Guangzhou

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In a few days I am flying to Guangzhou in southern China to shoot some documentary footage for my ministry.  We are meeting with a few people to discuss what our Father is doing in Asia and across the world. I am torn with emotions, I thought i would have the chance to see my daughter on this trip, but we are not yet matched so that will not happen.  But I am also excited for the experience and impact the trip will have on us and the minister we represent.

Made it home – but my bags did not

My trip around the world came to the end yesterday at 5:00pm.  It was a 21 hour flight with a 1hour layover in London.  I will tell you as a dad there is no better feeling than opening your front door to the sounds of little feet running at you.  Champe was there to greet me with a huge hug and an “i love you daddy.”  Thank you for the many prayers and kind words you shared with me on my trip.  It was a lot of fun and at the same time i was able to capture some video that will really bring a piece of what God is doing in India home.chennai-3

I will be honest this was the first big trip i had gone on since my fathers death, and along the trip i could not help but stop and say wouldn’t it be great if my dad saw this.  One of those moments was a stop at one of the highest points in Chennai.  It is a known as St. Thomas mount, and is widely believed to be the place Thomas was martyred from. (Thomas was one of the 12 disciples)  As you stood out you truly took in the whole city and as I reached down to pick up i rock, i pictured my dad giving a lecture to a group of students on the geology of the region.  I miss you dad.

I will try to unpack more of the trip in the days to come but for now i could not be more happy to see Melissa, Eli, and champe.  Bear with me as i look through the hours of video and the hundreds of pictures from a trip that truly changed my life.

No cows were injured in the making of this post…

All this time i thought it was the stuff of movies.  You see in pictures and other material that the Indians let the cows roam free.  That motorcycles, cars and all other traffic come to a stop whenslide5 they cross the road.  It is true!  and it makes a four hour trip much longer when you are dodging cows the entire trip.  I learned today the Indians call them brake checks.  Today was a full day.  we spent the day in PUDUCHERRY (finally the correct spelling)  We visited a local church that is trying to plant a English speaking church.  Puducherry has almost 1 million people with 200 churches.  there is not a single English speaking church in the city.  They told us there is over 150,000 English speakers in the town.  While there we also saw several other ministries they are starting including a computer center, and a ministry to a local outreach new age community.

It was a full day, and along the way i got to touch the Bay of Bengal, and a random elephant in front of a hindu temple.  If you gave slide6the elephant a coin it would bless you by touching your head.  We tried and it did not bless us.  I think grant said it best when he looked at the trainer and said.  it is OK i am already blessed.  It really is a heart breaker to see a people so committed to a belief that is taking them no where.  I look forward to seeing what we can do to partner with the church here in India.

Please pray for our trip as we head back late tomorrow night.  I am not looking forward to another 20 hours on a plane…

What time is it here?

India is 11:30 hours ahead of Texas, which means we spend most days trying to figure out if it is morning or night.  It was a 20 hour flight over to Chennai, so that does not help the situation.   Even with the time difference it is amazing to see the similarities between the church as a whole all over the world.  Today we spent the day traveling to different churches.  All of which are the same “POWERHOUSE church” umbrella but meeting in different locations.

The first of which met in a local restaurant.  The restaurant features American food and really makes a mean chicken fried steak.  Although it cannot compete with my Mother-inlaws, because she makes it all from scratch.  The unique thing about the restaurant is that is is a giant mission project.  The owner is a missionary who raises support to live in India.  The restaurant gives all of it’s profits back to various ministries within the city that reach out to the poor and needy.  The restaurant has become completely self sufficient, and is able to make a difference in a way i have not seen before.  What a creative idea.

The second church was meeting in a local community college.  The vision of the church is to reach the influencers and upper middle class of the city.  The goal in reaching this community is that they are the ones who will help to transform India.  There is not much movement between the classes, so in reaching the class that influences government and business you can change all of India.  Again a creative idea.

