So the journey continues. We are right at a month away from ending our Narnian language classes and moving out to the village. As the days draw closer, so has my intensity in prayer. I have shifted from thinking so much about development and mission approaches to simply abiding in Jesus. It is awful, sinful actually, how far I had drifted in the name of good intentions, research, and mission reading. The last several weeks and days have been beautiful in terms of rediscovering Jesus. Abiding in Him, only in Him. . . He being all I have. .. It’s amazing.

Last night I began praying for the first time in an extended prayer in Narnian. It was profoundly simple as I still don’t have the ability to say some long, flowing, rhythmic tune. Simple sentences of “God I need you more than ever before… You are powerful. You are holy. You are all-wise. Please help my friends in the village. Please help our team. Come in power and shine your glory there. We have nothing but you.” Over and over again, I muttered these simple sentences in Narnian and found myself closer to the presence of the Lord than I have been in a long time. These things can’t be explained.

Today I was telling my tutor, a believer who is very sensitive to the things of God, all about this. We started our discussion by talking about theological questions people have. Do people who never hear the Gospel spend eternity without God, even if they were never given the chance to hear? I talked about Martin Luther’s stand and the reformation and the necessity of that time in history. We lamented the division the body of Christ has at this point in history. Here in my dominantly Hindu country there are many churches in my neighborhood which contains a few thousand people. Conversely, entire villages throughout the country have not even one single believer nor have they ever met a Christian. She is a good sport for letting me lament this point over and over again.

My tutor then raised a question right before our coffee break wherein her husband had pondered where the spirits/souls of those who die and go to hell reside. Do those spirits stay in Hell? Are they released back into the earth? Do they simply remain in their bodies in this place of punishment? An intriguing question for sure.

During break and afterwards, somehow we began talking about the presence of the Lord and I opened up this latest journey of seeking deeper after Jesus. I did not know the Narnian word for “abide” so I had her look it up in the text of Scripture. I somehow got lost in my excitement to explain this beautiful gift of abiding in Jesus. So there I was . . . in Narnian. . . yes guys. . . in Narnian, full of passion, sharing about the abiding life we can have in Christ. I went on and on about how we can do all kinds of things, receive all kinds of training, make all sorts of plans, but if we are not abiding and overflowing in Jesus, we really have no purpose.

Somehow as I talked about the simplicity of just having Jesus, only Him, I was choked up. I began weeping in front of my teacher (the first time I have had such an experience) and kept muttering. “Only Jesus. He is all we need. Only Jesus; He is all we have. Only Jesus.” My teacher too was gripped with a solemn reverence for the presence of the Lord and explained how she too was thirsty for more of Jesus.

I know full well that I still have far to go to become some super-amazing Narnian speaker. But as only a Pentecostal would admit, this is the experience I needed. This conversation sealed it for meThere was a lot of anxiety and tension as I looked forward to our move out west, wondering if my language ability was where it needed to be. . I am going to be just fine in communicating as we head out to the village. If I can communicate about the most personal, most intimate relationship and reality that I’ve ever experienced, I sure as heck will be able to talk about what assets, needs, and development needs to take place in the Northwest. I’m so thankful that I have a teacher patient enough and desirous of Jesus enough to walk this with me.

After I dried my tears I told her that I know that she has been praying for me and our sessions every day. It is obvious. She told me that she and her husband pray for me and Janessa, and our boy every night before they go to bed. They want to see the village reached with the Gospel and to see Jesus treasured in and through us.

Abiding in Jesus is all we need. Only Jesus. Only Him.

John 15

15 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and me in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.