I have always heard people say “I live in a Christian bubble”, but I sure didn't know that I actually did too…until…a few nights ago when I attended a secular concert event that involved several different bands. I have become so used to doing Christian work, with my Christian friends, coming home to my Christian family, and doing Christian activities on the weekend that this event put me way out of my comfort zone! I Am Definitely In a Christian Bubble!!
The reason I was at this event In the first place was to meet up with a band that is going to work with me on a fundraiser I’m planning for my ministry, Mission Reality. So I thought, “Awesome I will go to this event and meet this band and start a working relationship with them.” Little did I know that God was going to connect me not only with this particular Amazing artist but also to several other talented musicians as well and, to top it off, that I would actually get to have “church” while backstage with some of the bands playing that night!! God is so Good! I met some of the most awesome Believers out there ministering to the masses of lost people through music! They were living out the call to BE that light in the darkness!
As I am doing my Bible study this morning I realized that I am so careful to do only Christian activities that I miss the whole point of being a Christian… I have my new musician friends to thank for reminding me what I’m here for!! Moments ago, while working on my schedule, I found a film organization that I thought I could work well with. But OH WAIT…first thing that comes to my mind… ”It’s not identified as a Christian organization.” Right then God spoke to me… Mark 2:17 “It’s not the healthy that need a doctor, but the sick.” CONVICTION…Forgive me Lord! It’s easy to get into our comfort zone and get so used to it that we avoid, at all costs, being around those who REALLY need HIM. I made the decision to connect with this film organization and be the salt of the earth, a light to the hurting world, and I WILL bring the hope of Jesus to a world that needs HIM.
I’m sitting here reading Hebrews and thinking about what the early church went through…public mockery, persecution, confiscation of property, and even martyrdom. Have you ever considered what you would do if any of these things happened to you? It seems so far fetched to consider this actually happening to us…IN AMERICA? No Way! We live in a free country…Don’t we? Would I joyfully accept the confiscation of my property? Even though I know I have better and lasting possessions in Heaven as Hebrews speaks about in chapter 10:34? Uhh, I fear that would not be the case with me. I think I might be a little MORE than upset.
On my travels to India I am struck with the humble means in which they live. Many of them live in a grass hut home. During our trip to India in 2013 part of the Mission Reality team had some time to pray with the prayer warriors at Mercy Children Home where we serve. They began to tell us their prayer requests; one sweet lady was asking God to provide her with a grass hut house for shelter. WOW! Man was I humbled. I’ve been in these grass huts and there is nothing luxurious about them. It’s about a 15x15 space with a dirt floor; they sit on the floor when they eat or rest, and most of the time they sleep on mats. No bathroom, no electricity, no running water. It is solely for the purpose of protection from the elements. And it’s crowded! That would be my pet peeve, I like my space. The difference in our lifestyle compared to theirs is like going back in time to umm… about 14th century England. The only thing they have to loose is their dignity and their life. For us, well there is a lot more to lose. First of all what if we lost electricity? No electronics! Eek! No refrigerator, oven, AC, dryer, and the really important things like…hair dryer, curling iron, hot rollers! Man that would be hard! This hair needs lots of work! I don’t know about you, but even loosing just those modern conveniences would rock my world.
Hebrews 10: 32 says, “Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great conflict in the face of suffering?” In America we have been able to enjoy so many things and with the rise of technology, have been conditioned to live a certain way. I’m very thankful for that! I’m very spoiled and I like it! But what if Christians in America experienced a troubled time? What if we began to be persecuted and things were suddenly taken from us? How would we react? Would we turn away from the faith? Blame God? Be angry at God? God is not the one behind the evil that is inflicted on us; however He is usually the first one we have a “talking to” about why bad things are happening to us. That comes from the belief that He is all knowing, all-powerful and can do anything. Which is true, but faith is trusting God no matter what happens to us, being fully assured that He will bring us through the trial or deliver us from it. And for us to be okay with either. Blaming God is just what the devil wants. In fact, during difficult times, he’s the one who brought on the suffering and now he gets to turn us away from God? No, we can’t do it! We can’t give the devil that satisfaction to win. We must stand our ground in the great conflict! Hebrews 10:37 says, “For in just a very little while, He who is coming will not delay, but my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with Him”. Let’s train ourselves to strengthen ourselves in the scriptures, draw near to God, and spend time with Him. And then, when troubles come, we will not shrink back but will persevere and become what the bible says we are… “MORE THAN CONQUERERES IN CHRIST JESUS”!
