Today we came to Jaipur, the "Pink City." It is pink because it is largely made out of pink sandstone and is a very historical city. There is so much pink here, I even saw a group of men carrying pink shopping bags. I think the men here must be very secure in their masculinity to bear so much pink.
The pastor we hung out with today, Pastor "T" is one of Hopegivers success stories (like most of them). He was one of the very first orphans in the ministry, and graduated from one of the Hopegivers' Bible colleges. Today, he shared his testimony with me. He has such a heart for the Lord and a beautiful story.
One thing that really struck me is that he cannot stop talking about what Sam and M.A.Thomas mean to him. He said he never has to worry about clothes because, every time Sam comes to see him, he gives him the clothes (or shoes) off his own back. He pointed to his dress shirt and said, "This shirt is a brand new shirt that Sam gave to me. These nice leather shoes and socks? Yep, all from Brother Sam. Sam always gives me his best clothes before I even ask, so I never need anything."
If I wasn't mistaken, I think I saw a tear or two in his eyes as he recounted the ways Sam builds him up and gives to him—not his leftovers—but his very best. Truthfully, that is the impression I've had of Samuel Thomas ever since I met him a couple days ago…he is extravagant in his love for everyone he meets. Orphans, staff, store owners, students—they all feel loved and lavished from his generosity of heart.
In the last year, Pastor T told us about the many times he has been beaten and threatened during the persecution problems. He said at first he was paralyzed with fear because he never knew what they were going to do to him. But now he has worked through much of the fear and is ready to be courageous for Jesus.
When I asked Pastor T what God has been teaching him recently, I was amazed that, even though our lives are so different, we are learning much the same lessons. "God is teaching me that I can't count on people, only on God." When his church started being persecuted, at least half of the members left and it was devastating because he invested in them for ten years and he counted on them to support him and to pull together. But now he realizes it is probably good they are gone because the ones who are left are more sincere and committed. Pastor T said he has taken the martyrs oath and he is ready to die for his faith if that's what it takes. I was very humbled and moved by his story.