I’m doing the debriefing necessary as I unpack my ministry time in India. Every trip that I take I come away with new wisdoms and greater clarity for going forward. My time in India is bringing these same gifts my way.
There was a lot that went wrong on this trip and a whole lot that went right. It is such an interesting mix of both good and bad that my spirit and soul are not too sure what to think. Parts of me is exuberant and completely satisfied and other parts of me are shrinking with residue of disgust and weightiness.
Years back when I first began doing prayer ministry with individuals I learned how important it is to pray cleansing upon oneself after a prayer session. In prayer ministry we are directly dealing with the assignments of the enemy upon a persons life and needless to say we don’t want any of that sticking to ourselves simply because we came alongside. I’m realizing I must do the same process in these days following my two months in India.
So there is this inner residue cleansing required but then there is also the critique and assessment from a leadership and future ministry perspective; I want to glean all I can so that our future movement at CCIM is better because I was in India for two months.
A number of things became evident to me during this ministry trip. One that stands out to me is the dilemma of how to go to a people, how to come alongside a pastor, determining beforehand if that person is strong enough inside, confident enough, secure enough in who they are, that they don’t feel the need to overextend simply to host me.
Again, here in India was the overt outplay of this. When a person is not secure in who they are there is all sorts of pretence and show that goes into a ministry time. Often I am putting up with this in some small way from person to person and in place after place, yet in India it seemed to be exaggerated and in my face much of the trip. So I am asking, how do I prepare people to host me and the work I bring in a way that brings no pretension, that rests in the provision of the Lord, spending just what is necessary and no more?
For those unable to settle into a simple way they justify many decisions that may seem subtle shifts in what and how we are engaging ministry together, yet decisions that leave them in much trouble after our time is done. How can I determine beforehand if an inviting pastor is able to walk in the humility required to take on a visitor in the west in a simple way?
A second thing that must be determined going forward is how to dialogue with a potential host pastor in such a way that I can determine if they truly want what I am bringing, or if they are stuck on the expectation that I will be bringing aid and assistance and support to their work.
On my part I feel that I have been as clear and direct as possible to say, “I am bringing no money for anything other than our travel as we ‘go’ to the churches you would have me at.” I write this in emails, I state it in documents, I say it again and again, and yet this last trip a full four out of the seven inviting pastors did not hear me and were sorely disappointed and angry when they truly got it that I was not going to help them in the way that they expected. I’d like to avoid this in the future for my sake and theirs.
Once I had arrived with these ones it became apparent pretty quickly that they just wanted financial support, a connection to the west that would eliminate their future worries and take care of their needs. One subtle but clear pattern was their habit of cutting me off in prayer. Invariably on the first day of ministry together, I would be praying for someone, speaking out-loud the pictures that God was giving me and before I had completed this they would speak a hearty ‘Amen’ hoping to tell me to ‘shut up now, enough already.’ Obviously they were not interested in me praying for people.
So, immediately we are at odds. Prayer for people is the basic reason I have come!
I’ve been pondering this obvious disdain and disregard for prayer. There seems to be a lack of understanding that prayer changes things. My last trip to Uganda (my fourth time there) it was heartening to hear from a few of the folks I’d been alongside before that they were seeing the fruit of my presence and prayers regarding what they were doing.
One young school director said it this way, “Cyndy was here at the start of our school some three years ago. She brought no money with her but she brought something much more valuable. She could have brought $500 but that would have been spent in fairly short order. Instead, she brought her prayers and now today you can see how far we have come and how far her prayers have brought us. Money would have run out again, but prayers are taking us forward.”
And I’ve seen the impact of change that happens after I’ve been with people. I don’t say this to beat my own drum, rather it is an observation that continues to hold up after time, and so when I am with people that only want money it is evident to me that they have no cognition of any other valuable kind of offering – say oneself and one’s prayers. Their senses are dull and they cannot discern good gifts when right next to them.
Of course, I suspect it comes down to motives and to love. We must ask ourselves, do we want Cyndy to come and to pray healing for these people or do we want her to come and give us financial support. Again, after my time with these four pastors I would not confidently say that they are truly for the people but rather are only truly for themselves. These things cannot be hidden, they will come out in the end. How to avoid people like this in the future is the question I am asking myself.
Long story short, I am pulling apart my time in India assessing all that went right and all that went bad, waiting on the Lord for my own restoration and healing in the follow-up to many ministry weeks, waiting on the Lord for a better foundation of wisdom going forward. Thankfully we have the time to do this. My work is always a mix of on-the-ground at the front-edge of the wave, out there ministry time, interspersed with hunkering at home, looking at our infrastructure, building forward strong foundations of thought and principles.
My next months will be at home doing all this. Praying us forward, resting in the Lord forward, thinking and dialogue as a team forward, taking our time forward. It is good.
FOOTNOTE: Of course, I am also in my next months meeting with prayer clients, continuing in the overseas communications, and most of all completing months 5-8 curriculum content for College of Capturing Courage International Ministries. It is a full time these weeks ahead and so I would value your prayers for myself and this work.