Each year Grove City College selects up to eight students to spend their summer in another country doing missions work. At the beginning of the fall semester, students apply to the Red Box Missions program. Students selected by the program are given money to fund their summer abroad on missions. The program is funded by alumni and generous donors.
This past summer Lindsey Reichert ’17 traveled to India. Continue reading to learn more about Lindsey’s summer abroad.
What got you interested in Red Box?
It goes back two summers ago. I was living in Washington, DC doing an internship and was planning on studying abroad the following year. I was looking into study abroad options and began the planning process. However, all of the study abroad planning became stressful and I felt like this wasn’t something I was supposed to do. I wanted to go abroad but I wanted to do it with purpose and to serve the Lord.
I started considering missions organizations in Europe which is why Red Box caught my attention. When I got an email about doing Red Box and heard it announced in chapel I decided to apply.
Why did you choose India?
When you get accepted to Red Box they provide the funding and you find the missions organization. You get to plan what you want to do for the summer. I was thinking Europe so I started looking at organizations over there that I could work for. A lot of doors were being shut on those opportunities. I did get an offer for an opportunity in Ireland but felt that it wasn’t the right place for me. I was out of options.
At one point Dr. Keehlwetter said that Dr. Mech runs a missions organization called Harvest Bridge. I decided to look into the possibility and went to his office to talk about my Red Box opportunity. I told Dr. Mech that I wanted to use this opportunity as a chance to do photojournalism and writing. Dr. Mech said that his organization needed that in India. The opportunity with Harvest Bridge about seemed like a fit.
Initially I didn’t want to go to India. It was out of my comfort zone. I started talking to people who worked for Harvest Bridge and prayed about the opportunity.
After praying about it one day I remembered that I had to read a book about a missionary as part of my Red Box requirement. I went to the library looking for a book that I had in mind. The lady at the desk didn’t have the one I wanted but got me a book about a missionary who goes to India. I knew this wasn’t a coincidence and that the Lord wanted me in India over the summer.
What is Harvest Bridge?
Harvest Bridge is a mission’s organization that supports missionaries in East Asia. They provide financial support, pastoral training, education, and support for women. Their main focus is to provide help for native missionaries.
How did you prepare to go overseas?
I did a lot of research. We had a project for Red Box where we had to research and answer questions about the culture. I had to read books. I dove right in.
I also prepared spiritually as I prayed a lot over my trip. I was nervous about some things and prayer grew my relationship with God
More practically speaking, I had to fill out a lot of paperwork for my visa and passport.
What were your first impressions of India in the first two weeks?
My first impression of India was the heat. It is overwhelmingly hot. You feel like you just walked into a wall. A cultural wall as well.
I was homesick the first night as I was accepting the reality of being thousands of miles from home. Those first few days we saw a lot of things. It was a lot of just trying to take everything in. I took thousands of pictures in the first few days.
What exactly did you do?
I spent the summer in four main locations alongside Blake Bear ’18 and Zach Pitcher ’17.
In Chennai I helped Blake at the medical clinic in the Gypsy camps. I assisted in unpacking supplies and helping him organize. I also did a lot of photojournalism work and interviews in Chennai. I spent time with Prahba, a woman who does work with a women’s ministry in the Gypsy camp. I would sit with her and some of the women. These women would talk about their lives and I would record their testimonies.
We were in Delhi for only two days. During this time I helped some more with the medical clinic.
In Patna one day, we helped with a children’s ministry. It was kind of like a youth group. We led worship and ran games. Blake gave a bible lesson. We had a full house of kids ages three to 14 years old.
We also continued running medical camps in Patna.
At the end of one of our weeks in Patna we ran a Bible school. Throughout the week we prepared for Bible school by prepping crafts, practicing songs and preparing Bible lessons. Between 100 to 200 kids came to the Bible school.
On night in Patna we helped out with a young adult ministry for college students. We sang songs and Zach gave the Bible lesson that night.
In Jaigaon we taught in the school every day. Pastor John (a local pastor) started the Christian school that a number of non-Christian kids attend. A lot of nationalities and religions are represented because so many countries surround the border of the town where the school is located. It was neat because no matter the child, they were all taught about Christianity.
During our time there, we would lead the morning assembly, lead worship songs and act as guest speakers in their classrooms, talking about American culture, running games, or singing songs.
How is Christianity received in India?
The government is not very open to the Gospel in India and Christians can be persecuted in different areas but there is a small and growing presence of Christianity. Because it’s growing people are more open to it.
What was the hardest part of your summer?
Some parts of the culture were very hard to understand.
I also struggled with figuring out why the Lord sent me to India. It wasn’t revealed over the summer but I had to trust that the Lord was doing things with a greater purpose.
What was the biggest lesson learned?
In India they say “India Time,” which means that time is flexible and will happen when it happens. I think in life this happens but we need to call it “God’s time.” We live in a culture that is very time sensitive. We want things to happen at certain times. But on God’s time, he is flexible and will act when he wants and how he wants.
What piece of advice do you have for people considering Red Box?
If you think you might want to apply, you should apply. God puts desires on your heart for a reason.
What piece of advice do you have for people who are set on applying for Red Box?
Go into it with an open mind. Be open to wherever God will place you. You have to be flexible and willing to see how the Lord will change your plans.
What impacted you the most?
When people ask me what I loved most about India, it’s the people. A lot of my time was spent with the kids. My heart was broken for them when I saw that a lot of what was holding them back in life had to do with education.
Look for Part 2 of this post to see how Lindsey is combining her passion for Entrepreneurship and love of India to make a difference in the lives of the people she met last summer.