In January of 2013, I had the unspeakable joy of celebrating God’s goodness with many Banjara people in central India. Hundreds of Banjara, first-fruits of God’s recent breakthrough to this tribal people group, were gathered together near Hyderabad to rejoice over what God had done among them. I was one of the speakers at this festival, and it was a thrill to minister truth (by translator) to such eager and earnest souls.
One of my most memorable experiences was something spontaneous and seemingly insignificant. In the picture above (from 2009) you can see my friend, Joy, who lives in Hyderabad. She calls me “Jim-Uncle” and is the younger daughter of my friend and translator, Srinivas.
Between meetings at the Banjara Celebration in 2013, I was deluged by people wanting to be anointed with oil and prayed for. Few spoke any English; I knew next to nothing of Banjari, or Telegu, or Hindi. So they made signs and I made guesses, and prayed in hope that the Spirit would bless despite my ignorance.
Then along came Joy. She joined the circle of people pressing all around me and became my ministry partner. Joy speaks English, as well as the languages of her people. As each one made their requests known, Joy translated for me. Then I prayed, and she translated my prayer for them.
For almost an hour, we ministered together non-stop. Through her help, I learned of a young boy whose father was sick and couldn’t work which meant his family didn’t have anything to eat. I was able to pray for him out of knowledge of his urgent need for grace and mercy. I prayed for dozens more with the help of Joy, now able to grasp how desperately these dear souls needed God to work on their behalf.
I chuckle when I recall this moment. Joy was “just” one young girl. But her willingness to serve supplied the missing link for a conversation with the Creator of the Universe. It will be fun, in heaven, to learn how Father answered our requests when I prayed with Joy.