Since Walden was in the first grade, we have been supporters of Mission India. They developed a homeschool video curriculum at that time to learn more about India, while raising money to fund their works. The curriculum was excellent; with your tour guide, Chris, actually visiting the slums of Mumbai and the Children’s Bible Clubs and taking you by video there with him. I was excited to teach the course in our Bible Classes at church, when the children were young, and hope to do it again this summer in Kidside.
Also, I am meticulous about what ministries we support. Making sure as much as I can that they are helping and not hurting, just because they haven’t thought their impact through; utilizing primarily indigenous supplies and people to do their work; and teaching people to fish instead of giving them a fish is incredibly important to me. India is on track to become the world’s most populous nation in less than a decade, surpassing China. The population of India includes 79.8% Hindus and 14.2% Muslims. Still, as Mission India explains on their website, you can find “passionate Christians in India who, despite being radically outnumbered, are motivated to reach their own nation with the love of Christ.” They are clearly the most effective at this, understanding the culture and connecting with the people. Indian nationals make up 100% of their ministry partners in India. The programs are developed by Indians, for Indians, and have been designed to work effectively within the specific physical, emotional, and social challenges faced by Indians. Mission India approaches this task three different ways :
1 ) Bible-based Adult Literacy Classes in 1984—meeting the practical and spiritual needs of India’s poor and oppressed illiterate population. These groups also help train participants in different ways to earn a living wage.
2) Church Planter Training
3) Children’s Bible Clubs
When we decided to visit India, we were excited about the possibility that we might be able to meet one of the clubs and encourage the children, while seeing the work in person. They were so kind as to organize a representative to meet us in Delhi (which is not an easy task!) and direct us to the club, so we could meet with the children. Visiting this type of ministry feels strangely like Paul in his letters. They look to you to provide encouragement and wisdom as Christians who are older in the faith. The expectation can feel very overwhelming and humbling as they ask each of you to share a word for their people. You also realize how important this is, and I am afraid sometimes we forget this in our missions. We feel like we have to go and help physically – whether it’s medical, construction, etc. Often, they would prefer to do these things with local help, since they are often most effective, and just know we care and are praying and love them. Their young minister was clearly experiencing tremendous challenges to her flock – threats of violence, poor schools, cultural backlash, and lack of reliable lodging and church facilities. Most days I don’t think we can even imagine the struggles this one church experienced. They welcomed us with worship songs (the one recorded is basically saying we will not worry about anything else but worship our Father!), recited memory verses, and a teenager named Pinky shared her witness. Several of the young children were from Muslim families and faced obvious threats in this situation and asked for prayers. Their numbers were fewer than normal, since it was exam time and traffic had delayed us till almost 6Pm. They told us usually they have almost 100 children! As always, we were greatly humbled and motivated to remember each of them when we returned to our country. Their minister (lady in blue who is standing in pic) and her husband specifically asked for prayers that they are able to find a permanent place to worship and meet with the children and to have the funds to maintain the work. Please remember, often people are ready and willing within the countries we hope to serve to do they work that is needed, they just need our spiritual and often financial support to move forward. I realize, often hands on experience feels better to us; but, it is not always the most effective way to minister. Pray for our brothers and sisters in India!