Mission North East: When God messed up our plans!
“We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.”
How often have we found planning for something big, but when it comes to execution – something totally different is what actually happens. That God was going to do something similar was revealed to us when we met and sat together to pray for Mission North East. But the extent to which He is going to change what we had planned was revealed only as and when we ministered in the region.
Team Rebuilders went as two ‘teams’ with Pr. Joel James becoming a ‘one man team’ to head to a convention in Assam. He was invited to lead worship, but then, God would use him for so much more. As he spent some time with the youngsters, their attitude towards worship underwent a change for the better. The young men and women who had travelled from different parts of North East committed to serve the Lord at their workplaces, and prepared themselves to reach their communities through different tools for evangelism like skits and action songs in their language. Pr Joel says, a movement of awakening among these youngsters has already started and they are fired up to worship the Lord in Spirit and in truth in all areas of their lives.
The other team included five of us, and God had already changed our initial schedule due to the floods in Assam and Meghalaya – two states we were originally supposed to visit. It was Holy Spirit’s way of telling us to “go International!” It was God’s way of telling us to change directions, and be an encouragement for the church in Bhutan.
But before we stepped into Bhutan, there was God’s plan to be accomplished in churches panning Darjeeling, Gangtok (Sikkim) and Nepal. We landed at Siliguri on the afternoon of 4th of October to be greeted by our guide and host during the trip – Pr. Jose. Tired, but excited at what God has in store, our team headed for an evening of what would turn out to be a mighty visitation of the Holy Ghost at the Berean Theological College. Spirit-filled worship, deliverances, healings and revelations meant that many youngsters dedicated their lives to a greater calling.
Sunday worship at a God-filled church led by Pastor Binoy Mathew in Siliguri would reveal God’s purposes for the church, and a special prophetical anointing on the children there.
It was becoming clearer by the hour that we should just allow the Holy Spirit to take control from here on. Everyone was to be prepared with a Word that God reveals to them for the next congregation. Pastor Ron Cargay and his family and church in Pedong in Darjeeling played loving hosts the next day. God stressed on the need for ‘greater faith’, as many experienced the loving power of God through the Word and ministering. At the meal table, we would end up learning as much as we shared, as the Lord used Pastor Ron’s casual talks to serve some sumptuous revelations.
Next stop: Gangtok, Sikkim. That we serve an awesome God is beyond any doubt. And He showed His awesomeness as Holy Spirit once again invaded with some serious power. “Boast in the Lord” was the word for the church, as deliverances started taking place with the meeting going beyond the prescribed timing. It was God’s awesomeness all the way!
The ministry in India would take a short break as we headed to Pashupati in the Nepal side of the border. The team would experience a mini-trek of sorts as they huffed, puffed and enjoyed God’s artistry walking next to the picturesque mountains to reach a small church hall, filled with believers who waited for more than two hours for our arrival. God, who never takes breaks, fed these hungry souls with the Word to ‘invite Jesus’ to work in their lives, to turn their dead situations into life-filled ones. Truly a word from the Lord that would encourage and equip the church to do mighty things in Nepal! The gate to come back to India had shut at 630 PM. We were at the gate by 8! God’s mercy meant that the gates were opened specially for us. We hope and pray that the gates of revival would open for Nepal.
On our way back to Siliguri next morning, we had a unique opportunity to worship and pray out in the open, surrounded by hills and streams, with a local pastor. After a nice quiet time, we made our way to Jaigoan on the Indo-Bhutan border. The church there was called to show an attitude of crazy faith that can change the timetable of God. A time of ministering and intercession followed as the church was prophesied upon to come out of their bushes to meet Jesus in all His glory!
Some confusion over coordination, and we thought God’s plan didn’t quite include Bhutan. Our trip could well be cutting short. Or so we thought, till at the breakfast table, we met a Bhutanese Pastor who was obviously God-sent! He would help us with our permits, and would later tell us that he is a soon-to-be-author of his autobiography ‘From Prison to Pulpit’ revealing his testimony of being a former “terrorist” who experienced the love of God to become a Bible teacher!
We were told that it wasn’t easy being a Christian in Bhutan, and it isn’t! While we cannot divulge too many details, we were pleasantly surprised when our bus driver to Thimphu started playing Christian music through the bus stereo! If that wasn’t a shock enough, he would soon be sharing the gospel with his co-passengers. We would just sit and admire at his courage, as the small iota of fear from our minds vanished!
We ministered to a local church, led by Pastor Kailash, in Thimphu on Sunday, and the call for ‘Harvest is plenty but labourers are few’ was well received by the church. What was amazing was the testimony of a believer who had seen a couple of dreams two weeks back, and the Word turned out to be an interpretation of those dreams! That God would send a team of five to a location 2000 kilometres away from their homes speaks volumes for the kind of love that the Father bestows upon His children! Do we require more proof to know that we serve a God who is full of sweet surprises? Do pray for the church in Bhutan as they pray for more freedom to worship the Lord and Saviour.
As we headed back home, we could just be grateful to God for guiding us through the journey; for revealing His ways to us; to Pastor Jose, Pastor Binoy, Pastor Kumar, Pastor Kailash, Bro. Arun and all those who incredibly sweet smiling faces we met along the way, who left a lasting impression on us.
We could also reflect on a Saturday afternoon in Mumbai when we prayed and asked God for directions, even as we practiced our skit. God had revealed that His schedule and plans would hold priority. We had our skits, videos, and action songs ready. God wanted none of it. Does that mean we disobeyed God by practicing and preparing? No. Preparation, no matter what God tells us, is a part and parcel of the ministry. It shows that we aren’t lazy, and cannot take God for granted.
Both teams headed back from the North Eastern part of the Indian Subcontinent convinced that it is for our own good when God messes up our plans. The trip was God’s way of showing us what is in store if we just obey!
To see photographs of our trip on our Rebuilders FB page, click here.