The Power of Relationship

I referenced in an earlier post about a special reunion that happened on our trip to India. We flew to Bhubaneswar the night before and in the morning I got to witness one of the neatest experiences I have had since being an artist for Compassion.

Julia Jones is a 17 year old young lady from Oregon who has sponsored Remya, a child from southern India, since she was eight years old. For eleven years, Remya and Julia exchanged letters, photos, cards, and a special friendship. Now they had the once in a lifetime meeting. This is not an exaggeration.

Remya had flown from southern India the night before. So Julia waited at our hotel for Remya to arrive with her mother and a translator. When Remya walked through the door… I think the picture tells the best part of the story:

This was years of letter writing, picture exchanges, and praying for each other. Oh how the day was amazing! They laughed, talked, laughed, cried, and talked some more. Remya would hold Julia’s hand or arm as much as possible. It was like she was making sure that she took in every experiential moment she could. As I stood and watched, I would glance over to see Steve, Julia’s dad, beam with so much pride and love for his daughter’s faithfulness and love for Remya.

This is what the gospel is, not just about, but is! By God’s grace we get to share His Kingdom through our own life with others and even receive His Kingdom from others at the same time! The above picture is one of the best tastes of heaven you can have.

When we live Philippians 2:3 and consider others better than ourselves, we see God’s Kingdom as bright as day. I read scripture to say that our Abba Father God watches and beams with so much love and affirmation for us.

Today, what if you actually said you are going to sponsor a child, not a number, not a picture but a child. A Remya. You have God’s Kingdom in you through Jesus Christ. You can’t lose when you love, when you build that relationship. It looks like this:

Visit Compassion‘s website to learn more about sponsoring a child.  To get a first hand read on Julia and Remya, go to the . It’s awesome blog.

God is good all the time!


The Real Thing

While traveling in India, I had a couple of chances to workout. The exercise room in the hotel had a tv that was showing a movie that looked familiar to me. At second glance I realized it was the movie Rocky IV. The classic movie is about the boxer Rocky Balboa taking on the super-sized Russian fighter Drago to avenge the death of his friend Apollo Creed. It’s a movie with little Oscar-potential but you leave the theater with the desire to fight the world.

What was strange about the Rocky movie on the tv was that it was a remake. A remake with all Indian actors using the same poses, lines, boxing scenes, camera angles. Only the actors were different. Well, and, of course the Rocky character had Indian-colored shorts instead of USA. They even added the “Cut me, Mick” scene even though that was from an earlier Rocky movie.

It struck me how I found myself with this cheapened feeling with this imitation. It felt just wrong. The original, genuine movie is out there and some people only know the imitation.

We visited a couple of Hindu Temples in India.

There are about 330 million gods and goddesses in the Hindu understanding. 330,000,000! It’s unreal to comprehend. A very confusing concept.

Hmmm. (read it again)

We were walking back down the steps leaving the temple pictured above and passed a boy with a crippled leg hopping on one leg up the steps to get to the temple. His determination and ability to keep up with his friends as they navigated the steps was amazing. One of my friends made the comment, “He is going to do all that work to get to the top and there will be nothing for him there.”

That comment struck me to the bone. He was right. If that sweet boy was looking for something that heals, something that make a difference, he would find nothing at the top of those stairs. Nothing.

When Jesus says in John 14:6 “I am the Way, the Truth, the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me,” He means He is the only One. Not the 330,000,001. It’s not being judgmental; it’s pointing out the truth and who Jesus said He was. You will not be disappointed when you seek Jesus. You will find Him.

Anything else is just an imitation that will leave you empty and left wanting.

It’s a major reason why I love what Compassion does. They are in the midst of all the imitations with the only thing that is real: Jesus.

God is good all the time!


A Lighter Day

Emotional energy has been spent, that’s for sure.  After a couple of days of Compassion projects and riding in the Kolkata traffic (an unreal experience which brings my vow to never again complain about traffic in Minneapolis) we flew from Kolkata to Bhubaneswar to visit more projects. I also got to witness one of the most amazing reunions I have ever seen. That blog/vlog will be coming next but until then I give you a vlog on our day off visiting a local wildlife sanctuary and an old temple called Lions Tigers and Monkeys. Just a little fun.

Enjoy and stay tuned.


Goodbye, Camera

It’s not exactly how I wanted to begin my experience in India but it’s what happened. At the end of our first full day visiting a Compassion project, where Sherri, Taylor, and I met a child we will begin sponsoring, I lost the camera that I had a plan for. We searched everywhere, multiple times in each place.  It really bummed me out. Since Sherri and Taylor are here with me, I wanted to capture everything I could. Fortunately God made the church and surrounded me with other camera-carrying folks who have been more than willing to step in and take pictures for us and even give us pics they have taken.

Taylor and I with the cows of India

For this I am thankful. Is it ideal? No, but when you have no pictures, you are even more thankful for whatever you can get. I think the rest of the group is tired of me saying thanks.

That’s my first word to describe our time here.


This is everywhere

These people are not picky, selective, asking for something different if what is given to them is not exactly what they had in mind. They receive whatever they are given with joy, tears, smiles that span the borders of India.


Because they have nothing.

It’s overwhelming here in Kolata. Poverty like I’ve never seen it. It’s like a blanket over the whole city. I’m not sure how I will process it. Yet they are still so thankful.

I lost a camera. I’m glad for some friends’ pictures.

They’re losing hope. They are forever grateful for someone not to forget them.

More later,