We might have returned more sunburned and a few pounds lighter, but we were enriched by the experience.
Published on: 07-31-2018
Summer was around the corner and I had to decide between taking a break or joining an evangelistic meeting. Going home to family, friends, and good food was alluring, but I needed to complete the requirements for field evangelism. While studying at Spicer Adventist University in India, I had been part of Living Fountain, a student-led ministry group, and was interested in joining their summer mission trip.
Plans for the mission trip were laid, and we soon got busy weeding gardens, assisting college events, and doing other small jobs to raise funds and reach our goal. During the next few weeks we prayed, practiced songs, and divided responsibilities among team members. Finally, after a three-day journey, we reached our destination.
Laitryngew, a small township in Meghalaya, northeast India, was to be our home for the next 14 days. The building where the meetings were to be conducted seemed small and dimly lit, particularly in comparison to the towering Catholic church down the street. Pamphlets were distributed, materials were organized, the sound system and stage were set, and we were ready to begin. A few visitors walked in during the first few days. On other days it poured rain, making it difficult for people to attend. At the end of two weeks three people were interested enough to study the Bible with the local pastor.
The Vacation Bible School (VBS) though was another story. We started out with a handful of children, and at the end of two weeks there were about 95 children in attendance! The children enjoyed singing, coloring, playing, and listening to Bible stories.
But the highlight for me was not in the hustle and bustle of the meetings and VBS—rather, it was the time spent with the only Adventist family in town. The father of the family worked in a coal mine. His wife had passed away, leaving five children behind. We spent most of our time helping them with the household chores. They were happy to see new faces and have two good meals each day. The oldest daughter was finally able to take a break from her duties. There was joy in the simple things. We were blessed as we shared our lives and strengthened each other’s faith.
Yes, there were long walks to fetch water; the smoke from the open cooking fire caused some irritations; the short nights with howling winds made sleep nearly impossible. That all became irrelevant, though, when I saw their smiling faces, the joy over a shared meal, and the peace that comes in trusting that God is at work. We might have returned more sunburned and a few pounds lighter, but we were enriched by the experience.
When I see young people start initiatives such as the one we participated in, I see God at work. The time and efforts we invest to bless others is precious in His sight. God is touching lives—ours and those we are called to serve and bless. He equips us and prepares us to minister more effectively to the world around us.
I already wonder what will come next.
Beersheba Maywald, originally from Tamil Nadu in India, is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in religion with a New Testament focus at the Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies in Silang, Cavite, Philippines.