A long-term World Horizons team member in South Asia led a short-term outreach to another South Asian country to explore the possibility of providing aid and planting churches in this country.
The sun already loomed on the horizon when we took the road toward the border.
The road we were on wasn’t the best, but in comparison, the landscape was stunning, and yellow fields of mustard soon fell behind us. We crossed the border without problems. It was a dusty place full of unfinished buildings and barricades.
As soon as we crossed, we could see a difference. The country we were entering was much poorer than the one we had come from.
We saw more women on the streets, less cars, less noise, and although this country majority Hindu, we felt “free.” It was less spiritually heavy here. After ten hours of travel we reached our destination, a city of Hindu temples which lies between two rivers.
This is considered a sacred place. Many Hindu high caste terminally ill come to this place to die, just waiting for the end of the cycle of reincarnation. Another remarkable thing about the city is the amount of “Asharans”, centers for study and Hindu meditation. It is amazing the number of young people dedicating their lives to learning and propagating their religion.
We left our car before the river and crossed a long pedestrian bridge. That bridge is the only thing that connects the city with the rest of the world.
We walked a few kilometers before reaching the house where we would stay. The house was simple but clean. We were greeted by a beautiful, hospitable, smiling family. They gave us the best room; the mattresses were straw and light came into the room only three to four hours a day.
Supper was served late at night: rice, lentils and chicken prepared in a wood stove on the ground. We had a time of praise and prayer, thus ended our first day.
The official day of weekly rest there is Saturday. Churches come together each Saturday to worship God. I arrived at the church around ten in the morning. The service started at half past ten. The first to arrive were young and most of them had to walk kilometers to reach the church.
A young girl caught my attention. Her clothing was new, her hair was tidy, and she was smiling. She sat and prayed for a while, then she took a small package and placed in front of the pulpit. I realized that others also did the same thing.
I asked a friend what they were doing. He told me that they eat a lot of rice here and when they prepare the rice, the first portion is separated to God. Those packages were their tithes. Later the church distributed those offerings to those in need.
The girl I had noticed earlier was part of the worship team. She worshiped God and after the service, left with her brothers.