To India with a 'mission'

LifePoint Bible Church mission trip to India in 2011 / Courtesy of LifePoint's website

It takes about 32 hours to get to India.

Just ask the volunteers from Lifepoint Bible Church who spent two weeks in one of the poorest cities on Earth.

The volunteers just returned from a mission trip to Calcutta.

Pastor Bill Barker says, "From the airport, in any direction that you travel, miles and miles of an unbroken sea of humanity living under tarps or on the streets, on sidewalks. Women and children, men living their lives on the street with absolutely nothing amidst trash, animals, sewage, and really chaos."

That's Pastor Bill Barker of Life Point Church in Quincy. He and 14 other people went to help spread the word of Christ in Calcutta. He says as soon as their feet hit the floor a half a world away, they hit the ground running.

Pastor Barker says, "We felt like if we could match some of the skills of the people of our congregation to serving in those needed areas, and form not dependence related relationships where others depended on us and we depended on them, but a real partnership and friendship, then that would be ideal."

The purpose of the trip was to do just that, help the people of India, but teach them skills they could carry on for the rest of their lives.

One of those lessons, teaching children english. The mission church that Life Point worked with says if a child can learn english, they're liable to earn three dollars a day at their future that to just 20 cents a day for those who don't speak english.

The church in India also needed help with construction projects, help with a food line where 22,000 people eat every week, and help with rescuing women in sex slavery, just to name a few.

Lindsey Davis says, "In amongst the despair, there's a lot of good things that God is doing there. I was personally drawn to the trip to go with the hope of giving something."

And these volunteers all took something away from the trip too.

Tim O'Connor says, "Our God is luxurious in our blessing toward us. We were asking ourselves would he really send us 9500 miles to work on me, and I think he would."

Pastor Barker says, "I came away with a deep sense that prayer really works and it's of vital importance. I came away with the fact that I am not a Christian and a member of another religion, I really am a follower of Jesus because people in that much suffering and despair don't need another religion. They need people who know and love Jesus and want to give Jesus to them."

O'Connor adds, "It's opened up our minds and our hearts to the plight of people and it's made us much more appreciative for where we were born. There's no skill in where we were born and I think we have a duty to help."

Just to give you a small glimpse of how much help is needed, Pastor Barker says there are 28 million orphans there. To put that in perspective, that's more than twice the number of people who live in Chicago.

Pastor Barker says this isn't a one time thing.

He feels they established a long term relationship and friendship in Calcutta.

If you would like to help in anyway, maybe even go along on another mission trip in the future, you can contact him at Life Point Church in Quincy.

You can listen to Bill Barker from LifePoint speak about the mission trip by clicking here.