tree.
Glass windows are non-existent in the school, the church buildings, or the village homes. Flat roofs sit atop block walls, with swinging wooden shutters attached as typical protection and venilation in the "window" spaces.
After the fourth conference session today, John took us to the village of his birth, only about 4 miles from the church. The block foundation was the only visble mark after more than six decades.
His nephew, the nephew's son and his wife lived in the house next to this landmark. The home even had a "kitchen" - an attached mud room with a fire pit. The "shower" was a four foot high, three-walled dirt space outside near the front porch. It had no roof, and a big bowl was holding water.
When we left to get in the Toyota rental van, we noticed the water pump outside the wooden stick fence. Upon further inspection Edgar and I saw the sign attached to the base. It read "Operation Blessing", the humanitarian ministry of Pat Robertson.
Again I shared in three of the four sessions today, each time consisting of worship and then approximately 30 minutes of teaching.
At the beginning of the first one I wanted to have a common language between us, so I taught them Hebrew! Using the song "Hine Matov" from Psalm 133, I spoke the lyrics and had all write them down as John translated, and then we all sang. Of course it will take a few more lessons before we hit Broadway. (Maybe American Idol will come film it next time. Just as good as some of them.)
Using verses from the gospel of Luke as my foundation, I shared how Jesus choose to reach the nations - by selecting 12 men, spending three and a half years with them, and then sending them out. Simple but most effective.
It continues to amaze me how we have for the most part, as the church body, dismissed His method of discipleship (which is still a good word in my vocabulary) instead using our own plans of evangelism, pastoring large churches, or paying tremendous amounts of money to air "talking heads" on TV programs.
I publicly commended John Ebenezer for taking young men as pastors under his wings, commiting himself to train them personally for years, often providing material substinance for them as well, and then sending them out to start new churches in the area villages. Maybe we should be doing the same? Time has shown what gets the real job done.
Far too many times we build our own big ministries, only to see far too many come crashing down as the "main man" goes astray. Or people are kept from going out, in order to keep one man or woman's vision ongoing. We will have to give an account as to how the many resources entrusted to us have been foolishly spent. Shame on us.
The last session I shared on I entitled "Working as a Team". Building the body, with each person being allowed to use their gifts for the purpose of building up one another, is vitally important. Each member doing their part, as again based on the Lord's model of the human body parts working together, moves us all forward.
At the end of this session I opened it up to a question and answer time. Now that was fun!
There is one more meeting tonight, followed by two more days of sessions. I am looking forward very much to Friday, when we surprise the pastors and wives with our gifts we bought for them - a "Greetings from Jerusalem" t-shirt for the men and a saree for each woman. Christmas in February!
Thus almost ends another day in east India. In an hour the evening session begins. The day has been good. I hope you have a good one too.
Vision for Israel
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John needs to build up his monthly giving, from small to large, God will multiply every gift sown into this good soil.