Petty ’til I Puke

The air conditioner at my office was out of whack last week and it was hotter than the nether regions of the heavenly realms.  Ok, that may be the dumbest thing I’ve ever said but at the very least its better than saying: “H – E – double hockey sticks!”  Either way my office was a ding dang oven and I was sweating like, well…. ME at an etiquette seminar.  I wasn’t getting much done other than a ton of complaining so I decided to let the twitter/facebook world know how much I was suffering and posted the following: “3rd day with no a/c in my office! I’m cooking like George Foreman in here!” To which I promptly  received the following comment from my buddy Seth Hardage who went to India with me last month:

“Good thing you have recently had some experience with no air conditioning!”

Now, I know Seth meant it as a joke but for me it was a slap in the face waking me up to how quickly I have forgotten how good I really have it and how little I really have to complain about compared to the people I met in India.  In Case you didn’t know India is the hottest place on planet earth!  Its has the humidity of Houston combined with the heat of Arizona and almost nobody has air conditioning.  Most of them live in little thatch huts, grow their own food, and do the best they can to take care of the ones they love with hardly any resources.  Every single one of them is still there living with that ridiculous heat and lack of resources and here I am with a full belly, my a/c (at home) is set on 72, my kids are safe, and I know where my next 50 meals are coming from and yet I’m still griping.  Don’t misunderstand me,  I am still deeply effected by my experience in India and in many ways my life will never be the same but it just makes me want to puke to see how quickly I can get sucked back into thinking I have any reason to gripe about petty things when Powan (4 year old railway kid) is still over there alone, hungry, homeless, and hot.  So from now on I’m going to do my best to be thankful for what I have, use what I have to help others, and do my best to stop griping!  Who’s with me??

God Bless ya – Runks

Images of India

I’m still trying to wrap my head around all that I saw and experienced in India.  It was such an amazing experience and I am so humbled to have had the opportunity to be a small part of what God is doing in such a dark place.  I’ve been home for a week and I’m still having trouble finding words to express what I experienced over there so I think just let pics and video speak for themselves.

Here is promotional video for Asian Partners International

put together by our fearless team leader Coby Colley:



The vision of A.S.S.I.  – the ministry we were working with, (it stands for Asian -Hindi word-Hindi word- International) – is to plant churches without attempting to change the culture so their worship services are like nothing I have ever seen.  All the worship is in the language of Hindi and the style is typical Indian music.  I couldn’t understand a word of it but  worshipping with my Indian brothers and sisters was awesome and some of the sweetest worship experiences I have ever had!  Here are some pics from some of the house churches we worshipped with. Continue reading

1 little, 2 little, 3 billion Indians…

Actually it’s not 3 billion Indians, it’s 1.17 billion Indians, but who’s counting. You could stand pretty much anywhere in India, take a picture in any direction, and count 500 people.  The state of Uttar Pradesh (where we spent most of our time) is roughly the size of Michigan and has over 166 million people in it!  Michigan barely has10 million people.  I’ve never seen so many people in all my life and God loves every one of them just as much as He loves me, yet almost none of them know it.  According the world countries app on my iphone: 80.5% of them are Hindu, 13.4% of them are Muslims, and only 2.3% of them are Christians. You can do the math however you want but no matter how you slice it, that’s a lot of people that don’t know Jesus.  In fact, a bunch of them don’t even know who He is!  This astounding number of people without Christ was more incredible to me than anything I saw or experienced in India.  Don’t get me wrong — the poverty is unbelievable, the living conditions are shocking, and the number of homeless children is heartbreaking, but the sheer number of people who are lost is absolutely overwhelming.

This was no more apparent to me than when we were in the city of Varanassi. Varanassi is basically the Hindu center of the universe.  It is the holiest of holy cities for Hindus and an incredibly demonically oppressed city.  It is known in mission circles as the “graveyard of missions.” because of the overwhelming Hindu devotion in the area and the many failed attempts to evangelize this city.

While in Varanassi we took a boat ride to witness the Hindu ritual of ceremonial sunrise bathing in the Ganges River. The purpose of the ritual is to offer worship and wash away sin to hopefully appease the gods and get off the cycle of reincarnation by earning a way to heaven. Hindus also wash the bodies of the deceased in this river before they are cremated and then scatter the ashes in the river.  Sometimes for various reasons they simply dump the body in the river. All in a vain attempt to attain salvation. It is literally heartbreaking to see people so deceived working so hard to earn the favor of a god or gods that don’t exist.

Below is the video I shot of this ritual.  It is pretty raw and for the most part unedited but I think it captures the essence of what we witnessed that day.  In it you will see many statues and paintings of false gods as well as people bathing, worshipping, doing laundry, and even brushing their teeth all in the nastiest water you could ever imagine.  I must warn you, you will see a dead body being ceremonially washed as well as one floating in the river.  It’s not graphic.  You can’t see the actual bodies because they’ve been ceremonially wrapped but you’ll know what they are.  Check it out:

In spite of the fact that Varnassi is the holiest of holy cities for Hindus, our God is the God of this city and He is sending out workers into this plentiful harvest.  In fact, in the last two years 10,000 churches have been started and are thriving in this “graveyard of missions.”  God is at work in Varanassi and more than anything our Christian brothers and sisters there need our prayers.  So I’ll leave you with a prayer written for the people of Varanassi by my sister-in-law, Holly Nichols, who loves the people of India probably more than I love my own kids.

“I am praying with you right now that the people of India will know their God.  That they will exchange the lie for the truth of God and return to worship the Creator instead of the creation.  That the rivers and rocks and creation that they have been taught to worship will cry out beside them and join them in worshipping the Creator of all.”

God bless ya – Runks

I’m going to India TOMORROW!

I’m going to INDIA tomorrow!!  INDIA – that’s on the other stinkin’ side of the dang world!  I know, I looked it up. I actually got out a globe and looked.  When we were kids and we tried to dig our way to China in the backyard, we were wrong. We weren’t digging to China, we were digging to India!  I am a little concerned about how I am gonna cram my 9 foot legs and my A.D.H.D. brain in an airplane for 14 hours on my flight to the other side of the world but I’m sure that once I’m there that will seem insignificant and petty.

I cannot believe I’m getting to do this.  I am so blown away at this opportunity God has dropped in my lap. I’m going with my good friend Coby Colley and Asian Partners International.  We’ll be working in New Dehli, Gorakpur, Varanassi, Patna, and several other places I can’t pronounce.  We have many things planned but what I am most pumped about is working with the people who minister to the orphan beggars at the rail stations.  These are the kids portrayed in the movie Slumdog Millionaire.  These kids are horribly abused and forced to beg for money to pay off their pimps.  Not sure if that’s what they’re called but somehow it seems fitting.  I will be working with the leaders there to help them understand how to talk/minister/reach out to someone who has been abused.  If you know my story of childhood sexual abuse then you know this is something I am really thrilled to have the opportunity to do.

I am really excited and somewhat nervous.  I’ve done mission work in Mexico and Haiti but I’ve been warned that nothing can prepare me for what I will see in India.  I’ll be updating this blog and twittering whenever I can to keep you posted on what is happening so you can pray specifically.  Thanks to everyone who is praying and those who provided funding for this trip.  I couldn’t have done this without you!

God Bless ya – Runks