2016 India Trip Report
by Phil Hess
January 5, 2017
It is always a pleasure for me to report on my experiences in partnering with Mission India and with my great friend, Rev Saji Lukos. The Lord has blessed me abundantly each time I have had the wonderful privilege to serve in the Asian sub-continent of India. I have been going to India for almost ten years in a row, and it seems that each year the blessings get greater and greater, and the experiences richer and richer. In 2016 I was actually able to take two trips to India, one in the Spring and one in the Fall. Each time, God exceeded my expectations of what to expect, and used me in far greater ways than I could have ever imagined. I am so pleased to be able to fit in with RIMI’s three point mission purpose (Evangelism & Church Planting, Leadership Development, and Compassion Ministries) however and wherever I can to serve with this marvelous organization, founded and directed by Saji Lukos.
In March-April, I had the privilege to meet in Nagpur and take part in the graduation activities of Mission India Theological Seminary for a week’s time. I then spent the next three weeks in the north east corner of India teaching, speaking, and preaching. I spoke at several graduation ceremonies and taught Bible College students and pastors in various conference locations. I truly felt that God was speaking through me each time by His Holy Spirit. I often received rich feedback from the students and pastors as to the impact that the teaching sessions had on them. There were also some miraculous answers to prayers that God gave me as I trusted Him for some serious health issues of the people or other urgent needs. God truly watched over me every day and gave me incredible opportunities to proclaim His messages to many different people and different leadership groups. When I am serving the Lord in India, I feel that He keeps me in the closest abiding presence with Him that I experience almost anywhere else. The fellowship with the Indian believers is also extremely gratifying. They always treat me with so much respect and appreciation, that I totally feel undeserving. I feel that they often treat me with so much care and kindness that it is really as if they are treating me as Jesus Himself.
In November, I went back to India for a dear friend’s wedding, and then stayed for three weeks to travel around to do more teaching in two different states. Again, the Lord blessed the time so wonderfully that I was truly amazed at His graciousness to me. Every day I was asked to teach on this subject or that topic, and God would give me just the right teaching messages and guide me through the presentations. Afterwards, many people would come up and thank me for the teaching and give me incredible compliments that I did not deserve. My time with the Mission India Bible College students was also very intense. After I finished with a teaching session, many of the students came up and treated me like a celebrity, taking many “selfie” photos with me as if I were some kind of famous rock star. I even had the blessed experience to speak to some children’s groups and present the Gospel to them. In one location there were several of the children who raised their hands to pray and receive Jesus as their Savior and Lord. Afterwards I was invited to participate in their public baptism and personally congratulate them on becoming “children of the King.”
Overall, there can be very little that compares for me as in these opportunities to serve in India with RIMI/Mission India. I get to travel around and see much of this amazing country. I am blessed to meet so many wonderful brothers and sisters in Christ. In spite of their poverty and challenges, they treat me like royalty by serving me with the best that they have. I have the blessed privilege to present the Gospel in evangelical services, speak at Bible College graduation ceremonies, teach at Pastor’s Conferences, preach in many churches, and represent Jesus Christ as His ambassador while in India. But the greatest blessing is being aware of how God uses me for His ultimate purposes and gives me the honor to serve Him among the second largest population in the world. I am only a little lump of clay, but the Master Potter takes me and molds me for His use, so that I can bring Him honor and glory in all that I do. RIMI/Mission India makes these opportunities available to me, and I am so grateful to be able to serve with them to “Reach all of India” for God’s Glory.