A total of 18 VIM Team Members traveled to India this past December, which included 10 active or retired clergy and 8 lay people. Among the volunteers were Rev. Forrest Rees Wells, North Central District Superintendent; Rev. Sue D’Alessio, North East District Superintendent; Rev. Im Jung, appointed to Extension Ministry to Upper Room Ministries and the Bishop’s wife; and Rev. Dr. Sam Royappa, Director of Connectional Ministries. View the full list of volunteers.

While in India, they led a leadership seminar called “Effective Pastoral Leadership.” A total of 446 Methodist clergy were trained in the area of effective pastoral leadership. Sam Royappa said he received much positive feedback from a number of clergy in India. A clergy with 28 years of pastoral experience said, “The material was delivered by the leaders with an extraordinary high level of passion and enthusiasm. The entire team took the time to make sure we all ‘got it’! The course has served as a catalyst for personal change in so many ways within us, which will impact the community at large.” View the Leadership Seminar Booklet.

Also while there, the VIM team was able to witness to the fruit of the missionaries sent and sponsored by the Methodist Episcopal Church at several locations. The Upper Room Ministry was well promoted at more than five places, with a well-coordinated plan by Im Jung. The Phillip and Timothy Home/Orphanage leadership and kids were very impacted by the team’s presence, gifts, painting work, and above all, the dedication service of the new (yet to be completed) school building. The team raised more than $10,000, which will be distributed to various projects and initiatives, especially for women’s and children’s causes in India. Rev. Royappa said, “This was a great example of the amazing power of generosity of God’s people from everywhere to everywhere, as GBGM puts it.”

The team gained religious and cultural exposure by visiting a famous historical temple, a famous historical mosque, Taj Mahal, Saint Thomas Mount, and the Gandhi Ashram. One team member gave a testimony saying, “The visits to the Gandhi Ashram and Mt. St. Thomas in Chennai were spiritual events for me. I am humbled by the amazing history that India shares with the world spiritually and culturally.” View pictures here.