#PAOCGENCONF2010 – Ivan Satyavrata

This entry is part 2 of 7 in the series PAOC General Conference 2010

Ivan Satatyavrata serves as the Senior Pastor of an Assembly of God church in  Kolkata (Calcutta), India.  Here are my notes from his message at the General Conference:

Christianity in general is more of a multicultural and global movement than ever before.

  • need for Christians all over the world to work TOGETHER.
  • John 17:18 (Jesus prayer)
  • John 20:21 (commission) – As the father sent Jesus, so he sends US!

“How of Missions”

  • it is the manner in which the Father sent the Son that determines the manner in which the church is sent by Jesus
  • it’s mission is governed by the manner of His (mission). (Newbigin, Missons in Christ’s way)
  • the importance of “as” in what Jesus said. (the father has sent me AS I send you)
  • missions is NOT about colonization.
  • missions must NOT be done alone!
  • missions is not marketing (corporatization)

What is Jesus way for missions?
John 14:21 (Jesus prayer) – one as you and I are one.

1. Intimacy

  • with God and with each other
  • must be nurtured in and flow out of our intimacy with God
  • need can be a motivation for philantrophy but can never be a motivation for mission
  • Mission must be rooted in an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ

2. Servanthood
John 13:1-5 – washing of feet

  • mission IS servanthood
  • “if you come to us in the spirit of your master we cannot resist you” (Ghandi writing to E. Stanley Jones – missonary to India)

3. Friendship
Jesus prayed that we may all be one.

  • such friendship is a non-negotiable if missions is to succeed.
  • this friendship is supernatural. Not just two people sharing the same values or in the same club etc.
  • friendship is put together by God.
  • it involves pain, love etc. (John 15:13-15)

Day Four (Dec 31) – Fireworks at Sunshine [Ukraine Missions Trip]

This entry is part 4 of 9 in the series Ukraine Missions Trip 2009

This is the fourth entry in the series I am writing about my trip to Ukraine – I didn’t have daily internet access while there so I recorded each day for later publishing.  And later [much later actually] is now.

  • after breakfast I spent time in prayer and message preparation. Still don’t know what I’m going to preach tomorrow and Sunday!
  • Joined some of the team to go to the bazaar to get a picture frame (for the picture of the ladies giving the teddy bears) and then fireworks for the New Years Eve celebration.
  • Went to McDonald’s to hopefully meet up with a team there for the McJoyful but they were already done.
  • Went to a mall near the McDonald’s – Walt wanted to look at some boots for his wife. There’s some nice footwear – price is fairly comparable to Canada BUT what is different is the quality for the price.  FASHION is a big thing in Ukraine (and light years ahead of back home).
  • Had an awesome lunch – I was feeling a bit queasy though so I didn’t eat that much (“that much” is a relative term in comparison with the other meals I’ve eaten so far…the food is so amazing here)
  • This is our team leader Walt, with one of the guys from the shelter that we visited.
    This is our team leader Walt, with one of the guys from the shelter that we visited.

    After lunch we went to the Sonshine Orphanage, to meet the director and talk about what we had planned for the evening. She was absolutely thrilled with what we had planned for the kids.

  • We then went to the kids shelter that we had visited on Day 2 and passed out kids bags that were stuffed with the bears from the ladies at WPA:
    • Some of the Teddy Bears from WPA Ladies
      Some of the Teddy Bears from WPA Ladies
      This is Brendan with one of the bags made by the kids at his school back home.  We filled these bags with toys and stuff for the Sonshine Orphanage kids.
      This is Brendan with one of the bags made by the kids at his school back home. We filled these bags with toys and stuff for the Sonshine Orphanage kids.

      The bags were paper bags decorated by kids from Brendan’s school (he’s a custodian there). We had stuffed them with items we brought with us and stuff some of the team had bought at the bazaar earlier in the day.

