India Reflections from Greg Yee

Post a Comment » Written on May 22nd, 2013     
Filed under: Community Development
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A number of CWR-connected people recently took a trip to India to visit CWR projects. Below are reflections about the trip from Greg Yee, who is a member of the CWR Advisory Team and currently serves as the associate superintendent of the Pacific Southwest Conference but has been nominated to serve as superintendent of the North Pacific Conference.

India groupI had the privilege of traveling to India with some of our Covenant’s finest leaders.  We represented the wonderful diversity of our home mission field in the U.S./Canada: four conferences, three ethnicities, different generations and genders.  Besides Dave, it was the first time in India for all of us.

My travel companions already blessed us with their thorough perspective and reflections of our trip here on the CWR blog [click here, here, and here].  To add to their entries, I would like to offer a couple of reflections but then move to sharing more personally how this trip affected me.

It was an honor to visit Reverend Sunil Sardar and the folks at Truthseekers in the greater New Delhi area.  God loves justice and it is clear that God loves the conviction of these colleagues that are going face-to-face with over 3000 years of caste oppression.  It was remarkable to hear the team’s convictions and to witness their excitement to tear down the walls of injustice in the name of Jesus and Bali Raja.  Through human eyes the task is impossible, but the Truthseekers team would never give that impression.  They clearly believe in what God is doing and what God has led them to.  There were so many stories of personal steps of faith that brought each member to their team.

It was also a privilege to visit the extensive work of the Hindustani Covenant Church throughout the Pune and Mumbai areas.  I was struck by the church’s readiness to partner with a diversity of organizations and people.  Some of these partners were Hindi and Muslim.  HCC told us of their absolute belief that the Gospel work includes providing access to water, rescuing women from the sex industry, educating children, and helping people start small business.  I’m struck by how shallow our beliefs can be when they are not tied to action (tourist Christianity).  HCC exemplified this.  They did not let religious lines stop them from bringing the Kingdom work into needy and difficult places.  There is a shared concern for humanity.  HCC maintains a deep belief in the work of the church and radical life of faith for believers. HCC also left a deep impression. They truly believe in what God is doing there and what He has put them in the middle of.

Anytime you have the opportunity to travel outside of the US, it opens your eyes to what it means to be American.  As Christians, it opens your eyes to what it means to be an American believer.  India did that to me.  As I interacted with our brothers and sisters there and saw their convictions and felt the disposition of their hearts, I had to check myself.  How much of my life is built on series of decisions (“convictions”) that are more about my personal preferences and comfort?  How am I supposed to steward the enormous amount of choices I have compared to so many of our colleagues in other parts of the world?  Is it God’s intention that because I’m blessed with so many options, that I don’t need to continually seek what it means to personally step out in faith?  Am supposed to merely help finance others’ steps of faith?  What are my convictions about what God is doing and what He has put me in the middle of here in our home mission field?  Wow – these were tough questions!

I was invited to interview for the North Pacific Conference superintendent position before the trip to India.  At first I declined the invitation because as far as I was concerned it didn’t make sense to move: my wife’s and my families are mostly all in Northern California, Mary has a great job-share situation with generous retirement benefits, our kids love their schools and sports teams, we love our neighbors, our church has been an incredible gift of ministry and community, the Pacific SW Conference continues to be an exciting and special place to serve… but what did I really believe?

I knew that God brought me into the Covenant in 1996 and that the Covenant has been a significant part of my journey.  Since the early 90’s I know that our small denomination has gone through tectonic shifts. We have done our best to keep deepening our life in Christ and remaining open to how we are moved to go further in mission.  I’ve been proud of our Covenant family and inspired by our churches and our leaders.  Hear that first.  What I wonder is how much more deeply we would experience Christ and how much further we would go in mission if we followed the example of our friends in India.  I am moved to consider how self-centered we can be even in our support of CWR.  We are truly a generous church!  That is nothing but good.  But have we replaced radical lives of faith and deep conviction for something else?  Are we willing to do anything or go anywhere despite what perhaps makes sense?  Do we settle for armchair Christianity that is content with check writing and periodic feel-good tours?  More difficult questions.

Personally, as I returned I confessed that I do believe in what God is doing here.  I confessed that I was willing to do anything and go anywhere that He desired.  I cried out that I wanted to know Christ more and to see His Kingdom established right here.  I want to see our churches making unlikely partners.  I want to see us go into unserved areas, change educational inequities, free sexual bondage, address poverty…India taught me that my faith was way too small and my perspective way too limiting.  I needed to make decisions differently.  Do you?

As a CWR advisory board member, don’t get me wrong, give generously and give often!  But as a fellow Christ-follower, I hope we can all consider what we can say yes to for the Lord and His Kingdom, not just in India, but right here.


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