July 14, 2023
India Mission Trip 2023 | Update #1
February 19, 2023 | Kathy Smarrella
Dear praying, mission-minded friends,
We made it to India! Thanks for being patient for our update. . . This trip, we’re unable to update anything on Facebook or the Vineyard website because we’re being cautious and careful about the protection of our friends here in India. Being a Christian in India, as you may know, has its challenges, so we are limiting our updates to this email group.
I’m glad we’re able to finally send an update, because as on every mission trip, we covet your prayers.
Our small team - Mike Davis, Vicki Topolski, and Korie Kelver & I left late morning on Friday. We had a tight connection in the states, which we made (yeah!) and then a 13 1/2-hour flight to New Delhi. Personally, I was dreading it, but it really wasn’t that bad (so thanks to those of you who were praying about travel for us).
We got to New Delhi on Saturday night, made it through customs without one problem (another praise to God!) and Pastor Abraham and Ranjit were waiting for us at the airport. It was so good to be back here and see them in their own surroundings. It’s been four years since I first met them here to learn about the work of Christ for India, and they have become dear friends; the phrase “family of God” is so appropriate in our relationship. I feel that they are indeed part of my wider family.
We arrived at our hotel late on Saturday night and got settled in. Sunday morning, we were up and headed out the door to church at 9:15 am. Here’s the thing I can tell you about church this morning—it was 2 1/2 hours long, and I didn’t even realize it!! An amazing time of worship (amazing!), our team was able to share hellos and I was able to share a little word of encouragement with the church body. And then our friend Pastor Abraham preached a great message out of John 15.
After church, it was such a privilege to watch the church body interact with one another;individuals and couples came up to Pastor Abraham for prayer, our team got to pray for a woman with leukemia, and I just got the sense that this church really likes one another.
After church (around 1:30 pm), we made our way to lunch with the Abraham family. It was so much fun to watch relationships develop with our team and the Abraham family; stories were told, and friendships are beginning.
We took a little time to rest (#jet-lag) this afternoon, then had dinner with Ranjit later tonight. We went to dinner (and lunch) at a mall that is half a mile away from our hotel. It is opulent, almost. It has every store you can think of a food court like none I’ve ever seen, and even a rock concert going on outside. It’s such a vastly different thing than what we will see tomorrow, when we head out toward the slums of New Delhi (90 minutes from where we are) to visit the community center which our church helped to build. And here’s the thing that strikes me: God loves the people at the mall in the same way that he loves the impoverished people we will see tomorrow. Both are dear to our Father’s heart, and both desperately need a Savior. I’m grateful that our friends at Christ for India are here to meet each person where they are at and introduce them to our Jesus.
I’ll end with this from Romans 15, when Paul is talking to the church in Rome…By the will of God, I will be able to come to you with a joyful heart, and we will be an encouragement to one another.” We are coming with joyful hearts, and I think encouragement is already underway.
Thanks for being faithful prayer warriors for our team!