India Day 1
by John Murray
India is a country rich in history and culture and for the next two weeks David Giles, Gaz Rose and I are going to travel across this wonderful land to document the vast and varied ministry of The Salvation Army.
My journey to India has been a long time in planning – and it’s really only now that I understand that because of the gift of reflection. Mission experiences in Cuba, Pakistan and Africa have shaped my understanding of integrated mission and I value the opportunity to build community by engaging and conversation and fellowship. So my India experience has been years in the making.
I arrived in India at 03:30 local time Sunday after flying from London via Dubai. A two-hour car journey on dark, narrow roads - which included a quick rest stop to see an elephant walking down the roadway en route to the river for his early morning bath - and we arrived in Nagercoil.
I managed to get two hours sleep and then it was time to head to the Booth Tucker Memorial Church – the largest congregation in South Asia boasting more than 1,500 soldiers. The magnificent hall holds more than 1200 worshippers and on this Mother’s Day the hall was crowded.
It was a joy to share in worship together, even though the language was different and I didn’t know all of the songs, I could sense the joyful spirit of fellow Salvationists and their sensitive hearts and minds as well. I was able to share in testimony and also had the privilege of preaching from God’s word.
Following the morning service I enjoyed fellowship with several of the corps leaders and also participate in the VBS programme. I even managed to encourage the kids to sign the #UpforSchool petition – which they did enthusiastically.
I closed out my first day in India with a visit to Kanyakumari – the southernmost point in India. The waterfront area was jammed with families and tourists enjoying the ocean view, the holiday atmosphere complete with vendors and the 35+ degree weather. My colleague Benny told me that this area was devastated by the 2004 tsunami, however in this region – thankfully – no lives were lost, but it did take local officials two years to rebuild the area.
I’ll close for now. Tomorrow is a new day and it’s an early start with a two-hour drive to THQ for meetings. Thanks for reading and sharing in our adventure.
JohnTags: India, South Eastern