Mission trips can be quite strenuous – so many places to visit, people to meet, seminars and services to conduct… But they can also be soul stirring – powerful testimonies, God’s faithfulness, and an overflowing of love and hospitality. For District Apostle (DA) Mark Woll it was a packed trip, but an immensely enjoyable and exciting one.
The brothers and sisters in India were overjoyed to meet DA Woll. He landed in Mumbai after which he made his way to Banswara City in Udaipur, Rajasthan, a city known for its palaces and bamboo forests. The New Apostolic congregations in the north were happy that he was kicking off his India tour in their glorious city.
A brothers seminar had been organized in Banswara, and the District Apostle started the session with a question directed at the ministers, “Who were and are God’s chosen people?” After a few answers and a little discussion, DA Woll started teaching from Matthew 22:14, “For many are called, but few are chosen.” He explained that it was the understanding and expounding of the teaching that made God’s chosen people grow. The meeting was followed by a Divine Service later that day.
Making Goodness part of Life
The Divine Service was based on Matthew 5:38-41 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.” The officiant proceeded to share three steps on how following Jesus could bring development into their lives.
- Don’t repay evil for evil. Overcome evil with goodness.
- Give more than whatever is asked to you, and do it with love.
- When someone asks you for help, do more than what he has asked.
The congregation was further encouraged to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ through His Apostles, and to bring honor to God. It was pointed out that God wants each person to develop individually and at the same time, everyone together as a church.
The Divine Service was the highlight of everyone’s day. The presence of God was strongly felt by everyone gathered and they were so thrilled to have four Apostles among them – District Apostle Mark Woll, District Apostle Helper David Devaraj, Apostle Lazrus Patel and the retired Apostle Vinod Masih.
At the end of the day, everyone present was reassured that they were God’s chosen people and wanted to grow in Christ. They would ensure that their congregation would grow in love and that they would prepare themselves as the bride of Christ.
A Choir that Sings Praises Together
In preparation for the Divine Service in Raipur on 29 January, the National Choir assembled three days earlier at St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Byron Bazar, in the capital of Chhattisgarh. These days were set apart for the choir to practice from morning to evening, starting with daily devotional sessions. A choir member shares that “it encouraged all of us to share in our faith, read the bible, pray together and sing for our Heavenly Father”.
A Gathering of Apostles and Bishops
All the Apostles and Bishops in India, as well as a delegation from Bangladesh gathered for a special and uplifting meeting in Raipur. They were overjoyed to spend two days of special time with their District Apostle Mark Woll, who was able to uplift their hearts, to encourage and give direction for their work and responsibilities in India.
Honouring the Lord’s House
On Sunday, Hotel Greenwood was turned into a sanctuary when almost 300 people gathered together to celebrate the Divine Service. The sermon was translated in Hindi to ensure that everyone could understand, learn, and enjoy it. The Divine Service was based on Mark 11:17, ‘‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’” The congregation was cautioned to always respect the Lord’s house of prayer. It was also emphasized on how one always needed to follow Jesus Christ and His teachings instead of their forefathers who had never been perfect like Him.
The congregation felt blessed and empowered after the Divine Service, and for many of them it was the first time that they could meet the District Apostle. What made the day even more special was the sweet and powerful singing of the National Choir who were visiting Raipur for the first time. And together, all of them were happy to gather in the city where the Chief Apostle would visit them in November 2017.
Sun, Sand and Seminars!
Last on District Apostle Mark Woll’s itinerary were the beautiful Andaman Islands. He was visiting the Islands for the first time and after a Divine Service and teaching seminar, he spent the last few days enjoying the breathtaking beauty of the Andamans.
After ten days of traveling, teaching, visiting congregations and members, District Apostle Woll returned home – physically tired but spiritually refreshed.