Senior // UCLA
When we’re met with challenges or the unknown, we can become hesitant and fearful. However, as followers of Christ, as people who believe in a God so powerful that He can bring the dead to life, we shouldn’t respond to that fear in the same way that the world does. Those fears, worries, and doubts, all ask the same question – who are you placing your confidence and trust in?
I carried a good amount of worries going into this mission trip. They ranged from ones relating to the team, like would I be able to love them well, to ones that were more personal and minor, like my fear of public speaking. In hindsight, all these worries just indicated my desire for security – to know exactly what this month would entail rather than allowing myself to be led by God, day by day, moment by moment.
These fears definitely did not go unaddressed. But I’m thankful that that’s how God works – not taking away the obstacle, but having us act upon what we say we believe. This month was a pattern of God placing tasks in front of me, me feeling incapable of doing them, and Him asking me to take a step in faith – to rely not on my own wisdom or strength, but in the truth of His Word and the power of the Holy Spirit. He reminded me that He is more than worthy of being trusted, and it was foolish of me to think otherwise.
God was gracious enough to not just reveal to me that I need to have greater faith, but also to show me what great faith looks like when lived out. Since the majority of our ministry was done at either local churches or Christian schools, our team was able to meet several fellow believers – the 2% in India. A huge blessing that came from this was being able to hear their stories of how God had moved so uniquely in each of their lives. One of the places we visited was an orphanage in Jaigaon called Grace Ashram. The founder, Gracy Mathew, shared that when she first heard God calling her to start it, she was uncertain because she neither had the finances nor the resources. In her written testimony, she says, “But I began to hear this voice every day. So one day I said, ‘Lord, if you give me land as a gift then that will be a confirmation to what you are speaking’. One day, my friend noticed and asked me why I looked so preoccupied. I tried to cover it up but when I told her that I was thinking of starting an ashram, she immediately took out a couple of thousand rupees and said that this is for buying land for the ashram. God confirmed His word through an unexpected angel. That is the beginning of Grace Ashram. The Lord began it”.
It wasn’t just Gracy Mathew’s story, but those of countless others that we heard this past month, that illustrated God’s greatness and sufficient provision. Whether it was of Him miraculously healing a person’s illness, or timely answering a person’s prayer, or raising up a church in a place where prior to doing so no one knew His name, or softening the hearts of an entire family who once was Hindu but is now Christian – each testimony was a strong reminder of how powerful our God works and how faithful He is to us.
By being able to witness and hear the different ways that God was and is moving within these fellow brothers and sisters, He helped me gain a greater understanding of His power and a deeper trust in Him. At the end of the month, and even still now, I’ve asked God how I should apply these lessons as I’m back. Right now, the biggest thing I feel Him pressing me to do is this: to believe that, just as He is working powerfully in India, He can and is working powerfully here at home. Specifically, for people in my life who are not believers, it’s hard for me to maintain a hopeful perspective. But again, God is showing me how that doubt reveals a lack of faith in Him. He’s been reminding me to not box-in what He can do, but to pray fervently, boldly, and in faith, for those who don’t know Him that they too will one day proclaim His name. To trust and believe that, even if I can’t make sense of His ways, He is moving mightily and sovereignly. To not allow myself to be guided by fear or doubt, but to take steps of faith, small or big, in partnership with Him.
Our main missionary contact repeated this statement to us often, “Expect great things from God and attempt great things for God”. My prayer is that whatever circumstances I’m in, I would respond with unwavering faith in the Lord. He’s revealed to me that He is more than capable of doing great things and so, in faith, I want to attempt great things for Him.