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Reflections on India

Reflections on my missions trip. Working with the Banjara people in Hyderabad from Jan 29 to Feb 5.
by

Tabitha Mark

on 8 March 2011

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Transcript of Reflections on India

Hyderabad Reflections on my Trip to Thank You Thank you for all your words of encouragement,
your prayers, your financial support, and your
love and concern. This year has been filled with
blessings and struggles. I cannot imagine having
to have gone through it all without you at my
back and by my side. I am so blessed by the
evident love of Jesus in your life. Thank you. The Bigger Picture On one of the first days of arrival, we woke up to gorgeous art work on the ground. The students use a type of chalk dust to draw traditional Indian artwork on the driveway. Adults are always surprised at the amazing things that children do. Later in the week, the students decided that it was our turn to try drawing on the driveway. We started with a large diamond of dots. The students would draw curved and straight lines connecting the dots with their fingers, and we would trace their lines with the chalk dust. However, our untrained hands didn’t produce the same work as the students - all of our lines were wiggly and inconsistent. The students were patient with us though. After drawing a few flowers, I was amazed that connecting the dots could create something so beautiful. I was easily satisfied, but the students, time and time again, turned us back to the drawing, telling us that it wasn’t done! I would draw another flower and ask, “Now am I done?” and they would shake their head. When the drawing was complete, not only was it beautiful, but it taught me one of the deepest lessons I learnt on this trip. If I had stopped when I wanted to, the picture would be nice, but incomplete. God is creating a gorgeous masterpiece, and sometimes we’re too blind to see it. He is patient and gracious though. He allows us to keep asking, “Am I done now?” and the answer is “No, I am still doing a good work here, and I am doing a good work in you too.” I took my part in the drawing, and I was quite pleased with the portion I had completed. When the whole drawing was done though, my portion was mixed with the work of my teammates and the students. This served as a wonderful reminder: it’s not about me. This trip wasn’t about me. I went there with the gifts that God has blessed me with to teach people about God’s love. To Him be all the glory. Education as a Gospel Medium The Banjara people are from a nomadic background and are of a lower Caste group. This has made access to education nearly impossible. In some developing nations this isn’t always a huge concern, but with the rapid development of India, minority groups that do not keep up with mainstream India are left without direction and without hope. Providing an education the Banjara children gives them a fighting chance for a better life. No child should be denied to chase their dreams. One of my favourite stories is about a Banjara village that received the Good News of Jesus because they sent their child to school. One day a woman came to BBPT, the organization we were working with on the ground, and asked if they could send some people to train pastors in their village. This came as a shock to the BBPT workers, since there were no known Christians in that village previously. So they asked how the village had received the Gospel, and the response was, “The Gospel came to us through our daughter, who attends your school.” Even though the majority of Banjaras are Hindu, they allow their children to attend Christian schools. It is amazing how God saved this one girl, and through her He saved her parents, and through them He saved a village. Praise God. Badavo Banjara Phozear Trust (BBPT) BBPT is amazing. It is one of the first locally run organizations I have worked with. The 5.7 million Indian Banjaras are listed as an unreached people group, having no indigenous community of believing Christians with adequate numbers and resources to evangelize this people group. Yet here I was, serving in the midst of Gospel-centered, Christ-focused, Banjara brothers that deeply desired to reach their own people. Wow. God is doing a good work. Please continue to pray for the Banjara people. [Some points taken from the Joshua Project website.]
Pray that the Banjara, rejected by society, would feel accepted by God.
Ask God to provide creative ways to evangelize the Banjara.
Pray for witnessing opportunities to Banjara children.
Pray for more trained, Christian teachers to work with BBPT.
Pray for Sagar and his family as they lead the BBPT ministry. What a blessing it is to be a teacher. In my classroom in Hong Kong, I can definitely see how being a Christian affects how I teach. As a Christian teacher, I have found myself practicing patience, grace, honesty, discipline with mercy, and teaching with a deeper meaning behind just learning facts. Building my classroom on the foundation of Christ’s love has also brought a deep respect and friendship from my students. I am able to talk to them about their beliefs and what is going on in their lives. This trust and openness comes as a result of the teacher-student relationships built in my classroom. This is a lesson that I wanted to bring to India with me. On top of bringing classroom management techniques to the Indian teachers, I talked about how important it was to love the students and how to encourage them in loving Christ while in the classroom. When a child is acting out, should you discipline and embarrass him in front of the class? Rather, if this is your younger brother in Christ, how would Christ demonstrate His love in this situation? Teaching is much more than curriculum.
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