28 April 09
“They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor.” Isaiah 61:3
Kashmir is unlike any place that I’ve ever seen. It is an extraordinary display of God’s glory at the base of the Himalayan mountains. On the plane ride, I watched out the window as the mountains came into view. The tall snow capped mountains faded into a sea of green as we approached the valley. Kashmir is green, the color of spring, with beautiful trees and flowers blooming everywhere. Our friend drove us through Kashmir speaking of the history and culture of Kashmir. The Kashmiri’s want so much for their state to be normal. They long to be the “Switzerland” for the East. Our friend tells us as soon as the valley thinks they are stabilizing, the militants will inevitable do something to shake things up again for the Kashmiri’s. They do what they can to promote fear and keep the tourists away. As he drove on thru the city we approached a lake, Lake Dal. It was teeming with houseboats and was unlike anything I had ever seen before. Water taxis would wait to take you out to the boats. Many people live on the boats and they even have their own culture. There are grocery stores, barbers and meeting boats, a floating economy of sorts. The biggest attraction for tourists is to come and stay on a houseboat. Our houseboat was ornately built with walnut furniture and engraving.
We met up with more friends to start our time here in prayer and worship. It was such a refreshing experience. We met in their home and experienced what is their normal Monday meeting time. I was in awe of their devotion. We sang and prayed while their children played among us. This was their home, their routine, and I am grateful that they shared it with us.
Later that evening, we met with a group of Muslim background believers. These are men who have chosen Christ, despite the risk. They each explained in their language how they had come to know Him, our Savior. Now our friend is asking them to go even farther, to bring more of their brothers to the knowledge of Christ. This is not an easy thing to ask. They have counted the cost for themselves, and chosen Christ, but to take it one step further is risky for them. These men have gone thru 3 months of intense Bible training at the Discipleship Center in Jammu. They have had to come up with a cover story in order to go. Many of them have undergone great persecution and have chosen to move to a new village or town. What more could be asked of them? But they are dedicated to the cause and need encouragement. They are like Jesus’ disciples who gave up everything to first learn, and then to teach, and ultimately to build the church. Please pray for them to have the courage to bring freedom to Kashmir.
Although I miss home and the comforts that it brings, I am so grateful for the experience to see people who are truly going beyond. I have met men and women that have given up everything that we consider normal to build the church. They have such a heart for the people they serve – a people lost and hopeless. You have a hope, an anchor. Don’t keep this hope to yourself. Lets share it with those who need it. What are you willing to do to for the cause of Christ?