College Courses and Finances… (Part 7)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Despite the difficult night last night, God allowed me to feel better after I got up and prepared for the day. The men left early for the conference, and Deb and I met in her room for coffee and prayer. Words cannot express the encouragement and benefit this time in prayer was to me, as I was still feeling somewhat unsettled by the dark presence I felt during the night.

Deb and I then headed to the pastor’s conference, and were able to sit in on some of the teaching. John Peters taught on the Biblical Basis for Preaching. It was excellent, encouraging, and so useful for the pastors!  Pastor Jack later explained that he and Pastor JD had been praying for nearly three years that God would enable them to bring a Bible College training program to these Dhalit pastors who are already in the ministry in poor villages. For them, a college education is out of the question. They envisioned a program where pastors from other countries would travel at their own expense to Karnataka and teach a very concentrated curriculum for a week at a time to a small group of men who would in turn teach other men in their area. There were three classes taught: a survey of I Corinthians, a survey of the Gospel of John, and a course on the Biblical Basis for Preaching.  There was time given each day for questions and discussion, and in the preaching class they actually worked through texts together. Even though the classes were very intensive and concentrated, they were so hungry for the Word that they would spend every available minute outside of class questioning the teachers further. Forty-two pastors completed all three courses and are anxious for the next session to be held. The total cost for the week was right at $1,500.

After having lunch together, Ruth took Deb and me to their local market in the village. We didn’t stay too long, but I was able to purchase enough material for four sulwas. I hoped to have them available soon so that I could stop washing the one outfit and wearing the other. (Thanks to Deb for sharing so that I had more than one!)

After the conference ended, we headed to another village to Rogerpa’s house church. Once at the village house church, over 100 people, mostly women and children (probably 15 men) greeted us with songs and smiles. There were chairs up against the wall for us to sit in, and the first row was right at our feet. Such joy you saw on the faces… especially the children! Dad gave his testimony, and Pastor Jack gave a message from 1 Peter 1:1-2 about suffering and hope.

This house church was one of the recipients of the micro-finance program that the Indian fellowship calls “self-help” groups. The program provides “seed money” to poor widows to enable them to become self-sufficient. The loans never exceed $200 and must be paid back within a two year period.

Jack told us that on his very first visit to this Dhalit house church he took a picture of an older widow whose eyes reflected nothing but sorrow and hopelessness. When we arrived at this house, he noticed this lady in the back waving at him with an excited expression on her face. He could not believe it was the same woman, but then she stood and gave testimony of how she purchased a ewe carrying twins with her loan and now has 7 sheep and paid her loan off with the profit from her first shearing. Her whole appearance had changed from hopelessness to an exhuberant confidence! The women form a group and elect one to be the “banker” and manage the account for the entire group. It is excellent stewardship as the seed money continues to be used over and over again, and we were able to establish five more groups this trip.

By Sherri Stocker

Comments

  1. Sherri – these posts are just awesome! I love to hear about micro-lending programs at work, especially ones set up to benefit women :). And so cool you got to get henna done…if you’re ever up for an adventure, try “henna-ing” your hair – I did that shortly before my wedding and my hair was a lovely shade of red (that fades with time.) Can’t wait to read the rest of these on my “lunch break”. Such wonderful memories.

Speak Your Mind

*