As most of you know, I just returned from my 2nd annual teaching trip to Orissa (Odisha), India. Last year was my first time there and it was wonderful and overwhelming all at the same time!
This year I had a bit of an idea what to expect, as well as many of you praying for our safety and encouragement. As a result, the trip was incredible and it was so nice to be reunited with some friends made last year. They were so happy to see us and we were so happy to see them!
Many people don’t realize, but the Kandhamal region of Odisha/Orissa is where massive persecution took place just a few years ago after the death of a militant nationalist guru was blamed on Christians. I wrote about it long before I ever knew I’d be going to the very place where it happened and seeing the very village churches and homes which were destroyed with my own eyes.
This year, I taught on reading and interpreting (and preaching from!) the book of Revelation. It was a VERY condensed version of my DVD course and I left copies of that course with both of my translators in both locations.
Revelation was the perfect book to teach on in Orissa for two reasons:
1. It was written to persecuted Christians in the 1st century who were viewed with fear and suspicion by many of their neighbors due to them not worshiping the local gods
2. The pastors in Orissa had never heard the book taught in a meaningful way that they could understand and grasp its original meaning and the nature of its symbolism. They’d only been exposed to various “left behind” type approaches which were FAR from encouraging (and FAR from accurate!).
It was therefore a pure delight to help walk them through John’s apocalyptic epistle and help them hear the text in a way that does justice to the life changing message contained within its pages!
[Heads up!! For those of you in the Charlotte area who would like to know what we covered, I’ll be teaching a 6-week version of this course at Good Shepherd beginning just after Easter and would love to have you join us for it.]
My teammates, Brent Burdick and Talbot Davis, were fantastic traveling companions. This was Brent’s first time in India, but he was a pro, having lived and ministered in the Philippines for 20 years prior!
Talbot taught on leadership from the Old Testament Kings and Brent taught on the importance of emotional, marriage and parenting life of the pastor. All the sessions were fantastic and once again we had awesome translators to help us.
Here are some pics from the trip for those of you who have not seen my album on Facebook:
Please keep our friends in Kandhamal and all over Orissa in your prayers. They are amazing people who never cease to inspire me through their faith, devotion, humility and hospitality!