In October, Team Citizens United (Weylin, Hannah and Constance) went to India to visit a longtime partner, Calvary Community Church in Chennai, and meet other potential organizations in Delhi to support and learn from.
CALVARY COMMUNITY CHURCH
Our time in Chennai allowed us to celebrate the last decade of our relationship with Calvary Community Church. Gideon originally met Pastor Charlie while both were at a conference, and they bonded over their desire to develop service-oriented communities in their respective churches. We at Vox modeled our own local intentional communities on their service programs in a nearby slum. It was so encouraging to see how their church has grown and maintained its connection to the communities they serve. We got to sit in the chairs that Gideon donated to the church that they still refer to as “Gideon’s chairs.” We visited a children’s home that Vox has helped support for children affected by the 2004 tsunami. Pastor Vincent, the head pastor, also celebrated his 65th birthday when we were there and we got to celebrate his life and work serving his church and the poor. You can watch the video below to hear about the programs that now run as a result of the Vox community’s generosity.
ART FOR CHANGE
In Delhi, we visited with the Seefeldt family, dearly missed Voxites who recently moved to northern India. Jonny Seefeldt connected us to Art for Change, a nonprofit organization run by Stefan Eicher that desires to see art impact and shape society through beauty and truth. Art for Change uses artists in residency programs, art classes and creative workshops to help people from all levels of Indian society to use painting to express themselves and their worldview. The Vox community has so many artists and designers — we hope to see beautiful collaborations result from our partnership. Stefan made a video introducing the Art for Change Foundation that you can watch here.
We also visited Ashish Center, a sister organization to Reflection Art that is an education and development center for the differently abled, particularly those on the autism spectrum. Some of you might have heard or met Geeta, the organization’s founder, when she spoke at Vox in October. She is a rockstar. We loved hearing her passion for serving and developing children that often go undiagnosed or ignored in her culture.
There were also a few misadventures — Weylin got kicked off the lady train car by a guard with a stick, an all-night wedding next to our hotel that kept us from sleeping and there was dinner with Pastor Vincent that included sheep brains. But, overall, it was such a blessing to connect with people who are living out the mission of the gospel, living out their story of how God will use them and their unique talents and circumstances to love others.
We will begin financially supporting Art for Change and the Ashish Center for the next 3 years. It is our prayer that everyone will feel connected to and inspired by the people we met on our trip. Not everyone from Vox will be able to go overseas, and people can be more inclined to serve locally, but I particularly love being connected to God’s kingdom around the world. These partners can use our encouragement in the form of prayer, letters or donations. We hope to see relationships grow as a result of our trip — this is just the beginning!
[written by Constance Dykhuizen]