1. How did you experience Jesus personally? What measures aided your spiritual growth?
I accepted the Lord as my personal Saviour in Trichy during an Evangelistic Camp. I sensed the burden of sin being lifted from my shoulder. I was so excited to share my experience with others . The prayer group support, Bible Study sessions, camps which I attended, helped me in my spiritual growth. In addition, the witnessing life of the people who led me to Christ also played a significant role.
2. For how long have you been associated with the UESI and tell us about UESI’s role in your spiritual journey?
I came to know the Lord through UESI and it helped me in my spiritual growth. I have been associated with the UESI Ministry since 1981-84 as a student. I committed to serve the Lord because of the calling I received from God through one of the camps. I had a calling to work in Bihar. After my Theological studies, I contemplated to work with UESI. But some of the workers informed me that I might have to work in TN for at least two years\r\nbefore going to Bihar. So, I later joined with EFICOR.
3. What are your most cherished memories with UESI that has made a deep impact over your life
Narrate a few of them. 99 The teachings I received to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as my personal Saviour is one I cannot forget. I am indebted to UESI for my born again experience. 99 The teachings, which I received on Mission, which made me to, commit myself to serve the Lord. 99 The fellowship and prayer of UESI staff in my spiritual growth.
4. Being the Executive Director of EFICOR presently, what are the challenges that you face? (A few experiences)
The church (including mission agencies) is one-sided, with evangelism as the main focus. The challenge is to make the church involve in mission holistically.
Recruiting committed staff with a clear calling to serve the Lord in social concern ministries with the skills required to serve in any remote part of our country. Our staff are located in remote places and providing spiritual inputs for their growth is a challenge. 99 Being an evangelical organization, the development work undertaken by us may be construed that we use social concern ministries as a means to evangelize.
Funding for poverty alleviation programmes from outside the country is going down. The church in India giving for development programmes in alleviating poverty and address justice issues are very less because of their wrong mission understanding. 99 The government laws which curtail our involvement with the communities in advocating issues.
5. Share a few glimpses of how you were mentored and the impression the mentors made on your life.
The person who mentors me shares his life with me. He models what he teaches and motivates me to be like Jesus. He calls me at least once in 15 days, if there is no call from me to him. He asks me about my personal life and work. He guides me while making decisions in family life/work and allows me to make decisions. He chides me if I make a mistake. Provides theological insights and sends articles for my spiritual growth and theological understanding. He makes himself available at any time. He keeps me focused to the vision of establishing God’s kingdom.
6. How can UESI improve in impacting the society and the Nation at Large?
More emphasis on mission in market places to be emphasized. Tent-making ministries to be encouraged. UESI has influenced many intellectuals. They serve in different positions and guard their witness in their personal life and in their work place. UESI should encourage these intellectuals to share their faith openly to the wider community. Conduct open consultations on social issues with the support of these intellectuals and come out with documents, which enable people to address the issues from the Christian viewpoint and bring in ethical and moral values in the nation. 99 Partner with other youth ministries and work\r\ntogether to impact the nation.
7. What is your advice for UESI to stay relevant to the student ministry?
There is a huge development in the IT sector. I believe UESI should be innovative in using social media to reach out to the students. The Gospel is the same but how we communicate and methods used, have to be made appropriate. Music is another area that UESI can use to reach students with.
8. What are the possible areas of mutual support with EFICOR?
EFICOR is willing to provide teaching in UESI programmes on being holistic in mission understanding. EFICOR is willing to host summer programmes in project locations giving exposure of field work to students. We are also willing to take students to provide exposure visits to our project locations.
Interviewed by Sarah Susannah UESI Staff Uttarakhand