    • They were also stuffed with teddy bears one of the elder ladies at WPA had collected over the years.  Some ladies from WPA had prayed over these bears.
    • Get this –  we brought around 40 bears with us not knowing what orphanages we would visit and how many kids would be at the orphanages. It turns out that we had the right number of bears for the kids at the shelter and they JUST LOVED THEM! 
    • A highlight for me was seeing the workers impacted by the love showered on the kids.
    • I had SO MUCH FUN juggling for the kids at the shelter.  But I should have taken my down-filled coat off...I was drenched in sweat after!
      I had SO MUCH FUN juggling for the kids at the shelter. But I should have taken my down-filled coat off...I was drenched in sweat after!

      Another highlight was juggling for the kids. I just had a blast just doing simple things with them – even though there was a language barrier we were still able to communicate!

  • We then went and had a quick supper. I was supposed to have dinner with Pastor Gregory and Ed but because of the shortened schedule for the evening (we had to make a change with the original plans for the Sonshine Orphanage) the supper with Pastor Gregory was cancelled and I ended up getting to have dinner with the team. Although I was a bit disappointed at not being able to have supper with the pastor and get to know him a bit I was very happy to be spending the time with the team.
  • The humour on this trip has been hilarious.  I can’t remember ever laughing so hard with such a wide variety of people.  Numerous times I have almost fallen off the bench at dinnertime!
  • Today I spent a great deal of time taking the Ukrainian Bus (Mushuka?) in traveling with the team and walking where we needed to go.
  • Fireworks at Sonshine Orphanage
    Fireworks at Sonshine Orphanage

    After Supper we went to the Sonshine Orphanage around 7-7:15pm and lit off fireworks for them. For $200 USD we got the equivalent of about $1,500 worth back home. The fireworks were awesome and it was really cool seeing the kids enjoy them.

    • Sonshine has kids ranging in age from about 5-6 all the way up to 16-17. They were in different age groupings after the fireworks in their sections of the orphanage and we visited 10 different rooms (about 200 kids in all).
    • Orphans from Sonshine Orphanage about to receive the gift bags
      Orphans from Sonshine Orphanage about to receive the gift bags

      We passed out the gift bags and spent a few minutes with each age grouping.

    • Again, I enjoyed seeing the kids reactions but I think I enjoyed seeing the workers reactions more!
  • Following Sonshine some of us (who didn’t fit in the van) walked to the local Church (that Pastor Gregory pastors) and joined in with their New Years Eve celebration.
    • New Years Eve and Day in Ukraine is celebrated like our Christmas back home. They don’t give out gifts on Christmas (which is January 7th here) but give gifts out on New Years Day. 
    • Everyone usually stays up to 6 or 7 in the morning.
    • Fireworks are lit off EVERYWHERE.  Pretty neat seeing people set off fireworks from the balconies of their apartments (remember, apartment buildings are the normal housing in Krivoy Rog…)
    • New Year's Eve at Krivoy Rog Church
      New Year's Eve at Krivoy Rog Church

      New Years in North America is nothing like what they do here in Ukraine. People are letting off fireworks from their balconies, from their backyards…everywhere. Incredible.

    • The church prayed in the New Year and then everyone went outside to enjoy the fireworks. The youth dressed up and had a costume party.
    • Prior to midnight the team gathered in the Church Board Room and we had our sharing time. It was really interesting hearing how the trip is impacting much of the team. I really enjoyed hearing about Dan and God using his gift of photography, Johnny and others being invited by this couple on the bus they were traveling on into the couple’s home and taking them up on their invitation (and hearing about the couple’s sons early death and how Johnny reminded them of him – he was able to just comfort them), really cool stuff – talk about “divine appointements!”

Day One (Dec 27): The Journey Beings [Ukraine Missions Trip]

This entry is part 1 of 9 in the series Ukraine Missions Trip 2009

This is the first entry in the series I am writing about my trip to Ukraine – I didn’t have daily internet access while there so I recorded each day for later publishing.  And later is now.  I’m hoping to publish each days notes over the next week (one a day) but we’ll see what happens…

Waiting at the Toronto Airport for our flight to Germany
Waiting at the Toronto Airport for our flight to Germany

Well today was the day I left for the country of Ukraine on a missions trip with my church.  I’ve been looking forward to the trip but also a bit pensive about it.  Not knowing what to expect AND knowing I’ll miss my family I’m somewhat pensive about the days ahead.

