By Keith Wood
If I had to sum up my recent trip to India in one word, that would be it. There were 12 of us total in the ICOM contingency that attended the World Convention/Global Gathering in Damoh, India, on January 12-15 (5 from White Oak Christian Church in Cincinnati and 7 from churches here in central Indiana). Ajai and Indu Lall, Josh and Lashi Howard, and the entire Central India Christian Mission team were the most gracious of hosts as anyone could ever hope for. Serving as President of the Convention, Ajai helped to put together a powerful line-up of speakers sharing on the theme “Breaking Down Walls to Build Bridges.”
The first session opened with a parade of flags from the 29 countries represented at the conference and also the 22 states of India in attendance. Ajai set the tone for the conference with his opening message. He spoke on the assembly theme, identifying three walls that Jesus came to tear down: the wall between head and heart, the wall between faith and action, and the wall between traditionalism and truth. It was powerful. Other speakers at the World Convention who have also spoken and/or presented at ICOM included Jeff Fife, Andrzej Bajenski, Usha Rees, Denford Chizinga, Leroy Lawson, Oscar Muriu, and Jeff Vines. There were other presenters at the Women’s sessions, the youth sessions, and the workshops who have also been a part of ICOM. It was great to reconnect as well as meet dozens of new brethren from across the globe. It was a blessing to be a part of the sweet fellowship we experienced there.
I had the opportunity to present a workshop on “Unity and Mission in the Christian Churches/Churches of Christ.” I was able to share about the ministry of ICOM as well as highlight what has been going on in mission efforts through our churches. I want to thank Dr. Clay Perkins, Bill Warren, and Kevin Dooley for sharing in the presentation. One attendee who regularly attends ICOM said, “It was like attending a mini-ICOM in an afternoon. It was wonderful!” So glad folks were blessed by it.
After the conference was over, I helped to lead the team from here in central Indiana to visit the Malvi people located in the region around the city of Indore. It is an unreached people group, less than 2000 believers in a people group of over 14 million, that many on our team had been praying for. CICM supports a relatively new church planter in that area who is now discipling 3 more church planters. We were able to meet with the preachers and a couple of the churches that have been planted there. It was such a blessing to see their enthusiasm for their new found faith and their desire to continue spreading the message of Jesus to this unreached area.
“Jah masih ki!” was a Hindi phrase many of us learned while in India. Loosely translated it means, “Praise the Lord!” As we left India motivated, encouraged and challenged it will continue to be a phrase that will echo in our hearts as we remember the blessed time we shared together in India.