WE NEED RELATIONSHIPS
As believers, we need community. We need brothers and sisters in Christ who know our struggles and who are walking with us on our journey of faith. We need people who see us wandering from the path of grace and point us back to the gospel. “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.” (Galatians 6:1) St Paul wrote: “I am longing to see you so that I may share with you some spiritual gift to strengthen you or rather so that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.” (Romans 1:11-12)
A CHALLENGING TIME
My first experience of community was when I was a Church leader during my time at the Bangalore Nursing College. I was constantly moved by the faith of the people around me and God was always giving me the opportunity to meet new people and share the gospel message. After gaining my nursing diploma, I moved to Bhopal in central India where I was working in a small hospital, trying to hang on to my faith in Christ Jesus alone. It was a very challenging time for me, because the nearest church was ten miles away and it could only be reached by rickshaw, which was expensive. I really struggled without a community where I could be encouraged in my Christian faith.
JESUS YOUTH GROUP
After a year I was moved from Bhopal to Chandigarh, as part of my post-graduate degree. It was another new challenge but I met up with a couple of young people from Kerala, who were part of the Jesus Youth group, actively evangelizing the Hindu people. With these young people I found the community that I had been looking for. I enjoyed their fellowship and their praise and worship. We sang Hindi songs, said the Rosary together and became a close community. We lived, learned, dined together and fellowshipped with other believers each weekend. It was a place where we were nurtured, encouraged, guided, and grew in faith together. I also found a good church and made some wonderful friends, both at work and in church. “Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters.” (Hebrews 13:1)
When I came to the UK to complete my degree this continued and I got involved in a Youth community called Metanoia, based in Preston. A few years ago, I started attending spiritual retreats and the Second Saturday Catholic Conventions in Birmingham led by Fr. Soji, and Sehion Ministries team, which have introduced me to another wonderful group of likeminded young people. They have really helped my spiritual growth. “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11) By the grace of God, we are each being moulded to be part of His evangelical mission on earth in different ways.
Written by Prince Paulose