Here’s the route we took today…Toronto (jet) – Frankfurt (jet) – Borispol(near Kyiv)(train) – Krivoy Rog (bus to apartments)

The flights were fairly uneventful. We had about a 1 hour layover at Frankfurt which meant we basically went to the boarding gate after landing from Toronto and waited to get on the next leg of our journey.

What was interesting for me was this was the first time I had ever disembarked from a plane on the tarmac and re-embarked the same way (at Frankfurt airport). There was something surreal about getting on and off the plane in the open air versus the covered bridge-ways I’ve been used to in the past.

When we landed in Borispol, Ukraine one of the team members and myself got VIP treatment and were ushered through immigration and customs with our luggage. This was a pretty neat experience. It’s amazing what the right connections and understanding of how things work in a particular airport can get you…

While waiting for the rest of the team to get through customs I got a chance to observe the airport lobby. Definitely a throwback of about 30-40 years in terms of looks and feel. Was also a much more condensed space than I thought there would have been at the airport.

This is the alleyway behind the apartment that we stayed at (and where the entrance to the apartment was)
This is the alleyway behind the apartment that we stayed at (and where the entrance to the apartment was)

An apartment had been arranged for the team and myself to stay at temporarily in Kyiv.  The apartment itself was fairly small and the staircase leading to the appartment had the lovely smell of garbage wafting through it (probably because of the garbage chute that went down the center of the stairwell).  One of the things I noticed while driving around with Ed Dickson (who is the missionary in Ukraine that we are working with) is the amazing architecture in Ukraine AND the number of people walking.

This is the room we slept in on the "sleeper train"...more like a crate!
This is the room we slept in on the "sleeper train"...more like a crate!

I should probably mention a little bit about our train ride to Krivoy Rog.   The train station in Kyiv was really big and had that old European look that gave a sense of stepping back in time.  We boarded what is called a  “sleeper car” – named that way because it travels overnight and people typically board it, sleep until their destination and then are ready to start their day when they arrive.  Train travel is still a very important way of getting around in this country.  The trip to Krivoy Rog took about 7 hours by train as it doesn’t travel very fast and will often have stops along the way.  The team was pretty tired from the flight and so we were looking forward to the chance to sleep but for many of us it was a forlorn hope as the temperature on the train was extremely warm! Without any way of adjusting the temperature I tossed and turned through the night and there was more than a few times where I got up and fumbled my way out of the small 4 bunk room to get some “fresh air” in the hallway.  I think I lost about 5 pounds that night just through sweating!

By the time we arrived in Krivoy Rog that morning (I think it was around 6:15am or so) – we were pretty tired and I was looking forward to laying down in the bed provided for us in the places we were staying.  We ended up sleeping until around 10am when we got

Well that’s it for this entry!  Stay tuned for more in the coming days!

Stay tuned, Zimbabwe Updates only 9 days away…

This entry is part 12 of 27 in the series Zimbabwe 2007 Project

While I am in Zimbabwe I am going to be posting here daily (as long as I have internet access/power) .? I will be posting to the Zimbabwe 2007 series that I started when I first announced my participation in this project.? If you’d like you can also subscribe to the series.

What am I going to be writing about?? At this point I really can’t say.? All I can promise you is that I’ll be chronicling my experiences and thoughts on what I am experiencing.? Kind of broad isn’t it? 🙂

“Fill the bags”

This entry is part 11 of 27 in the series Zimbabwe 2007 Project

We’ve just published a “needs list” of items that the Village of Hope could use and what we’d like to be able to take when our team goes in June (just under a month to go!).? Thanks to special arrangements with British Airways, we are able to take two extra bags per team member and each bag can be up to 50lbs.? That means we can take 400lbs worth of stuff on top of our own luggage.? It’s a great opportunity to be able to take things to Zimbabwe for much, much cheaper than it would cost to ship (at least $450/50lbs from Hanover) the same items separately.

We are hoping that we’ll be able to take most of the needs on the list – if any of my readers are able to contribute somehow it would be greatly appreciated!

