How Short-Term Missions Changed My Life (Part 2)

As I said in my previous post, my first trip to India changed my life as a follower of Christ. It was during this trip many things happened touching my life deeply. The following is just one of them.

It was morning. I was waiting for my ride to the meeting place. A young Indian pastor (Thomas) had stayed nearby and was waiting with me for our ride. We began to chat about Thomas's life. I asked him what his life as a pastor was like in India. He told me about a typical Saturday and Sunday in His schedule.

On Saturday evening He, his family, and church members meet for all-night-prayer. They start at about 11 pm and pray until about 5 am. They break shortly for tea and pray some more...until about 7 or 8 am. Thomas said when prayer ends he and his family head home to clean up for their first service. This service lasts about 3 hours. Around 11 am or 12 noon, they break for lunch. After a short rest he and family head for another small congregation to conduct a service during the afternoon. After the service they break for dinner. After the evening meal they move to yet another congregation for their third and last service of the day. I was overwhelmed at their dedication and commitment to serving Jesus. I was wondering when they rested. However, rest was not an issue to them. It was very obvious...the joy of the Lord was their strength.

As Pastor Thomas was telling me this I turned off the TV in the hotel room on which ESPN was playing. The TV was somewhere around 13 inches, and black and white. (Some of you have never seen a black and white TV.) But they did have a satellite feed with ESPN in English! I was so convicted over my lack-luster Christian life-style I turned it off. As Pastor Thomas continued and tears began to stream down my cheeks. God had pierced my heart and emotionally it was almost too much for me. Then Pastor Thomas began to cry. We both sat and wept as we worshiped the God who is worthy of it all.

It had become so clear to me that what I thought was a deep commitment to Jesus was very shallow. Jesus was important to me. I was a pastor! But for me it was NOT all about Him. He was important, but not the CENTER of it all. Like so many Christian Americans, I was too busy for Him. Most of all I did was for ministry sake...but not for Jesus. God used this first visit to India to shake me, to awaken me, and to prepare me.

I returned to America with a renewed commitment to live for Jesus 24 x 7. I wanted my life to be consumed with Jesus, ministering to Him and to others like my friends in India were consumed.

When it was time for me to return to the States I was ready. I couldn't wait to get back to the comforts of America. It was great returning home to my family. However, a week after I was home I began to realize my first trip to India was just the beginning. What started as a visionary trip had turned in to a calling to the nations on my life. I had to go back! (More to come.)

How Short-term Missions Changed My Life (Part One)

(Let me say that conditions described in these posts are in no way intended to criticized our precious brothers and sisters in other nations. My intent is to show how disconnected from the rest of the world we Westerners are, and how comfortable we can be in our culture. Too much comfort can dull our senses to the Holy Spirit, and our ability to be used by Him.)

My first trip to India was the one that radically changed my life as a follower of Christ. I was the Pastor of a church which regularly supported an Indian pastor. My purpose for my first trip to India was more visionary than anything else. I wanted to get a good look at where the church's finances were going, and how it was being used. This particular purpose quickly gave way to God's divine purpose for my change my life.

I prepared as best I could for the trip. However, nothing could have prepared me for what I would experience in India. The Indian culture is like none other on the planet. I had heard the term "culture shock", but had never experienced it until I went to India. The culture shock was amazing, but that is not what changed my life. What changed my life was the "hunger shock".

The people I visited were so hungry for the Word of God. They sat for hours as I preached through a translator. I was even told after my first couple of messages, "You must preach even longer. They are hanging on to your every word!" So as I did, these followers of Christ, hungry for the purity of God's Word began to pull from me very substance of the God they longed for. I yielded and became a simple vessel. I saw miracles, healings, and people overwhelmed with God's amazing presence. And equally as important to me, I saw God working through me like I'd never experienced before. It changed my life!

The humility of these folks, also contributed to my life being changed. The trip to India is grueling. It is long. There was a 10 and a half hour difference in time zones. I got off the fourth and final leg of my journey early on a Thursday morning. The journey wasn't over yet. It was another 4 hour drive to my final destination. In India a 4 hour journey becomes a 6 hour one! My body and mind were screaming to me (inside), "You have to crash! You need some rest!" We finally arrived at the little hotel where I was to stay. It was very humble, no a/c, and not as clean as one would like. As I entered into the very humble hotel room I glanced up. Just over the door were the words "Deluxe Room". That did it. The tears began to flow. They had given me their very best and I was humbled. Most of all I was blessed!

The shower in the bathroom was a pipe (cold water only) coming out of the wall. At this point, it didn't matter. I took a wonderful, cold shower and afterwards plunged my face into a pillow for a 3 hour nap. When they arrived to pick me up for our first meeting, I felt like I was floating off in space (somewhere)! I was exhausted!

