It was the jewelry on old women’s hands. And the bright wash of dyed fabric. In this land so streaked with mud and mess, vivid marks of beauty are signaled by the delicate tinkle of bangles and the blur of purple and orange and red on scooters speeding by. Royal robes on peasant streets. Brilliant jewels on hardened cheeks. Rough and smooth. Dark and light. This was India.

As the taxi driver carved his way through the majestic Himalayas, I couldn’t decide whether he was a speeding menace or a highway god. This narrow mountain road fell off steeply to the lush valley below. There was the sporadic chunk of cement or bit of railing to impede your thousand foot plunge, but many times, the edge came fast and free. Nothing to hold you, nothing to save you. Except the mighty hand of God.

After exiting the taxi, I took the first steps of an arduous hike up the steep mountainside. Along with some Indian guides and Western brothers, we set out to meet someone. We didn’t know who and we didn’t know when. But we ended up encountering all sorts of people. A young boy with his own hand-carved god. An old shepherd with a severe speech impediment. An ancient wrinkled woman with stomach pains.

An ancient wrinkled man with stomach pains. Boys with cricket bats in open fields. Old men with their little brown cigarettes. People bent over with burdens so great they can hardly bear them. There were all kinds, all on different paths, and yet all the same.

I awoke early one morning while we were camping in a verdant mountain valley. The sunrise was far more than words or a picture or even a video can express. It was quite cool being at eight-thousand feet. After shuffling around a struggling fire, I took a stroll toward a broken down dwelling on the other side of the hill. I couldn’t tell exactly what it was used for but it appeared to have been inhabited once.

There was a door through which I could see the cold clear sky. As I stood there looking through that open door, I realized that this building was much the same as India. There is breathtaking beauty all around. There is artistry and craftsmanship in the building itself. But it is a rough building. It would be difficult to work and live there.

But there is potential.

Looking out over the land, I couldn’t see any of the people we had met the day before, had prayed for, had given medicine to, had shared the Good News as best as our feeble tongues could. But I knew they were still out there. And though the land is difficult, there is potential. There is an open door. And for these people, just like myself, there is nothing to hold them, nothing to save them. Nothing to ease them of their burdens.

Except the mighty hand of God.

Joseph Boyle is Creative Content Coordinator for Pioneers. He recently accompanied an Edge short-term team as they trekked through northern India, prayer walking and beginning relationships with villagers to prepare the soil for the efforts of long-term workers.

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Pioneers is an evangelical mission movement with 2,593 international members serving on 248 church-planting teams in 95 countries among 180 people groups in 100 languages.

For more than 35 years, Pioneers passion has been to see God glorified among those who are physically and spiritually isolated from the gospel of Jesus Christ—from Muslim bedouins in the deserts of North Africa and animist villagers in the jungles of South America to secular humanists in Eastern Europe and middle-class Buddhist urbanites in the sprawling cities of East Asia.

We invite you to explore Pioneers.org, to read stories of what God is doing among the unreached, to engage in the powerful enterprise of intercession, to discover opportunities for engagement that you may have never imagined.

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World Prayr has chosen to be different, starting with teaching others that the pilgrimage all those who have been brought near to God are on is not one about our focusing on what we are doing, or focusing on our sin or anything we are not doing, but focusing on what Christ did in order for us to know transforming grace. We refer to this message as the gospel of grace. We then live this out as a ministry by serving others through counseling, prayer, and sound biblical teachings.

We also differ from most ministries in another key area, working to live out the message of Philippians 2:4 by aggressively promoting other ministries and churches. As a mission team, World Prayr is working to serve those who are disconnected to reconnect them, one soul at a time, to local bodies of believers.

We refer to our team as an “Ohana” made up of many nationalities spread across the globe and within the Protestant faith.

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