May - India
How did I ever end up in India? Growing up in church, I always pictured those who went overseas as this special breed of people that are made for Missions. They probably prayed all day long and knew most of the Bible by memory.
Who am I?
To make it simple, I love all sports except basketball (it's the whole 5'9" thing) and I was a part of Sigma Tau Gamma Fraternity. I graduated from the University of Central Arkansas in May '04 and left for India the next month for a 13 month stint.
India is home to 1.2 billion people, which equals about a sixth of the world's population. (80% of whom are Hindu, 12.5% Muslim, and only 5% Christian) The city I live in has approximately 6.4 million people and a 150,000 college students. Young Indian college students love people from the West, especially Americans. Everywhere I go, people are watching. This makes meeting students and developing relationships very natural.
What do I do in India?
The best part about my job here is that I get to meet and hang out with students. A typical day for me may look like this. In the morning we work out at the local gym. Afterwards, we have a team meeting for about an hour. Then, I get on my motorcycle and drive to a campus and hang out. Students lunch periods in the cafeteria or canteen is the best time to meet people. Just about everyone has a cell phone, so we get some of their numbers and tell them we will try and hang out later. Later that afternoon I will go have coffee with a student I have met. Buying 50 cent lattes are much better than a $3 Starbucks latte. When we meet one on one at a coffee shop, the conversation will always mysteriously drift into talking about God. As we talk about our different views, I jump on any chance that will lead to tell what I believe. This is my day!!
What have I learned in India?
In the short time I have been here, I have learned many things. One of the first is that God is not looking for a finished product to do His will. He is looking for anyone that has a heart for Him. The second is being here I have truly begun to understand how lucky I am to have a relationship with a great God. I never really believed that educated people around the world have no idea about who Jesus is or God. When asking one student to tell me who Jesus was he said, "He was a shepherd and his mother was Mary and that is why you say Mary Christmas." We in America have been given the awesome gift of the knowledge of God. And I believe we have been given this gift to share it with others.
This letter is to everyone out there that wants to do big things for God. Do not allow your picture of what you should be affect who you will be. If you need a new picture, think of me: A fraternity guy from Arkansas having a blast in India. Cruising at 30 mph on my motorcycle, burning in 120 degree weather, and wondering if he will have power today. Sharing His good news with people that have never heard it before. I can't think of anything better to be doing with my life right now.
by Matt Pace