Team India Update – November 21, 2016

Greetings to our church family;

We have completed the first two parts of what I call the trilogy of our mission. Part one was the conference in Siliguri which went very well. We stayed at a Christian conference centre along with the participants. For three days (Monday – Wednesday) we taught, fellowshipped, and worshipped together. We made some good friends and felt very privileged and blessed. Each of us from the team taught three sessions (one per day) of 50 minutes of content… with translation they were 90 minutes!

We felt well received and in turn learned a lot from these pastors, leaders, and women.

Part two was a time of learning more about the various ministries and projects that Far Corners Ministries has been in partnership with a local foundation led by Shakti…… it was so interesting to learn how they are making such a difference in some local villages with providing training and employment opportunities for people that are so poor and in need of help. They are doing an amazing job helping people fish rather than just giving them fish! We saw a weaving operation in process where women are given employment weaving special scarves and carpets. We saw a poultry operation where they are buying and feeding out chicks for broilers. They are also In the process purchasing sewing machines so women can be taught to be tailors… to sew their own clothing and for others also. There is a small school for young children and a few other initiatives.

A couple of us did some training with a great group of young adults that meet 2 Saturdays per month to be disciples and trained for ministry. We enjoyed and participated in a wonderful worship service on Sunday morning and then the women had a meaningful time of sharing with the women after the service. It is so inspiring to see what God is doing through the work done here in north east West Bengal.

We have also been so impressed with the emphasis on leadership training and especially discipling young men and women for future pastors. They believe if they train up 100 young people, 10 will become pastors.

We have grown to love our translators… especially Biplab, a pastor from Siliguri who has been travelling with us along with Shakti. Their hearts are so full for reaching the lost people of West Bengal. They say there are .06 Christians in the 100,000,000 population of Bengalese. Shiny, who has done much of the women’s translating, does a wonderful job connecting with the women and provides inspirational commentary at the end of each session.

Our challenges are mostly around food. We also find the pace a bit gruelling. We are busy with very little time on our own to recharge. The “Indian stretch time” means we spend a lot of time waiting… this feels quite unproductive to us North Americans!

Please continue to pray for us as we move into the last two days of our second conference as well as for our health and strength to finish well.

Thanks so much… knowing you are praying is very encouraging!

On behalf of Team India 2016,
Bob & Dale Fast

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Team India Update – November 15, 2016

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Greetings from India!

We left Canada on a warm November day, surrounded by a circle of friends who prayed for our safety. We flew to Toronto where we boarded our flight to Delhi, India. Unfortunately, our first airplane had mechanical difficulties and we had to de-plane and re-board another aircraft. After a three-hour delay, we were safely in the air. Our flight to Delhi was almost 14 hours. It was a very full flight and we didn’t get much sleep. We were so thankful to land and get to our hotel. It took us two hours to get through customs, retrieve our baggage, and exit the airport. We stayed overnight at a hotel quite close to the airport.

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The next morning, we returned to the airport and boarded another airplane for the trip to Bagdogra airport. We were able to see the majestic Himalayas as we drew closer to our destination. Shakti met us at the airport and brought us to the Siliguri Christian Centre. He gave us a tour of this large facility where we would spend the next six days.

On Sunday, we attended an amazing worship service at Jalpaiguri Baptist Church. The church greeted us warmly with flower necklaces. They fondly remember all the previous team members from Whyte Ridge Baptist Church and enquired about each one. We were so humbled to be asked to pray for various members of the congregation who came forward with concerns. Doug gave a message on unity. Later that evening, our retreat participants began arriving. They came by train and bus.

On Monday morning, we began our first retreat. Each team member has a teaching slot every day lasting an hour and a half. We have a translator for the women – Shini – and another for the men – Biplap. They are excellent translators and often add their own flavour to what we say. As I write this, we have nearly completed two full days of retreat.

We are enjoying meeting many new friends, sharing what we have prepared, trying new foods, and coming closer as a team. We are learning to eat and enjoy new foods including something called daal and a vegetable called Bitter Gourd. Sounds delicious, doesn’t it? We have also learned that Andrew is the most likely to be mistaken for an Indian; someone even said that he looks like a Punjabi rap star. We can’t quite figure out how he passes as Indian with those blue eyes.

We so need your prayers for us each day. There are things that we struggle with including sleep, unfamiliar food, and discouragement . Many of you may have heard on the news about the currency crisis here in India. The government decided to eliminate the 1000 rupee notes and are replacing the 500 rupee notes with a newer version. They are also adding a 2000 rupee note. Unfortunately, the new notes have not reached the part of the country that we are in. It is a concern because our accommodations and drivers need to be paid in cash. Shakti also needs to reimburse the pastors for their travel. Please pray that God provides the money we need in a miraculous way.

This evening we had the privilege of enjoying some of the culture of India as many of the different groups at the conference shared a dance or a song. It is a special blessing to see how they worship in this way.

Wednesday was our last day of the first retreat. It was sad to see the pastors and women depart as we made many special connections with them. God moved through each of us on the team as we poured our hearts out in the teaching sessions. It was a humbling and learning experience as we depended on God to speak through us each day. Our prayer is that God uses the teaching from our sessions to transform these leaders and their churches over the coming years.
On Thursday we will be taking an early train to Alipurduar at 6:45am. We are looking forward to experiencing transportation as the people of India do on a daily basis. It should be a scenic ride through the beautiful rural countryside of West Bengal.

Team India

Parent Resource: November 2016 Parenting Christian Kids Now Available Online!

The November 2016 edition of ‘Parenting Christian Kids’ is now available to view and download online!

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Women’s Precept Bible Study

Women’s Precept Bible Study – Theme: Genesis (David Arthur). Part 1 & 2: Mondays, October 24–February 6; Parts 3-5: Mondays, February 13– May 29. Time: 7:00– 9:15p.m. Location: 125 Girton Blvd. Cost for Part 1 & 2: $30 (for Workbooks).  This is an Inductive Bible Study with 3-5 hrs. homework each week.

REGISTRATION DEADLINE HAS PASSED.  Contact Barb Brewer by email  or call 204-807-5846 for further information!

Parent Resource: October 2016 Parenting Christian Kids Now Available Online!

The October 2016 edition of ‘Parenting Christian Kids’ is now available to view and download online!

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“Combined Worship (English and Korean) – John 3:16” – Service Now Available Online

Check out “Combined Worship (English and Korean) – John 3:16” on the Whyte Ridge Baptist Church sermon page HERE.