Indian Birthday Celebration… (Part 10)

Sunday, October 17

If you had told me a year ago that I would spend my 45th birthday in India, I probably would not have believed you. My mosquito bite count was now up to a dozen, (no one else has any) and I waver between wondering what I’m doing here, and realizing that God has brought me to this place for His purpose.

One unexpected blessing for my dad and me was the opportunity to participate in the joy of dedicating a new church building for Pastor Nagaraju.  According to Pastor Jack, the church building was paid for by a single lady who felt God leading her to build a church in Karnataka. The first attempt was stopped because the Hindu extremists were so antagonistic; it had to be built in a different village. Pastor Nagaraju pastors 8 different congregations. One of his congregations had more than outgrown the house church stage, so God used this gift to build a building for them in a Muslim neighborhood. The place was packed and it was clearly a major event for the entire village. It was fun to see the excitement on each face as the congregation enjoyed their very own church building!

Not only were we able to be honored guests at this exciting event, but the congregation also sang happy birthday to me. How sweet (and surprising) it was that they wanted to give me such heartfelt birthday greetings! The people of the church then fed us lunch, and then we were on our way to another remote village church.

I was not kidding when I said remote! It took us over an hour to get to the next village church. This would be our last occasion to visit one of the pastors’ churches who attend the conference last week.  I’ve learned to be ready for anything. Pastor JD is such a sweet and gentle man, so it is difficult to decline his requests. He’ll say, “We’d like to ask our dear beloved sister Sherri to give her testimony.”  This is usually accompanied by a huge, genuine smile. So we sang and shared, and heard another wonderful exhortation for the believers in this place to let their lights shine before their unbelieving neighbors and  riends. The people at these churches are amazing, and it has been a delight to share their in their lives, even if only for a couple of hours.

We had another long trip back to JD’s house. When we arrived, Ruth, JD, and Hannah (and a house full of friends) surprised me with a birthday cake and sang to me!  This certainly has been a memorable birthday. While it was great to spend it with my new friends in India, I miss my husband and my children. I am really looking forward to seeing them soon, Lord willing.

By Sherri Stocker

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