Sunday, January 10, 2010

An Average Day in Varanasi

Our days are loosely divided into thirds. One third is dedicated to team time (worship, intercession, planning). One third is intentional "ministry" time and the final third is free time. Though with our type of evangelism the lines between ministry and free time often blur.
The way that each day is arranged changes from day to day but we've been starting most days at 7:00 by pairing up and prayer walking up and down the Ganges for an hour. Then we have personal devotions/breakfast until 9:30 when we will usually meet up again to discuss whatever is going on that day. We've really bonded well as a team and we all really enjoy these times of just hanging out together. Depending on whether we're praying or singing during that time it may go on for an hour or two or three. After that we pair up, pray together for direction and go and do whatever God gives us that day. One of the most intense days was when God clearly told Katie and me to go down to the Ganges and pray for miraculous healings. That was a new experience for us and we both went in great fear and trembling. If I see no greater demonstration of God's power than this I can see already that he has completely changed my heart. That I, Ben Sherwood, would stand in the middle of a busy street in Varanasi, place my hands on a man with no arms and pray that they would grow back... who but God could ever convince me to do that? Or to look into the eyes of a beggar and truly be able to say that I love him with all my heart and wish him a good day? I'm not like that naturally. Men don't change by themselves. It just doesn't happen.
But I digress. Most days our focus is more on the western travellers that have come here as spiritual seekers. Their souls are so ripe for the picking. They are desperately seeking truth and they are trying everything out in their search to find meaning. Most of them settle for a new-agey mixture of anything and everything spiritual and try any kind of drugs they can get to help anesthetize the pain in their hearts. Basically all we do is talk with them, eat with them, share our testimonies with them. It's pretty straighforward really.
Several days ago we were fortunate enough to meet Michael Graham (who we had never heard of before) and he gave us some little booklets with his testimony in English and Hindi. So we've been handing some of those out, as well as Bibles, to those who are interested. He spent 28 years deep in Eastern spirituality so his testimony speaks directly to where many of these travellers are at right now.
If we have any time left over, and we're not currently engaged in serious conversation, we sometimes meet in the evening for public worship or prayer. One or two nights ago we took communion together by the Ganges. That was an interesting night.

Keep praying for:

-Continued health and safety. Everyone is feeling pretty good today, as far as I know, but just about everyone has been sick at one point. Praise God that the worst I've had is a two day cold.

-The seeds that have already been planted. Compared to Nepal we've met so many more people here and I can't take the time to list them all. (Even if I could remember all their names.) We are especially thankful that we've bumped into some of the same people on multiple occasions and been able to spend significant amounts of time with them.

-God's continued guidance on the best ways to reach out and show His love.

-The rest of our travels. The next of which will be a night train to Agra on the 13th/14th.

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