Seeing God in India
Bikes, trucks, motor scooters, water buffalo, cars, and camels cram the roadways in India. Traffic is chaotic as pedestrians dodge vehicles and honking horns raise a din that does little to aid safe passage. A group of Trinity students make their way through the maze and embark on a two-week journey during Interim to experience Indian culture and God’s work in places other than their familiar American hometowns…
During the two-week Interim, 13 students and Nancy Kwasteniet, director of Academic Support & Services, spent time volunteering at Word and Deed, which was begun by the late Thomas Katta, uncle of student Jacinth Katta ’08 of Westchester, Illinois.
A grassroots relief agency for leprosy patients, Word and Deed now educates 3,500 students, many of them orphans, and provides medical assistance to AIDS victims and their families. In addition, the organization provides vocational training and includes hospital facilities and a working 98-acre farm.
“Traveling with the team to a country I’ve known my entire life was an amazing experience,” said Katta, who, alongside her fellow students, visited hospitals and leprosy patients, worked on the farm, taught classes at the school, and shared the love of God with everyone they met.
Before the trip, the group studied Indian culture, manners, traditions, and rituals. Students also learned how to say hello, goodbye, and thank you in Hindi. Katta said that although team members didn’t know what to expect in India, they interacted with every person, walked through the streets like locals, ate with their hands, breathed the city’s polluted air, and loved every second of being there.
“And India loved them, too,” said Katta. “I know the country, the people, and the language, but still I had a new experience. I saw India through their eyes and noticed how beautiful my country truly is.”
The trip to India was a cultural adventure, but also a spiritual journey.
“This experience redefined the way I look at other people, cultural values, human relationships, and most of all my definition of service,” said Derek Harris ’10 of Mokena, Illinois. “I learned that sometimes our preconceptions of service limit what God can do through us. It isn’t always going to be offering medical treatment to the sick, food to the hungry, or houses to the homeless. God showed us that service is his work, not ours.”
Read student journal entries:
Journal entry of Lori Van Beveren ’10
Journal entry of Derek Harris ’10
Responses from other students on the India Interim
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