South Asia

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Chis, Mandy, Andrew, Tayler, Ryan, Kayla, Fritz, Naomi and Kalena

Task: Working in one of the most densely populated cities in the world this team’s primary focus will be sharing Truth with the lost. Through making friends and Luke 10-style sharing the team will be trained on how to share and then sent out to various parts of the city in the hopes of meeting people of peace who will be open to hearing about our faith.

Dates: May 7 – 21

Departure: Join this team on Friday, May 12 at 1:00 PM at William Jessup University to pray over them as we send them to the field!

Team Arrival: The team has arrived (with all their luggage!) and has made it to their hotel. Everyone is doing well and is SO EXCITED to finally be in the city! Please pray for a quick adjustment as they have to stay up for the next 10 hours to fight jetlag. They will head to house church in a few hours so please ask for favor on their first day of cultural orientation. Stay tuned for more updates as their ministry begins later this week!

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Update #1: Tuesday, May 16

Hello Friends and Family!

First of all, Happy Belated Mother’s Day to all of our wonderful mamas!  We’re sorry we missed but we love you guys very much! 😉

This is Kayla writing this first post! We just finished up Tuesday, May 16th as I am writing this at night. We apologize it has taken a few days to get an update posted but we have been so busy here in South Asia! Everything about this culture is different than America, and it’s been incredible to experience. We have ridden in rickshaws, taxis, Ubers, the metro, and trains. We have smelled ALL the smells…lots of spices, slaughtered fish, body odor, sweat, and human waste. It is also very hot and extremely humid here, we will all be coming back home with poorly washed, stinky clothes. All the parents: Watch out. The food here is really good! (Mom, you would love it.) It’s super spicy but just enough to give it flavor. Also I ate some weird spicy cottage cheese, tofu-textured thing and I didn’t hate it. That alone is a miracle from the Lord.

Being Americans, we get stared at a lot and many people are not hesitant to ask to take pictures with you. That definitely takes some getting used to. Also the driving here is ridiculous. People honk constantly to basically just let you know they are there, or to start moving. And the cushion space autorickshaws give between one auto and another other is about 6 inches at any given time, give or take.

One of the things we have noticed here is that everything we do is basically the opposite of what we are taught as children in America. We talk to strangers (a lot), walk down poorly-lit (but safe) alleys, go into people’s homes even if you don’t know them well, if you are offered food—you eat it, and walk into oncoming traffic (just hold out your hand and they stop). All this and there still has not been a time where I have felt unsafe in the city. It may not seem like it but we’re still being careful, so don’t worry Dad! 😉 Our guides have trained us well and the city is very welcoming to foreigners!   

I think I can speak for all of us when I say that we love being in this culture! But definitely the best part of this trip so far is talking to so many different types of people from many different backgrounds. We have been able to share the Gospel, some of our testimonies, and other stories about Jesus with many people and have had a lot of people respond so well with wanting to know more about Him. We have already had an invitation to go back to someone’s house to tell him and his whole family more about Jesus because he was so interested. We are all so excited for what this next week and a half is going to hold for us and the people here in South Asia.

Please continue to pray for our team for boldness in Christ, for good health to continue, for energy to get through these long days, and for the Holy Spirit to have full control over us as the Lord works through us here.

Also pray for this city we are in and for the people we are meeting. Pray that the Holy Spirit would work through their hearts and lives and that they would fully know and understand truth. There is a lot of darkness in this city that we saw today by going to different religious sites and we just ask that you would pray for these people to experience God’s love and be transformed by it.

Thank you all so much for your love and support!

-Kayla 🙂

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Update #2: Thursday, May 18

Hello, Loved Ones and Supporters!

