It’s hard to underestimate the impact of traveling around the world to spend time with people. From my perspective, I feel rather insignificant and ask myself, “Who am I?” From their perspective it’s “Oh my gosh. You have spent money to be here, you have taken your time to be with us, and you care about us.” Ministering to 30 people sounds so insignificant, but on the other level it’s not. Some of them will go on for the next 50 or 60 years to share the gospel, minister to people and make a tremendous impact in the lives of tens of thousands of people! It is such a privilege to serve them.
In January my wife Miho and I had the opportunity to travel to India for the second time to teach at Life Theological Seminary in Bhubaneswar, the capital of the state of Odisha. Known for its tribal traditions and Hindu temples, Odisha can be a dangerous place for missionaries. It is where missionary Dr. Graham Staines and his sons were murdered by Hindu Bajrang Dal fundamentalists in 1999.
Twenty years later, Odisha remains both a fertile ground for evangelism and a hostile environment toward Christians. According to state law: “No person shall convert or attempt to convert, either directly or otherwise, any person from one religious faith to another by the use of force or by inducement or by any fraudulent means nor shall any person abet any such conversion” (The Orissa Freedom of Religion Act, 1967).