When I applied for City Project, I had no idea. I had no idea the unspeakable joy I would find, the mind-boggling things I would learn, the heartache I would face, and the lasting friendships I would build. City Project opened my eyes to so many things, unraveled a lot of fears, exposed a ton of sin, and challenged me to be who I was created to be. I came in not knowing a single person with an excessive amount of fear and too many worst case scenario scenes planned out in my head. I came out of City Project with incredible new friends, a newfound confidence in the magnificence of our God, and a heart set on fire for the nations.
Going to India, I already was aware that the Lord was calling me to international missions. What I didn’t know was just how strong and urgent that calling is. Arriving in a country full of so many people, the majority of whom have legitimately never heard the name of Jesus Christ, my heart was broken in a way I can’t even begin to effectively put into words. Growing up in the United States, I have been fortunate enough to never know anything apart from Jesus, but in India, it’s a whole different ball game. Imagine devoting your entire life to something only to find out that is not all-powerful—it is not the one true God. Oh, wait. I do that all the time. As my heart continued to break for our new Indian friends and their Hindu faith, I realized that we aren’t all that different. They worship tangible idols, and I worship conceptual idols. Whether it be a statue of their god Shiva or the approval of others, an idol is an idol. The difference between our Indian friends and us is that by God’s grace we are able to recognize our idolatry and surrender our false gods to the King of Kings. I want so badly for them to know that Jesus overpowers all 330 million Hindu gods and goddesses who are so devoutly worshipped in India.
Knowing that so many people in this world live to serve gods who will never satisfy the deepest longings of their hearts, never love them with a perfect love that casts out fear, or never die so that they might live not only physically pains me, but it also encourages me. It encourages me to GO. It encourages me to know Jesus and to make His name known among every tribe, tongue, and nation. To those who have never heard the Gospel, hearing it for the first time is exciting, and it changes EVERYTHING. Seeing the way that former Hindus or Muslims live to serve Jesus and to make disciples is so beautiful, and it makes me question the way I live my own life. Why do I not share the Gospel every chance I get? How can I be so passive with the one thing that determines eternal salvation? The Gospel needs to be shared everywhere, but there are so many places where it has not yet gone. How can we deny the love and grace of Jesus that we will never deserve, but are so freely given, to those who have not yet heard?
I don’t know when, but I do know that I will be back to India. It is such a beautiful nation full of even more beautiful people. Seeing the image of God reflected in the way the people of India serve, love, and care for one another—people who do not yet know Him—testifies to the greatness of our God that even in our rebellion, God’s intention for the world can be seen in those that are lost and unreached. What an awesome, powerful God we are loved by and have the privilege of serving!
-City Project Student – India