Namaste! This is Kalena (also known as Klay) here to tell you about our most recent adventures in South Asia!  These five days have been incredible, revealing, challenging, and jam-packed with activities. Yesterday we spent the day doing a scavenger hunt in teams of three. We got to venture out on our own without fieldworkers or nationals and explore the north, south, east, and west sides of the city, with each area being drastically different from the others. We all started with the drive to win the scavenger hunt but soon forgot the competition thanks to the culture and friendly people we got to encounter. Some of the highlights from the scavenger hunt were seeing the “Gateway,” (our city’s most famous landmark) playing cricket with boys from the slums, joining in on Ring-Around-The-Rosie with very little girls and boys from the fish market, sharing the Gospel, making new friends, Ryan getting an authentic-style shave for 50 cents, getting chai and mehindi (henna designs on our hands), riding on the crowded metro and train systems, and lastly ending the day with a team dinner. This scavenger hunt was one for the books!

Today we got to go out and dedicate a day to full evangelism and were once again sent out in teams of three with a few of national friends to translate. Evangelism has been uncomfortable, foreign, and challenging for all of us. We have a new appreciation for the verse, “The harvest is plenty but the workers are few.” With that being said, God has been with us every step of the way and as we scatter the seeds and He is growing us in ways we never expected. Today each group got to talk with people all over the city who are interested in meeting up with us next week to learn more about becoming a follower of Jesus! What an honor it has been to see the Holy Spirit at work. Today, I was gifted with a little bit of “good luck” while we were out evangelizing. While my team was out in the business district a bird dropped a large, wet, and stinky surprise on my arm. You’ll be happy to know I did not lick it off even though it resembled the butter chicken we had eaten the night before. 😉

Most of us are still in the honeymoon stage of culture shock (a.k.a.- We love it here) but please continue to pray for our health. Some of us are having a hard time being in the hot sun all day with an upset stomach. Also pray for the people who are ready to hear more about Jesus and the people who are believers but have been struggling to stay strong in an environment that promotes many false gods.

On behalf of the team we appreciate your prayers and support! More to come soon!

Klay and the team

P.S.- Please enjoy some photos from our scavenger hunt (look at all that delicious FRESH fruit!) as well as a team song we wrote that we believe accurately sums up our experience here so far. 🙂

Estimated lyrics (and minor definitions) have been added for your viewing enjoyment. Full, accurate lyrics (and their meaning) will be available when the team returns!

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Update #3: Saturday, May 20

Hey y’all!

This is Tayler here! Just wanted to say publicly congrats to our leader Fritz and his family to the new addition to their family! While here in South Asia, Fritz was blessed with a new grandson! Also Happy Belated Birthday to my good friend Justin Achanzar & hello Gibbs gang, love and miss you all!

For those who have been tracking along with our posts, you’ll know that our time here in South Asia has been unbelievable! The last few days have been filled with the Holy Spirit with a splash of craziness and humidity. I think I speak for the whole team when I say that each morning we’ve woken up in awe of the fact that we are half way around the world proclaiming the name of Jesus. The atmosphere of walking through the streets in South Asia is hard to put into words. As you walk, there are many people searching for hope, searching for identity and love. It’s heartbreaking to see children begging for food and money because their parents make them stand on the street as that’s how their family survives. It is unsettling to watch people go into temples and fight their way to the altar just to get a glimpse or chance to pray to a statue made of glass. But that is why we are here. We are here to make an impact, to show by example what it means to be loved by God, what it means to be in relationship with God, and what it means to be a follower of Jesus. Just through our smiling faces, and the joy in our hearts, we stand out for Jesus; we are His light in South Asia! (Matthew 5:15)

As was shared previously, we’ve had a few days where we have had the opportunity to do street evangelism. For me personally, it was out of my comfort zone to just walk up to a random person and ask if they would like to hear about the story of Jesus. But I’m so thankful for the opportunity of being stretched and getting a chance to experience God in a new way. A couple days ago I woke up feeling slightly discouraged because I had yet to share the full Gospel story with someone. Every person that I had walked up to in the past couple days were not interested in hearing about Christ, so I asked my team for prayer and encouragement for the day and for me to be used by God. Well, like many of us know prayer works, right out of the gate as we were walking through the street I noticed a woman standing by herself. So I walked up to her, introduced myself, asked if she would like to hear the story of Jesus, and she said yes! I was shocked and bit nervous but SO PUMPED! So I stood there on a street in South Asia and told her about our amazing Jesus. She wanted to know more and hear the more about the Gospel, so we are meeting sometime next week to talk more about what it means to be a follower of Christ. It amazing to see how uses us and continues to move in this country!

