India Mission Trip 2024 | Update #1

March 6, 2024

By Pastor Mark Pope

Greetings from Pastor Mark while sitting in a little hotel in India after a 27 hour travel day ... This could be a little scatter brained :)

This was the first day of what will be an eight-day trip. The trip to O’Hare went without a hitch and some great conversation. Our team members: Andy, Brian, Jackie, and Candace (and myself) have significant experience traveling by plane so that helped us with any travel nerves. Everyone was pretty much cool and calm. Passports and Visas were all in hand and ready!  

We are so blessed to have had John and Donna Losiniecki make the drive with us so we could be dropped off right at our terminal … SCORE! We arrive with extra time so we all had a chance to grab some food before boarding for our first leg of the trip … Chicago to Newark. Just a quick flight compared to the 15 hours expected flight time from Newark to New Delhi. 

In case it feels like a 15-hour flight may seem a little long, it actually does feel a long in real life, but two of our team were blessed to upgrade to the “bigger seats” in the front of the plane, and the rest of us ended up having empty seats next to each of us. This was a significant blessing. (I can’t remember the last time I flew when the plane wasn’t just plain old packed with people). All-in-all, the flight went great and we all got to sleep at least some during the ride.  

We landed in New Dehli and had the joy of being greeted by both Pastor Abraham and Ranjit after getting through customs without a hitch.   

On a spiritual note: although this is basically just a long travel day, my mind goes towards few ideas. First, there is a sense of yielding to situations beyond my control. Flights, delays, customs, security all make me a little nervous, but this kind of day tends to push me toward the Lord. There are so many things that could get twisted up and mostly we just have to trust God that He will get us there. Second, my heart is pretty high with anticipation about the opportunities we will see on the ground. We will get to see people and places I have only seen in pictures. A school our church significantly helped to build, a community center The Vineyard Church financed right next the one of the poorest slums in India. Perhaps a sewing school for impoverished women to learn a trade, etc ... I’m most excited to interacting with the people in these places.  Buildings are great, but of course it’s the people that matter the most!

On the lighter side … Andy and Brian were a little surprised to find out that the absolutely full hotel arrangements only gave them ONE KINGSIZE BED TO SHARE this first night … LOL … We had a good laugh and quickly arranged for a role away to be added to their room :)

Well ... That’s the update for now. Good night friends :)

Pastor Mark



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