This man takes on the leadership role of this Leper Colony
Being back from India only a short time, I am reflecting on this extraordinary trip the Lord led us on and my mind reflects on the colony of leprous people that we visited. I have visited several colonies on past trips, 3 to be exact. I remember the moment I realized that leprosy still existed. I was watching a documentary on TV, which was describing the multitude of people who are still plagued with this horrible disease. My naive self was so shocked. I had no idea that people across the world were still battling this biblical disease. I immediately felt the need to try and help these people! This need became the catalyst for my adventures in India. Towards the end of our most recent trip we visited a colony that I had not visited before. This one is near MCH, (Mercy Children Home), where we minister to the orphans and widows with Brother Praveen, the overseer. Due to donations, Brother Praveen now has enough extra money to begin, and I stress begin, helping the leper colony a little. When we arrived at the colony we introduced ourselves and let them know why were there. Next we gave a message about Christ and encouraged them in the Lord. Following that, we handed out a month's worth of the grain they eat and envelopes with a small amount of money equivalent to a couple of bucks in US $. As their name was called they would try to stand up on the nubs they had left for feet. The nubs are due to the leprosy taking most of their hands &/or feet away. The men and women would hobble over to us and thankfully take their provision. I began taking the envelope to where they were sitting so they wouldn’t have to stand but they insisted on standing and paying respect to someone helping them. Man, that so gets to me! With each exchange, my heart would melt inside my chest and I would feel the tears coming on. It required all I had in me to fight back those tears and maintain composure. As we visited with the people there, we were told that they go into the city near the Hindu temple to beg for money in order to survive. The money given due to our visit has now enabled them to only have to beg half of the month and not every day. I wonder how they even get to the town to beg for their provision? Most people can find a way to survive. If someone is hungry there are ways: hunt, fish, even scrounge for food in the garbage. But for these leprous people, if they have no hands, what can they do? If they are missing feet, what can they do? Their total existence depends on receiving handouts. What a hard life, a life that we as Americans can’t really even imagine.
I was also struck by their living conditions. Although I am getting used to seeing how the poor live in India, I just want to get them fixed in a nice home. And by “nice home” I don’t mean the American standard of nice, I mean giving them a floor made out of concrete instead of dirt, a roof that doesn’t pour rain into the house during rainy season, clean water, and a hole for a bathroom. They are precious in God’s eyes and mine. I love them and I want to make life better for them.
But the need in India can be so overwhelming. I can’t help everyone but I can help someone. As the team got back on the bus my tears gave way. The thing that pushed me over the edge of tears flowing freely was the team: A few of the team members were so moved by what they saw that day, that they also wanted to help the helpless, and they did help. Some gave them extra money to alleviate the begging at least for this month. One gave to go towards the roof repair. One saw the need of a man with no legs from the knee down and gave for shoes of some sort to go on the end of his knee. He was walking on rubber scraps tied to his nubs- WOW! They felt what I had been feeling. I was so thankful to God for the awesome team that came with us to India. I’d like to recognize everyone on the team because they each contributed in one way or another to make God’s mission, for us, a reality.
