02 | 11 Jammu | Kashmir INDIA
The month of December 2010 was the coldest recorded winter month in nearly 100 years in the UK. So, I was looking forward to some respite from the cold in India. Oddly enough the first half of this trip ended up being in the North of India during winter. I never thought these words would come out of my mouth but here it goes...â€™I was the coldest (freezing cold) I have ever been in my life and I was in Indiaâ€™. Jammu and Kashmir is the northernmost state in India situated mostly in the Himalayan mountains. Most international travel/tourism websites advise foreigners from travelling to the state because of
the history and continued unrest due to the Kashmir dispute. There is a heavy army presence and persistent tension as riots and unrest can break out rather unpredictably. I was also advised not to go there by other Indian friends too as they were fearful for our safety. I strongly felt God urging us to go (having promised me in years past that He would always look after me) and I soon found out why. Jammu and Kashmir reportedly has a 0.8 percent Christian contingency and hardly any foreign mission involvement. The pastors, congregants and families we met with were so grateful that we had even come. They expressed more joy and gratitude at just our presence there over any ministry work we did. It shows that the small physical acts of kindness mean more than the big crusades or meetings. It was on average about -2 degrees Celsius throughout the day and the temperature would drop even further at night. The problem was that there was no heating. All the places we stayed at had marble or concrete floors, windows that didnâ€™t shut properly and no hot water! I repeat...no hot water. I have a confession at this time: it was so cold and I couldnâ€™t bear the thought of exposing my naked skin to the cold air that I wore the same clothing for 48 hours (slept in them too). And of this I am not ashamed! LOL! I did, however, use loads of deodorant!
Services by We held two evening meetings where we did training sessions on the gifts of the Holy Spirit, mainly the prophetic. People travelled from over 65km to be at the meeting. There was a power cut in the city that night so it was service by candlelight with only the bayan (Indian drum) for worship. The presence of God was tangible. This is what keeps me going back to India: a rundown room with no electricity, no chairs (just mats on the floor), -2 degrees outside and God shows up because He dwells within the praises of His people despite their physical surroundings. I get such a kick
out of seeing people being filled with the power of the Holy Spirit and moving in the gifts that He has given us as His body. It was a real party! On the second night I called a young girl forward to pray for her and unbeknown to me she was the pastorâ€™s eldest daughter. As I was praying I saw in the spirit a dead corpse tied to her and she was encircled by darkness. I then started to pray for her and felt God saying to her that He was holding her baby with Him. It was at that moment that she started to sob uncontrollably along with the majority of the
church. I didn’t know what was going on but there was this sudden release as everyone started to almost mourn. The pastor then came to me with tears in his eyes and explained that two months prior his daughter had a stillbirth at full term and three months before that her husband had left her for another woman. As it was explained to me many people in the community and church had felt that the stillbirth was a punishment on her because she wasn’t a good wife as her husband had left her (forget the fact that her husband had multiple affairs). She wasn’t allowed to grieve the death of her baby as it was her ‘lot’— what had been dealt to her. No one had grieved with her either. God then stepped in and acknowledged her grief and loss in front of everyone. The truth and compassion of God broke the deceptive hold of the enemy not only on this woman’s life but of the entire church too. As this woman and the church started to weep, God’s healing power and restoration was released. I could literally feel it in the room. Don’t you just love that in a room of 300 people God leads me to the pastor’s daughter who I hadn’t even met yet because they were too ashamed to introduce her to me.
The next day we went to visit an orphanage in Udhampur. I just love going to the orphanages. The children are always so full of joy and laughter. They put on a little show for me and my team. Indians love to dance (Bollywood style). The children are always so excited when we do something for them. So, my ‘go to’ song is “Thula Sizwe’’. The children instinctively all bowed their heads and clasped theirs hands together as if it was a prayer while I sang. I managed to capture this in the photo shown on the left. It breaks my heart that there are so many children without parents. I really believe that it is our role as God’s adopted children to adopt these children. I, personally, can’t wait to adopt many children after I get married. I believe that we have a responsibility here! Some of you may say it is a calling to adopt and I would agree but my challenge is then that you ask God to place that ‘calling’ upon your life and ask the Father to give you His heart for the orphans. That prayer has literally changed my life.
