Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Experiencing India on ‘The Edge’

Pioneers missions agency visits Liberty

Dim lighting, cultural music, chattering voices and bare feet filled the crowded Dorm 17 missions’ classroom Wednesday, Feb. 16, where students gathered to experience India.

‘Namaste’ — Students had the opportunity to eat, fellowship and learn about Indian culture at Wednesday’s ‘Experience Ethnos,’ sponsored by the Center for Global Ministry. Photo credit: Ashley Elia

Missions Emphasis Week’s (MEW) Experience Ethnos events highlighted particular countries which allowed students to engage in different cultures. Two events were hosted during the week, one Tuesday night and the other Wednesday night. Wednesday’s event specifically drew students interested in the country of India.

Wednesday’s Experience Ethnos event was hosted by representatives from Pioneers’ missions agency that were visiting Liberty for MEW. Along with hosting the India event, they hosted a table in DeMoss to speak to students about missions.

As students entered, they were asked to remove their shoes in order to resemble Indian culture.

“That’s very much Indian, and even the part where you can’t find your shoes when you leave, that’s also very much Indian,” missionary Jen Dominy said.

Moving through the room, students had the opportunity to try Indian food and drinks such as rice or mango pudding and chai tea. Students then sat in circular groups of about 10 scattered around the room.

According to Dominy, the fact that students were sitting in groups and just talking to one another was very much like what they would be doing in India.

“They have amazing food there, but it’s so much more,” Dominy said. “There is ample opportunity for you to be a light in that area.”

The event officially opened with Pioneers’ mobilization coordinator Paul King introducing Dominy. Dominy greeted the crowd with a traditional Indian phrase “Namaste” and then spoke about her time in India and her personal experiences.

“I was in India for three years working with Calcutta street children,” Dominy said.

Dominy shared about her work in a slum of India working with children during the day.

According to Dominy, India is an amazing place full of opportunity for ministry.

“I think being a missionary is so much about the things God does in your life,” Dominy said. “We go places and we think that we know all of these things, but the reality is we have so much to learn.”

Dominy then opened the floor for a question and answer session. Students asked questions about social norms, holidays, cultural differences, discrimination and the brokenness of the people.

“Going to India, I learned so much from these children,” Dominy said. “I didn’t even realize I had these stereotypes of people and these walls built up,”

However, Pioneers is about much more than just missions in India.

“Pioneers is about 30 years old, and at this point in time has about 2,200 missionaries on the field in about 90 countries,” King said.

“We’re told we are the fastest growing evangelical missions in the U.S.,” King said.

Pioneers also works with those interested in doing short-term missions in the form of an internship. The Edge internship program is another outlet of Pioneers sending about 100 people on teams going to over 30 locations.

According to Pioneers’ website, The Edge will be going to multiple destinations in North and South America, Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and East, South and Central Asia.

“One thing which we think is quite important for a lot of people is innovation and flexibility,” King said.

The Edge consists of a pre-field preparation, orientation, field internship and debrief.

According to King, trips range from four, six and eight weeks long and all start in June. Pioneers is currently accepting internship applications for those who will be 18 and over at the time of departure.

King is a retired university professor and has been with Pioneers for 11 years. His goal was for reaching people, not just bringing people to work with Pioneers.

“If God leads people to India, and they never think about Pioneers again, then this is a success,” King said.

The event ended in prayer with individual students volunteering to pray for issues such as poverty, Indian government and the caste of India. Finally, Dominy prayed for the students in attendance.

For more information on Pioneers, go to pioneers.org or follow Pioneers at Facebook.com/TheEdgeUSA or follow them on Twitter @ TheEdgeUSA.

To follow the Center for Global Ministries, visit their website, which can be found through the Liberty Splash page.

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