SpiritFarmer


India Journal – a little intro
July 11, 2008, 8:23 am
Filed under: India

Before I start telling tales about our time in India, I thought it might be helpful to frame things up a little as to what we were doing there in the first place.  From long before we began the planning for this trip, I was insistent that this wasn’t to be a mission trip.  I’m not necessarily opposed to mission trips per se, but I think they’re often problematic.  We did not seek to be the wealthy, powerful, impressive people from USAmerica to come in and save the day.  Instead, we were there to learn – it was a culture project, not a mission trip. 

We were there primarily to learn from and work with Truthseekers International, which is a growing movement of Indians who follow the teachings of Baliraja – the sacrificed King . . . someone we would refer to as Jesus Christ.  It is a diverse movement, which actually involves Muslims, Buddhists, and other monotheists.  It is led by Sunil Sardar, who is a social spiritual activist.  He’s planted over 400 churches throughout India, and been a real catalyst for change, especially in the caste system, which is still pervasive there.  Sunil and his wife, Pam, have sacrificed and struggled and suffered for their work.

We had the honor of actually staying at the Sardar’s home for the time that we were in Delhi – which was the majority of our trip.  We also got to spend a lot of time with Steve and Robin Smith, who are part of the Truthseekers team.  They set up our schedule and accommodations, and oriented to the culture of India.  We had lots of learning experiences, which I’ll write about, and then some traveling time in central India, participating in some seminars and programs with people there.  Everywhere we went, people served and loved and welcomed us. 

One other element of note for some of you who may be curious.  A while back, I had mentioned here that one of the things we would be doing in India would be a solidarity march, in order to bring attention to the plight of many thousands of farmers, who are so racked with debt and social pressures from the upper castes that they are committing suicide by the hundreds and thousands every year.  The march was set to be 100K (or about 62 miles) through farming villages.  As it turned out, some of the details of that project did not work out, and we did not do the march.  While we know that would have been a really amazing (and brutal, no doubt) journey for us, we were still blessed to be able to spend some time in the farming villages, and talk with the people there.  I’ll talk more about that later.

We learned so much about caste, gender bias, the history (good and bad) of Christian missionary efforts in India, politics, poverty, nationalism, hope, persistence, comfort, contextualization, and life in general.  I’ll blog about these things in the days ahead (jetlag permitting!).

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Oh my goodness! I cannot even tell you how excited I am right now. I mentioned on my comment on your last post that I spent 3 weeks in India two years ago. It was when I led a team from CBU… The students took a class taught by Dr. Thom (a good friend of Sunil) and we were able to learn from Sunil and Pam a few of the days we were there… I love them so much!!! Several on that team have gone back to do Thanksgiving in India with TruthSeekers. I was actually planning on taking a team last year myself but then God had some other plans. Wow! I am so excited to read all that you have to say in coming days!

Comment by Shanda Conger




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