God gave me this scripture years ago and now I am seeing it come to pass. I have read it in several versions but The Message makes it really clear…
I form you and use you to reconnect the people with me, to put the land in order, to resettle families on the ruined properties. I tell prisoners, ‘Come on out. You’re free!’ and those huddled in fear, ‘It’s all right. It’s safe now.’ Isa 49: 8, 9
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Col 3:17
Have you ever experienced a time when you thought you were doing exactly what God wanted you to do but then suddenly He had you do a 360? Well that is what has happened to me on this last Love Exchange trip to India. In my previous blog I mentioned having some really big challenges on this trip to India. The biggest challenge we experienced was that all the boxes that the students from Liberty Christian School and Weatherford Christian School so lovingly made are lost somewhere in the country of India. Mission Love Exchange is partnering students in the US with an orphan child in Indian who has many needs. The American students then make a Christmas box for their orphan child and put toys, school supplies, hygiene products, and other items in the box. We then ship the box to India and then travel there with a team to deliver the boxes directly to the orphans handing them out ourselves. The really unique and awesome thing we do is film the American students making the boxes so the orphans see the love, time and effort the students take to make their box, showing them the love we have for them, then in turn, we film the orphans receiving their boxes so the students can see the impact that was made on that orphan child. There is just nothing like seeing the smiles on those children’s faces when receiving a gift that most of these children have never had. Last year we loaded all the boxes into crates and carried them on the flights with us paying for all the extra luggage fees, all the way to India, However all the boxes did not get all the way to India with us, six of them got stuck in London. I had no other choice but to purchase another plane ticket to send one of our crew back to London to pick up the boxes, which then put us way behind on our schedule. I decided this was not the way to get the boxes to India. Therefore this year we took a different approach. After much research on the different ways to ship boxes, we decided to send the boxes airfreight. This turned out to be pretty expensive but I thought, “Well we can eat the extra cost and figure something else out for next year”. It would have been fine, except, when we arrived in India the boxes were still not released from customs. Our guy that works with us in India, Ernest Mohanty, had been trying to get them out of customs since November 28th and it was then Jan 5th. So, calling all our connections we could possibly think of, we still could not get the boxes, in fact they told us they disassembled the boxes and sent them to different states to be tested…ugh! I was so upset. I felt so horrible knowing all the U.S. kids and families went to the trouble of purchasing the items and making the boxes and even sending their shipping money. How could I ever make it up to them? I felt like such a tremendous failure. You know when you make a mistake and it just involves yourself its bad - but when you make a mistake and it involves others it is really, really bad. So I want to take a moment to publically apologize to all the students and the parents and the teachers who made boxes and have supported me in this effort. I take full responsibility and am willing to reimburse each and every person who made a box.
Now I want to share with you what God did. You know the scripture that says, God causes all things to work together for good for those who love him and are called according to His purpose? Well I saw this scripture in action. We kept trying to get the boxes up until the very last minute, but when I realized this was not going to happen I wanted to quit and give up. However, I had a team with me and we had a mission to complete. I asked God what to do and this is what we did…I told the team we were going to go out and purchase new items for the children. Someone suggested a backpack and that is what we put them in. I said I would foot the bill so we went shopping, and shopping, and shopping! We bought toys, toiletries, candy, clothes, and many more items for their backpacks. I just also have to commend my team because they all chipped in and purchased things too. The team was so supportive of me and so awesome that I am crying thinking about how they stepped up and helped me; not only monetarily, but also with encouragement which I really needed. So, in giving out the backpacks to the orphans, God showed me a NEW way to do mission Love Exchange! I saw the children receive things that they really needed that we couldn’t bring from the U.S. Things like shampoo and conditioner, lotion, Indian candy (they don’t particularly favor the candy we are able to bring from the U.S.) We got to buy lots of mango juice that they love and never get. We got to purchase the clothes that they actually wear in India! And the best part is, you get so much more for your money there! So, from now on, in partnering with American students, we will ask for money to purchase the items in India instead of have them make a box. We will still film the students but instead of making the boxes they will make cards for the orphans that we can take on a plane with us and we will do fun little messages on video for the orphan children to enjoy. And then the video we do in India will show the India team going and purchasing all the times with the money the students have provided, assembling it all, putting the cards in each backpack, and, of course, the children of India receiving their gifts of love!