God’s in a Mud Hut The following afternoon at their request we went into a nearby village to pray with families in their homes. We couldn’t drive to the village due to the bad conditions of the road so we had to hike into the hills. This was all fine and dandy until we had to cross a rather large rushing river. Remember it was below freezing temperatures outside and the water was freezing too. We were directed to a ‘rock path’ to get us across the river. My friend, Raggy, went over before me and slipped, to my great amusement, however he only got his shoes wet. I then followed after him and managed to fall into the running river and got soaked (to Raggy’s delight). Talk about karma! LOL! I then had to hike to this village for over two
hours while being soaking wet (did I perhaps already mention that it was -2 degrees too). You can only laugh or you would fall on the ground in a heap and just start crying hysterically! So, I chose to laugh—like Paul and Silas chose to praise in the prison in the midnight hour. You see the similarities? LOL! We finally arrived at the village and this is where God gets me every time. We were sitting in an almost mud hut with this family drinking masala chai and praising the Lord together. The presence of God was like a blanket that bound us together irrespective of culture and kept us ‘oh so warm’ too. It was a beautiful, beautiful moment. This is what I get to do for Him—what a privilege!
of Praise I have loads more stories to share as this was the busiest trip yet but will end off with one more story so you don’t fall asleep on me. I unfortunately (probably after falling in the river) caught a nasty bout of the flu. I literally got the worst throat/chest infection I have ever had. I had to minister with a raging fever and lost my voice completely for four days. Thank God I use an interpreter so my actual voice is not that important for others to hear. We arrived in Aurangabad to warmer weather but to a challenge of another kind. We had a meeting in a village 60km out of the city. When we arrived we could hear the praise and worship resounding from the church. As I walked into the meeting from the back of the building (I like to make an entrance, just kidding) there was a big commotion at the front of the church. There were four teenage girls who were convulsing on the floor as they were demon possessed. The pastor informed me that they were Hindu girls who had been invited to the meeting tonight. Now, I am no expert but have some experience with demonic oppression with Christians in the past. I learnt a lot from my mother. So, I thought that this was all pretty familiar to me. Boy, was I in for a surprise. It took eight grown men to hold this 16-year old girl down. Her eyes, the pupil, iris and white sclera were literally all black. Her face was contorting so wildly that I couldn’t see the actual shape of her face. I had never seen anything
like this before except in movies. The demon was speaking to the pastor in this ‘beyond evil voice’. The local dialect is known as Marathi and the demon was shouting at the pastor and other people in Marathi. I then approached and put my hand on her arm. I am going to refer to it as the ‘demon’ as it was not this girl. The demon turned to me and started to speak to me in English! A chill went through my body. I am not going to be all super spiritual here—I got spooked. I asked the pastor if the girl spoke English to which he replied, “Peter, this is a village with tribal people and no one speaks English here.” The demon told me to shut up and that I had no authority here. The evil spirit continued by saying, “She is mine. I have taken her. I have authority to be here. You have no right to be here. Why are you here? Why are you troubling me?” This demon was tormenting this young girl’s body. Each time they released her hands the demon possessing this girl would cause her to dig her nails into her neck and choke herself. After the initial shock this righteous indignation arose within that the enemy had the audacity to torment someone like this. After an hour we were getting nowhere and this demon continually told us that ‘he’ had a legal right to be in her. The girl went into a catatonic state as the praise and worship finished. An hour had passed now and the pastor asked me to then start preaching. Picture the scene...
I had a raging fever, was sweating profusely as I had been praying with the girl for the last hour—it didn’t look pretty. I preached on the power of praise and we then went into a spontaneous time of praise and worship. It was electric! What amazed me is that the demons couldn’t tolerate the praising of God. So, the praise then set the demon manifestations off again. The pastor informed me that sometimes with Hindu people who are possessed the devil does have a ‘legal right’ to be there and their deliverance can often take time! It was now 1 a.m. and I just couldn’t bear the thought of leaving this girl like this. We then found out that her parents were at the meeting too. They were both Hindu but had come because their daughter had been in this possessed state for over two months now and they were desperate. Via an interpreter I found out from the parents that two months prior they had attended a Hindu festival and this young girl had invited the god to come live within her. I explained to the parents that it was only through Jesus that their daughter could be delivered and saved. The parents RIGHT THERE AND THEN prayed the sinner’s prayer with me and gave their hearts to Jesus. I just started crying. I then went back to their daughter, Ashwini, and told her to call on the name of Jesus. The demon then screamed at me, “No”. God then prompted me to do
something rather unusual and slightly controversial. In village culture you don’t have any physical contact with women if you are a man. Most women don’t even shake my hand when I am there. She was sitting on the floor in a catatonic state and I felt God told me to hold her tight as in an embrace and to start singing the Third Day song, “Your Love Oh Lord”. I started to sing the Word of God over her life and as I finished I immediately felt this evil presence leave her body. It was so exact and pronounced that I could literally feel it leave. Ashwini then turned to me and looked into my eyes and smiled. She had the most beautiful face. I hadn’t been able to actually make out her features because of all the contorting and demonic torment. She had the most precious smile and she just lay her head on my shoulder. The pastor then came over and led her in the sinner’s prayer. Ashwini was delivered, set free and saved that night along with her entire family. Does God ROCK or what?
Evening We had a crusade the following evening in the city centre and the entire family travelled from the village to attend and show off their newly ‘set free’ daughter. We all praised God together. All four of the girls that night got delivered and saved. I don’t think I have ever been more aware of the power of the Love of God. It is so gentle while being the most powerful force known to man. I was so deeply humbled to be a small part in God’s work and it is indeed all His work!
written by Peter Young photography by Peter Young design by