God is always sending out to His followers a higher calling and a deeper dependence. In late January, I addressed 1000 pastors and wives in S. India and challenged them to give their lives for the sake of the Gospel. Many of them bore on their bodies the scars of beatings and machete attacks endured while sharing the Gospel in villages – yet their vision, boldness and tenacity was undeterred. I remember thinking “If I did what they are doing – if I gave my life for the sake the Gospel to the same degree, what might happen? If I’m telling them to change the world with their meager resources, what will I do with my many resources?”
Read what Jenna Milleson wrote below about her experiences in India, and consider how you might be a world changer with the resources God has given you.
– John Meador
Traipsing through the villages of the ancient and undeveloped terrain, felt caught in a time warp among the people and culture around me—India’s own “untouchables,” trapped within the lowest caste of society.
A girl who couldn’t have been more than 6 years old gives me a woven basket that, if sold, could feed her family for months. I hand her a few Rupees that are received as gold. The stench of the sewage puddle spoils the experience only for a moment. Giggles escape from another sweet child at my side; she has a severe cleft lip, I presume, from poor prenatal care. Three women pass me, carrying rocks on their heads, and make their way toward the quarry. They’re building roads for other cities when their primitive village doesn’t have means or opportunity for them. My mind strains to process the scenes around me—the poverty, the physical hardship, the basic needs—as the Lord begins to reveal how it takes so little for me to impact those around me with such great hope.
My mind strains to process the scenes around me—the poverty, the physical hardship, the basic needs
It is just before dinner. Two men come to the mission house to visit. There is something in the air – you would have sensed it, too. Of the men who have come, there is something clearly special about the new national with whom we are introduced. Many of us can feel it in our spirits. Dinner is delayed. The conversation continues. We listen to the passion through thick accents, a new dialect, broken English and translated Telugu. Photos are taken.
Later we learn that Jesus drew to us the only educated man to ever break the pattern and leave his village to receive education in the city. He is a nonbeliever, but holds the key and opens the doors to millions in India.
In January it feels like summertime and mosquitoes bite at your ankles. Yet there is a precious joy on every face that has travelled from all over the country to be refreshed in worship and the teaching of God’s Word. Imagine a revival-style tent with 500 bold and unwavering pastors— some of whom bear persecution wounds of the gospel—and their 500 faithful ministry partners dressed in the most beautiful sari dresses.
Pastor’s Conferences are held. They begin at sunrise and end after dark, and during the teaching times, they are glued to each word taught from the Scripture. On Tuesday, the anointing is heavy and the charge of the preacher’s message was unforgettable. The pastors and their brides are stirred to take courage and be mindful of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit — to go and change the world. One pastor responds by expressing the deep sorrow and grief he feels in his heart as he has seen babies thrown away near his home. The Lord uses those very moments to stir him to obedience and action. Today that Indian pastor has a down payment for land, and plans to build an orphanage there.
Flimsy red chairs and pink Office Depot packets are almost unfitting for some of the toughest men—heroes of the faith. With only thirty minutes, we try to write their stories quickly—stories that make our Heavenly Father proud. Miracles happen every day. These pastors are being trained, mentored and sent to reach the villages around them for Christ.
After my adventure overseas with our God, I’m awake to life. I will never be the same.
One local pastor sees 80 families come to faith in Christ. The secret? Prayer! Another local family serves in medicine. When the local hospital has no more answers and fears the patient will die, they reach out to this pastor. The secret? Prayer! They see a complete healing and salvation. The city is so moved by God’s power that they grant the couple land that is now used for their church.
With missions, I had it all wrong. I did not take a 10-day break from my life for spiritual service. Rather, I was abruptly woken to what is real life. After my adventure overseas with our God, I’m awake to life. I will never be the same.
Our overseas mission teams are teams of dreamers. I saw God’s hand at work in the details of our days in India, and I saw His big plan unfolding in the details of the lives of His children in the country farthest away from the place we live, 10,000 miles on the other side of the globe where I know He is still working. He took everything I know, do, and am passionate about and showed me how it fits with His Kingdom-sized plan across the world. He’ll do that for you, if you’re open. Be a world changer.
– Jenna Milleson