Walkathon, Retreat, and Countdown

This entry is part 10 of 27 in the series Zimbabwe 2007 Project

Time for another update about my Zimbabwe trip. Between the Fundraisers for Zimbabwe 2007, the 50 Days of Prayer and Fasting that I’ve been participating in (which includes writing and publishing the devotional that my church is using) and my normal day job – I’ve been kept extremely busy and have barely had time to maintain all the websites I manage/own let alone put posts up. Yet, it’s really no excuse, I guess the creative part of my brain is just exhausted by the time the night rolls around and I haven’t been able to muster up the energy to put words down. I haven’t even twittered!

Anyway, tonight I’m finally taking some time to write up another installment in my Zimbabwe 2007 series.

Walk-athon Fundraiser

This was held on Saturday April 28th and all participants walked 10km (The number of average steps in 10km = number of kilometers to go to Zimbabwe). We collected pledges for each km or for the total distance. At last count there was close to $1200 collected for the project!

Gord and Anita Cooledge and their family were with us for that weekend and it was great getting a chance to meet the directors of the Village of Hope. Since I walked with Gord on the walk-a-thon I had a great chance to get to know him and talk about what its like for them in Zimbabwe. I really enjoyed our conversation and I’m really impressed by the faith and genuineness of this couple. I’m looking forward to seeing them again when I go to Zimbabwe in June.

STM Team Retreat

I joined the rest of the team this past Saturday at the Schaab’s cabin for a day retreat. We spent the day working on some conflict resolution exercises (I’m an owl and a teddy bear according to the test…) and we also spent some time looking at our spiritual gifts. Brian O’Gorman, a leader of a team that went to Zimbabwe in March, came and shared with us some of his experiences and there were a number of helpful tips he gave our team. We also heard from Dr. Stretch who has been on numerous missions trips to Ghana. Dr. Stretch gave us some health and safety tips for traveling to Africa and there were a number of things we wouldn’t have known otherwise had he not shared with us (I’ve crossed sandals off my list…don’t want to be invaded by egg laying bugs..) All in all, it was a great day to bond closer together as a team and get more prepared for the trip.


As of this post there are now 36 days until we depart. It’s hard to believe there is just over a month to go! As we get closer to the date I’m getting more and more excited about the adventure that awaits. Of course, there is also a bit of nervousness due to the vast distance we will be traveling and the stability of the country we are traveling to!

I’m also really excited that fundraising goal for the project has already been exceeded! We are well over our original goal of $27,000 and are quickly approaching $30,000. As a team we are praying and hoping that between now and our departure we’ll have raised an additional $10,000 (for a total of $40,000) to add to the amount we can give to the Village of Hope for their ongoing projects. It certainly is within reach! If you want to contribute please feel free to chip-in using the widget in my sidebar.

One of the things we discovered as a team when Gord and Anita Cooledge visited the church is that we will most likely have internet access each day. That means I’ll be able to post updates about what we’re doing while in Zimbabwe. So if you are following my journaling about the project you’ll be able to continue reading as I send posts from Harare. I’m thrilled that I’ll be able to keep all my supporters up-to-date!

Event Update (getting closer to Zimbabwe)

This entry is part 9 of 27 in the series Zimbabwe 2007 Project

Just thought I’d give a little bit of an update as to what’s happened in the past few weeks with the Zimbabwe 2007 Project that I’m a part of.

Day at the Sugar Bush Fundraiser [04/07/2007]

The unexpected snowy weather for this time of year turned out to be a blessing in disguise as it really contributed to the success of the day. The snow certainly gave a more appropriate backdrop to the whole experience of being in the sugar-bush.

When I arrived at the Schaab’s barn I quickly attended to my pre-arranged pancake duty. It was while making my extra special “flap-jacks” (all I did was coat the pan with oil, pour the mix, and flip) that I realized how many people were attending this fundraiser event. We were kept pretty busy making the pancakes and there were times that we couldn’t keep up with the number of people arriving!

All in all the day was a fun day – and thanks to all the volunteers and the generosity of the people attending we made just over $2,000 between the sale of Maple Syrup and the tickets for the day.