Sometimes God uses the challenges that we find devastating to teach us new and better ways of doing things - ways that we wouldn’t have thought of before. And He is also always building our character and, although that is sometimes really painful, the outcome is worth the pain.
I just got back from one of my annual trips to India. I’ve been taking trips to India since 2007 helping the orphans, widows, and leprous people there; it’s been quite an experience getting to know the people, the places, and the country. I think India is the one place in the world that almost EVERYTHING is different from the U.S. It is big time culture shock! The differences are amazing, such as the driving. I could write 5 pages about the driving in India, but I’ll just say they don’t really have road laws. The goal of the Indian is to get to their destination any way possible. No personal space between vehicles…well maybe an inch or two…either side of the road will do…oncoming traffic?? So what…horn honking is a friendly gesture…and there are lots of friendly gestures. And the food is totally different than what we have here in America…the staple is rice…and they mix the rice with different sauces like chicken curry, samba, briani, and a nice watery yogurt and onion mixture that is my personal favorite (I didn’t try it until about the 3rd trip over there because it looks…umm less than desirable). There are many more things that are unique to India that will go into in future posts. Today I want to tell you the difference in this trip to India and the prior trips I’ve taken: Before I left for India I saw an email newsletter from a friend that I get ever so often. It had the words “Fully Committed” on it. The words struck me, and I pondered exactly what that meant. Well, God revealed it to me when I got to India. As bad as I hate to admit it, in the past I have been only half way committed to this particular part of ministry. I love doing Mission Reality…most of the time, but when I’m knee deep into it and I have challenge, after challenge, after challenge…I’m ashamed to say, I think about quitting. Every year I go to India I subconsciously think, “I’m not going back, this is too difficult”. God has given me a huge blessing and I’m more like the Israelites wandering in the desert complaining, “I don’t have enough help, I don’t have enough money, I don’t know what to do, I can’t do this, I don’t feel good, I’m crummy at this”, etc. etc. This trip started out no different; We assembled the team, recruited a couple of schools to make the Christmas boxes for the orphans, figured out the shipping and went on our way. Well as soon as we entered the airport in the U.S. we began having major problems and these problems did not cease until the end of the trip. Normally when we go to India we have one or two MAJOR problems to solve and then little small ones throughout the trip. But this time it was MAJOR problem after MAJOR problem. It really got to me and made me question everything I was doing. But then, as I laid awake at night in my hotel room, searching God, asking Him what was going on…those words FULLY COMMITTED came to mind. The Lord revealed to me that I was NOT fully committed to Him and the work he has called me to. If I was fully committed I would not want to quit every time a challenge occurs. WOW what a revelation, God was right! I think the reason the ministry has been in the same place for years is because of me…I have not been fully committed to it. Therefore the growth has been slow and painful. As soon as I realized my error I prayed for forgiveness and for God to remind me everytime my mind begins to wander to that place of negative complaining. I WILL hold every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.
Maybe you’re experiencing the same thing…if so, I implore you first to be fully committed to the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and fully committed to reading His word. Then, whatever it is you do in life, whether it’s your job, your ministry, or being a good Mom or Dad, you must be fully committed in order to be successful in it.
Thank you God for teaching me how to be FULLY COMMITTED.
Hi, my name is Tammy Lane. I have a passion for the Indian
people and helping the orphans, widows, and lepers of India. These desires resulted in several trips to India. I felt lead to share about my experiences of
making this Mission a Reality.
CONTACT US: For General Information about Tammy Lane Productions, Email: Capernaum@TammyLaneProductions.com Phone: 800-489-1950 For Marketing and Advertising Inquiries, Email: Marketing@TammyLaneProductions.com All DONATIONS to any part of this ministry are through Dramatic Worship Ministries (DWM) 501c3 Non Profit as designated by the IRS.