Corey’s Corner: “Passage to India”
Courtesy | University Communications and Marketing
This summer in India, I was invited to a city called Allahabad. Every 12 years millions of Hindus gather here for a religious cleansing where three major rivers converge — including the Ganges. The rest of the time, Hindus still come to bathe in the river, a sacred time in that religious tradition.
The gathering is called the Trivini Sangem, and Christians there discern the world of the spirits as intense and oppressive because of this festival. In this city is also the oldest agricultural university in Asia, today a large and growing 10,000 students.
I spent a day with the president of this school, who’s also distinguished across the country as the president of the Association of Indian Universities — over 400 public universities. He has a Ph.D. in soil studies from Kansas State, and he’s also a devout follower of Jesus.
A few years ago, the president of this university and public intellectual decided to start publicly talking about Jesus. He’d invite people on weekends to hear about the love and power of God. And they came. Five to seven thousand each Sunday fill their soccer field.
On the Friday night we were there, I stood beside him as he invited those who came, mostly Hindu villagers, to allow him to lay hands on them and pray for them. He anointed them with oil. He prayed for the sick to be healed. He cast out demons in Jesus’ name, praying in conversational tones like a Presbyterian, not a screaming evangelist.
When those with evil spirits lined up, he’d talk to them and pray over them in English, and the tormented girls or men or women he prayed over would answer his questions, even though they knew no English.
The university president told us later that legions, evil spirits, are able to understand what he’s saying, so he speaks in English to discern if the spirits possessing them are truly demons.
I’d never seen anything quite like this, but as I thought about it, what happened that night is a reality everywhere. And that is the battle between good and evil, light and darkness, in the realm of the spiritual world. It may not seem as dramatic in our culture, but it is no less true.
God is on the move in the world.
One of the ways in which we will be part of God’s work in his world is by making known his word. That means we demonstrate his love and share his promises in places that have not been reached, like language groups in India.
This year, I am proud to join SMU and our community as we partner with the Seed Company and SMU to launch The India Project. This project aims to translate 24 key Bible stories into several unreached native languages of the Indian people. Our ambitious and faith-filled students hope to raise $117,000 toward this project before the year is over.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the landmark trip SMU led to India, raising nearly $100,000 and sending 32 students to preach the gospel. It is with the same confidence in the Spirit that we walk forward today and rekindle our relationship with the people of India by helping initiate first-time gospel conversations.