Thank you to all those back at home who have been praying for us. It truly means a lot! We are so grateful for this opportunity to be here proclaiming the name of Jesus. Please pray for Mandy who is feeling a bit under the weather, but is recovering after taking a day to rest in the apartment. Ask for continued favor with the people here and that we would stay well hydrated! We have less then a week left here, which is nearly not enough time, but excited to see how Jesus continues to grow, stretch, and bless our time. We love and miss you all, and we are so excited to share all our stories once we get home!

Love Tay & the team!

Please enjoy some photos from a recent youth event taught by Fritz (Andrew and Naomi were there for support) and a VBS day hosted by the rest of the team!

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Update #4: Tuesday, May 23

Hello friends, family, and supporters!

This is Chris writing the blog for today! We have officially been in South Asia for 9 days and exhaustion is slowly setting in but we are excited for our last few days of ministry in the city. On Sunday, we had the opportunity to break into groups of 2 and 3 and visit a few local churches in the area.  Kayla and I got to visit a small church of about 40 people.  The church service is normally in several different languages however the pastor recognized the small group of white people in the back and decided he would intermix some English to help us understand!  After church literally every person came up to us, shook our hands, and prayed for us. They also made fresh breakfast cake and chai for everyone in the congregation!

We then took a short rickshaw ride back to a local mall to grab some food for lunch and begin our ministry for the day.  Most of Sunday afternoon was spent walking through malls, outdoor parks, local beaches, and coffee shops.  The team has continued to persevere and push on to share our faith with people throughout the city.  Sharing my faith has been very challenging primarily due to the fact that it is such a foreign concept to us in the United States.  Many local Christians have asked us how often we go out and share our faith with strangers back at home which often causes us to shrug our shoulders and actually question whether or not we are sharing our faith with the people we are closest to back at home. 

Monday was a jam-packed day starting with a breakfast feast at one of our field workers houses.  We were served fresh pancakes, quiche, crispy bacon, and a variety of fruit juices.  After indulging in more American breakfast food than we should have, we sang worship songs, prayed for our local partners, and prayed for the lost in this city.  We spent almost 2 hours in worship in prayer together as a team which was a very unique and cool opportunity that we do not often due in the United States.  (If you are starting to see a pattern: This trip has been extremely challenging and stretching for everyone on the team due to the fact that we are constantly being pushed out of our comfort zone whether we are praying for the lost, sharing the love of Jesus with a stranger, or trying questionable spicy food).

Monday evening we took rickshaws to a local mosque and walked around for several hours continuing our ministry and eating dinner at an excellent Indo-Chinese restaurant where I accidentally tried shrimp and prawns for the first time thinking it was chicken (I give it a 7/10).  After dinner, we headed to an incredible rooftop terrace where we had an English lesson planned.  Roughly 30-40 nationals who are a part of the local church came to hone up and improve on their English-speaking skills.  This was probably one of the coolest moments of the trip so far since Fritz and I got to play 6 songs on the guitar and worship with a group of people from around the world all praising the name of Jesus.  We played music, shared testimonies, and broke into small groups so that we could help the locals with their English-speaking skills.

After a long day of food, ministry, and English camp we broke into smaller groups, rickshaw-ed home and hit our beds late.  We are excited to continue our ministry in the city and see what God has in store for us for the last few days!

P.S. Please continue to pray for our team as home sickness and exhaustion are starting to set in.  Also be praying for Mandy as she has been having some stomach and digestion issues and has had to stay at our flat for the last day or two. Also, be praying for Tayler’s foot as it is a bit strained and causes her pain to walk long distances.  We are praying and know that God will provide for us in these last few days here in South Asia!

Love and miss you all!

Chris and the team

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Team Return: Team South Asia made it home safely! Thank you to everyone who prayed along with their ministry efforts and supported them through reading their blog updates! Check out stories from our other teams!