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India STM 2017: Yaewon Shin

This year, I had the opportunity to be part of India’s Short-Term Mission team with 6 other brothers and sisters at CoaH, led by Pastor Tim. Our team spent our first week in India serving with Pastor Abi’s India Missions at the city of Bhagalpur, located at the end of the state of Bihar, requiring our team to travel 10 hours by bus from Patna. We also served with Pastor Biju, Pastor Abraham and Pastor Joy in the second week at the TIM center. Over the course of two weeks, our team had the opportunity to share the Gospel with over 1500 children and youth in Bihar. 

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”.  Pastor Tim had emphasized the importance of being joyful, giving thanks, and viewing prayer as a ministry from the start our training, and throughout our whole time together in India, and God truly allowed our team to experience and live out this verse during our time in India.

Our team faced many challenges and struggles throughout our trip, which led to discouragements and being hurt at times. From the moment we left from Pearson airport, to difficulties during our layovers, unexpected and unpredictable ministries where I can’t remember a single VBS going as we had expected or planned, lots of rain and heat, and even until our last day in India, where we almost didn’t make it to the airport on time. However, God didn’t allow our team to be left discouraged and disappointed. Rather, he truly used each of the moment to bring our team together as a true family in Christ, and for us to understand and see the depth of God’s love for this country, so we too may better serve this country in thanksgiving and with joy. 

One particular village comes to my mind when thinking about the power of prayer. During our time in Bhagalpur, we had the opportunity to visit a village and witness the way of living in the village. Made out of more than 15,000 people, the village only had about 1% of Christians. The reality of the village was heartbreaking, such as the poor condition of their houses, many children wearing almost none or no clothes, and the clear evidence of malnutrition in most children. More importantly, that so many of the people did not know who the true God is, and seeing them serving false Gods were at times overwhelming to witness, such as families allowing cows to sleep inside their houses, while they were sleeping outside. Throughout our visit, our team simply spent time in prayer, praying for the village, for the Christians in the village, and for God to reveal himself to the people so that they may find the eternal hope and comfort which could be only found in our one and only true God. Although we didn’t do a ministry, or VBS, or perform a skit, this is the time that God truly started to break my heart and allowed my heart to grow in love for India, simply through prayer. 

Prayer is a powerful ministry; I can confidently say that this is something so valuable that I learned and gained from my experience in India. It’s been almost 2 months since our team has returned from India. However, I believe that our mission didn’t end when we left India, but rather it starts now that we have returned to Toronto. Not just our team, but I pray that our church, as a community, can join in this powerful ministry to continuously pray for the country of India, Kyrgyzstan, Cambodia, Mexico, and Toronto, the countries that we have adopted as a church. Without a doubt, the work that God has done, and is doing in India is beyond incredible. I also pray that many of us will be challenged and encouraged to witness and experience the love that God has for India in future years.