At 5 am in the morning on 25th June, we were welcomed on the Barharwa Railway station by a Christian brother from the malto tribe, who serves in the Prem Jyoti Community Hospital. The staff at the Prem Jyoti Community Hospital had very well planned our pick-up, food and stay arrangements. In the evening, the NMTC commenced with welcome, orientation and devotion led by Bro. Jose Thomas, Director NMTC. We all had a time of sharing so we could know one another better.
The morning Bible expositions were based on mission in the Bible as foundation. Prof. Dr. Emmanuel Pilli helped us reflect on whether we were truly disciples of Christ – denying our self and surrendering our will to him. He expounded the lives of different people from the Bible, about their call with a purpose, their obedience to His call, and God magnifying His power through them. It was a call for us to yield to the will of the Lord of Mission.
Prof. Dr. Prasanna Kumar gave us his deep insights into different worldviews and mission among international students and in the cities. He helped us understand how media can play a role in missions. Bro. Parveen Bharti took sessions on the role of Family in Mission, and how to prepare mission newsletters. Bro. Jayachandra Babu informed us of the mission opportunities and shared with us various concerns regarding missions leading us to fasting and prayer.
Sis. Grace (FMPB missionary) shared how women can be equally involved in missions and gave examples of women who had labored in our times to the point of death for Christ. Being a woman, she stressed on the importance of self-motivation for women in the field who often go through times of crises. She also made us aware of mission among the tribal communities. Bro. Jacob Gnanapandithan (FMPB Zonal Sec.) took a session on Bible translation. Bro. Sibi Sam (FMPB missionary) told us of the oppositions that a missionary faces and Christian response.
Dr. Pradeep Ninan’s practical sessions gave us a holistic understanding about missions, as he expounded on the term ‘Shalom’ which means wholeness and delight – a rich state of affairs in which the way things actually ought to be. He challenged that for transformation of culture there needs to be transformation of: religion, family, education, government, media, art, entertainment and business. We realized the importance of Christian presence that triggered the start of Shalom in a small way in these places when we visited tribal villages and saw their daily struggles. The availability of facilities like potable water, electricity, education, primary healthcare, proper sanitation and good nutrition are scarce to almost nil.
The evening devotions were taken by Bro. Jose Thomas on the lives of men and women in the Bible, whom God used for fulfilling His plans. We were assured of the sovereign presence, providence and power of God when involved in missions. It was a lesson that mission is not us achieving something, but us going along with God to carry out His task.
We were divided into two groups to visit a Malto and a Santhali village and stay with them. We were overwhelmed by the Santhali’s welcome with garlands, washing our feet and rubbing them with oil. The Santhali Evangelists raised by FMPB, were taking efforts to evangelize other villages. We helped them share the gospel in the open space of a village from where they were chased out earlier. We saw God at work as the whole program without any disturbance in petro-max light in those villages. I admired the courage of these believers cycling 4-5 kms to the neighbouring villages and returning in the dark. We attended a Santhali church with over 200 people, in Santhali language. We were amazed at the simple yet strong faith of the believers as they brought in sacks of seeds to be blessed and prayed for before being sown. The Lord blessed them with showers of rain during the worship service!
We heard life experiences from the missionaries and were wonder-stuck at their faith and dependence on God in the midst of oppositions/persecutions, repeated infliction of malaria, facing danger from poisonous snakes and dacoits. We also visited graves of some missionaries. Even in the face of death, they did not give up because of the love for God and the passion to reach out to the unreached.
We tasted a little trekking on the nearby mountain and the sight of the surrounding hills all across, which added to the thrill. Nine students, two graduates and four staffs (total15) representing nine states attended the program. three students decided to serve the student community full time and the rest through tent making and professions.
Overall it was a humbling, inspiring and challenging experience!
NMTC was really helpful to pave my future under God’s divine will. – Paul Choppara, WB
Preaching the gospel is not enough, but all care to be extended for their lives to be transformed. We are God’s fellow workers in the process – Pradeep Nyathari, AP
Strengthened my faith and it became a turning point in my life. – Prashanth Ganupalli, TN
I was strongly convinced of the Lord’s command to go into all the world and preach the gospel. Denying yourself and following the cross was loud and clear. Testimonies of the missionaries from the fields and their faithful obedience to the Master’s call were soul stirring. – Janet Thompson, Canada
Exposed me to the need of the hour – sharing gospel to the unreached. It increased my faith and imparted burden and God’s heart for perishing souls. – G. Sangeeth Kumar, AP
God encouraged and strengthened me to continue with my present vocation as staff. And I recommitted my life for His mission. –Anil Elisala, Jabalpur.
I just came so that my awareness for missions would increase. But God enabled me much more so that I would be ready for anything that would be assigned for me –Charles, Pondy
Ms. Jemima Chauhan, UESI Staff