Sunday, January 8, 2017

India Day 2: Sacrifice

This post is part of a series from a Discovery Trip to visit one of Partners International's partners in Kolkata, India. JKPS works in community development, social justice, adult education and with children at risk. Resources like bikes, clean water wells, monthly partnership with a local pastor go a long way to enabling this vital ministry to the Bengali people.

When Canadians think about faith, many words come to mind, shaped by the contours of our lives. We carry our pasts into our journeys, and it paints a particular picture for us. That picture is a rich tapestry that shares common colours because of the country that we grew up in. Freedom being one of the chief themes. We have the freedom to believe and worship as we will without fear of political repercussions.

Contrast that with a country like India, where faith is a major part of your day to day life. One of our team members shared this evening that they had heard it said that to turn your back on Hinduism is turning your back on India. Standing in these streets, watching the cars bustle by, it is a statement that rings true for those we have met. Believers who have been transformed by the Holy Spirit face a challenge here, and in many other places around the world to their lives, their social circles and their families. Many pay dearly for their faith in Jesus with their lives.

Today we took a journey outside of Kolkata into a slum where new believers, coming from a different background, were giving their lives to Jesus in baptism. A unique experience for us in Canada to see these eight believers proclaim their belief in Jesus and take that step into a new life.

Will it be easy? Of course not. Most will need to keep their faith relatively private for their safety and livelihood. They will be discipled in home churches around the area where they will learn more about Jesus, as their illiteracy keeps them from being able to read the Word.

Yet this is the heart of the family we saw yesterday. Sacrifice, a total giving over of ones life to furthering the Kingdom. Their stories are living testimonies to the transformation of Christ happening here and around the world. Individuals who come in contact with a true relationship with God and who risk everything to respond to that.

It is a challenging word for us in Canada. Are we willing to sacrifice our comforts to reach across the street? Are we willing to allow our hearts to be broken for what breaks the Lord's? Shaking the hands of these new believers and seeing their faithfulness lived out in the waters of Baptism puts things in perspective.

Less of me, Lord. More of you.

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