I didn’t wait to be “called to India” from the voice of God…I had already been commissioned by Jesus in His Word (Luke 10:42). “Jesus didn’t say come but GO…not make members but disciples…to teach, not just give knowledge.” Back in March, our church showed a documentary on India that broke our hearts for the women and sparked Caleb to say, “lets go!” I simply submitted and we signed up that night. If God agreed, He would provide the funds to send us. We ended up raising a little over the amount needed! It wasn’t until months before we left that the dreams came, confirming and preparing my heart for the trip.
The first dream I had was of an Indian girl who I had shared the gospel with and she was preaching at other men in the village yelling, “You believed in all of those ways to get to God and where did it get you? NOWHERE!” She was so passionate and fiery but I immediately feared that these men were going to grab their guns and kill us. They hopped in a car and began to follow us back to our home. I ran ahead, seeing the leaders outside with smiles waiting expectantly for these men to come and share the gospel as I sprinted into the house to jump behind the curtains. “Jesus, I want to be brave,” I said. “Don’t be afraid. Step out of the curtains,” He replied. I came out but heard noise and jumped back behind them. The men all shuffled in and by the end they all prayed to receive Christ. They may have come to kill but Christ’s blood finished their flesh and slaughtered my fear. First thing to do in India…tear down all the curtains!
2 weeks before India, I couldn’t walk and was diagnosed with Planters Fascitis…I got the flu shot on a Saturday which led to the flu…fever…throwing up on Tuesday…got pink eye on Friday (the day before I was leaving for the Gateway Conference—a church hosting pastors and worship to pour into those who work at a church)…got meds and determined to go & woke up with an ear infection at the hotel on Sunday…went to the urgent care & lost my voice on Monday. Woke up and left Tuesday.
After a 5 hour flight and 14 hour flight, I looked down and saw the city lit by candles & fireworks illuminating the city. I was the celebration of Diwala (which means light) because Rama, their god’s bride was stolen & this was the night he rescued her and took her back to his land. Jesus immediately spoke a word over the land—I am the light of the world and I’m here to bring enlightenment to the darkness. I’ve come to win back my bride (the people) and take her back from the enemy.
My 2nd dream: we walked in to a cheap hotel and there were girls chained to the walls in our room. I looked at one and said, “Get out of her in the name of Jesus!” The demon looked shocked and then fled to the next girl. I lifted my voice and said, “I said, GET OUT in the name of Jesus!” and ordered him the to not return. All throughout the night the demons made screeching noises outside our door to try and torment me in fear because they were upset that we covered the place with Jesus and they no longer could live within souls. Caleb was sound asleep throughout the night.
In reality, we arrived to our hotel and it looked so much and felt like the one in my dream. I even woke up in the middle of the night from nightmares about the Hindu gods as Caleb was sleeping sound. They believe in their own trinity-Brahma, Shiva (the Destroyer), & Vishnu (the blue man). I dreamt of a pale Indian man in a white turban then his head rotated upside down and turned into the elephant god. On our first day on the field, we went to a house and there he was on a huge photo on their wall. He was an ancestor that was worshipped in their household. We were unable to share the gospel with that village.
The first day we exchanged our cash for rupees and hit the mall, took a 3 hour nap and woke up to walk to a restaurant. The Indian food was the one thing I most dreaded but surprisingly the last thing I needed on this trip was cheese-its and peanut butter! Nothing is better than garlic non with butter chicken! I felt completely spoiled the first day. We rode a bus with all of our Indian translators to our 2nd hotel, in which we showed up and our room number was 207 with a olympic sized pool view outside our balcony! Hanging with these people felt like my heavenly home. Not once was I told, “you don’t have to talk about Jesus all the time, Bethany!” and every joke we made was including some type of Bible verse. Totally cheesy but we all loved it. One of the translators that reminded me of Jay LeRoux nicknamed me “Joy” and referred to me as that the whole week.
