Rita was a young woman working a red district light of India.
When she died from contracting AIDS, she was treated as so many other young ladies had been who’d gone before her: their bodies cast into the street like garbage. No proper burial. No trace of dignity.
“A group of outsiders came into that same district. They sang and prayed softly and wrapped sheets around Rita’s body as though she was one of their own,” said Dr. Ivan Satyavrata during Regent University’s weekly Chapel service on Wednesday, March 18.
Satyavrata was the first to share his story of international mission work as Campus Ministries began its missions emphasis during the month of March. He explained that the mysterious, caretaking outsiders were a group of missionaries from the Christian Church.
They gave that care to the many corpses of prostitutes who had met the same fate.
“Those people were gaining attention from others in the city as they began to pick up more corpses, offering them something in death they’d never known in their lives: dignity. Dignity in death.”
And that’s not all. As the community began to recognize what these strangers were doing, they asked questions about who their God was.
“They told it like it is,” said Satyavrata. “They said ‘God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. He lays down his life for us, and He teaches us to do the same for others. And that’s when the wall of the red light district began to crack.”
Satyavrata said that in the missions work, there are three ways to have more of a Christ-centered approach to missions. These elements are oftentimes neglected, but make all the difference in mission work:
1. Those interested in missions must go as God’s friends.
“We don’t go as philanthropists or do-gooders, as adventure-seekers, marketing executives or slick Jesus-brokers,” said Satyavrata. “We go in the same manner as Jesus was sent.”
2. Missionaries must go with God’s fragrance.
“We spread the fragrance of the Good News by our words. But being a missionary is about more than words. There’s a reason that God has chosen men and women to be messengers. The word became flesh and dwelled among us,” said Satyavrata, emphasizing the importance of not merely doing right, but living right.
“Does your life pass the Jesus-fragrance test?” asked Satyavrata.
3. Missionaries must go where God goes.
“There are those who are oppressed, crying out for help while being violated,” said Satyavrata. “Sometimes we are insensitive to the cry.”
Satyavrata quoted Genesis 18:20-21, explaining that God hears the cry of His people. And Christians should strive to listen for the same cries.
“We need to go where God goes, and we need to be doing what God does,” said Satyavrata. “We dare not do otherwise. Are you coming?”
Learn more about Regent University’s Campus Ministries.