The taxi bumped and bounced along the rutted, unpaved roads of an economically deprived Indian city to carry Eurasia Regional Director Arthur Snijders and Annemarie Snijders to a small Nazarene church for Sunday worship.
The Snijders would be guests at the service, and Annemarie was asked to preach. On the same day, the region’s field strategy coordinators (FSCs), each of whom lead the church in one of the region’s seven fields, also visited a different church in India to preach and spend time with a local congregation.
The Snijders and the FSCs were in India in May for annual strategy meetings. They organized the church visits so all the strategy leaders could experience a different cultural context from their own, and see the diverse ways Nazarenes worship and participate in God’s mission. The Snijders were guests at the service, and Annemarie would preach God’s word to the congregation.
On the same day, the region’s six Field Strategy Coordinators (FSCs), each of whom lead the church in one of the region’s seven fields, also visited a different church in India to preach and spend time with a local congregation. The Snijders and the FSCs were in India in May for annual strategy meetings. Visiting a local church and actively participating in local churches on a different field has become part of the program for FSC couples in order to gain a fresh perspective on how God is working in other areas, and to represent the global mission of the Church of the Nazarene. Sarah D (FSC wife) organized the church visits.
Annemarie shared about her experience:
“When we were in the area, we sensed the deprivation of the people … a certain heaviness in the air. It looked like addiction was quite common, and the pastor told us it was a real issue.
“We came together in a very small rented space, which belonged to a primary school. Around 30 people, including children, were crammed together, and I met with a 15-year-old young girl (the daughter of the pastor), who was going to be my interpreter from English into the local language.
“I preached on 2 Timothy 3:10-12, in which Paul admonishes Timothy to follow him in his teaching and conduct, with love (all positive qualities), but then he continues saying that Timothy needs to follow Paul in the persecutions and sufferings that are part and parcel of following Christ. We need to learn to persevere also with regards the aspect of suffering.
“The people were listening attentively to the message, and sang and prayed with much devotion. But the real surprise came at the end of the service.
“The pastor came to us, with all the people standing around us, and handed us an envelope with the offerings that had been given during the service. He announced proudly that the money would go to Nazarene missions.
“Now this was a poor church, and it felt like a sacred moment, reminding us of the poor widow in Mark 12:41-44, who put her two coins into the temple offering, and whom Jesus described as giving more then all the others.
“We promised the pastor and the church that the money would be sent to one of our creative access areas near India. And we asked this local church to pray for this particular area.
“It was a wonderful moment in which we experienced the local church participating in missions.”
This article has been previously published in the June 2019 edition of Where Worlds Meet.