Bringing the Good News to Students in India
Jie Yang (far left), Markus (middle), and Alex (far right) are labourers with the NUS Ministry.
Jie Yang went on a 6-month mission trip to New Delhi, India last August. Markus joined Jie Yang on the trip in October for 2 months, while Alex joined them briefly in December for 2 weeks.
What are some of the lessons and experiences you have gained from this trip?
Though hesistant initially, I came to realise that going on this mission trip was a God-given opportunity for me to grow in faith. By leaving the comfort of my home and experiencing a foreign environment, people and culture, I was able to take advantage of this opportunity. My promise verse, Philippians 3:10, inspired me to press on to know Christ more intimately and His heart for people.
"I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead."
— Philippians 3:10
My main lesson from this trip is to expect great things from God. On the flight to Delhi, I was feeling quite nervous as it was my first time travelling to India and it was also my first mission trip.
While I was praying, God impressed Jeremiah 33:3 upon my heart:
“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”
I found assurance through this verse that God would reveal great things to me, and it got me excited to see what He would do in the 6 months that followed.
Upon arriving, however, that eagerness quickly dissipated as I found out that there was only one brother in the ministry, Ravi (alias), whom I stayed with during my first 2 months in India.
I remembered thinking to myself at a gathering one Sunday, that this situation was what Isaiah 54:1-3 talks about — a barren and desolate place. God was providing me an opportunity to pray in faith, to believe that He has the power to do what He had promised, and to labour faithfully in the harvest field with the eager expectation that God’s answer would be more than what I imagine or expect.
I prayed to God for one man with an eager heart to seek God and a hunger for His word. God’s answer came quickly when I coincidentally met a student called Hebu (alias), whom I had witnessed to a month before, but had not managed to meet again since.
That day, my brothers and I shared our testimonies with him, and he agreed to meet us the next day to read the Bible together. Afterwards, we met up regularly to read the Bible, and through him, I also reconnected with another witnessing contact, Udi (alias), who turned out to be his hostel roommate. We met regularly in his hostel room, and one day, while we were reading the Bible together in his room, his friend Sawi (alias) happened to come in and decided to join us. After reading John 1 together, Sawi (alias) was impressed by the passage about the Passover lamb and Jesus’ sacrifice, and he decided to invite Jesus into his heart.
God had been faithful to His promise, guiding us to Hebu (alias) and through him, to Sawi (alias), whose heart had already been prepared by God. This encouraged me to pray boldly and to claim Zechariah 8:23, which God impressed upon my heart during my Quiet Time:
This is what the Lord Almighty says: “In those days ten people from all languages and nations will take firm hold of one Jew by the hem of his robe and say, ‘Let us go with you, because we have heard that God is with you.’”
The decision to go for the mission trip was a refining process for me that was led by God. Although not completely agreeable, my parents permitted my going; my workplace extended my leave; and I felt a conviction to go to overcome my desire for comfort and the familiar.
In the first week, I was given a crash course to the ministry. This was through a 3-day trip to the Himalayas with the locals. India is a tremendously diverse country — each state having its own culture, history, and beliefs. The people are generally exuberant and festive. I had to die to my reserved nature, for example, by accepting a spontaneous invitation to dance with the locals which warmed our relationship and made it easier to connect with them.
I connected this experience to 1 Cor 9:22-23 —
“To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.”
At the Himalayas with the locals
I had also observed that we had many similarities with the locals, which serves as a bridge and builds trust between us and our contacts. Topics on ambitions and life purpose were great conversation starters.
Of course, the love of God and His grace towards us rather than works were the main factors that drew people to Christ. This was observed through the salvation testimony of some of the brothers. A season of hardship may have already prepared their hearts for God’s word. As Ephesians 2:8-9 says,
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.”
Meeting a student on campus
I met a student, Keron (alias), while witnessing by myself at a campus political rally. He was a student who studied the politics of the Middle East, and through our conversations, I shared some of my views on the region with him. Through our discussions about our worldview, I was able to share with him the message of salvation given by Jesus Christ, testifying to God’s fatherly love.
Many nights, I found myself weeping for nations and people that I did not know, and I was assured that the God who deeply loves them was revealing to me His concerns.
God works in the lives of people; I am simply a steward of this process.
About Jie Yang
Jie Yang is a Nursing graduate from the National University of Singapore (NUS).
He accepted Christ through the NUS Navigators during his first year in university and has been in fellowship with the NUS Navigators community ever since.
Through the life examples of other brothers and sisters in Christ, Jie Yang has learnt what it means to take up his cross daily to follow Jesus.
Markus is a Data Analyst who majored in Business Analytics at NUS.
He was once a Sunday Christian who did not have a personal relationship with God till he met the Navigators through an outreach event. His mentor taught him the spiritual disciplines of having Quiet Time and knowing God through the Word and prayer. Eventually, he caught on to God’s heart for people — to know Him and to be saved.
In his journey of knowing God, he has learnt the value of personal discipleship, and has seen how it has been a blessing to him and to others through his journey with them.
Alex is a Final Year Student majoring in Political Science in NUS.
Through his interactions with the brothers in the NUS Navigators Ministry, he came to see the gospel lived out practically and bore witness to what the life of a disciple of Christ looks like.
He has since enjoyed the privilege of being discipled and learning to disciple others.