On May 12, 2019 I went with a small team of believers to India. The purpose of our trip was to meet and connect with local pastors in order to develop a partnership for the advancement of God’s kingdom. When preparing for this trip, one of the big questions I was asked was, “why are you going?” So, I’d like to answer that question and then also communicate what I saw and learned on this trip.
Why did we go to India?
The ultimate reason why we went to India is because our God is great and glorious. Psalm 96 says, “Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous works among all the peoples! For Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods.” The Psalmist says we are to declare God’s glory among the nations. Our God is not a local deity who ought to be proclaimed only in one small region or country or zip code. No, our God is to be proclaimed among every nation because He is Great! Our God is worthy of all honor and praise. And it’s because He is great that He has done “marvelous works.” And the most marvelous work God has ever done is the sending of His Son Jesus Christ so that through His death and resurrection we could be forgiven and adopted into His family.
This is why we went to India and this is why we ought to go to every neighborhood, zip code, country, and continent. We go to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ so that people from every tribe tongue and nation would be saved and one day gather around the throne of God praising Him for all eternity.
What did we see?
There are many things that I could write about regarding what we saw. Regarding the culture we saw very modest and well-dressed looking people. Indians are very kind and courteous. We saw Indians eating with their hands (no silverware), which was something I was not very good at. We also saw a different kind of driving. They drove all over the roads, lanes were suggestions. Regarding religion, we saw many Hindu temples. We also saw people bathing in the Ganges River hoping to have their sins washed away and to earn favor with the gods.
But what stood out most was our time with the local pastors. We met with pastors in Tamil Nadu and also Andhra Pradesh. These pastors wore huge smiles and their hearts were full of God’s love. These pastors were meek and yet very zealous for the gospel of Jesus. It was obvious they had all faced persecution and knew martyrdom was very likely in their future. The effect of persecution had not made these men hard or callous, but had made them soft and tender. They loved to read God’s Word and spend time with one another. Fellowship with other believers was not something they took for granted but rather they cherished deeply. They coveted our prayers and the time we had with them. I only wish we could have spent more time with them.
What I learned?
There are so many things I learned on this trip, but I will share just two.First, the church is growing. I have read about the church growing in Southeast Asia. But on this trip I got to see it with my very own eyes. I saw brothers and sisters passionate about God’s Word and hungry to share it with unbelievers. I saw the reality of Revelation 7 being fulfilled, that one day there will be people from all tribes and nations gathered around the throne of God.
Second, I learned the beauty of persecution. We read in the N.T. that persecution is a means of growing us in godliness. And that is exactly what I saw among these pastors. Persecution had refined these men and they shined forth the love and peace of Christ in ways I’ve never seen before. In a strange and unexpected way, being with these men, made me desire to be persecuted as they had. These men had been formed in the crucible of suffering and they were more beautiful because of it.
I am already looking forward to returning to India. I cannot wait to once again embrace these bothers and hear new stories. I know that because of persecution I may not see some of them on this side of heaven. But I know with great confidence that we will meet again, for our King, Jesus Christ, intercedes for us and nothing is able to separate us from His love.