I’m excited to commence my travel schedule for 2023 with a trip to India and Tanzania. Even more exciting is that one of my dear friends and ITEM Associate Trainer Caleb Hilbert is with me. Caleb pastors one of the great churches in the Pacific Northwest called Lewis and Clark Bible Church in Astoria, Oregon. Astoria’s claim to fame is that it was the filming location for classic movies like The Goonies and Kindergarten Cop. Caleb is also one of the best expositors of Scripture you’ve never heard of. I’m grateful for the opportunity to minister alongside him this week in India. After a long twelve-year absence, I’m glad to be back in this enchanted land. But I’m even more excited about what the Lord has in store for our time of ministry here.
As I write this travel post, we have already been traveling for about 36 hours. Having departed from Dulles in Washington, D.C. on Sunday evening we arrived in Frankfurt, Germany early on Monday morning for a four-hour layover. After downing some strong coffee, it was on to the duty-free store for what has become a rite of passage–spraying on the tester bottles of the high-brow cologne I cannot afford to buy. Not only does it make me feel refreshed, but it also engenders a hearty appreciation from my seat mates on these long flights.
Upon leaving Frankfurt it was a seven-hour flight to Mumbai, India, and then another four-hour layover. I had never been to the Mumbai airport and wasn’t expecting much, but I must say I was impressed. The airport is a gleaming example of the best of Indian architecture. Its expansive walkways are adorned with historical Indian artifacts, fountains, and other decorating flourishes that are a feast for the eyes. Speaking of feasts, the plethora of Indian restaurants available along the concourses unleash the intoxicating smell of curry upon the powerless passerby beckoning you to delay your journey and partake of its delectable goodness, even if it is 2:30am. The mere mortal can never resist its siren song. Now that’s a midnight snack!
As the sun begins to rise, we now continue our journey toward Bhubaneswar in Odisha State where we will meet our host, take rest for a couple of hours, and then drive 400 kilometers to our ministry destination for Wednesday. Then it is on to the coastal town of Gopalpur where we will begin our training seminar with sixty church leaders on Thursday. Then, on Sunday, I’ll be leaving Caleb behind to finish up in Gopalpur while I make my way back to Bhubaneswar to begin the journey to Tanzania. The travel grind on a trip like this is real, but God is always faithful to strengthen my body and mind, and to make me fruitful for this great work to which He has called me.
Well, that’s all for now. I intend to post regularly over the next couple of weeks, so I hope you will join me on the journey.