I am back in America! I know this update is a little late. I've actually been back in America for about a week. But the last two weeks have been quite an exciting adventure. We'll travel back a couple of weeks to my last week in India. Our last week was really great time. We were able to spend more time with the Muslim Background Believers that we previously met. This was such a great time of encouragement for both us and them. We spent a long time just reflecting on how we can come all the way around the world to a culture that is so different from our own and find believers who welcome us into fellowship. It was so good to see that the Community of the Body is so much more than cultural hospitality but is actually a spiritual connection with other believers made common by Christ's presence in our lives. There is nothing, absolutely nothing in the world that compares to this. That is because the community of Christ, the Body of Christ, the Church, is rooted in a Kingdom that is not of this world. We were also able to spend time with our Muslim friends that we had met during our time in India. We were able to make a gift basket for them with some different foods that are very Muslim culture specific. In the basket we were also able to put some DVD copies of the Jesus film and a New Testament. This was really encouraging to see them interested in the things we had given them. One of our friends immediately opened the New Testament and began reading it. Most likely his primary goal is to read it and try to find errors in it to support Islam, but how many testimonies include people's attempt to battle the Word of God which ends up in their eventual submitting to Christ and entrance into the Kingdom of God. Mark and I are confident that the Word of God is living and active and we trust that His Word will cut through to the hearts of our friends in a way that our words just could not have the power to do.
After this we left Ahmedebad to return to Delhi for our three day debriefing. Surprisingly I had very mixed feelings about leaving. We had spent so much time pouring our lives into some people in that city. We struggled, we were tested in Ahmedebad. I was definitely more emotionally attached than I thought. However, I was so excited to get back to Delhi and see all the other students who were all over South Asia and to hear about their experiences. It was a glorious reunion. It amazes me how people we only knew for five days before we were sent out to our projects seemed like such close friends. This again represents the uniqueness of community in the Body of Christ. Our debriefing was such a great and necessary time. It is really difficult to just return home without actually thinking and working through many of the experiences involved with missions work. It was during this debriefing that I began to realize that I had really been changed by these 7 weeks in India. God had worked on me more than I could have expected or imagined. It was also during this time that I realized the hard parts of our trip were what really defined the learning experience that I had. Now during those trying experiences I would have told you that I really didn't like India and just wanted to be home. I would have told you that I couldn't really see myself coming back to India at all. But after my time of reflection and debriefing, God really showed me that He was with my through all of those hardships and He used all of them to make me exactly who He wanted me to be. I can also say that I am not opposed to returning to India. I don't exactly know what that means for my future, but I am definitely open. Even now, a week after being back in America I am still processing all of the things I learned and experienced. This process will continue for a long time.
I can say with complete confidence that God is working in India and it was amazing to see just what He is doing. I am glad to be back home with my friends and family and I am more excited about beginning life as a college graduate. Where I am in life now I have a opportunity to use all that God has taught me to teach and influence those around me while they are still in the fragile developmental stage of college and early post-college. Thank you so much for joining me on this journey. Your encouragement and prayers are appreciated with the deepest gratitude. I hope by your commitment to being involved in His work he has shaped and formed you to look and act more like Christ. Any encouragement you received from my words or my experience in India is to the glory of God Almighty who has made His wonderful Kingdom open to us through Jesus Christ. My final encouragement in light of what I have learned through this whole experience is to always look to Christ. If the patterns of your life are not actively shaping you and making you more like Christ then question their worth. As His disciples, Jesus has confidence that we can actually be formed into his likeness and He promises that we will never be alone in these efforts. He promised that His very Spirit would be with us. The Kingdom is at hand! This is great news. Proclaim it to everyone. Through Jesus Christ we now have access to the very Kingdom through which God rules and reigns. This is good news both for this life and the next! Be assured that God is at work in His Kingdom. He calls us to be a part, to be a co-heir of what He is doing. I encourage you to consider your life. Take some time to really think about what your life is patterned after. Are you growing to look more like Jesus? If not, then remember His Kingdom is among you, it is at your hands. His great desire is for you to join Him.
Grace and Peace