In August this year I was privileged to visit India for the second time. My previous visit was nearly 20 years prior and in a completely different part of India. Then I was in the north and now I was in the south. There isn’t just one India and a generation is a long time between visits.
India is an incredible place and celebrated just 70 years as a unified independent nation this year. IBM has more employees in India than in the US but 500 million people still have no good access to a toilet.
In Hyderabad I met an amazing group of young pioneers working in the field of robotics and people so poor it makes your heart ache.
I was invited there to speak at the church of a friend of mine and it was a fun experience. My hosts were incredibly generous from the very first moment and loaded me down with gifts.
I even got a haircut which as this video explains is a good idea.
From the incredible and vast ruins of Golconda Fort to the incredible food, and unceasing traffic a trip to India is always colourful, memorable and impacting. It is another world. I love it.
As far as the church went, I had some spectacular failures with illustrations but was warmly and well received. What struck me was how hungry they were for simple truths and how often they’d been poorly served by visitors from overseas. Yet there was a passion and confidence in the power of the Gospel to change lives which perhaps explains why Christianity is growing so fast in India.
There were (as you might expect) some things I wasn’t prepared for. Praying for every single person at every single meeting I went too was exhausting. I also prayed for more people to have babies, more businesses to succeed and more young people to do well in their exams in one week than I have in the rest of my life – which may something about differing cultural values or perhaps says something about how we see prayer. I’m not quite sure which.
I also played a cameo in the most colourful ordination I’ve ever seen.
I don’t know when or if I’ll get the chance to go back but when you have friends to whom God has connected you, then you have a reason. This next photo shows my friend Rajesh’s (second from left) family and his younger sister next to him Saudhrya. Born just one month premature, Saundhrya has never walked but with the right care it would be possible. We’ve raised some money to help her have that care and if you’d like to help, you can here.
I was even blessed to be upgraded on Emirates on my flight home which was the first and only time that’s ever happened to me! For more photos (if you’re so inclined) click here. For another angle on India, Terry Virgo was there. Read his report.