India Part 1: The Heathen Shirt
Here is my first report about India. Now I realize that I cannot report everything that happened so I want to focus on some particular stories that will share all that God has done. Unfortunately, I cannot mention names of organizations and people and some locations for safety sake. So I will use abbreviations.
We arrived and worked in Delhi the whole time. Our main objective was to teach English and use that to share our Love of the Savior. We worked with a local non profit group that is run by followers of the Way. Their main goals are to impact the next generation by training and equipping them with the tools to change society. They do this through education and as our Father opens up doors, they share the good news that has changed their lives. Many have been adopted into our Father’s family and those they are reaching have done well in the Indian educational system.
The story I want to share today is one that began our first day shopping. Every Monday my team would go shopping. We had one of the staff members for the non profit guide us around Delhi. At one particular shop we were shown around to lots of different kurtas which are traditional Indian outfits. We were shown quite a selection of shirts and sari they were all hand made and actually quite pricey for Indian prices. As we were looking, I asked the staff member what he thought of different shirts. Now I felt bad about not wanting to buy anything because he had taken the time to take us there, but I could tell it was an expensive shop. So, when he suggested I get this one shirt cause he thought it was very “fashionable” I decided that i would buy it for my brother. So, I actually bought one for him and one for me. These shirts had some really cool designs on them and it was very comfortable.
The next day I decided to where it while i was teaching, trying to relate to the culture. After we had finished our staff devotional time, we were preparing for the slum kids that we taught in the morning. Every staff member came up to me and asked me about my shirt. I told them I had bought it in the market place with the help of the other staff member. They just laughed at me and told me that the shirt I was were was a Hindu shirt. It had the symbol of Aum which is the eternal sign for Hinduism. I was horrified but they assured me that it was ok because people would just think that I was an ignorant American. By this time all the kids had come for us to teach. So, I am up front teaching these children with a totally pagan shirt on. After the lesson, one of the boys named Amit came and asked if I knew what shirt meant. I told Him I had just been told but did not know when I had bought it. He proceeded to tell me what all the symbols meant. They were all Hindu symbols. I told him that I was a Christian and I was not trying to represent Hinduism. He then proceeded to ask me about what I believed. This launched into a ten minute conversation where I just got to share the good news with him. In the midst of it, this other boy came over who was a believer and started sharing with his friend as well! I was so humbled to see how our Father would take an ignorant American and use this pagan shirt that he bought to share the Gospel! Don’t we have an amazing Father!