by Larry McIntosh
Editor's note: Last year Larry McIntosh, a Chattanooga businessman, traveled with an AMG International short-term team to minister to the national workers at the annual Hope for India Conference. Below are some reflections about his trip.
Having previously been on many short-term mission trips, but none to India, I went with no preconceived thoughts as to what to expect. I knew the Lord would provide as He always does, and use me as He deemed appropriate.
The trip was well organized. The accommodations, programs, and hospitality of our host, AMG India, were beyond belief. Genuine love, kindness, and appreciation were extended to us to such a degree that I truly felt overwhelmed to be a part of what we all realized was a historic event.
My hat goes off to all the Bible teachers and evangelists who prepared and literally went non-stop without complaining or grumbling. It truly was a team effort. We saw God working live, up close, and very personal in us, and also in the thousands attending and coming to Christ at the various conference venues. It was humbling for me to see hundreds of people come forward at the end of the service to receive Christ. Many others would wait for us so we could pray for them. The prayer requests were usually for family members who were not Christian or for some physical affliction.
I believe AMG India is providing a holistic approach to ministry that would be the envy of many world mission outreaches. Schools for poor and homeless children, medical services for the poor, and homes for the leprosy victims give life-saving services to people with no hope, and at the same time provide them the security of life everlasting in Christ Jesus.
Venturing from AMG facilities into the poor slum areas, surrounded by numerous temples and idols, it is easy to see the hopelessness and despair that is prevalent throughout much of India. The people have been placed in a land under such circumstances that they could hardly survive without help. There are no social safety nets, as we have in America. However, for those whom AMG India and God are helping, their smiles tell the story of their newfound faith.
I was very much impressed with the self-sufficiency of the schools and the Valley of Love leprosy colony. At most of the residential schools and at the Valley of Love, residents grow their own food and make their own clothes. This enables them to stretch the support they receive, and it gives them pride and self-confidence. At the same time, the children learn skills that will help them later in life.
I will never forget the smiles of the children, the leper's hands with no fingers reaching up in prayer and the tears of the old leper as I held his hand and gave him a hug. Only God could have given me the opportunity for moments such as these.