Roger began visiting India years before I did. My first visit came at Christmastime. Of course the weather was warm in most of the country and Roger played a very jovial Santa in Delhi at Rodrick’s home. I marvelled at the contrasts in the things I saw. The vibrant colors of clothing and flowers next to piles of burning garbage. The little children, hair in tangles and filthy, begging alongside the streets while swarms of people, cars, bicycles, pedi-cabs and even bullock carts swept by them. Shops that had cows roaming inside and mice skittering over my feet as I entered. The sights, smells–the overwhelming feel of being in an unknown land has never left me.
Yet I love India. I focus on the people– their smiling faces, their joy in everyday life, the simplicity with which they face each day. It’s a difficult time in India for Christians. The government in power is very anti-Christian, and especially opposed to conversions. Anti-Christian groups believe it’s wrong to change a person’s belief so it takes a great deal of courage to stand and continue ministry when churches are being bombed, pastors attacked and even killed.
The contrasts between India and the U.S. speak most loudly to me when I first come home from a visit. Everything here seems perfect. Everything is clean and bright. My home seems like a palace. Then I have my first meal in a restaurant and my heart sinks when I realize we could have fed a family for a month with the money we just paid for one meal. The longer I stay away from India the dimmer the memories become.
But the needs are very real. There is so much that can be done with a small amount of money. Teams India helps support husband and wife church planting teams who both preach the Gospel and help to feed and educate the poor. The work is never done and what we do is never enough…but it’s something. My friend, Grace, is a widow herself and in poor health, but she serves women and children every day because she loves the Lord. Bilahi in Assam was loaned out as a servant as a child. Her family was so poor there was never enough food and little clothing. Yet she travels by bicycle to 74 churches spreading the love of God. She’s willing to give everything she has for her faith in God.
The Lord spoke about sheep and goats. He said, “Come you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. …I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” (Matt. 25) So we rejoice to be able to give to the poor even though our offerings are small. It’s good to be a sheep.
Come, join us. Even a small gift makes a big difference.