I’m sorry I haven’t been able to post in a little while about my trip to India. A couple reasons have halted me from doing so. But I would like to write about the convictions I have brought home with me from India. There was so much I learned from this trip and so much I saw. Before I share my thoughts I want to say that I am in no way “broken” of certain sins in my life. I didn’t go to India and come back some kind of TOTALLY changed man. However, I will say that I have a new and fresh perspective on many things in my life and the lives of those around me. These convictions I want to share are not intended to come across as condescending or unfair. I want to encourage the reader of this post to think about their own life honestly. Do you struggle with your ego, hyper-control, anxiety, finances, or being grateful? Try to reflect on what I write and the Word of God to see if there is something you can ask God to help with in your life. Sometimes we hold onto reservations. We aren’t quite willing to let God tamper with certain areas in our life. This trip has led me to let go of certain reservations and let God have more control. I am faithful that this will lead to change. I think it is silly to say that this trip just changed me over the course of a week. It is just the beginning of the change that I am hopeful for Christ to carry out in my life.
“Spontaneity is The Continuity of Life”
This is a phrase that a wise young man said once. His name was Bryan James Bassett. As silly as it may sound, it’s actually quite true. Sometimes we need to learn how to go with the flow without lapsing into a seizure of anxiety and fretting.
The term “India Time” gets thrown around a lot in India. Just like the term “Xenos Time” gets used a lot here. What time will we start CT? Who knows? Xenos time baby. But even in comparison, India time proved to be much more severe. We were given a schedule with relative times for the arrivals and starts of things. In reality, they were VERY relative. My personality lacks patience and desires order to things. It was hard to sometimes not know when you would be asked to teach, not know what you needed to teach in some cases, and not know your time frame. A lot of the time we just needed to go with the flow. I remember arriving at Sharon Gardens just totally exhausted. Within 5 minutes a man named Sam approached Mike and I and said that our respective sponsor kids had arrived and were waiting. This was exciting yet super unexpected. Then as our time with them drew to a close, it was time for the children’s program already. It was great because all the kids are so freakin’ cute and excited. We did a teaching and role-play of the story Jonah and the Whale. It was like a wave of spontaneity and improvising. Then to end the trip we stopped at a small church. This was probably the biggest test of letting go of control and order. Everyone had spoken except for me and then the pastor of the church asked me to share my testimony. I was more prepared to teach at the moment and I was thrown off guard. I needed to condense my teaching to a testimony and then apply it to these pastor’s lives within 15 seconds. I had to let go and let the Lord do his thing. It turned out pretty sweet actually as I had a few men approach me and say they felt moved and inspired.
I realized I need to stop being so rigid at home. The Lord is going to do his thing regardless of our special timing. I’m not saying organization isn’t important but I am saying there are some of us that could really let go of some control in our lives.
Why Be a Hard Ass?
James 4:6 ““God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (NASB)
I definitely fall into the crowd of “jocks” here in NEO. Jocks are known as the guys who are always trying to be dominant and look good in front of others. They really have a hard time coming off as very humble in front of others. In India, you aren’t on your own turf. You aren’t in your own country. There is really no room for ego and hard-assery. You can’t step in front of a room full of people and expect your suave or “impeccable” personality to get you anywhere. Anything good that comes out of a teaching or meeting there is because of the Lord. This is true anywhere though! When we teach and deal with people, we need to let the Lord be a part. I tend to think highly of myself. I will sometimes say “I’m just trusting the Lord with this” but in actuality I am not. Our society puts us in a mold that enables conformity. We are trained to look good, be the best, and look out for number 1. A big point that was made by pastor Benny was to disciple people. It is the whole point behind the great commission! We cannot just leave it at the gospel which is step 1. As leaders we must learn how to bring other people up with us. If we settle and simply look out for number 1 all the time, we are setting ourselves up for a very unfruitful existence. My prayer is that the Lord will continue to work on my heart in this area. I pray that he will put the needs of others in the forefront of my mind every day I wake up.
Gratefulness is Paramount
1 Thessalonians 5:18 “18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” (NLT)
The things I saw In India were sometimes overwhelming. You really just can’t help but think “WOW do we have it good in America”. I don’t care who you are: A poor American college student that eats ramen and bread or a rich college student that gets many things paid for, we must learn to be grateful. We were born in a place with food right down the street. We were born in a place where money flies out of pockets like it’s nothing. We were born in a place where there are traffic laws to ensure your safety while traveling. The list could go on forever. The list also changes depending on who you are BUT there is surely a list for everyone.
Listen, I know it’s easy to complain and express or discomfort. I’m notorious for this. It’s easy to feel like nothing is going our way and everyone is out to get us. But just think; it really could be worse. I mean, most of us had parents that loved us enough to keep us alive. It’s not uncommon to find kids in India that are alive because someone picked them up out of the trash. Gratefulness is key to a joyful and significant life. As Christians, It is reprehensible to go about our daily lives complaining all day and thinking about how our situation could be better. The verse doesn’t say be thankful FOR all circumstances like “Lord I’m so thankful my relative died”. The verse says be thankful IN all circumstances. This isn’t something that comes easily either. Being thankful requires the Holy Spirit to intervene in our thinking.
1 Thessalonians 1:6 “So you received the message with joy from the Holy Spirit in spite of the severe suffering it brought you. In this way, you imitated both us and the Lord.” (NLT)
I pray that we can learn how to thank God more often. The Christians in India all know one phrase of gratefulness in English regardless of their English fluency, “Praise the Lord”. It’s pretty refreshing to say!
How Can You Help?
So India Gospel League offers a variety of ways that we can help the cause in India. We can take a trip there to encourage our brothers and sisters or we can support financially. One thing I am convicted about is the sponsorship of pastors. Yes, sponsoring children is important and an awesome thing to do. I spent a lot of time around the pastors that work their tails off in India. There are pastors being brought up all the time there. They need financial support to get started in their villages. Many of them pick up what they have, and go to a rural village like Sariki. They need support. I couldn’t help but think that in IP we have pretty cool living situations at Whitehall. Our rent is VERY cheap compared to other complexes in Kent! Talk to your houses about this. Could you and your roommates split the cost of sponsoring a pastor? It’s $100 a month! My house and a couple of ex-roommates sponsor a pastor and it has been a privilege. These guys are doing the tough work of discipling and preaching over there. Pray about it..
Thanks for reading and I can’t wait to catch up with everyone and answer questions that I didn’t cover in this post!
Peace and Love,