in 2009, sean and i sat in our bed and watched slumdog millionaire. the first words out of my mouth were “i never EVER want to go to india!”.
sean and i have done a bit of traveling in our married years and often talk about where we’d like to go in the future, but for some reason, i felt compelled to make it clear that india was not an option. sean was not nearly opposed as i was, but i needed him to know i wouldn’t be ok with him going either.
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i don’t watch the news. i don’t read the newspaper. i don’t listen to world events on the radio. i over-hear about world tragedies (earthquakes, tsunamis, fires, bombings…) in passing.
i am happy in my own bubble.
its neat, clean, and fairly uncomplicated.
seeing even the movie version of india was much more than i could handle. the utter hopelessness and disgusting living conditions slumdog millionaire displayed was nearly unbelievable.
fast forward a couple years…
april 17th, 2011 jossy chacko, founder of empart, shared with our church what God is doing among unreached people groups in northern india, where approximately 500,000 villages have never heard the gospel message of Jesus.
the red dots represent the least reached people groups – clearly india represents the highest population of unreached people groups in the world.
shocking, right? india needs the gospel.
throughout jossy’s message i was wiping tears from my eyes, and by the end of the service i leaned over to sean and said, “i want to go.”
God works in mysterious ways. jeannett said the moment i said i never wanted to go to india was the moment God laughed at me! i felt such a strong call to go and see and be changed from my tiny world vision to a bigger, more realistic view of the rest of the world that desperately needs Jesus. over and over in my mind i would hear the words of hosanna by hillsong united:
Heal my heart and make it clean
Open up my eyes to the things unseen
Show me how to love like You have loved me
Break my heart for what breaks Yours
Everything I am for Your Kingdom’s cause
As I walk from earth into eternity
for years i have not let my heart break for the things that broke God’s heart. God decided it was about time.
this february (in just 3 weeks!!!), sean and i will be traveling with a group from our church to northern india, the lucknow region. i am not nervous or afraid. i am certain. i am certain that this is what God has planned for us. that it is about time that my world vision be smashed to smithereens and i adopt the vision that God has for me, to let my heart break for the unreached people groups of the world. that He has bigger plans and that i am supposed to share them with you.
as i felt the call to go, i still had this nagging question in the back of my mind: “why?” why go? why not just send money?
here’s the answer we got from our good friend and pastor, tim theule:
“My goal for this trip is to take others from GraceSLO to see and serve where needed to grow our vision for the unreached. We will have opportunity to share and encourage church planters in a couple of different church planting training centers. I went last time with a bit of a grandiose expectation to make a significant contribution. I was humbled by my experience and realized that the work God did was IN ME.
Empart has encouraged us to bring folks from our church to see and learn about and from what God is doing in India and to do this over a long period of time. . . to get as many as possible over there. As proactive “get-it-done” Americans, we think this sounds like a waste to time and money. But its not. A trip like this is heart-changing, mind-bending and vision-expanding. Going, seeing, encouraging, praying, and, where possible, serving will change us, will change our church, and will grow and fuel a vision for the unreached.
One more thing. . . . in the eyes of these Indian church planters, we Americans represent the highest of the classes. The very fact that we would go, talk to them, touch them and encourage them is very significant thing in their eyes. It is our biggest opportunity for impact. The last thing the Indian church needs is for us to teach them American ways of Christianity. In fact, what God is doing in India through Empart has challenged all my paradigms.
This is why I keep emphasizing “see and serve” . . . instead of “fix and teach.” For some who want job to do, this will be frustrating. For others it takes the pressure off. The only qualification for going is a willing heart. “
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empart is different than any other missions organization i have heard of. instead of westerners bringing the gospel into an unreached area, empart is training local people to bring the gospel to their own people, in their native tongue, to their own villages. better put, on the empart website:
“Our priority has always been to establish partnership and relationship. The best way that we know for that to happen is through short term trips (STT) to India. STT’s allow Empart supporters to see India first hand – poverty and suffering as well as hope, revival and grace. We’ve seen lives transformed through a visit to one of our Transformation Centers or a Children’s Home. Stories of revival seeded in India are now taking root in the West as well.” – empart website
jossy chacko, the founder of empart, has a passion for combining the strengths of the west and the faith/devotion of the east. he has a balance of faith and organization. the general mindset of all involved in empart is: “Jesus has charged us to lift up our eyes and see the harvest. at any given time, there is a harvest somewhere. the harvest is small in the west at present, but great in india. it is our responsibility and calling to move resources toward the place where the harvest is most fruitful. it takes money and work to reap the harvest. let’s not miss it.” that’s hard to argue with.
as pastor tim wrote: “Gospel transformation is the only hope and help for North India. Poverty is rampant. The caste system, though illegal, still keeps people in poverty. Begging is organized crime. The issues are longstanding and systemic. We are ignorant and naive as Westerners if we think we can solve the problems of North India. But partnering to see the raising up of an indigenous church planting movement holds great potential for, not only, the salvation of men and women, but also community transformation. God is at work through Empart. God continues to supply gifted, skilled, people with passion and influence to the ministry. It’s amazing to hear the stories. The growth has accelerated over the last 4 years and they are “building the plane in the air.” “
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here’s where YOU com in!
we need you to:
1 – pray. pray for the safety of our team and for God to use us to encourage the empart church planters. pray for the gospel to be spread throughout northern india.
2 – give. some are called to pray and some are called to give. we are still in need of funding. as hard as it is to ask for financial help in these difficult economic times, its a reality for us that we can’t do this alone. taking donations online is still fairly new to empart, so please be patient with the process as its not as easy as one click.
if you would like to donate, please CLICK THIS LINK , which will allow you to give a donation under “most urgent needs”. when you get to the part where you enter your credit card info, there will be a box for “special instructions”. it is very important to please write “Short Term Trip Payment for Sean and Lindsey Cheney” in that box, so the money can be properly allocated. shortly after you complete this a receipt will be emailed to you. if you could then forward your emailed receipt to email@example.com that would be the last step, so emily, our trip coordinator, can keep track of the revenue.
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i am so very excited to be partnering with empart and seeing what God has in store!
over the next few weeks i’ll share more about the organization and the impact they are having on india, then i’ll be writing about our adventures in india as well (of course!). as God is stretching me through these next weeks and months, i invite you to be stretched with me!