Honored as Royalty, Accepted as Family
In November, six interns from Radiant Church (Visalia) had the privilege of connecting and working with our church family in India for twelve days. The team consisted of Heidi Heredia, Melissa Miller, Timothy Hastings, Lupe Lopez, Heidi Steinman, and Noelle Brisco. The trip was one of joy, brilliant colors, and constant fellowship. Though they were all first-time visitors to this country, it felt more like a reunion than a typical mission trip.
During their first few days in Mumbai, the team explored the city and connected with Vinu and Julie Paul, Newfrontiers friends and overseers of over 80 churches in India. It was an overwhelmingly warm meeting—one everyone had long awaited!
The team also spent time loving on the local street kids and visiting Chaiim, a Christian organization that focuses on rehabilitating victims of human trafficking by providing counseling, education, and life skills training. This is also where the interns bought their handmade kurtas and kurtis (traditional, dress-like garments) to bring home a taste of the culture.
This particular visit to India was centered around the “Commissioned Together” conference, led by Vinu. Here, church leaders from all parts of India, and even beyond, were joined together with one fierce desire: to see thousands of lives transformed through hundreds of churches in tens of nations. It was a beautiful four days of worship, intercession, connecting, eating meals side by side, and hearing the Word from different speakers. Over 300 hearts were joined in a shared hunger to see God do a new thing in India. The leaders’ sacrificial commitment to the international unity of the Church was contagious!
To help out, Lupe joined with the media team to capture footage of the conference and Heidi Steinman painted two incredible prophetic paintings. The other interns served children, mostly by playing lots of games.
At the end of four days of constant community, many difficult goodbyes were said. For the remaining 48 hours of the trip, Vinu sent the team to Goa to see a bit more of India. Some friends they had met at the conference took them to a nearby beach, a spice farm, and one last church service. Although the time was very brief, it was obvious that there was a mutual sense of family between the interns and the Goan people. It seems as though the connections made there are just the beginnings of something special.
This sense of family was a reoccurring theme of the entire trip, not only in Goa. While the delicious taste of butter chicken and coconut chutney may have faded, one of the strongest flavors still lingering is that of the unbelievable hospitality. The majority of mealtimes were spent in the homes of different families throughout the churches, and each time the team was gently submerged into an unhurried time of fellowship, prayer, and feasting. All six of them feel as though they were honored as royalty and accepted as family. Their hearts have greatly expanded and they eagerly await their return to this beautiful nation.