Community Supper and Silent Auction [04/14/2007]

My contribution to this event was designing the posters, tickets, program/auction item list, and power-point slides for the evening of the auction. So I was able to attend with my wife and enjoy the evening without being involved in all the other preparation that went into it. I must say, the Auction & Dinner committee really worked hard and it was evident in the awesome response of the evening.

The number of items that were available was amazing and the “bidding wars” that ensued through the night were good natured and hilarious 🙂 In some cases husbands and wives were bidding against each other! It was also humourous seeing people bid $10-$20 dollars over the value of a gift-certificate. This certainly demonstrated people’s willingness to support the Zimbabwe 2007 Project!

The entertainment for the evening was also really great. Steve Wall, a classical guitarist, played and boy can this guy play the guitar! The quality of his music was a real treat to listen to.

Dave Cummings sang a couple of songs for us and his contribution was much appreciated as well.

The only thing that wasn’t so great about the evening was the sound quality. The acoustics of the room we rented for this event were a real challenge for the people in charge of the sound equipment nevertheless it was obvious they made every effort to do the best they could with what they had.

Paul and Jennifer Hudson from my church were the MC’s for the evening and they both did an excellent job of keeping the evening moving forward and interesting! I also was really touched by the idea Paul had of circulating sheets for each person on the team that people could sign and write short notes on. I’m sure these “personal messages” will be much appreciated by all of us on the team when we read them while in Zimbabwe!

All-in-all the evening was a great event and we made just over $5,000 after expenses towards our goals for the project!

Team Meeting 04/16/2007

We met once again as a team to work on the planning and preparation for the trip. At this meeting we spent a lot of time talking about the actual logistics involved in getting to Zimbabwe and back. Our team leader, Barry Mutrie, has put a lot of time and preparation into researching various aspects of embarking on this project and I’m very appreciative of everything he has done.

We went over packing lists, questions we want to ask the Cooledges when they come to our church in two weeks, and we did some team-building exercises as well. We also spent time talking about the responsibility we all feel towards those who have contributed to the project. People have put their trust and faith in us by giving generously towards this cause and we want to be good stewards of the funds they’ve directed towards the project. Thought is being given towards how we can communicate with our supporters while we are in Zimbabwe and the reports we will give when we get back. For any supporters that may be reading this entry…thank you for giving generously – your gift is much appreciated!

Every team meeting we have reminds us how close we are getting to the actual date of departure and the excitement is certainly beginning to build. I go this week for my last shot before leaving and while I am looking forward to going to Harare I’m also a bit nervous as I think about just how far Zimbabwe actually is from Hanover! Not only that, but the change in culture and setting will be dramatically different from what I’m used to and it will be a challenge adjusting. Nevertheless, I’m anticipating that God is leading us and will be doing a work in those of us going that will transform each of us in some way. We’re trusting and believing that in responding to the call of God leading us to Zimbabwe that we can be a help in contributing to the work of the Village of Hope in bringing hope to the orphans and the people living in this part of the world. That is something I’m looking forward to most of all.

Still to come are two more fund-raisers. The “Walk for Hope” which is a 10km walk I’ll be participating on (we gather sponsors for each km of the walk) on April 28th – and the Flea Market/Garage Sale that will be held on May 12th. We are already nearly at our team goal of $27,000 so it’s exciting knowing that we will exceed that goal and be able to contribute much more to the Village of Hope than we originally planned!

Something I haven’t done yet is send out personal support letters to family and friends. I’m hoping to get that done this week – I’m sure there are family and friends who will willingly contribute to this cause and I’m counting on their support to help make a difference in Zimbabwe. If you are one of those people I’m referring to – thanks in advance 😉


This entry is part 5 of 27 in the series Zimbabwe 2007 Project

Had my latest meeting with the Zimbabwe 2007 Team last night. Things are really progressing well with the planning and preparation. From my end:

