India Mission Trip 2024 | Update #2

March 7, 2024

By Brian Earl


Today our primary objective was to visit Bethesda Bible College in Gurugram.  After an interesting breakfast buffet at the hotel, and learning that it is difficult to get black coffee, we headed out for an adrenaline packed thrill ride through morning traffic, including cars, trucks, auto-rickshaws, motor bikes, bicycles, and oh yes, cows.  The horn is the most used accessory on a vehicle in India. Pastor Abraham’s son Ranjit drove us, took calls, and narrated on the way.  He explained about the dichotomy of the have and have-nots in India, and that while the poor respond easily to the hope of the gospel, Ranjit’s team are also intentional to find ways to connect with the wealthy and successful - who need Jesus just as much.  We stopped for a coffee and learned more about the ministry of Christ for India and Ranjit explained his vision for opening a coffee shop in a more affluent part of town to attract students and young professionals.  


When we arrived at Bethesda Bible College, we met the 10 students (soon to be 17), ages 15-25.  They are from different states in India, including two from Nepal!  All have come to receive training to go back to their states to be pastors.  They sang us a song (Here I am to worship) and then Ranjit asked us each to share some words with the students (surprise!) - so that was great getting put on the spot. Candace went first and started with prayer and when Mark mentioned that she was a worship leader Candace was asked to sing.  She started in with “What He’s Done” and Ranjit jumped up and accompanied her on the keys.  It sounded fantastic In the old Orthodox church hall!  


When it was Mark’s turn, Ranjit asked him to speak for 15 minutes, and Mark rose to the challenge teaching from Philippians, encouraging the students to serve like Paul, always receiving their people with joy, and treating then as partners in the work.  We then took time to pray for the students and lay hands on them.  


After that we were given a tour of the facility.  In addition to studying there, the students also live there.  We got to see their dormitories and the kitchen, and they served us some snacks before we headed out on the road.  There are 27 native languages in India, so it can be hard for people from different regions to communicate.  So learning English is a priority at the school and they require English only.  If a student is caught speaking another language, they have to pay a fine of 5 rupees per word!


Pastor Abraham and his wife Joyce invited us over to dinner this evening.  We had a great time catching up and then participating with them in their evening prayers, which included singing, reading a chapter of the Bible with each person taking a verse, and prayer.  Then we broke bread together with a delicious home cooked meal (that wasn’t too spicy).  By the time we got in the van to head back to the hotel it was 10:45 - a very full and blessed day!


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