Allahabad is one of the sacred sites for Hindu pilgrims. Without prior understanding of the significance of the date, we booked our arrival coinciding with Kumbh Mela – a 1 in 144 year pilgrimage festival. Hindus believe that on certain dates – governed astrologically – if they bathed at the meeting point of the Ganges and Yamuna (and a mystical unseen third river) then all their past and present sins are forgiven. Hence those who have bathed will break the kalma cycle and go straight to “heaven”. We arrived in between two “auspicious” dates where the first had 30 million bathers and the second had 20 million (having come from population-sparse Australia it is very difficult to describe the magnitude of the crowds). As a result of the numbers and the belief of the bathing results, people (especially older people) are left to die on the shores of the rivers (sorry no photos of that one for you all).
My colleagues and I have been in India for 5 days now. It has been an extremely encouraging and eye-opening experience. We have spent most of our time at Allahabad Bible Seminary encouraging and being encouraged by the faculty and students. It has been particularly encouraging witnessing how this particular evangelical seminary is having such a great effect in Northern India – through both church planting and training evangelical gospel workers for Northern India.
Please keep praying for us as we continue travelling. Our next stop is our link missionaries!
You may have heard that I am off to India over next two weeks. Well the rumours are true and I am writing this short post to explain why I am going. I have been sent to India by SPCH for the following reasons:
- Exploring mission opportunities in India. Whilst we already have link missionaries in the North of India, we are exploring means and methods to help reach India with the gospel, whilst also seeking mutual encouragement and partnership with like-minded Christians in that great country.
- See some of the work Overseas Council Australia do with evangelical bible colleges and seminaries throughout Asia.
- Learning more about India so we can engage better with the Hills Indian Community. I have heard that the Hills Region is home to one of the largest groups of Indians in Australia.
I will be travelling with another Sydney Anglican Minister, Rev. Craig Roberts and also the Executive Director of Overseas Council Australia, Rev. Stuart Brooking. Over the next two weeks, we will spend time immersing ourselves in Indian culture and also visiting three evangelical Bible Colleges/Seminaries. At those colleges, we will mutually encouraging one another by speaking at conferences and being involved in local evangelism.
This is the first time I’ve been to India and I am pretty excited and a little worried. When I looked up some details in the latest Operation World, Australia had a population density of 3 people per square kilometre compared to 1849 people in Delhi. Please pray for our safety and that God will open doors of partnership and mutual edification in Christ.