  • My passport has been received and placed in a safe place (I actually got it two weeks ago – earlier than expected!) – of course my photo makes me look like a mobster hehe.
  • I’ve started receiving the necessary vaccinations (HepA and B, Typhoid) and have received my Malaria Medication. I still have to get my Tetanus shot and a second dose of HepB. The needles aren’t as bad as I thought they’d be. I don’t like needles but the prick came and went before I had a time to react!
  • Fund-raising planning has been going along great and we’re gearing up for some great events in April/May (see the fundraising page on my church website).
  • My personal support is coming in fairly well. I recently had a $40 donation via the “chipin” widget here on unfoldingneurons.com (Thanks Colleen!) which was a pleasant surprise. I wish I could add-in support I’ve recieved other ways as the tracker isn’t really reflective of what I’ve had donated to me to date. I’ve actually received around $900 (including the $40 through ChipIn) towards my personal support goal.
  • My brother-in-law has produced an awesome promotional DVD that captures what it is that is motivating us to go to Zimbabwe and help the orphans. I’ll be creating a format for the web and I’ll post it here on unfoldingneurons.com, on my church website, and on YouTube hopefully before the beginning of next week.

Like I said, things are progressing well! Hard to believe there’s only 85 more days to go (as of the date of this post) before departing from Pearson International Airport in Toronto!

What am I getting myself into?

This entry is part 2 of 27 in the series Zimbabwe 2007 Project

I believe it was back in May of last year that one of the men in my church first approached me expressing his desire to go on a short term missions trip in the future and wanting to present a questionarre to the men’s group to see if there were any others who had an interest. Little did I know the way events would unfold and how not only is this missions trip actually happening, but I’m one of the ones going!

Why Zimbabwe?

Zimbabwe became the point of destination for the men in our church because it is a natural fit with the partnership our church has established with Gord and Anita Cooledge who run a Village of Hope in Harare. The purpose of this project is to make available the varying gifts and abilities of the men who go, the resources we are able to take with us, and the willingness to serve wherever there is a need to aid in the work that the Cooledges are doing in building this community to help children orphaned by AIDS.

Why did I decide to go?

The closer we get to departure date, the more I start thinking that very question! Just kidding – well not entirely – I am nervous – nevertheless I”m committed to going and am looking forward to the experience. Here are some of the reasons why I decided to go in the first place…

  1. Inspired by what others have done.
  2. In the months leading up to the actual opportunity being presented our men’s group had a few different speakers who had been on Short Term Missions trips and shared of the impact their experience had on their life. As they shared there was no doubt that something changed in their life as a result of the selfless act of stepping out of their comfort zone in order to help those less fortunate than themselves.
    I’ve also been inspired by Barry Mutrie, who is the man leading our team. As Barry entered into retirement (from being a teacher) he wanted to do something with his life that would make a difference. I’ve been inspired by the transformation occurring in Barry even before going on a STM! It’s hard not to catch the passion and vision that Barry communicates!

  3. Broken by the impact of AIDS
  4. As we’ve communicated with the Cooledges, our adopted missionary family and have become aware of the impact AIDS has had on Zimbabwe, and particularly the children there, it has moved my heart and created a desire to be involved in helping in some way. Certainly, I can write a check but I’ve always been the kind of person that would much rather help in “hands on” work and this is an opportunity I couldn’t pass up to help out with the village.

  5. To expand my horizons
  6. One of the stronger motivations for me making the decision to go to Zimbabwe is a desire to do something radically outside of my comfort zone and to put me in a place where I need to be dependent on God. That’s not to say that I don’t depend on God, or that I’ve not been stretched in my life, but the sheer magnitude of this experience is way beyond something I’ve ever done in my life. Not only is there the hurdle of getting there, but there is also the challenge for me to overcome my nervousness due to my hearing impairment and the resulting communication difficulties that will pose to me.
    Another aspect of expanding my horizons is this whole desire to gain a perspective of what life is like outside of our Western Culture.

  7. The whisper of the Holy Spirit
  8. The clincher for me signing my name up to participate in the project is of course the result of spending some time in prayer regarding the opportunity. In that quiet way God often speaks He gave me direction to go and be a part of this endeavour.

Certainly it is also the love of Christ that compels me to go and I’m looking forward to opportunities to express God’s love when in Zimbabwe. I’m excited about being a part of bringing hope to the people of Zimbabwe and particularly the children!