If you know me, you know I love short term mission trips. I go anywhere from 2 weeks to 5 months to teach English and share the Gospel of our Jesus. I am ALWAYS blessed by the brothers and sisters I meet and uplifted by sharing the Gospel with people who have NEVER HEARD and have very little opportunity to hear.
When I was asked to go to India, I was NOT thrilled. I heard it was dirty. I heard it was extremely dark. I heard the slums were horrific and that’s where they wanted me to teach. I might have said no, but something urged me forward.
Whatever cultural distance exists from America to India, I had to admit it was far less than the distance Jesus traveled from heaven to earth. And, I am sure earth, in its own fallen state, is far dirtier than heaven!
Sister S.G. regularly shares the Gospel seeking out people of peace in place called ‘’Canning''. During one particular moment while sharing the Gospel, she felt hungry so she decided to ask for food at the next house she visited. Upon arriving, a young Hindu girl named Monika opened the door.
Instead of food, Sister S.G. asked for a glass of water instead. Monika thought, “She is hungry”. Instead of water, Monika brought S.G. a big glass of milk. S.G. slowly drank it, and then asked, “How much do I owe you for this?”. Yet, Monika was taught by her mother to never accept payment in return for doing kindness to others. In return, Sister S.G said, “Thank you and please thank your mother on my behalf!”.
Some people go on short-term mission trips thinking they are going to share the Gospel with a lot of people. Sometimes that happens. Other times, it does not. When you add a cross-cultural dimension to the trip, the further cross-cultural you go the more challenging it becomes to share the Gospel, unless of course you are already familiar with the language and culture you are serving in.
James B. served with Silk Road Catalyst this past June. He did receive opportunities to share the Gospel but learned that it was just as important for the students he was seeking to share with to believe that he cared about them. Why? If they did not believe he cared, they likely would not have listened to him. While not everyone we show care for will listen to the Gospel, nor do we wait months or years to open our mouths to proclaim the Gospel for the first time, showing we care about them is important in Gospel sharing.
As you read James' experience below, I hope it will encourage you to stay the course as you seek to be salt and light among the lost around you.
President, Silk Road Catalyst
This month was my first time to visit Sweden, and it was an incredible experience. I was invited by Pastor Paul Wang at McKinney Chinese Baptist Church in McKinney, TX. I was invited to serve as one of the teachers at the Nordic Chinese Discipleship Retreat.
I had no idea what I was walking into. I had no idea who the 74 people attending were, where they came from or what they expected from the retreat. The only two people I knew were Pastor Paul and his wife. Yet after just a few days, I felt like I was with family I had known my whole life. And, after my 2nd teaching session, I was blessed to hear how God was moving in the hearts of so many at the retreat.
While being in East Asia, I had known that God would use me to work in other people. But, I had no idea of how much he would work in me. This was my second time being in East Asia. The first time I went was only for a week and I knew I wanted to go back as soon as possible.
As soon as I got there, I was immediately thrown into meeting a group of college students. It was so exciting to talk with them. They are so different from Americans. They wanted to know everything about us right away and were all very welcoming. I met many people, but I got extremely close with a group of girls.
"And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests who bear the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of the Jordan, that the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off, the waters that come down from upstream, and they shall stand as a heap." Joshua 3:13
This story in Joshua is a true picture of faith. Joshua instructed the Israelites that as soon as the priests carrying the Ark stepped into the water, the waters would part and allow them to walk across dry land. It wasn't going to part until they stepped out FIRST. It goes on to say that the waters of the Jordan were flooded, but as soon as the men stepped a foot in the water, the water became still and stood straight up and the people crossed over on dry land. This allowed them passage into the Promised Land. But the important thing to note here is that God's provision came with the condition of obedience. The Israelites had to trust God by faith that the way would be provided.
What is the Status of the Church in India? Answering that question is not simple because the body of Christ in India is complex.
On one hand, India is home to a massive Gospel Deprived community. In fact, it is home to the largest concentration of the Gospel Deprived out of any single country. According to the Joshua Project, India has nearly 2,300 distinct unreached people groups. In the midst of this reality, one must note another reality. The Church in India began not long after Christ established the Church.
Think about it. The Body of Christ in India has existed for nearly 2,000 years with no major disruptions that I can find. With this in mind, why are there 2,300 distinct unreached people groups (UPG) in India today?
To help you process my original question in my first sentence, click below to read what Aasim (SRC’s India Director) shares regarding three different types of churches in India.
President, Silk Road Catalyst
Persecution in India. Who is doing it? What is the government’s response?
ROLE OF RELIGION IN POLITICS
In the largest democracy of the world, the biggest deciding factor in elections is religion. One of the simplest ways to draw the focus of the masses away from developmental issues is to tell them that their religion is in danger.
In the Indian two party system of politics, the main players are the Congress party and the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP). The ruling party of the day is the BJP and it came into power four years ago by presenting itself as the protector and defender of Hinduism or more accurately “Sanatam Dharma”. They told the people that their religion is under attack by Muslims and Christians.
On the Saturday before resurrection Sunday, I received opportunity to visit a home for elderly people, located just beyond my city. This place is home to around 400 men and women. It is run by a Hindu Yogi and is named Earth Savior’s Foundation.
As I was on my way to this place, I was told that this was a special home because the residents were not staying there voluntarily. Instead, they were people who had been abandoned by their families or who were found on the streets of my city wandering like homeless people.
Yesterday the Lord gave me an opportunity to visit a Mosque in a Muslim majority slum area in my city. I have had opportunities to minister to Muslims before but this was the first time for me go inside a mosque, other than for touring, to have a conversation with an Imam.
It was just after their afternoon prayers so most of the people had left. We asked a man sitting at the main gate of the mosque if we could speak with the Imam? He asked us to wait as he went inside. We took off our shoes and waited near the area where all the basins are installed for washing before Muslims recite their prayers. As we waited, I remember thinking how good our God is. He is infinitely holy and yet we can come before him unclean in spirit and body. He did not first demand holiness or cleanliness but has Himself cleaned us with His precious blood and made us acceptable to the Father through Himself.
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