These men are cleaning debris out of a clogged drain. They were performing community service as part of their country's Republic Day holiday.
Students who are preparing to be missionaries celebrated India's Republic Day on January 24 with a series of community service projects and patriotic programs.
"It was a live-action demonstration of our love and the responsibility we feel for our society," GFA's correspondent wrote.
In West Bengal, students started the day with a community cleanup. They picked up trash and cleaned debris out of drains in the neighborhoods surrounding the Gospel for Asia state office.It was a live-action demonstration of our love and the responsibility we feel for our society.
The afternoon on this national holiday was given over to a sports and cycling rally. The theme for the event was "Riding for the Nation." The rally kicked off with a ceremony during which everyone gathered under an Indian flag to honor their country. About 30 riders rode several kilometers from the town of Pushpagiri to the nearby town of Madhyamgram. The long line of bicycles was decorated with signs that had quotations about peace, unity, love, liberty, the security of children and protecting the environment. Residents were very pleased to see that the Christians were so patriotic and cared so much about their country. Anti-Christian extremists often portray Christianity as a foreign religion and accuse Indian Christians of renouncing their culture when they choose to follow Christ.
This young man is displaying his patriotism in the bicycle rally during the recent Republic Day celebration.
Students in the Delhi area broke up into two groups and went out into their communities. One group spent part of the day working in the police station and jail, while the other chose to work in a hospital. The day started early for the 55 students and five staff members who descended upon the hospital. They spent the entire morning cleaning the building, even the dirtiest areas that no one else would touch.
One hospital staff person said that he had been trying unsuccessfully for two months to hire someone to perform the work the students did that day. Many people were amazed at how hard the students worked.
"The whole hospital staff watched in awe, even though they were puzzled by their voluntary and united efforts," a GFA correspondent wrote. "This act of community development was an eye-opener to many individuals, who thought we were only forcing our views on others in sharing the Gospel but were unconcerned about developing our society."
The second group of students cleaned the police station, jail and the grounds surrounding the compound. The jail, which houses 3,200 inmates, is rarely cleaned. The police officers and jail staff applauded the students' efforts. The jail superintendent even allowed them to share the message of Jesus' love with the inmates.
These volunteers struck out early in the morning and spent several hours cleaning up the neighborhoods.
The students were thrilled to learn that the Delhi media reported favorably on their community service that day.
Students in Aurangabad, Maharashtra, also visited a hospital, where they took time to pray for the sick, including those with cancer and mental illness.
The students ask for prayer that many will remember seeing the love of Christ displayed during their outreach event that day.