Dynamic Downtown Worship in the Anglican Tradition

Testimony by Truman Kemp on the 2018 St. Michael’s Healing Mission to India

Spirit’s impact of our healing prayer mission trip to India

By Truman Kemp

Thank God St Michael’s Church has such a heart for missions. At the 2017 Global Impact Conference, God placed on my heart a desire to take a mission trip. As I prayed for direction, it was apparent that God wanted me to go on the 5th Healing Prayer Mission to the Diocese of Durgapur, West Bengal, India. I want to thank God for the privilege to even go on a mission trip, thanks to all of those who prayed for me and our mission team, the financial support that my friends gave to St Michael’s to help this trip be successful, Johnnie and Jean Corbett’s leadership and direction planning out the day to day schedule so carefully. We were well prepared with monthly meetings leading up to the departure date, and I anticipated with excitement what God was about to reveal to me in the coming days.

On Wednesday, November 8, we literally “hit the ground running” once we arrived at Kolkata from 30 hours of travel from the United States. I was overwhelmed with emotion (an understatement) as God supernaturally gave me a strongly felt heightened love and deep compassion for the people of India from the very beginning of our journey. We rode through the streets with people walking … dogs, cows and debris standing in the way everywhere … bicycles, carts, rickshaws, cars, buses, and large trucks all moving and horns blowing. I observed people moving, moving, moving with no shouting and very little talking. People — just going, going, going somewhere … who knows where. It seemed like totally unorganized mayhem driving through the cities and villages as people were aimlessly moving without direction.

And then suddenly, our van would turn into a tree-lined road leading to a beautiful church compound, a painted church building, clean and bright, with men, women and children lining the streets, their hearts filled with joy and laughter, singing and dancing as they welcomed us to their “sanctuary.” It was like driving suddenly into an Oasis, a Spring of Living Water, and we could sense the Holy Spirit’s presence, God’s children sharing their love, joy and peace with us. It was like that everywhere we went throughout the many churches we visited in the Diocese of Durgapur.

The “Festival of Hope” gatherings were beyond my comprehension. I have never seen people hungering to hear about Jesus and wanting to be prayed for. Hundreds, thousands, long lines of men, women, and children, waiting patiently for their time to be prayed over. I prayed for more people individually in one night than I have prayed for in years back home. We had interpreters telling us their prayer requests — back and knee pain and stomach problems mostly.

There was one prayer request I’ll never forget:  A tall man with long hanging hair in his face came up for prayer. As I lifted up his head to anoint him with oil, his eyes gazed at mine, half closed, covered with thick layers of mucus like substance. The interpreter told me he was blind. I immediately was moved to tears as I was reminded of Jesus and the many blind people for whom he prayed. I felt a deep love and compassion for this man, and simply prayed that God would restore his eyesight. After praying, he turned and gently walked away. I may never see him again, but the privilege to pray for him — for Jesus, through the healing power of the Holy Spirit, to restore his eyesight — was one of the mostly humbling spiritual experiences in my life.

Another moment etched in my memory was at the church service at Grace Chapel at the Nursing Training School Compound in Sarenga. A chorus of nursing students were singing and praising God as we began the service. At one point, they sang an old Methodist hymn, “Blessed Assurance.” Having grown up in a Methodist Church, I have heard and sung that hymn many times, but this time the singing moved me to tears as I heard the words “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine.” Never have I heard it sung with such worship and conviction.

During the whole time I was in India, I had been trying to describe the Christian Indians … what made them so different, so gentle, so loving, so helpful, so eager to please. The second verse of Blessed Assurance describes them exactly as they are — what sets them apart from other Christians I have known:

 

“Perfect submission, all is at rest

I in my Savior am happy and blessed

Watching and waiting, looking above

Filled with His goodness, lost in His Love”

 

Those beautiful people have a special place in my heart, and God willing, I’ll be led to go back again next year.