In the photo below you will see our just-returned India 2020 mission team. From left are PR Misra (Indian host whose brother JR is a long time GSUMCer), James-Michael Smith, Brooke Presley, Linda Land, Anju Misra (PR’s wife), Doug Berryhill, and Chris Thayer.
Why did we send this motley crew cosisting of both GS staffers and volunteers?
To begin to answer that question, please know we have been partnering with our Indian friends for nine years now (I have been six times but sat this one out). Please also know that during the trip, we kept most of the social media interaction on the downlow due to security concerns.
In any event, here are five answers that give not only the highlights of this trip but the backstory of “why India” and “why this part of India?”
1. Our mission strategy is to go narrow and deep. Instead of supporting dozens of ministries around the globe, we have instead opted to go “narrow & deep”: selecting a few places and then pouring financial resources and human capital into those locales. We’d rather make a major impact in a few places than a minor impact in many. India is one of our select “narrow & deep” locales.
2. We go to India because Christians are such a small percentage of that nation’s one billion people. And we go to Odisha State India because it is Ground Zero for persecution against those who follow Jesus alone rather than Jesus among.
3. We resource indigenous Christians. Native-born Indian pastors don’t need language training, travel visas, or cultural awareness. They’re already there! In many cases, they need the kind of financial assistance and biblical training that Good Shepherd is well equipped to provide. James-Michael taught on the Torah; Shannon led a conversation around discipleship practices, and Ron preached from the book of Habakkuk.
4. We have two church networks we work with — Both networks have strong leaders who speak English and committed village pastors who do not. We are grateful for gifted translators!
5.We love the people of India and the theology of I Corinthians 6, as captured in this tweet from James-Michael: Of all the temples in India, the people are the most beautiful.