Busy times. We finished our ladies conference on Wednesday, and on Thursday Rose, Elnora, and I went to 3 meetings. The first was in a small church, the second and third were home meetings. We are told at the 3 day conference that there was a total attendance of 750. These ladies traveled from an hour to four hours for the meeting. Travel is not easy here. Some walked, took buses, then taxi to reach us. And they arrived dressed beautifully and smiling, eager to hear God’s Word. At each meeting there were several interested in further study. On the final day of the meeting, 6 women were baptized along with one young man.
At one of the ladies home meetings(picture below), we had 9 ladies request further study and baptism.
The desire is great here.
Each day of the conference, Rebecca spent time with the children teaching them, singing and playing games. They have had a good time.
The loads of fruit, sugar, and various other harvests, that they are able to pile onto small vehicles is amazing, and you would think you would only encounter them in rural areas, but they are everywhere. You also see shepherds with their flocks of sheep and goats, water buffalo, cows, monkeys, dogs, and chickens everywhere.
Vijayawada is going to become the capital of Andhra Pradesh, which is bringing a lot of interest from foreign countries. This should provide many jobs eventually. There are many schools and colleges here, so there is a highly educated workforce already in place. With all of that, there is a lot of poverty here. One thing that I think is different from the U.S. is that the poverty is in the open, right by the luxury. There is a diamond exchange and gold exchange not far from the hotel, large, secured, beautiful buildings with valet parking, but on either side are many tiny shops that look like they are just made of scraps, but every nook and cranny of them has something for sale. On the streets, you see people of every walk of life, together.
I will try to post some pictures of these stark contrasts later.
The Thompson’s 3 in India.
And that was just the car ride. They basically use horns constantly for drivers to communicate, and the lines they have on the roads are solely for appearances. But, thankfully we have been blessed with skilled drivers who have kept us safe.
Last night we were taken to the children’s home for a grand opening of the 2nd floor. It was complete with showers of flower petals, lights, fire works, welcoming smiles, impromptu ribbon cutting ceremonies, and an unexpected lesson presented by Don. Since this was my first visit, I will trust the guys who said a lot has changed since last year. The building is beautiful and now includes a church. I will try to post some pictures later when I get a better grip on internet.
Plans seem to change quickly and frequently, I think they are, in reality, much like the white lines in the road. Rose and Elnora went to speak at the ladies conference with Don going to lead the preacher’s training class while Tyler, Becca, and I rested. Then when they returned, Tyler, Becca, Ron, and I went and I lead a class, followed by a short lesson from Kumari and then Raja and Tyler joined us and each have a message. Several ladies responded and desire to be baptized. Kumari will study with them further and they may be baptized yet this evening. We are now back at the hotel resting again and will soon go to have super.
Finally in India,
We have arrived and were able to get some sleep. Now we are on our way to Elnora Children’s Home. More details as I am able.
Proverbs 16:9 We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.
That sums up the first day of travel. After I was finally allowed to leave work, (BIG THANK YOU TO ALL OF MY WORK PEEPS WHO MADE THAT HAPPEN!!!) I stopped to look for something at one last store. As I was about to leave, slightly disappointed that I didn’t find it, a sale shelf caught my eye and the book “Jesus Calling” was on sale. I thought it to be God telling me to keep my focus. So, I purchased it. Unfortunately, it was in a bag that got left behind in the car, so I will probably get the kindle version once we have Wi-Fi☺. If you are looking and listening, God will speak to you and guide you.
We started out leaving more than an hour later than we planned. We drove to Rio so Trevor could drive us to Chicago, and we still arrived in plenty of time for the check in. Thank you Trevor for everything! Because we checked in online, instead of waiting in the long winding line, we had a line with just 1 person ahead of us. As we were heading for security, the line we had been in was now also long. Once through security, we had enough time to grab a quick bite and settle some nerves that were getting to Rebecca. Our first flight
left about 30 minutes late, and except for about 2 hours of turbulence and the seat belt sign being on, has been good. We are 10.5 hours into the flight as I am writing, and just over 2.5 until we should land. Hopefully I will be able to get Wi-Fi at the airport so I can post this.
Thompson’s 3 almost in India🌈
Well, we are all checked in for our flights. In just 24 hours from now, we will be in the air enroute to Abu Dhabi. Our first stop. God is working in such amazing ways already. I had a friend donate quite a bit of money for us to take to India and use for the children. Then, I was talking to an acquaintance about the trip, and he mentioned that he is part owner in a local newspaper and would like to arrange for an article about our trip once we return. We haven’t even left yet, and God is clearly blessing abundantly. I have some more packing to do, and then we will have the car packed before we go to sleep tonight. Tomorrow will be a very long day, but I am so excited. Many have asked me if I am nervous, or scared. I truly am not. I KNOW, no matter what, God is in control. Who could ask for a better co-pilot?
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Last year I was able to keep everyone(even those who didn’t want to be) updated via both email and facebook about Tyler’s travel details. Since I will be traveling, I am not sure what access I will have and when. Below you will find our travel itinerary for our flights there and back. All is subject to change, of course, but for now, this is the plan.
Friday, January 16, depart Chicago O’hare on Etihad Airways flight EY 0150 at 20:10 to Abu Dhabi. We are scheduled to arrive in Abu Dhabi at 19:30 on January 17. We will then leave from Abu Dhabi on EY 0274 to Hyderabad at 21:40 on January 17 for an arrival time of 03:10 on Sunday, January 18. Then we leave from Hyderabad on Spice Jet Airlines flight SG1001 to Vijayawada at 08:05 Sunday, January 18, arrival in Vijayawada is 09:00 Sunday.
On our return, we depart Vijayawada on Thursday, January 29 at 17:00 on Air India flight AI 840 for an arrival in Hyderabad at 18:00. Our next flight leaves from Hyderabad at 04:25 on January 30, Etihad Airways flight EY 0275 and arrives in Abu Dhabi at 07:15. Our last flight leaves Abu Dhabi at 09:30 on January 30, Etihad Airways flight EY 0151 and arrives in Chicago at 14:50 on January 30.
So, there are the details. We appreciate your prayers for safe travels and open hearts to God’s message.
Also, please remember Ron Coleman and his wife Rose, and Don Oelze & his wife Elnora as they have already begun their travel to India today. We are excited to have our trips overlap and Rose, Elnora and myself will be speaking at a 3 day Women’s conference on January 19-21.
Tomorrow is exactly 2 weeks to our departure date to Vijayawada India on our mission trip. This blogging thing is completely new to me, and I am not sure I will be able to keep up with it, but I will make an effort. A lot will depend on our internet access during our travels. I will try to post pictures as much as possible, and updates on our daily activities. Right now, we are finishing putting lessons together, getting schedules of the meetings from Raja, and getting started on packing-convenient that it is so cold here right now and we will not need many of the clothes that we plan to take to India, so we can pack early:)
Prayers for the spirit to guide us during this preparation time and travel. Also that God will receive all the glory due Him and the harvest will be great. I am very excited, and trying to not become nervous about the fact that I am told I may be speaking to women in audiences of 250+. I have definitely never spoken to that size group, but I am confident God will provide the ability and guidance.
Please join us in prayer for safe travels, productive preparations, and most importantly, open hearts to God’s message.