My name is Jinelle Gallen. I am a senior at Sunnydale Adventist Academy, and in March of this year I had the opportunity to travel to India on a mission trip. We were there 15 days, and 10 of those days we held meetings in the small communities of West Bengal, near Kolkata. Our mission was to spread the word of Christ and introduce our villages to Jesus. But what I really want to tell you about is how I saw Jesus while I was in India.
Nature is the biggest evidence of God, and it is a testament to His love. Every morning my friends and I sat and watched the sunrise. There was an element of peace and contentment there.
One of our inside jokes became pointing at something and asking each other, “Do you see this microphone? Do you think it created itself, or was it created by a Master Creator?” But eventually I started pointing out the stars and the trees and asking myself the same question. There’s no way everything on this Earth, everything we find beautiful, was a coincidence. And in that I saw the handprint of God in all the nature He created.
1 Peter 4:9 says, “Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.” My village embodied this text.
They are Hindu; we could hear them praying in their houses as we walked to our preaching site. But they came to my meetings with smiles and acceptance, and it made me question how I would react if someone came to my home and preached about their religion. They came and they sat and they listened and they laughed with me, and they talked with me. And in that I saw Jesus. I saw the Holy Spirit actively working in each and every one of their hearts.
Lastly, I would like to tell you about a young mother I met: Laxmi. She was the light of my village. One night a man interrupted me. I found out he was saying, “Why are you even here? Go back where you came from.” I looked around, shocked and embarrassed. But at the back of my tarp sat Laxmi. She smiled at me and encouraged me to go on.
At the end of the meeting she came to hug me. Through my translator she said, “Don’t worry about what the guy was saying. We love that you’re here. I hope you come back tomorrow.” In that hug, in that simple smile and that simple gesture, I saw a glimpse of Christ.
Eph. 5:1-2 says, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you …” I saw Jesus through nature. I saw Jesus through my village’s hospitality. I saw Jesus through the compassion of a young lady. And so I implore you to be an imitator. Be the person who people look at and see Jesus, because it is our mission to spread the gospel message any way we can.
Jinelle Gallen is a senior at Sunnydale Adventist Academy in Missouri.