The last church was a church in the education section of Chennai.  The goal of the english speaking church is to raise up students that will then travel all over the world taking the gospel with them.  Many of the students get trained in hig end jobs and then move away for better jobs.  As a result the message of Christ travels with them.  Again creativity at its best

What i have learned to day is that we serve a Great God.  When we focus on Him he provides us a way to take His message around the world.  It has been an encouraging day to see God’s people at work.

Tomorrow we are visting several projects in Puducherry, which is four hours south on teh coast.  It is a former french colony that has a heavy new age influence.  The community was hit hard by the tsunami.  I can feel your prayers here.  You can pray for me as a try to capture footage that will best tell the story of God’s movement in India.

The Amazing Race – India style

Today i got to see first hand both the sadness and loss of hope that comes with poverty, and at the same time the joy and heartwarming love that comes from helping your fellow man.  For the next few days we are visiting multiple ministries that a local church is involved in.  The church, Powerhouse, is a church that is desiring to be like Jesus in their local communtiy.  Through multiple chruches and partnerships they are making an impact on Sothern India.  Below you will find pictures from three of our Journeys as we race around the CIty of Chennai.  Please Continue to pray for us as we try to learn how we can best partner with Powerhouse to impact our world.

slide12This is a picture of a group of elderly women that were previously living on the street.  60% of India lives below the poverty line.  That means they make less than $1.00 a day.  Beacuse of the huge amount of poverty elderly, disabled and children are viewed more as a burden.  This ministry, Areuwe, takes in these women and others and provides hope.  They teach them skills that can be used to get a job, They provide care for the sick, and they teach them other skills to help them at their most basic needs.  As a result they are open to hearing about the love of Christ and the freedom that comes froma relationship with him.

Our next stop took us to a hindu temple.  slide22It was heartbreaking to see the difffernt people worship multiple gods.  As we learn more about Hindu, I am taken back by the cast system that is part of the religion.  Because of a belief in recarnation, there is no hope to move up in the cast system.  Hindus believe that if you accept the role in life you are given and are a good hindu you will be reincarnated to a higher level.  Therefore if you are poor you have no desire to ever be more than that.   It is an interesting contrast to christianity that provides hope through Christ sacrifice.  It is a free Gift.  Through Him there is always hope.

The last stop of the day was at a “slum”  as they call it.slide33

The slum was visit was a communcal group of people that had been displaced 3 times.  They were hit directly by the Tsunami a few years ago and as a result lost many family members and friends.  They were then moved to a grass hut type village, by the government.  That village burnt down forcing them to move to a refuge type tent city.  Just reacently they were given small homes in a buildign a several miles away from the coast.  It was heartbreaking to see the poverty in the homes, but it was heartwarming to see the joy and laughter on the children’s faces.  In the picture, jake, the pastor of Powerhouse is sitting down in the grey shirt.  One of the many satellite churches he heads up meets in this slum.  The pastor of the slum church is standing in the white shirt.

 

the last image is for my sister whitney.  And yes Whitney it does look just like the amazing race….

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20 hours on a plane…

Hello from Chennai India!  Today we start a short missiontrip here in india.  I am with 5 others from my church, and this has already proven to be quite an adventure.  It tooks us 20 hours on a plane to get here.  We arrived late last night at 3am and after a long nap will visit a few key partnerships this morning.  I am both excited and nervous for the journey ahead.   My goal here is to capture the lives and parterships of the people we are working with in the coming years through a simple documentary.  I am up for the challenge, but also know God is always with us.  I will update you all when i can.

Off to India…

Yes you read that correctly,  Today i am headed to India for a short mission trip.  Please keep me in your prayers as i expand my mission field.  It is going to be a quick trip that will put me back in McKinney next Wednesday night.  I really am looking forward to the adventure ahead.  To be honest it feels a little like The Amazing Race.  (they went to India last week)  I am headed to Chennai on the the Southeast coast of the Country.  I will be joined by 4 others as we both scout for a future trip and make new contacts.  Personally i am hoping to capture some footage and interviews for a documentary i am working on.  Through pictures and video i want to share my personal vision to change the world around me.  It is both our calling and our purpose to reach out a hand to those in need.  I am hoping to do that this next week.

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