I reached a bit of a milestone over Biola’s winter break when I completed my sixth medical mission trip to India within the past 10 years. The “novelty” of these trips has long since worn off, and the excitement of seeing and experiencing a new culture, tasting unique foods, and taking in the sights and smells of a world half a globe away have become somewhat more routine. Yet, the experience still remains a shock to the system. As team leader, you can warn the team’s first timers of what they will see and experience, but watching their eyes the first time they see the slums, experience the touch of a Dalit child or observe such extreme poverty and hunger is always … well, eye-opening.
This year’s trip with our sponsors, Yorba Linda Friends Church and Operation Mobilization India, sent two physicians, two dentists, two nurses, three EMTs and 10 workers from various professional careers. In our five medical camps we served 2,400 Dalit, or the “untouchables” of India, seeing numerous first-time decisions for Christ and serving a people group who are significantly underserved for both medical and dental needs. The team included five Biola alumni, all professionals, passionate about serving the needy and blessed with skills and abilities that are reflective of the training they received at Biola.
I have come to understand that my short-term experiences on these teams in no way makes me an expert in the people, culture or needs of India. Nor does it help me fully understand the sacrifice that many make on a daily basis. It does, however, remind me of the countless alumni who serve in full-time missions roles around the world, some as tentmakers, educators or transcribers, and all taking the love of Jesus to places where their presence will make a radical difference for Christ’s kingdom.
I hope you are as excited as I am that in the tradition of R.A. Torrey, Frank Keller and Charles Hurlburt — some of Biola’s earliest missionaries and international evangelism advocates — Biola University continues to bring the gospel to a lost world through our students, faculty, staff and alumni. Biola retains a heritage of missions that is nurtured throughout our academic programs and Bible classes, and culminates in the annual Missions Conference that all students attend in March of each year. (This year’s conference was held on March 13–15; look for videos of the conference sessions at open.biola.edu.)
As an alumni department we are pleased to celebrate all Biola missionaries, whether overseas serving the most remote tribe, or in the studios of Hollywood and boardrooms on Wall Street! Thank you for your work, and may God continue to give you wisdom, endurance and blessings as you share the message of Christ with a lost world.
We would love to hear from you about your work and ministry. I welcome and encourage you to send your updates to me at the email address below.