Today we sent a team of eight to India.
We do that all the time though, right? Well, kind of.
The unique thing about this trip is that each of the participants is connected to our organization's work in the region, whether through a family member or dear friend. The other interesting thing is that trip-goers, aged 30-65, are going to India for the first time. While many mission organizations offer third world service opportunities to young people during their breaks from college, it is a special privilege to offer an introductory trip to people who have already experienced a good portion of their life.
Trip participants are putting their jobs and responsibilities on pause, some of them sacrificing vacation days, in order to venture into a setting far from picturesque. Motivations range from wanting to learn more about the development efforts of G.O.D. International, to wanting to bond with their (grown) kids who are involved in our work, to wanting to understand the Lord and his concern for the poor. Regardless of the motivation, we are inspired by their faith, and trusting God for a wonderful experience!
This trip is one of two happening this year (the other to the Philippines), that make room for a demographic that works full-time and are therefore not able to venture on one of our longer trips, aimed at college students and young adults. The trip leaders, Scott Sherrod and Robert Muñoz, will facilitate the team’s journey through the NCR (National Capital Region) where our work is based. Participants will serve in schools, doctor’s offices, slums, homes and villages. They will get a taste of culture through visiting Sikh and Hindu temples and other historical and religious sites. They’ll be able to worship and fellowship with believers at a local church. Participants will encounter the diversity of life and culture in modern India through service-oriented activities, with facilitators providing biblical discussions to help them process their experiences.
Because of their position in life, trip participants already possess valuable skillsets that will benefit the underprivileged in the area (no one is “trying things out,” except for the food of course). They will be able to use their expertise as teachers, managers and even parents--a wonderful gift to those we serve. Some truly memorable and special moments for our organization happened when we took a group of older parents and volunteers to Uganda with us. They were able to benefit locals with their expertise in particular fields, as we translated culturally. Phil Loeffler, a general contractor, was able to design a roof for a multipurpose center in Bombo, Uganda. John Kurtz provided water testing and helped community members understand what filtration methods would best work for their needs. Chris Bender, a volunteer with one of our SLAM trips and a contractor, taught locals certain building techniques that made their labor more efficient, allowing them to increase their daily income as a result of the speed they gained! For an older person, this kind of sharing of expertise can happen quite naturally when they are faced with the need.
Our facilitators are privileged to stand as intermediaries, helping each side understand one another, whether through language, culture, or the more extensive experience we’ve had with them. Just as a seasoned volunteer has more to offer than a high schooler, these older trip participants have more in their wheelhouse than the standard mission trip participant. We are excited to see what God has in store for them, and grateful they’ve decided to come along!
Scott Sherrod, trip facilitator, shares his excitement for this trip: “My hope is that those we are leading overseas will see our organization’s unity and commitment to the cause of Christ. I feel like a kid showing off his new fort to the other kids in the neighborhood on this trip. We have much to be thankful for and I hope that those seeing our ‘fort’ us will catch something from us that they cannot explain away. My hope is that it will be evidence of what God has done to bring us to this point in our journey. We have a place to work, teach, demonstrate skills, and meet needs in India. It’s exciting to be a part of, and to share with others.”
Please join us in prayer for this special group. We are expecting the Lord to not only bless their time, but show him more of himself and his heart for the poor. More updates to come!