For 7 days Peter Fendrich and Shannon Rucker were blessed with the opportunity to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ and his word with the students, professors and staff at Trivandrum Bible College. It marked our first fore into the country of India; here are some spiritual, personal and other observations from this short trip.
- The Bible College is healthy! We visited Trivandrum Bible College to speak both during the Missions Conference and the Graduation. The students are spiritually minded, and practically focused on outreach and full-time Christian service. To our delightful surprise (as…I suppose we came with tempered expectations), the seminarians were thoroughly academic and disciplined, as well as thoughtful on their outlook of the church and doctrine. The institution itself by Western standards is bereft of some of the latest conveniences and facilities that we are accustomed to; but the students did not appear to suffer any loss. To the contrary, the food provided to the students far exceeded Western standards; as it was delightful…especially if you are a fan of ‘curry.’
- The weather was stiflingly hot! Never had we felt as intense of heat as we did in southern India. It was their ‘end of Spring‘ season, and the really intense heat had not begun yet…that will hit in May-June. The humidity in the mornings and evenings was easily in the 80% range, and it appeared that most of the brethren were happy without turning their A.C on (assuming that had it) until the May-June summer season commences.
- The culture is littered with pagan Hinduism. That’s saying something, because we were in the state of Kerala, which boast of having the only Christian governor in the country. The influence of Hinduism is palpable…it is in their dress, their music which blares on most streets, and throughout the neighborhoods. It was clear to me, that the more radical segments of Hinduism are devoted to stabilizing, advancing, and indoctrinating it’s people into this religion as if were connected with it’s national heritage. It’s evident in the scores of temples that are as common as gas stations would be here. A large sign first donned and greets those at the Airport Immigration checkpoint, “To live Indian, is to live Hindu.”
- The church appears to be strong, but is hindered by a lack of ‘availability and receptivity‘ to evangelize. Christianity is a harmless The church in India, from the only few observations we could perceive, seemed to carry it’s faith past Sunday’s and Wednesday’s; but nevertheless is restricted by the passive-aggressive stance it’s Hindu dominated residents respond with to ‘Christian proselytizing and evangelism.’ India is a mild mannered pit bull, that on the surface looks more like a cocker-spaniel, but when nudged too much, her teeth and strong jaws may lash out! Christians will get beaten up if they persist in preaching Christ openly. It has been the point of debate between the brethren in India, whether ‘one-on-one’ evangelism through relationship building is the more advisable approach, or the ‘iron-clad’ street evangelism.
- The people of India, are beautifully made in the image of God. I could not help but to fixate on how different their features, size, dark physical attributes are so different than the rest of the worlds. They speak a simplified and phonetically abridged style of English; and they speak it fast. They tend to drop several parts of speech like articles and adverbs, and “w’s” are pronounced as “v’s” in their English rendition, making it all the more confusing. They also do not use flowery vocabulary, and prepositional phrases in their English. Only a fool would think an Indian’s simple English reflects a simple intellect, as the average Indian speaks 4 or 5 different languages. We found it funny, that they get a kick out of impersonating ‘American English.’ Another musing, Indian’s don’t smile much, and while at first I stumbled with curiosity as to why they lacked this charismatic flare to their personalities; I realized that isn’t true wholesale. What does mark them, is to be of a calm demeanor, they are nonplussed and reserved.