I Never Thought I would do this (Part 3)
By Stephen L France
I would be astonished to find anyone untouched by a visit to the poverty of Chennai, India.
Regardless of background or belief, everyone I know—absolutely every single individual—would do themselves a great service to take the excursion that I’ve returned from.
There’s an immense diversity of activities available in the world today, all with vast marketing budgets to push their guarantees of self-improvement, bliss, and pleasure. These promises are often short-lived, utilised within months, weeks, days, or even hours, only to open the door to the next venture.
But the EEC India Mission Trip in November was a unique journey, that has permanently shifted the workings of my soul.
Arriving in Chennai for the first time, I did as my faith commanded, listening and observing in my uncharted surroundings [Proverbs 18:13].
Our India Mission team’s introduction to Christian Missions Charitable Trust (CMCT)—the organisation we travelled out there to work with—and the subsequent visit to the Leprosy village, where we preached the Word, sang hymns, gave personal testimonies, and distributed food rations, were the two impactful events of the first few days.
Below: EEC India Mission – Video by Shalom
I examined the CMCT headquarters with intense scrutiny, reviewing the transparency, the devotion to prayer, patience to ascertain God’s response [1 John 4:1], the diligence, the excellent level of communication, their accomplishments in aiding the poor of Chennai, the very structure of the HQ that houses a chapel, hospital, orphanage, school, and handicraft centre with ministries to tend to the sick, wounded, poor, and outcast [Proverbs 14:31]; the real working Body of Christ [Romans 12:4-5].
Overall, I appreciated the amazing standard of administration to have nurtured a staff environment where the poor are employed to help the poor – a perpetual and progressive cycle of benevolence.
All this was achieved through the power of prayer, exemplified in times when the financial well dried up and tangible, miraculous resolutions occurred, in a location where there is an abundance of lack.
Attempting to rationalise the situation, I was left with one conclusion about the impossible feats that had been made possible through their meticulous work; this was a tangible example of the Holy Spirit’s awesome, supernatural power brought into our physical world.
Meeting CMCT Founder and Managing Director Colleen Redit, an instant sense of conviction was upon me. This person is an inspirational example of God’s grace; an individual who embodies the meaning of Romans 12:1; a person who’s allowed the Holy Spirit the freedom to work with her in fullness.
However, when Colleen first visited our church last year (2015), my major question was: is she happy with her life in choosing God’s plan of singleness?
This question dissolved in the presence of CMCT’s phenomenal operation and the query was replaced with more trust in my heart for God.
I was observing the fruits of obedience to God’s commandments in full living colour; the results of an individual who authorised the Holy Spirit to use her and her own proactivity in prayer.
This ‘modus operandi’ was pursued for over 50 years and continues to this day to create a charity that exceeds the message of ‘helping the poor.’ I was in the bright shining light of Christ’s victory.
If this is what one person can do through the Holy Spirit’s power, imagine what a few more could achieve with such faith?
Like the climate temperature increase between London and India, the furnace heat of purification was turned up on my soul [Psalm 12:6]. My senses were shattered and internal spiritual warfare grew loud. My walk with God fell under deep examination from ‘the other guy below,’ who sought to nourish those condemning thoughts about my own character.
My memory flashed back to seeing the youthful and the elderly at the Leprosy village, all relying on the food rations that we were distributing on behalf of CMCT’s great efforts.
Everything ugly inside my personality – every sin, every prideful thought, every fear, every anxiety emerged.
We had seen the graceful hand of God among the poor. They were grateful. They were appreciative. They smiled sincere smiles of joy and peace. It didn’t feel real – how could they smile while living day-to-day in such challenging conditions?
That night, I woke at 3:38 am – Bible reflection time brought my soul deeper into God’s shining light. All my fears and prideful thoughts were being flushed out – every fault, weakness, and flaw.
I’m seeing the ultimate power of Christian spirituality manifest in physical form, I thought. I’m witnessing the impossible made possible. I’m seeing Christianity in action. This is God’s love. This is His grace.
The thoughts conflicted with doubts, stemming from past wounds in life and it felt as if the triviality of my pride taunted me as it was compared to the magnitude of what God does through those who truly obey.
You’re worried about never finding the right person for marriage. You’re worried about your physical appearance. You’re worried about your career. You’re not spiritual enough for this. You’re not doing enough for the Kingdom of God. You don’t even pray in tongues. You’re not a good man…And you NEVER were.
It was at this moment, that I knew I had to be vigilant [1 Peter 5:8].
God’s chastisement and holy conviction to heal my past wounds could slowly be stolen by the devil’s accusation and condemnation.
To be Continued…
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See Part 1 here: http://stephen-l-france.com/i-never-thought-i-part-1/
See Part 2 here: http://stephen-l-france.com/i-never-thought-i-part-2/
Full Photo Collection Here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10100966922753712.1073741831.286103077&type=1&l=410044551f
See more from Feeding Faith here: http://stephen-l-france.com/category/feeding-faith/