By ROSIE KORFANT
This is week four in my series about all the “Missionary Moments” I experienced during a recent trip to India, representing my church, The Family Church at Christian Retreat in Bradenton.
We said goodbye in Jaipur to our driver, dear Jai Paul, and boarded a plane across the country to Rajahmundry on the east coast. We met up with Josh, the son of Shravan and Sandhya Kumar, founders of the Miracle Children’s Home. By the grace of God and Josh’s expert driving through potholes the size of boulders, the dark of night with cars, motorcycles, buses and trucks heading straight at our vehicle, which was squeezed to the side of the road through tunnels and immovable objects, we arrived at the Landmark Hotel in the small village of Kadali in Andre Pradesh, near the Miracle Children’s Home — our ultimate destination.
As we entered the hotel restaurant, we noticed there were only three other people eating; and these three had been on our plane from Rajahmundry. Now, what’s the “chance” of that unless it’s a “God happening?” I proceeded to chat with them only to find out that their reason for visiting the area was “fishing.” Realizing this was a strange answer, and a rather sheepish one at that, I immediately understood we both were “fishing” for the same catch — villagers who needed help. Imagine my surprise to learn they were from my home state of Ohio. They were visiting the area to check up on the progress of the 200 churches they had planted in the area through their international ministry organization, the I 3Project.
Another sweet “missionary moment” happened when, Birsad, the assistant manager of the hotel in which we were staying, asked me for prayer for his wife. Seems the glow of the anointing was so present that he never even hesitated to ask but proceeded to remove his shoes and with a reverence, received prayer for his wife’s healing. (Side note: before I left the hotel, he reported that she had made a remarkable improvement from the major illness that had overtaken her.)
The next day the Miracle Church service was filled (it seats about 300) where joyous music and song greeted us. As we were entering, Pastor Shravan made a surprise request and asked if I would preach at the service! Gulping, but remembering the scripture to be “ready at all times,” I calmly replied, “Of course!” Since many of the churchgoers in Kadali can’t read, my sermon (interpreted by Pastor Shravan in the regional language of Telegu) strongly stressed that they should have God’s Word “written on their hearts,” — to memorize scripture as it is heard — so that no one could take the truth of it from them.
Later, eating in the newly renovated dining room, my joy was only slightly diminished by the sparsity of food but not by the jovial laughter from the children who shared their appreciation so quickly. Each child was filled with a simple joy that can only be explained by a contented sweetness of the child’s spirit. Playing ball in their dirt playground area brought back memories of a simpler time of my own childhood, playing in our modest neighborhood in midwest Ohio. During this playtime, I met a nine-year-old girl named Dwanu with such a sweet smile that started with her lips and moved up her face until her eyes were bright with the smile, which highlighted her beautiful spirit. She weighed only 25 pounds and will never get any bigger due to a mysterious birth deficiency that doesn’t allow any future growth. The other children have been daily working with her speech and have helped her develop three total sentences to date.
My friend and traveling companion, Pearl, and I continued our tour of the Children’s Home and visited the Dorca’s Sewing Center and the Power Net Institute of Technology where the children are taught life skills. We were excited to visit the newly built girls’ dormitory and the brand-new showers and washroom facility recently completed. These consisted of semi-western toilet facilities and hot and cold running water.
Speaking of water, I was asked to pray over the only income-producing component of the Children’s Home, the water treatment site. This operation services the neighboring community with large bottles of water, which are sold in the nearby village. Though honored, I had never even seen a water treatment operation, much less prayed over one!
Leaving the children was a sad moment for both of us, but our plane to Hyderabad awaited.
This busy metropolis was our stop for “pearl hunting.” Hyderabad is considered the main trading center in India; the city is also known as the “City of Pearls.” The most notable area devoted to the trade is a village just outside Hyderabad, where almost the entire population is engaged in the delicate art of drilling pearls to make fine jewelry — a skill they have practiced for generations.
The opulent hotel, Taj Decaan, which is part of the Taj Mahal chain of hotels, provided me with a pearl of my own! We daily ate in a majestic dining hall, complete with an overflowing buffet. Each day I would provide a substantial tip to our personal waiter, Hasan. One day I complimented the chef on a succulent dish he had made. Rather quickly the manager came to thank me and brought the chef so he could introduce him. Chef B. Kumar and I had a rather lengthy discussion about his attending a local Baptist church of 16,000 members. Much to my delight and amazement, he encouraged me greatly with the news that nearby there is also the Calvary Baptist Church, which holds five services every Sunday with 10,000 members at EACH service. Chef Kumar announced that “his duty was to express Jesus.” Could I have been happier? Yes! The following day instead of giving my waiter, Hasan, another tip, I prayed Jeremiah 29:11 with him in the midst of the giant banquet hall and proceeded to write out the scripture, asking him to contact Chef B. Kumar for its meaning. Within 15 minutes Chef Kumar was at my table telling me that Hasan had already come to ask him about the scripture, and that Chef Kumar had begun explaining it to him. What joy filled my heart; I can’t explain. But I did tell Chef Kumar that I was headed back to the USA the next day and that it would be his “duty” to continue expressing to his co-worker more about Jesus and His Word!