I am in the Amsterdam airport having just arrived from India. Both Edie and I were able to get a couple of hours of sleep on the plane so we are thankful. We are quite tired from a long three week training trip. But at the same time we are overjoyed with what we experienced along the way. At each stop we were increasingly encouraged by the progress of the trainers. The new young guys in the NE made great progress. The men in the South showed real progress from the last workshop and continued to improve during the present one. They had worked so hard passing on the training to others, five groups in all. They also want us to connect with groups they know in Sri Lanka. We are investigating how we can partner with them to initiate this training there as well. Then in Ahmadabad we were blown away with how well the students did. They really understood the material from last time and worked so hard together and seemed to master the present training as well. The training they did over the past four months in three levels covering about 1500 pastors, seemed to go well also according to all accounts. The pastors and potential pastors they trained were excited about what they were learning and most had talked about taking the training on into their churches as well. Mike and I are having a blast teaching together. We fit well together and can easily insert ideas and comments to each other's training that are helpful. I count it a great privilege to have the Gundersons training with us.
The ladies experienced many blessings working with the women as well. It was a bit harder for them since the training process was new to both Edie and Linda as well as to the women who came. Only three women participated in the first site, one with a baby, and they covered two workshops in that week. That was challenging but seemed to go well. At the second site, the opposite was true, 20 women came and most had been through the first workshop. It is really hard to work with that many women with our system. They had some translation problems as well. But all in all the training went very well, by God's grace. In the last site 7 women participated and none had previous training. This seemed a bit more normal and Edie and Linda had two weeks of practice behind them, but they were also very tired. Through dependence upon God they persevered and He helped them make good progress. In all our training sites the schedules changed significantly from what we thought so flexibility was key.
There is a new possibility for future training with one of the largest denominations in India. We will be working on that in coming months. This group has been weak theologically and weak in the Word. Having an opportunity to influence them through our training in the Word could have huge impact. Pray with us about this.
Our days have been long and wearing, but full of joy and thankfulness for what God is doing. We were especially thankful that the weather was pleasant in all three places, we had expected it to be quite hot at least in the last venue, but it was almost perfect, inside anyway. The Indian experience is still challenging even after many visits here. The food wears on you after a few weeks and the brokenness of the culture is hard to see day after day. But the delight of working with such vibrant brothers and sisters in the Lord balances out all costs. The traffic continues to amaze me. One night on the way home we got stuck in a "jam". No one could move except some on scooters squeezed through tight spaces to keep going. When an opening occurs everyone jams forward. No one waits for anyone else, but in the end it seems to work quite well most of the time. I do not know if I will ever get used to it.
I am hoping for a shower here in the airport lounge before we have to run to our gate for our plane to Minneapolis. Only 16 hours or so and we will be home. We commented that it is a relief to be coming home but at the same time a hard thing to say goodbye to all our dear friends in India. We are encouraged that we will be back soon. God is doing really amazing things through our ministry both with and through us and sometimes in spite of us. The fruit of what we are doing will last generations. Thanks for your help along the way!