“A life-changing experience” is the most common remark of those who have been to the ICMC in India. The worries about how you will cope with the different culture, cuisine and climate disappear as you experience the generosity, gratitude and hospitality of Pastor Jay and his family and the love, friendship and energy of the children.
The past several years have seen annual mission trips – some mainly youth, others adults only. Belvoir Parish regularly organises trips for all ages, whilst Exodus led trips for young people. You are welcome to join one of these groups or to gather your own group and lead it yourself or be guided by someone who has been before.
All have been for about 10 days in either July or August but Pastor Jay welcomes teams at any time of year although May and June are inadvisable times to go due to the excessive heat and Monsoon. ICMC can cater for about a maximum of 25 visitors at a time. The teams are comfortably accommodated in the House of Peace administration building in Salem city.
The teams usually do a wide variety of things – meeting the children in the different orphanages – singing songs – doing dramas – giving children’s talks – doing art and craft – playing games – interior decorating – general medical checks – inoculation clinics – dental clinics – artistic mural painting – praying with the children, those suffering from leprosy and the Timothy Ministry students.
Our aim is to use whatever gifts the members of a particular team have so long as it is useful for the ICMC. Adults with practical skills are especially useful – whether you are a Doctor, Dentist, Nurse, Optician, Builder, Engineer, Artist, Gardener, Interior Decorator, Youth /Children’s worker etc , you can lead a sub-team and be of immense benefit to the Mission Team and the ICMC. We also always take out with us as many useful items that the ICMC can use, e.g. toothbrushes and toothpaste, children’s books, medical items, etc.
You should not underestimate the value of Mission trips, not only to the life of the individual who goes, but also to the local church that sends. Developing a long-term partnership with a foreign mission engenders a generosity of spirit, creates community and fosters fellowship between members of the church and with the Church in India. Christians in India face persecution at many levels but are passionate and fearless in their desire to see their country converted to Christ.
Sometimes people say, surely it would be better to send the money than to spend it on going there yourself. Firstly, the ICMC tells us that visiting groups are a huge encouragement for them to keep working for the Kingdom of God in a difficult and sometimes hostile environment. Secondly, the relationship a person or church can build with the ICMC brings so much blessing to both parties it is worth every penny. Thirdly, it can be seen as a financial investment for the future. Most people who go continue to give sacrificially for the rest of their lives much more than they would if they had not been, seen and met the people there. Tom Keightley has something to say on this matter.
Please let us know if you would like to go on a mission trip with a group or would like to take a group from your church by yourself or with a “guide”. The flights cost about £800, coach and train travel within India, food and accommodation in Salem and one night in a hotel near the airport, all add about £150. We usually fund-raise in order to be able to give a gift to the ICMC and subsidise un-waged participants.