Visiting Coimbatore Families

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June 23rd 2009
Published: June 23rd 2009
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HEllo Detroit Church,
I hope this message finds everyone well back home.
We left Chennai last night around 10:00pm and "slept" on the train ride to Coimbatore, arriving this morning at 6:30am. Brothers from the Coimbatore church were there at the platform to greet us and escort us to our hotel. We had a small amount of time to shower and eat breakfast and then we headed out to visit some of the homes of our brothers and sisters here. It was increadibly humbling to be invited in homes that consist of no more than 2 rooms (a large home) and/or studio, one-room apartment where the only place to sit is on their bed. Just about all of the disciples we visited today are the only Christians in their neighborhood. Some of them are not permitted by their landlords to have other church members in their home with the threat of eviction hanging over them if they do not comply.
Three of the families we visted today were also proud to show off their small business that they started. They are so bonded with one another that one family named their business after their friend's child and that other family named their business after their child.
One thing that crosses all borders and language barriers is the love that our fellow disciples have for each other and us. Truly the greatest example of God's church and family I have ever seen.
Can't wait to share more once we arrive home. Love,

Hey all, Ben here. Laurel went up to join the others for a quick after-lunch nap (not a lot of sleep on the train) before we go to the Family Group Leader's meeting where Phil will give a little lesson. Tomorrow Mitch and Laurel will do a devotional for the marrieds and Debbie and I are going to do a lesson for the singles on Friday. We hope to visit as many members as possible this week before we head off to Madurai. Rosario will come down to escort us on the train. Rosario and Helen are leading a church in Velo that was planted recently and are doing well. I have a lot of pictures to upload but will probably have to use the laptop since I can't pull this computer out to plug in my card reader. Stay patient, they will come. Keep the encouragement coming, it really helps!
From my own experience, in America it's easy for me to think that the Kingdom of God is only as big as my local church. I want to continue to remind you that it's much bigger. Whatever problems you or your church might be going through, the Kingdom is more than that, and God is even more than that! Spanning the globe and across all of time disciples have always had problems and hard lives. Just as I might nudge Ev's cheek to show him something, here we feel God's gentle but powerful hand as He helps us gain proper perspective. Here it is easy to see how good we have it in America. My prayer is not that we would lose our prosperity but that it would motivate us to work even harder and give even more.
I'm going to try to sleep for a little while but we will hopefully post more tonight.
Love you all, I miss my family,


23rd June 2009

A question from Angelo
Hey family. I still love you all a lot and miss you. I still and even more proud of you. It's also awesome to hear about the Zoets doing a devo for the marrieds. I think that was my favorite part of the last message. Ben, Angelo wants to know if you were able to deliver the DVD to Rocky. I know you guys are crazy busy while you are there, but if you could hit me back with that or just make mention of it in th blog, that would be great. love you all, chad
23rd June 2009

Dear Ben and Laurel, Thanks for sharing the perspective you are gaining. I must admit, even having lost my job I realize that I am still very blessed! Many of the disciples in Detroit are troopers. However, some have lost sight of the great things being a disciple makes us a part of. THanks for reminding me of it. YBIC Allan
23rd June 2009

Hi Mission Team
Thank you so much for keeping us updated. I am so glad that you are there to encourage the disciples in India and to inspire us at home. I know that you miss your families, but you are doing God's work I pray that he will reward your efforts. Hope you get some much needed rest soon!
23rd June 2009

Be encouraged!
The pictures have been great! I'm praying for the mission team and every disciple in India as well as all the future disciples that will be impacted by your visit! Continue to spread the gospel and be a blessing to all you encounter as I'm sure they are a blessing to you too!
23rd June 2009

