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Sailing the River...

In the Gospels and especially in Luke chapter 5 there are many references to Jesus and His disciples traveling by boat. This chapter

specifically mentions that there were two boats in the Lake of Gennesaret (the Sea of Galilee). On May 20th this story came to mind as our Odisha team climbed into two boats to go visit different villages. For many days we planned to go to Pastor Ashish's mother's village named Dumuriput. It took more than twenty five minutes to row to the other side of the river. Toward the middle the river is more than thirty feet deep. The history of this particular village was filled with witchcraft and alcoholism. By God's grace, one of our pastors went to the village about two years ago and shared the Gospel. One of the men who helped row us to the village used to be a Hindu priest who used to have a very long beard and long hair. In India most of the Hindu priests do not cut their hair as a symbol of their devotion to their religion. Praise be to God that this man accepted Jesus Christ and is now a leader in his church. God provided safe passage and when we arrived many people were waiting for us. We went to a few houses to share the Gospel and then the villagers gathered together and I shared the Gospel with everyone. That evening I had a meeting in a different village in Odisha. It was four o'clock when we reached the river to take a boat back to the other side. However, the strong wind made the water very choppy, and we waited for it to calm down to cross. The boat we took was so small, and we didn't want to take it out on the wavy water. We waited until seven o'clock, and the sailor told us we should pray and go. He knew that I needed to get back to go to another meeting. The water was still choppy, but not quite as much as earlier. As we approached the middle of the river, water was splashing inside of the boat and the boat was rocking abruptly back and forth. Pastor Ashish and Pastor Bipul were using jugs to remove the water from inside the boat. Again God provided us with safe passage and we reached the shore. During this experience also we were thinking about Jesus and His disciples and how His disciples were terrified during the storm. They had the Creator of the whole world with them and were still afraid. Today, He also lives in our hearts and everything is in His control. Praise God for all of His protection and provision for each step!

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