In November 2010, a group of sixteen youth from around Victoria set out on what was for most their first trip to India. We were a versatile group, each one coming from different backgrounds and life experiences but on this occasion we were all united in one mission; to share the love of Jesus with the desperately poor and to support the various ministries carried out by our brothers and sisters in Christ in India. Most of us knew beforehand that this would be an impacting trip. We had heard from others how life changing such a trip can be. However at that point we did not fully understand to what extent the trip would shake us and change our perspectives on life.
We spent the first half of our trip in the tribal state of Orissa, interacting with beautiful orphan children and tribal villages and seeing firsthand the incredible work that the organization Jacob’s Well is doing with the people. We saw desperately poor villages now equipped with bore wells and empowered by the health and literacy classes for their children. We saw orphan children who previously had no hope now receiving three meals a day, the education and skills they need to support themselves and their villages and most importantly, knowledge of the hope they have in Jesus Christ.
The rest of our time in India was spent in the busy city of Mumbai with an organization known as Tree of Life. We had the opportunity to see the work they are doing in the slums of Mumbai. Thanks to the commitment and service of these people, many slum children are now being educated and taught about the love of Jesus. People affected with leprosy are being cared for and their stigmatized children are being assimilated back into society and have the hope of a better future.
Our group embarked on this trip on order to spend time serving the poor and teaching them some skills that will help them in life. Looking back, I feel like it was the people themselves, those who have nothing, who really taught us the most important lessons in life. The children at the orphanage in Orissa are some of the happiest children we have ever met and it seems like all they wanted to do was to serve and love us. They have very little, but they have Jesus. They love Jesus with their whole hearts and depend on Him for all things. These children taught us that Jesus is all we need and that only when we seek Him with all our hearts can we be truly happy. The people we met have very little material possessions but I can truly say that they are the wealthiest people in the world as they have the one treasure that will never fade away. Their wealth can be seen in their beautiful hearts of unselfish love towards others, in their desire to serve and share their minimal possessions with others. These are hearts filled to the brim with all the fullness of joy in Christ.
As our team returned to Australia we realized the insignificance of so many things we had previously treasured and valued. Our eyes were turned to the true source of all wealth and joy, Jesus Christ. Our hearts were set on fire with a desire to do all we can to support the many poor around the world who are hungry not only for food but also for the knowledge of God. Jesus’ words to his disciples remain true to us today: ‘The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few (Luke 10:2).’
May we all become labourers in God’s bountiful harvest both here and around the world.
There will be a fundraising concert held at 6pm on the 30th of June at Oakleigh Polish SDA Church.
Youth who embarked on this trip to India will also be sharing their testimonies from the trip. All funds raised will go towards a school and vocational centre for the beautiful orphans and villagers under the care of Jacob’s Well in Orissa, India. This facility will give them the opportunity to become the future doctors, nurses, teachers or pastors which are so desperately needed in Orissa. It will also provide skills training for local villagers to enhance their way of life and help them to better financially support their families. Please come along to support this amazing cause so that these people may have the same opportunity in life that each of one of us has in such a privileged country.