India Mission Trip 2024 | Final Update

March 12, 2024

By Pastor Mark Pope 

Our last day in India.  Our final objective is to check on a school expansion project in Hapur, a city about 40 miles outside of Delhi.  Of course, we wake and have breakfast in hotel first. Then it is into the vehicles for a 1 ½ hour drive do the somewhat rural location.  As we approach our destination the sights change significantly.  We go from absolutely crowded streets filled with cars, trucks, motorcycles, 3-wheel cabs, people, people, and more people, to (although still more crowded than here in Mishawka).  We are seeing occasional carts pulled by oxen, huge piles of sugarcane and farm-type fields with small clusters of workers laboring in the sun. 

Before we get to our main mission, we make a stop at the first Christian School started by Pastor Abraham.  It too is in Hapur.  This school has been making a difference in the area for 25 years.  It continues to serve over 500 students each year.  Even in our quick stop, we take time to meet the amazing staff at the school. They greet us with flowers, hand-made cards, and wonderful smiles.  Once again, as we get treated as honored guests, our team tries really hard to switch the honor back to these wonderful people.  We take time to shake every hand, kneel down to pose for pictures with any child.  (By now we have realized it is just fun for many of the Indians to get a picture with some white people).

It is just a short ride to our main destination… the expanding Bethesda Christian Academy. We didn’t realize until arriving that we were not just seeing the work being done but we were actually going to be part of building dedication ceremony.  And it was quite a ceremony.  We were escorted by lines of students marching to the beat of a single base drum through their present facility and grounds to an area to where the new construction is happening.  We were seated on chairs with other staff and leaders of the school in a special area to observe the “festivities.” Our time included lots of prayer, a special song by a few of the staff, a traditional Indian dance by a small team of girls from the school and a ribbon cutting. It was a pretty big deal, and such an honor to be there in person.  Plus, we were totally surprised that this part of the building is going to be called, “The Vineyard Block.”  How cool is that! 

On the practical side, this expansion will make room for another 400 students to have a huge opportunity for life change.  Just a reminder, an education can take a child in India into an entirely new reality.  And as Christians, we know that a Christian education isn’t just about this life but the life to come.  These nine new classrooms will hopefully be making a difference year after year.

Following the festivities, we toured the rest of the facilities (this school presently serves about 1,400 kids in the community and also offer employment for about  150 adults in various roles from teachers to custodians, guards to bus drivers).

After about an hour, fellowship, and a lunch, it was time to head back toward our home base to get fully packed and ready for our return flight home.

Let me finish our last post with a few thoughts…

I’m so grateful for this partnership with Christ for India.  After seeing, feeling, meeting the individuals that are serving and being served, I’m even more convinced that this ministry matters.  They are consistently and powerfully shining the “Light of Jesus” into a huge population of people that need God.  Pastor Abraham and Ranjit are tirelessly working hard, expanding, praying, and then doing it all over again.  What a privilege to help them in some small way.

I’m grateful to the team that I experienced this with: Jackie, Brian, Candace, Andy… You are the best!  Your grace and flexibility in often long days was joy.  God gave me a gift when you said yes to this trip. You were such a great balance of spiritual urgency and enjoying the moment.  

And to the Vineyard Church family… Wow, your generosity and prayer isn’t just making a difference in our area, it is making a difference on the other side of the world!

Matt 5: 14“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine….




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