Sunday we were asked to preach at the church service. Caleb taught on abiding in the Vine and I taught on bringing heaven to earth through faith. It’s funny because that’s the first thing God taught me. I thought I carried faith bigger than a mustard seed! But it’s not until its planted, will you see it move mountains. After having 2 girls come up to me with their mom asking for their deaf ears to be opened did I realize that I had a lack. “Who do these people think I am?” Boy did that reveal who I was putting the power in…and myself won’t get very far. Jesus said to me, “Bethany, belief is different than faith. You believe that I can heal the blind and deaf because I did it 2,000 years ago but do you have faith for Me to release heaven through you in this moment right now?” I didn’t go to India to appreciate the culture but to shift it but in order to shift the culture you have to appreciate the people. “God, give me a love for these people” began to be the cry of my heart. I won’t live without it and they’ll die without it. Love is the currency of anointing.
We headed out to the villages and had crowds of 20, 30, 50, 100, etc.. We shared the gospel and many were saved. We prayed for healing and while praying many said they felt hot oil running throughout their body and completely light afterwards. People came for prayer for anything from deaf ears to a pimple. There was no shame in wanting healing and some came just for that. It’s easy to get discouraged or angry when they want to use us for the power of God but Jesus knew those who showed up on the day the fish and bread multiplied that all they wanted was food and yet He still continued to give.
We drank lots of chai tea & ate lots of cookies as each house pulls out their precious tea sets and serves their guests every…single…time. Hospitality is not a struggle in this land. After the trip I had realized that Jesus had been giving me a gift each day. Our translator whom I had just met the first day gave me her pants that I had complimented. On the plane in Germany I was so hungry for some of their famous chocolate but refrained and on the plane they passed out a huge round chocolate bar! I had forgotten to pack my hair brush so my hair was super knotty and I had forgotten a hair tie to the village. This woman kissed my hand, asked if she could kiss my cheek and then went and got a brand new comb that had never been used before and began to brush my hair, tying it off with an Indian scrunchy. I realized immediately that Jesus had just washed my feet.
The next day I asked if my translator thought he could find me a mustard seed. The other translator said, no you won’t because they’ve already been harvested. The first translator then speaks Hindi to the the family of the village and he comes out with a handful and puts them in my hand! I counted 72 and when we got home I recounted and they had multiplied to 111! The last day as Charles explained how important it is for the pastor’s to follow up, he shared a new article of how a village had 72 converts from Christianity back to Hinduism. My heart beat so fast connecting the dots that although this happened, God is going to take our mustard seeds and multiply faith.
I left homes that told me when presented with baptism, that they accept Jesus, His death & resurrection, & the cross but could not get baptized because they didn’t want to stop worshipping their other gods too. Jesus’ sacrifice became so real in those moments. A fiery fury burned within me at the thought that He gave it ALL away…all of His glory & His very life to save this wretched world’s relationship with God so that we could have all of Him but can’t give up our idols? But who am I to name my own hidden gods of shopping, money, coffee, possessions under different pretenses and think that they are worse? We chose not to focus on asking them questions focused on their gods like “does your god provide love? do you fear him?” because they are blinded. Instead Jesus tugged on my heart and said, “Stop laying rules on them to lay down their idols and let them come just as they are! I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” After His words, I had the faith to believe that if they got in that water, Holy Spirit would do the rest.
Before the trip, there were so many things that had question marks over them that God showed me clearly. “Why does God cause pain and sorrow?” someone shouted from the crowd. It was obvious a demonic spirit was present and wanted to release confusion. “God’s world was perfect without tears & sorrow. Pain entered when satan came slithering in the garden with his lies.” I responded. Satan tries to turn heaven to hell everywhere he goes. We can choose to follow him too if we let pain diminish our praise.
Was India awesome? No, HE is awesome!!! This blog could start and end with the fact that 423 mansion foundations just got laid in heaven. That is enough for Him to receive the glory! That could be the start and end of this story. But my favorite part of the trip was experiencing my salvation and taking full advantage of the open heaven over me. I was in the palm of His hand and He held mine. I felt His smile upon me and He kept me smiling. I’ll go back to the mission field just to put my life on His hip and have Him carry me until I’m resting.
THANK YOU to all of my financial and prayer supporters who funded this trip and allowed God to use you to add lives into the kingdom!