Hi guys!
Hi everyone!!!! Oh we miss you guys! I'm so excited for you and all the experiences you're having! Laurel- we thought so much of you today as we tried to get an adolescent cottontail to a rehabilitator because Izzie tried to "play" with him...actually the bunny was running from me as I was watering a bush and ran right for Izzie...unfortunately, little cottontail laid down on his side and died. We're thinking of taking him out to a big field for a nice lunch for a Turkey Vulture...I know...morbid..but it will help me feel like SOME good can come of this....time for bells for all the kitties! It's been hot here...but surely not as toastie as you probably have it! We are thinking of you all often! Love you bunches! Ben-saw Jen and the boys on Sunday. They look great and refreshed! Looks like Mom Stienke is doing a wonderful job as usual. Ev was adorable in his baseball cap that was so low on his forehead that he had to keep his head tilted up just to see strait ahead!!! you guys! Can't wait to see pics and give you hugs when you arrive back home! Love Sarah
23rd June 2009

missing you
Hey guys I missed your take off. Rex and I and our family were in Virginia. It's amazing how God continues to work even in the mist of confusion. I am so glad that the trip to India is still taking place despite what is going on in our church. Thanks for the reminder Ben, that God is bigger than our local churches. I think sometimes I get discourage because of my tunnel vision but trips like these remind that God is bigger than what my eyes see. You guys keep the faith, post pictures and know that back home while we anxiously wait your arrival, we desire to see how God is going to use you to change lives. Forever and always Pearl
24th June 2009

Ben, Thank you for your reminder of how BIG God is! Satan tends to distract us with our own problems and needs. We forget that there are so much more important things in life that we shall focus on! Please tell Rosario and Helen that we said HELLO! Ben, you are so lucky to be on the team again! I think this is your third time, right? Christy
24th June 2009

To Laurel and Mitch
Laurel and Mitch Erika and I are glad that you got there safely. Thank you for the Birthday card and we will have to get together after you get back home and settled so we can hear all about the trip. I hear that it is really hot out there. try to stay warm. Be safe and we will talk to you when you get home.
24th June 2009

Hi Mission Team
Thank you very much for keeping us updated with your daily activities. You guys are such an inspiration to Melvin and I, as well as the brothers and sisters you are meeting with in India. Yes, Ben I too tend to think God is only as big as my local church but I truly know He is much, much bigger than that. Your trip there is an encouragement to the disciples in India but also I am sure you too are being encouraged by them as we back home are by your journal. The mission team and family members are in our prayers as well as the disciples in India. We love you guys and look forward to your return home.
24th June 2009

Prayers sent up
Bless each of your hearts. When you find it tough, and sometimes you will, remember that "greater is he that is within you than he that is in the world." When tempted to focus on your dependence on outer things, circumstances or situations, try to remember and rely on that inner authority as a fully empowered child of God. Thank you for exercising your soul's potential. I pray for your strength, health and enlightenment. Let me share a brief excerpt of a book I am reading: "As we surrender more and more deeply to the transformative process through our spiritual practices, we realize that we cannot remain inwardly the same. The ego, however, tells us that if we could just somehow manage to change others or the irritating details of our environment, we ourselves won't have to change." I pray that you and those you impact be not only improved or changed, but transformed by this experience. I sincerely love you. Know that the family here are sending up "mad" prayers for you. Just in case you didn't know, "mad" is a good thing in this case. :-) Feel the love, Dana
25th June 2009

Laurel, Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. Wow, threat of evection for having other christians in your home. Ben, Jen read your blog to the church at midweek. We're looking forward to the pics. You're right, God is much bigger then the kingdom. P.S. Just wanted to say hi to Mitch, Chief and Deb. YBIC, Le
26th June 2009

Keep on keepin' on!
A society grows great when men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in. - Greek Proverb Bless you all, Mission Team, for sharing the culture of Christ because you know the truth. The 90+ degree weather here is nothing compared to the heat you guys are facing. Fight the good fight. (Even if it is fatigue at the moment.) Prayers for all of you and whom you touch! Tell Ben, Ev has been sportin' his 1st VBS t-shirt. He makes a great poster child!
27th June 2009

You guys are AWESOME ! !
The Kingdom is so lucky to have disciples like you. We are all in awe of your incredible journey and your sacrificial hearts. We pray for you daily and pray for the poor and struglling people there in India. We love you all so much. Grand Rapids has a big hole that Phil used to fill. We can't wait to get him back !!! We know that God is with you and leading you to promote HIS cause. Ron

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