strongholds.

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On friday night my husband was asked to lead a bible study and discussion here in Pune for former Hindu and Muslim believers. The room consisted of Iranian refugees, Island-ers of Tonga, and India. He spoke about Peter, how he was a black or white kind of character, Peter never acted in the gray. “In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope…” we were challenged to answer what does a LIVING hope represent? As we have an inheritance as sons and daughters how can we not be joyful! “In all this (inheritance) you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.” As we walk through trials we must know that Papa is refining us and the process of refinement is by His love. “These (trials) have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith–of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”

As I saw believers who have escaped their own countries for various reasons or currently live in country where Christians are persecuted the word “trial” acquired new meaning. The color gold in scripture is translated from the Hebrew word ‘zahab’ meaning gold as a precious metal or of brilliance and splendor. This is how the Father sees you, precious and brilliant in His sight.

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Transitioning back into India after our time in Israel delivered a new realm of culture shock. Our bodies felt the oppression of the spiritual environment after stepping off of the plane, literally. The air was thick, our physical was heavy and our hearts overwhelmed. We are fighting to reverse what has been darkness and reclaim it for light. As attacks come our present hope must in fact be LIVING, a full force of the ultimate, it is not just believing for good or in the unknown. As America battles the spirits of materialism, busyness, lust, greed, bondage and vanity we are aware that each country presents strongholds that have been oppressing generations upon generations. As we are coming against certain strongholds over India, such as corruption, idolatry, slavery and sorcery, we are faced with much opposition. Yes, we have the greatest force, Jesus! To think that there will not be walls or prison thoughts that you have to penetrate with that force could call for a painful awakening. We will not be silenced until the earth begins to look more like Jesus. As sons and daughters we MUST WAKE UP! Wherever you live, you are in a battle. America is not perfect. Yes, we look forward to all of the amenities we grew up with upon our return to the states, but fleshly comforts do not discount the spiritual reality surrounding us as believers. It is time to remove our blinders. You do not have to be living in a third world country to impact the kingdom people! There is so much more! There is freedom to be had, get excited!

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We are asking for an extra dose of favor this week as we speak with a lawyer regarding our current paperwork and forms to further our steps here and also for an advisor to walk alongside our directors here. Tonight we are meeting with a team from the states that have come to Pune! They have asked John and I to speak at their gathering. We will be sharing our story with them and the vision of Hope Again International abroad. Our friends that have become family here have been overwhelming us with their love and generosity. We want to say a special thank you to Esther & Josh, Evan & Leah, Joel & Ellie, Eddie & Macarena, Judith & Danny, Michael & Analeah and of course Vinod & Rekha. You are such a continual blessing to us both:)

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May the Lord bless you and keep you.
May the Lord make his face to shine upon you,
and be gracious to you.
May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you,
and give you peace.

Love,

J&H

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