I guess with that title you assume I am going to tell you the “story of Come and See India“. Well, I can’t because the story hasn’t happened yet it has just started. I look forward, Lord willing, to someday seating down with some of my friends and compiling a list of stories of all that God has done in northern India. I will tell you what I know about how that story starts for me.
Every year the team of missionaries I serve with hosts two events called the Our Generation Summit and the Our Generation Camp. They give passion, heart felt, Biblical sound pleas for their countries. Over the years I have seen literally dozens of young people make huge decisions at these events and follow through with them! God had began drawing my attention to how the huge country of India had no representation. Not that there is no one working there just that no one on our team at the time was working there. We know so little about India (“we” being the average church member in America). Even when you begin to study it is difficult to get many answers. The Lord used this to create a desire in my heart to become an advocate for the people in that country. Over the last few years I have spent much time in Operation World reminding myself that no matter who does the counting there is less than 1% Christian along the banks of the Ganges in northern India.
After one of the night sessions in 2009 a friend of mine that directs Mission Joint Venture International spoke to me about making a trip to India. In Feburary of this year I travelled with him, my pastor, a college student training for missions, and Philip Bassham (missionary to Thailand) to Delhi and Varanassi. I will not even begin to try to cover what all we saw on that trip but would like to tell one story that changed and is changing my life.
The Ganges River is a horrifically gross river that runs through the northern part of India. Parts of the river is even septic. In Varanassi there are 36 large sewer lines that run from the city into the river. People of Hindu faith, which is 80% of the country, believe this river to be god. When they die they believe if there ashes are put into the river they will escape the hopeless cycle of reincarnation and they will finally find nirvana. While standing on the bank of the river I saw a fire that has been burning for over 2,000 years fueled by the bodies of people are are died to spend eternity in a hell prepared for the devil and his the fallen angels.
While standing on the bank and listening to people explain to me why they live, drink, bath, play, and travel thousands of miles to be at this river a young man came to me. His face is burned into my memory. In broken english he invited me to “come and see”. “Come and see.. she is beautiful!”. I do not believe this side of eternity I will forget his face, his words, and the lie he so strongly believed. As I walked down closer to the water I so desired to open the Word of God and show him the true beauty that can be found only in Jesus Christ. This young man does not and may never know true beauty.
A couple months after the trip I was reading in John 1 and noticed how the invitation Jesus gave to the disciples was to “come and see”! Then when Nathaniel questions Philip about Jesus he invites them to “come and see”. To “come and see” is what we desire the people of northern India and the world to do! Come and see how beautiful our Savior is! Come and see that His yoke is easy! Come and see how grace is so much better then karma! That night at camp I prayed and ask God for someone to go to northern India and take the Hindi Bible I had back the banks of the Ganges and invite those people to “come and see”.
I had no idea that one of my friends, Jim Roberts, had been praying about following the Lord’s leading to northern India. A few weeks after the camp he came to my church and announced his calling. I had one of the greatest opportunities of my life to hand him the Hindi Bible, hug his family, and offer my life as a bridge to help him live out the God given dream in his heart.
Neither Jim or I knew at this time that after the camp one of the student pastors there had a meeting with a family from their church and that family was believing God was leading them to northern India. About a month ago Jim and I met with that gentleman (we won’t use his name for the time being). Last Saturday my wife and I, the Roberts, the family I am telling you about, and some others interested in missions in northern India met to discuss the current situation and how God could use our lives to change it!
This October my wife and I get the awesome opportunity to travel with these two families and a college age young man back to northern India. When I was in the country in Feb. I met a man that worked with a missions team working to reach northern India. It was my prayer someday to come back and see him with the team God was forming I would be a part of.. I would never imagined it would be less than 8 months later.
We will be assisting the Roberts family on their survey trip. I believe whole heartedly in this family. They have a great support system in place with their pastor, my pastor, their mission board and many others. I just praise God we can call them friends and help them. We will also be making some preparatory steps for the Voice in the Villages project for the country. There are several missionaries and ministry leaders we need to meet with while we are there. There is so much we need to learn, but we are excited about learning it together.
This will be no picnic and I am not taking my wife to see the scenery. India has grown so much in my heart that I feel that it is best for my wife to join me on this journey so we can grow together in this process. I have “assuredly gathered” (stealing from Paul’s terminology”) our role on the team at this time is as PIONEER SENDERS. In future posts I will explain more what we will do on the trip and why we think it is vital to the future of the mission.
God is doing an amazing work around the world. I encourage to read my friends blogs. We have pulled them into one easy one stop shop for you at www.bcwe.org.