by Galen Burkholder, International Director of Global Disciples
The air was thick with the scent of death, smoke and burning flesh. I stood on the stone platform at the edge of the shallow river littered with brightly colored decaying pieces of clothes and charred human limbs. On the other side, four big stacks of burning logs were topped with human bodies in various stages of cremation.
In front of a fifth pile of logs two adult sons, about my age, cut their father’s robes from his lifeless body and threw them into the river. As the smoke from his body would ascend to the gods they believed he would be born again into the next of his eighty-four reincarnations.
Surrounded by Hindu temples and idols I was reminded of the Apostle Paul who arrived in Athens, looked around and was “greatly distressed by all the idols.”(Acts 17:16) That’s what I was feeling – greatly distressed, mixed with anger at the enemy’s deception, a profound sadness and deep compassion.
I remembered my distress by the river during a time of jubilant worship at our Annual Equipping Week in New Delhi. We were meeting with discipleship-mission directors that Global Disciples serves from all across India, Nepal and Myanmar.
The banner across the front of the room proclaimed our theme for the week, “For the Healing of the Nations.” The atmosphere in the room was light and sweet as we celebrated the life, joy, freedom and hope we have in Christ!
The walls reverberated with the words bellowing from the depth of our beings, “Blessed assurance Jesus is mine. Oh what a foretaste of glory divine…”
I looked around at the dozens of passionate, simple leaders who are daily pouring out their lives for Jesus – and seeing amazing results – in some of the hardest places. I watched them worship through the tears that flooded my eyes. “Jesus, hope of the nations…”