Sunderban Islands & Suicidal Drivers

Saturday was a full and rewarding ministry day.

In the words of Kirk Gendron:
I am not used to these early mornings but we were up at 5:00 and ready to go by 6:00. Today’s adventure took us to a small village in West Bengal just inland of the Sunderban Islands. I realize that I mentioned the insanity of driving through Kolkata yesterday and yet that seemed almost tame in comparison to the experience today.

Imagine driving your car down the aisle at Walmart with the store loaded with customers, people riding bikes and other cars trying to go the opposite direction. The ride was 3 1/2 hours and our nerves were more than frayed by the time we arrived. Thankfully, we did not run anyone over, though a motorcycle did run into the back of our car!

Things were a bit disorganized when we arrived. By the time we got started, there were 120 pastors from neighboring villages, many from the small islands off the coast. Some had traveled 50 miles by boat, bus and walking to attend the conference.

In addition, there were about 90 kids that attend the small school there in the village. We each had the opportunity to speak with the pastors and the kids separately. Thankfully, God blessed us with cooler weather than we have had but it was still very humid inside the rustic concrete room. I do not believe I have ever sweated as much as I did during the 45 minutes that I was teaching. We had to make sure to drink lots of water.

We took communion together and at the end, Nate taught them about servant leadership. The most significant moment of the trip for all 4 of us was getting to wash the feet of the leaders of the church plant pastors. Having pastors come all the way from the US to teach them is considered a real honor but having us kneel in front of their peers and wash their feet was overwhelming. Several of them had tears in their eyes before we even started and kept praising God as we prayed a blessing over them personally. It was a powerful moment that none of us will ever forget.

And in the words of Joel Madson:
“What a wonderful day! In almost 30 years as a pastor I’ve never experienced a day like today!

…I washed Kaupada Mondal’s feet. As I washed I looked him in the eyes and told him it was a privilege to serve him. He had tears in his eyes and his lips were quivering. I was so moved I could hardly continue. I’ve never experienced anything like that. To minister to these pastors was over the top for me.

Thank you for praying! We have endured very hot and humid conditions and as I write this we are experiencing one monser of a thunder storm. We also survived a wild 3+ hour drive coming and going to the conference that made all of my previous experiences around the world seem tame. Most importantly the Lord blessed us with an amazing day! God bless you and have a fantastic day!

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