I'm sure over the coming weeks and months the seeds and thoughts God has planted in me on this trip will grow and flourish. Everyone expects to come to a place of great poverty and be deeply affected. It's almost a cliche at this point. I came with some expectations, but really tried to just be open and let God bring what may come.
Am I thankful for the country and culture I come from? Absolutely. More than ever. We have an incredible society that provides basic necessities like clean drinking water, trash pick up, nice road systems, and accessible health care (for the most part) for every citizen. Certainly there is much we take for granted. But the simplest thing to do would be to look at America as the rich older brother who wallows in its amenities.
The real conversation has to do with money, missions, and the Church. I can't hold a country responsible for something God has called His people to do (knowing the US is not God's chosen nation). It's a difficult, uncomfortable conversation we much have.
First, the Christian pastors, leaders, and lay people of India are smart, intuitive, and more than capable of reaching their country for Christ. They are loving, joyful, and pray far more than most of us for their people. They are PASSIONATE about seeing people know Christ and for God being glorified. In fact, they are better equipped to do so in most cases than we are.
Why do I mention this? Because often what they lack are the basic resources. Training. Building materials. Cost of living. They need an investment in the lives of their pastors and families.
So where are those resources? Right here in America, in our churches. We have the money, the training, and the resources to equip and empower the Church in India to grow and thrive. For 30 dollars a month, the basic needs of a pastor and his family can be met so he can give his life to ministry and provide for his family. Before I left for India, I spent that on a shirt. I spend it in a week on coffee. It sounds like a pitch, but it's a reality. What we throw away is enough to supply more than we can imagine.
God may call you to go to India. He may call you overseas to live. But more than likely, he won't. He's call you right where you are. But if we truly see the need, literally or through the eyes and pictures and stories of others, and we do not act, well... I'll let Scripture speak for itself.
Bottom line: the biggest hindrance to the Gospel spreading in the rest of the world is not radical Muslims or hostile countries. It's the lack of involvement and support - financial and spiritual - for the Church in the rest of the world within the US church. Plain and simple. It may be a tough medicine to swallow, but it's one we need to take.
More to come. Praise God for what He is doing - the things we see and those we don't. May His kingdom continue to come in our midst.