Reflections from India – Part 1

I learned many things during my time in India this summer. I will share some of them with you. Writing will help me synthesize my thoughts from this summer, which was so good because I was able to think and reflect. The first year of law school was tiring because I had very little time to do this–to think and reflect on everything I was seeing, hearing, and experiencing. Having a 9-5 work schedule with no post-work responsibilities and not having to worry about what food I was going to eat or about tomorrow’s tasks left me free to write in my journal, pray, read and meditate on and memorize Scripture, and interact with friends in person and through email more meaningfully.

Because most of my readers are Christian, I’ll start with this observation. Many teams from KCM and other campus fellowships and churches send missions teams abroad during the summer. The cool thing about my experience in India was that I experienced what real life was like in India. What it’s like to work in an office, raise a family, go to church, and be involved in a community. A one to two month stint in rural India with no running water and sleeping under gas lamps and mosquito nets is a great and humbling experience, but for me, seeing God working through Indian white-collar workers and Indian Christians was a real blessing. It was great to do research on potential grounds for a petition challenging the constitutionality of various anti-conversion laws enacted in Indian states. If there were no lawyers, who would challenge these laws in court to protect the religious freedom of Christians in India? God needs lawyers to fight against unjust laws and to help create an environment where the gospel can continue to spread. I went to church, and after the English service a bunch of college-age and young single adults came up to me, introduced themselves, and told that twice a month they had a discussion group for young adults for talking about how to serve God in the workplace. That is missions.

Too often college kids in America start to romanticize and nostalgify their experiences in a poor country. They hear over and over that missions is a life calling, not just a summer gig, and yet when they come home, they completely forget it. They don’t get involved in on-campus evangelism. They get caught up in their career ambitions. Or maybe they slack off in school and then try to make up for it by deciding to go to seminary (as if being a preacher doesn’t at all involve diligent studying, reading, writing, and thinking). It was good this summer to see that God has people in India who are probably way more equipped to reach the Indian people than any skilled foreign missionary will be.

But the other interesting thing to was seeing how some of the Delhiites I traveled with needed translators as much as I did to speak and listen to the villagers in Orissa, because they only spoke the tribal language Oriya. India is such a diverse place, and indeed the whole world is, that you will always need missionaries with a special calling to go into the frontier and devote themselves full-time to living among a foreign people and reaching out to them.

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