Biola University’s Student Missionary Union (SMU) raised $69,710 toward Biola’s The India Project, concluding a 4-year effort to increase oral Bible translation in Northern India. On April 7, 2017, SMU hosted the Seeds for India Gala, which celebrated the culmination of the project, a partnership with The SEED Company — a Bible translation company, located in Arlington, Texas.

The funds raised for the India Project will be used to train storytellers, who will then orally share Bible stories with their community in India. Alumna Mairin McCuistion (’15) was the first student to serve as the India Project Coordinator in SMU and cultivated the culture and brand of the project.

“The heart of the India Project is to empower the native speakers to fund their work as oral Bible translators,” said McCuistion.

In 2013, Biola President Barry H. Corey initiated the India Project after learning about Bible poverty in India. At the gala, he shared about the initiation of the project, his personal connection to India and encouraged attendees to join in the effort.

“This is how the India Project was born: a few people talking about it and then students getting excited about it and moving forward,” said Corey. “Just imagine that this is the idea that God's word would be brought to these unreached people groups, who don't have access to this North Central part of India through oral Bible storytelling.”

In preparation for the Seeds for India Gala, SMU hosted #endBiblepoverty week, which encouraged Biola students to give in response to the fact that more than one billion people remain without a Bible throughout the world. Every student donation was matched by an anonymous donor during the week and on the night of the gala.

Mark Matlock, a representative from the SEED Company, and John Rinehart, author of “Gospel Patrons,” gave presentations to the 120 guests at the gala.

Matlock shared about the role that the SEED Company has played with The India Project and how due to fundraising in the last 15 years, the number of unreached people groups has decreased by 50 percent. Matlock explored a chilling and motivating reality — if the church continues to give to Bible translation in the ways that it has, the world would be able to experience a “destination zero” reality, which means that every tribe, tongue, and nation would have access to Scripture.

Rinehart preached a compelling message on the power of finances. He shared about how we trust God with all aspects of our lives, yet tend to hold a tight grip on our money. Rinehart voiced some of his personal experiences with money, which always ended up with God being faithful in his life.

As the donations were totaled at the end of the evening, Justin Sinclair, a student worship leader, ushered the guests into a time of worship. At the conclusion of worship, Rinehart announced that a total of $69,710 was raised in one night toward Bible translation in India.

The Student Missionary Union, housed by Biola University, is the largest student-run missions organization in the country, with a staff of 30 undergraduate students. It exists to motivate and mobilize students to align their lives toward the completion of the Great Commission through short-term mission trips, raising money for Bible translation, Impact Teams and Missions Conference.

Written by Lauren Overshoun-Hall, iBiola intern. Contact Jenna Loumagne, media relations manager, at for more information.