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** JERRY PALADINO Newsletter
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After a day of rest at the home of our Family Services hosts, Marianne returned to Mexico, and Rauna and I joined up with an American pastor, Joseph Gaines, for a whirlwind tour of 22 groups of believers in as many rural towns and cities, amongst some of the poor and indigenous people groups of the country, within the state of Andhra Pradesh. [https://www.facebook.com/people/Bishop-Joseph-Raleigh-Gaines-Sr (https://www.facebook.com/people/Bishop-Joseph-Raleigh-Gaines-Sr/100000047435201) ] He has been visiting India for the last 3 years, after linking up with a very dedicated and energetic Indian Pastor named Kranthipaul Somavarapu, 34 year old founder of Prince Ministries, a very active work in the state of Andhra Pradesh — find out more about him here and his work here: [https://www.facebook.com/kranthipauls] They incorporated us into this trip that he was making back upon returning to his beloved India. We met up in Hyderabad after the Retreat, and then basically ‘hit the road’ for the next 2 weeks, ministering to believers spread throughout these regions. You can see a lot of fotos here, which also list the cities and areas we visited.
Highlights of weeks 2 and 3 of this years' visit to India; after leaving Hyderabad where we had spent a week.After…
We really jumped into the HEART of India, away from the bigger cities, and in and amongst the people, which was a unique opportunity to ‘off the beaten paths,’ and really see the country and people at street level up close and personal. It wasn’t always easy, because in spite of there being SO MANY PEOPLE, so few spoke English where we went, and everything had to be interpreted.
That slows things down considerably, and for a singer such as myself who is used to moving or motivating people through the songs I sing and music I preform, I found that:
1) my music was NOTHING like their music, in either musical style, melody, rhythm or language, therefore:
2) a brief summary of the message of the song had to be given before singing, and then people were sitting staring at me for the 3 or so minutes it took for the song to be executed, without the benefit of getting a running version of the words, melody, and the spirit being released to them steadily over that 3 minute period.—It was a sort of ‘watch and wait’ for the song to be over—and then clap! That took some getting used to!
That’s when I realized it wasn’t going to be the songs as much as the personal involvement that was going to be the focus, emphasis, and the only way to really show my Jesus to them. I learned that I was just going to have to ‘be Jesus’ as best I could to them without the benefit of music, at least to the extent I was used to in other situations. I had ‘had my wings clipped’ and needed to figure out another way to fly! So this encounter taught me the importance of just BEING with people, mingling with them, interacting with them in the short time we were together, and just doing the best I could to minister to them from my persona – or better yet, HIS persona.
So I prayed for people, I blessed people, and I just enjoyed BEING with them…I thought of how much God just loved being with people, starting from the first days with Adam and Eve in the garden; then once we all lost that blessing though the fall, the thrill it must have been when He walked again on earth as Jesus amongst the people, with His disciples—I think I felt a bit like He must have felt, just BEING, smiling, talking, touching, healing, feeding…
At every meeting they had their ‘worship’ music, which mostly consisted of percussion and voices. At first it was all so unrelatable to me from my western background… Then I started realizing that what I was hearing was probably a whole lot closer to what Jesus heard when He grew up, nothing like our Western style ‘worship’ music that moves people like myself; and that maybe in spite of Him loving praises to Himself in ALL languages and styles, perhaps He had a special little warm spot in His heart for this type of music, since it was more like what He experienced in His time on our earth.
And it was a similar thing with the FOOD and the DRESS: He perhaps ate with His hands as the Indians do? And the women around Him probably looked similar to the Indian women, with their heads beautifully adorned with scarves or part of whatever they worn similar to the saris I was seeing here.
So EVERYTHING was different for the most part than what I’ve seen and experienced in other places. But the thing that was the SAME everywhere we went was the light of Jesus in the eyes of true believers, no matter their economic level or situation. That was extremely impacting, and made me immediately stop worrying or wondering about what my influence could possibly be on these people who couldn’t understand me…I could just sing, and share little anecdotes or impressions without too much fear, all of which were interpreted.
KP took us to a variety of villages, outdoor meetings, humble churches, meetings and events to share our particular Gospel message with the people, and I must say it was fantastic, a real life-changer for. Above all I’m grateful for the chance to have time with KP and his family; to participate in services in the different village churches and open air meetings that he and his fellow pastors organized; to have met and worked with those dedicated young pastors and evangelists, and walked with them amongst their people in their chosen areas of ministering;
…to have had time seeing native Christianity being applied and at work in this unique country and culture; and to have had a revelatory glimpse both backward in time to Jesus’ day, and forward in time to when the seeds of the Kingdom of God will have continued flourishing and developing in this largely Christ-less nation. [Officially the Christian population in India is listed around 2%, though different people told me it’s probably more like 9-10%, due to the fact a lot of believers do not register themselves as such because they are then targeted by the officially Hindu government and lose many needed benefits given to Hindu believers only.] I do look forward to returning to India and contributing what I can to strengthen the body of believers there, especially to the dedicated people already there ‘on the ground’ hard at work doing the job of spreading the Good new. Both the Family Services ministry and Prince Ministries are worthy works to help, and could benefit immensely from any support you might feel inclined to give.
I know for some people it’s a desire to give to missions, but then they’re not sure who to give to, to get the most ‘bang for their buck’—Well, these two works are certainly worthy and I give my recommendation wholeheartedly; please know that your donation would be seed well placed—I’ve been there, seen them, and highly recommend them as good soil to plant in, and I plan to continue doing what I can to contribute and reinforce the good work started in both ministries.
KP and Prince Ministries: ** https://www.facebook.com/kranthipauls (https://www.facebook.com/kranthipauls)
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