We arrived at the meeting place (under a tent) and these hungry followers of Christ were praising God at the tops of their voices, with all of their hearts. This hunger in worship began to effect me as the Spirit of God began to rise up within me. When I stepped up to preach in India for the very first time my life changed drastically! (More To Come)

Lock Arms With Us To Reach The People Of Honduras!

Some Of The Children Sponsored Through HCM
Since 2006 Harvest Celebration Ministries has been working with Pastor Manfredy Zelaya and some wonderful folks in Honduras. God has allowed us to work together to build His kingdom in Honduras. For me it has truly been a life-changing experience! What was started 10 years ago, has continued to grow. And God gets the glory for it all!
This June we will return again to Honduras. In addition to proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom, we will have the privilege of serving some incredible children. We look forward to our visit to a small village to be with these children. Several of these children have become sponsored by folks in the States who have committed to make their lives just a bit better. Through our sponsorship we provide school clothes, school supplies, shoes, food, and a gift at Christmas. Over the years God has blessed this effort, and it continues to grow!
Would you consider locking arms with Harvest Celebration Ministries to reach the people of Honduras? Any financial gift, no matter how small or large will be a tremendous help. You can donate securely through PayPal by clicking on the picture at the top of the side-bar on the right. Thanks so much for your consideration!
Backpacks Filled With School Supplies!
Please make it a point to pray for our outreach to Honduras in June. Pastor Manfredy and I are believing God for a revival in the nation of Honduras. Pray that God will precede us to prepare the hearts of the people. Pray that God will prepare the hearts of our team to be yielded vessels of His Spirit. Thanks!
Steve Hutto

Even For Just One

The last time I was in India God spoke something extremely powerful to me. It was our very last night there. We were on our way back to the airport to fly home. The streets of Hyderabad were packed with thousands of people. From inside the taxi my eye happened to catch a frail little elderly lady, simply sitting on the curb. The traffic was moving slowly because of the congestion so I had a couple of minutes to study this little lady. She was what is known as an "untouchable".
Before I continue with my story, let me say just a bit about what it is to be an untouchable. Untouchability is the low status of certain social groups confined to menial and despised jobs. And since there are so many untouchables, any type of menial, despised jobs are few. Untouchability is usually associated with the Hindu caste system, but similar groups exist outside Hinduism. Many of the untouchables are homeless and live wherever they can find a place. One born as an untouchable (one who is excluded from the caste system) will always be an untouchable. The only hope for an untouchable is to come to know Jesus, and fully trust Him for life's redemption. Even then, life is difficult.
As I continued to study this little lady, my thoughts were how insignificant she was to her culture and environment. No one noticed her. No one cared for her. If she died on the street that night, not one person would even notice. There would be no funeral or memorial service for her. She was an untouchable. Was there anyone on the planet that cared for this little lady? She looked so pitiful.
God began speaking to my heart about her. He let me know He would notice if she died that night. He let me know that He cared for this little lady, and that He died for her. He let me know that just like any other person, if she died without knowing Jesus, she would be eternally separated from Him. God continued to remind me that if this pitiful, little lady met Jesus, heaven would go ballistic celebrating her salvation.....just like any other person. How significant this frail, broken-down little woman was to Jesus. Her status in life didn't matter. She was a lost sheep. Again, one for whom Jesus died.
We have a tendency (especially we in the Western culture) to see the helplessly poor as insignificant to our society. But it's not about our society, or our culture. It's about God's kingdom. No one (that includes you) is insignificant to Jesus. Therefore no one is insignificant in God's kingdom.
Jesus illustrated time and again how significant you and I are to Him. The parables of the lost sheep and the lost coin are just two powerful illustrations of how significant people are to Jesus.....even just one. (See Luke 15)
If mankind consisted of just one single person, Jesus would still have come to the earth and died for that one person. And listen carefully to this, if Jesus knew you would be the only one out of all humanity to accept Him, He still would have come, just for you. That's how significant you are to Him. And that's how significant even the lowest of the lowly are to Him.
Please join with me in loving the unlovely, and reaching out to touch the untouchable. We must, because He does!

381769: From Life in the Hollywood Fast Lane to the  Untouchables of IndiaFrom Life in the Hollywood Fast Lane to the Untouchables of India
By Jennifer Wilde

* An actress, model, and pampered daughter of a California real estate tycoon, Wilde partied with the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, and film stars. But her whirlwind life took an unexpected turn when she encounterd Jesus. Witness her amazing transformation from a Hollywood party girl to God's dedicated missionary to the Dalit people of India! 352 pages, softcover from Creation House.

776782: Embracing the UntouchablesEmbracing the Untouchables
By Stephen Fortosis