The Crossing Church in Costa Mesa, California has spent years nurturing global relationships. This past December and January, a team of five from The Crossing journeyed to India to continue building relationships with their brothers and sisters laboring through ServLife on the other side of the world.
The trip consisted of two legs. During the first half of the trip, the team spent time in Katihar strengthening partnerships with Bethel Church Association and Compassion International. While they hoped to encourage their friends ministering in Katihar, the team walked away better equipped for ministry in Southern California. Colleen Whitfield, one of the team members, reflected, “We are seeing this ministry as an amazing opportunity to raise up young leaders in India AND at home as we hope to partner with and connect this ministry with the Leadership Training Program that we are starting up this year at The Crossing Church.”
The second half of the trip was spent with ServLife’s ministry in Raxaul, Bihar, India. Bihar, often called “the graveyard for church planters,” is a notoriously difficult environment for Christians. Even as the team traveled, they sensed this. “The closer you get to Raxaul,” Whitfield noted, “you can actually sense a feeling of darkness.”
Despite the darkness that saturates the area, the team was hopeful that God would move. Immediately upon arrival, the team faced obstacles. Much of their time was going to be spent leading a Christmas program with the children in ServLife’s India Children’s Home. When they arrived, they discovered the supplies and gifts they sent ahead for the program would not arrive in time.
This obstacle turned out to be an amazing opportunity. Albert Das, director of ServLife India, asked the team to instead use their time by travelling through nearby villages to build relationships with families sending a child to school through ServLife. While most of these families are Muslim or Hindu, the team was welcomed into homes with open arms. One particular woman, named Sheetal*, invited the team into her small home made of only sticks and cow dung. Despite initially lacking a translator, the team connected deeply with Sheetal.
The next day, the team helped lead the local church service. Pastor Ian Stevenson shared a message entitled “Let There Be Light.” As the service progressed, the team saw families they visited with the day before trickle in the back door. The service ended with an invitation to begin following Jesus, and slowly, hands rose. One of those hands belonged to a familiar face: Salma. The woman the team bonded with the day before was now in the family of God.
Before heading home, the team shared numerous meals, stories and prayers with local friends. As they invested in these global relationships, their bonds grew stronger. Whitfield reflects, “Now that I have begun real relationships in India…wild horses could not keep me from going back each year to grow in those relationships and continue to be a part of what God is doing there!“
Do you want to begin building global relationships and be a part of what God is doing in India? Check out our Get Involved page for opportunities, including trips.
*Name was changed to prevent persecution.