Everyday people choose what they will invest in. A young celebrity is investing hundreds of thousands of dollars for the opportunity to travel into space to record a music video. For the more “down to earth” average American, they are directing their investment dollars toward dream houses, MBA degrees, and retirement plans. The participants of G.O.D. International are also investing. They are investing in developing competencies so that they can be a benefit to a segment of society who can rarely consider their “investment options” because their minds are preoccupied with survival. However, when they do think about a better life, it looks like a small house situated on a plot of arable land, a job that provides enough to meet their basic needs, or a “retirement plan” where their children are educated, given an opportunity to work for a fair wage, and are subsequently able to care for their aging parents.
This past December, 2013, the India team began an 8 month-long presence in the National Capital Region (NCR) in India. Fourteen team members, that are or have been in India during this time, have invested years in preparing themselves to benefit India’s poor and marginalized population.
Years of language learning allows Nick Sherrod and Rachel Nowlin to teach urban slum children in their native language. Rachel is teaching the children of Bengali refugees who have moved their families to the NCR to work as house help or do construction. A small schoolhouse situated in their neighborhood affords these children the unusual opportunity to receive a much needed education. Rachel teaches the Hindi-speaking children English, science and math.
As Rachel reflects on her experience and observations, she remarks: “These children and their families face problems I have never known, such as inadequate housing, streets flooded with sewage and crowded with wild pigs, hunger, lack of access to clean water, and insufficient health care.” This list, Rachel notes, is far from comprehensive, but reflects just some of the many difficulties this community of refugees endures on a daily basis. However, although Rachel cannot remedy all of the problems that the families face, she does what she can. Rachel has invested her time at G.O.D. International to studying the Bible, learning Hindi, and developing her ability to teach children. Today, on the field, she takes another step in her pursuit to be a benefit to others. “Teaching children with a different culture and a different language necessitates a big learning curve for me, but these children need help and I am here to give that to them. For the next three months, they get me.”
For team members Nick Moore, Rebekah Davis, and Laura Voight, a comprehensive health care education coupled with EMT training provides the ability to volunteer their services to a local clinic that is severely understaffed and underfunded. However, for the health care providers on our team, their efforts are not confined to hospitals, clinics, or doctors’ offices inasmuch as it is not uncommon to find children with open wounds or untreated diseases on city streets or in rural villages. Because of the inaccessibility of many impoverished parents to affordable medical care, our health care team offers their services wherever they see a need.
Our other team members have invested in developing competencies in sustainable housing, literacy, business development, horticulture, maternal health and biblical education. The team’s investment in becoming a resource required years of education, hundreds of hours of practical service, and for most, full-time work loads in order to provide for their living expenses, education, international travel, and project development in India. Our team members are investing more than time and money--they are investing their lives to serve the people of India.
It is common in our American culture to be motivated by that which will self-promote, self-preserve, and self-edify. However, this is not the way of Jesus and it is not the way of G.O.D. participants. Instead, we embrace the paradigm by which Jesus lived his life: “For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). Today, part of our team is serving others “on the field” while the rest of the team, here at our Antioch headquarters, serves our friends in India by continuing to invest in developing competencies and studying the Word of God.
Please consider supporting and praying for us as we hone our skills, gain experience, and follow Jesus to the uttermost parts of the world for the singular purpose of giving our lives in service to others. Watch India Snapshot Episode One on Vimeo