For the third consecutive summer, I traveled with City on a Hill’s STM team to Bihar, India. In the past few years of serving through this ministry, I have experienced God in many new ways and have experienced a great measure of transformation in my life. This summer’s trip, in particular, was extra special for me as I had the opportunity to extend my stay to six weeks, strengthening relationships with the children and people that I had met in previous years.
For those who are unfamiliar with this area, the state of Bihar was once referred to as the graveyard of missions. Due to extreme poverty in the land and its harsh conditions, even local Indians from different states do not want to enter Bihar. Gratefully, the state has lost that title as many missionaries have responded to their calling to serve. Although there is still much work to be done, as only 2% of the entire population of 1.25+ billion identify as Christian, it’s comforting to know that God has not abandoned Bihar and its people that men themselves have abandoned.
I think the idea of Bihar instills in people a fear against committing themselves to working in this State. After having experienced its conditions, it’s understandable why the fear is present. Even for myself, though I knew what I stepping into, I couldn’t help but feeling nervous as the departure date was approached. I became fearful and anxious as I began to feel like I had lost the passion and excitement that I once had when I committed myself to India this summer. I was no longer confident in the fact that this was what God had planned for me so, I began to worry about the extended stay and how I was going to endure all the challenges that I would face.
On my first day alone after the team left, my fears and anxiety were greater than ever and all I could do was seek after God to find comfort. As I spent time in prayer and reflection, I wondered if this was what it meant to obey — to trust God and follow Him despite what my own emotions were telling me. Of course, as God promises, He is faithful as he quickly showed me that I did not need to fear. God quickly restored my excitement and love for this ministry, and I found an incredible amount of joy through serving in India. I discovered a new dependence for God and experienced His faithfulness as I submitted myself to Him.
During one of our team’s morning devotions, Pastor Woohyun shared with us that obedience leads to opportunities. Through my time in India this summer, I’ve been able to witness this statement and see God at work in His faithfulness. Through the pastors’ obedience to the greatest commandment to love God, the people have had the opportunity to receive the result of that love; through the workers’ obedience to their call in Bihar, many children and adults have had the opportunity to receive education and hope for a future; through the ministries’ obedience and commitment to serve in Bihar, many villages have received clean water and basic necessities, but ultimately, through all of these different ministries and people, obedience has allowed this unreached nation the opportunity to hear of Gospel. It has allowed them to learn of this amazing God that we know, accept Him and the free gift of salvation, and pursue a life of hope with Him. Only the Gospel can transform lives. This is the opportunity that every single person needs to be given.
India, to me, is more than just a good mission experience. It’s about how God has consistently been revealing more of Himself to me and how I have been transformed by my new knowledge of God and His ways. The more I know God, the more I reflect on His beauty in my life. Through the past few years, I’ve fallen in love with God so much more and He’s allowed me to share that love with people. My prayer is that as a congregation, we would continually ask God for opportunities to be missional. It’s such a privilege to be called by God to be a part of His work. Continue to recognize the sacrifice God’s made for us and in response, let’s submit ourselves and obey to the way He calls, to witness Him at work in this world that He loves so much.