Sunday, January 15, 2017

India Day 9: A Beautiful Mosaic

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.

The team remarked today at how the past week has flown by.  A week ago we were with a small JKPS church witnessing the baptism of new believers into this great global family we are redeemed into. It has been filled with moments of great joy, and moments of immense sadness. We have witnessed such lofty heights that we have glimpsd heaven, and heard harrowing stories that challenge our hope.

Today was a chance to gather with believers at Kolkata Christian Fellowship, catch our breath and celebrate the way the Lord is at work here in West Bengal. They are a eclectic group of believers from all over the world who gather to worship the Lord. It is a testimony to the family of God that we can travel anywhere in the world and find brothers and sisters redeemed by grace.

The real highlight of the day, however was joining the Mahima girls at Freedom Church. Because of their vulnerable state, they cannot join in with a general fellowship, but that is no reason to keep them from worshipping. Thus, Freedom Church was born. There's something wonderful about walking into a room with a hundred survivors singing in unison, with the joy of the Lord lingering in the place. It is a soothing balm for the soul, the gentle reminder that the Spirit of the Lord is with us always, redeeming the mess we've made of His creation.

Through this past week, we have met countless individuals who are sacrificing greatly to see the Kingdom of God established here in India. These are the lighthouses along the rocky shore, guiding survivors home. They each have stories that must be told, yet each are embarrassed as I listen, believing themselves in complete humility to be entirely ordinary.

Take Manesh Mardi as an example, a young man who grew up in a Hindu village, but through the teaching of a local evangelist heard the name of Jesus. When his mother became sick, he didn't turn to the Lord as a desperate move, but as a natural extention of his growing faith in God. Then he led his entire family into a relationship with Jesus. Today, there is a fellowship in his home town of over 100 people, and his father donated the land for the church.

Or Pastor Pradipta Mondal, who has been overseeing the work on the Sunderban Islands for the past eight years. Under his leadership, JKPS has seen churches established on eight more islands, bringing the total to ten, with two more in a young state. Areas that had never before heard the Gospel, now with churches growing on them. Each serves as a base for the vital anti-trafficking work that Mahima is doing.

Mark Truman Lee was watching his career explode, with growing paycheques, increasing responsibilities and an employer who had big plans for him. Yet when the Lord called on him to leave it behind, he didn't hesitate. He knew that money would never fulfill the desires of his heart, and today he oversees the JKPS medical camps that offer services to thousands of people every year. Without his past experience and leadership, it could never grow to where it is today.

Rajasree Dey Roy grew up in a Hindu family, and prior coming to Mahima she worked in a government home. When IJM held a Christmas Party, she was introduced to the Bible, particularly through Jesus' statement in Matthew 11, "All who are weary, come to me and I will give you rest." A year later, her mother was diagnosed with cancer, and she remembered a Bible yet another organization had given her and opened it. She was drawn to a church, where she surrendered everything to the Lord and everything began to change. All of her old habits faded away, and she was made new. Today she works in the Mahima homes as a counselor with the girls, participating in their incredible journies.

There are so many others. Rita, Smita, Finney, Anette, Arun and countless more. Small pieces in God's larger mosaic proclaiming freedom for the prisoners. Each time I meet one of our national workers, I am deeply humbled by their conviction for the calling God has placed on their lives. I am deeply grateful for the Canadians at home who sacrifice every month to journey hand in hand with our workers to see the Kingdom of God established.

Mahima, the Sunderban outreach, BTI, Premanand Boys Home, Freedom Church; none of these could happen without the calling of the Lord, and the response from Godly people with soft hearts. Like Samuel, their actions challenge me to soften my heart and say, "Speak, your servant is listening."

There is no calling too small, no person too insignificant for the Lord to use. All he requires i our willingness to go. Where is He calling you?

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