Free at Last

AUTHOR: Dr. Lena Crouso, Director of Intercultural Engagement & Academic Development at Indiana Wesleyan University | CATEGORY: #Uncategorized | POSTED Jan 25, 2016

India is a country of deep and rich heritage, of a strong and vibrant people, of paradoxes in rich and poor, of the oxen cart and the computer, and it is the place I call my home country. The land and the people are indeed her beauty. The oppression, pain, poverty, and injustices are the plights that hold her children’s great potential in bondage.

I am an Indian woman and a follower of Jesus Christ. I carry the beautiful heritage of my culture, yet this beauty was clouded by many of the long-standing traditions, accepted practices, and cultural limitations that confused and paralyzed me.

I grew up in a Hindu home, the daughter of Indian immigrants. I was taught to worship many gods and that good works could save me from a plagued life. I also experienced a childhood of physical and verbal abuse. I had a calloused heart, my soul encased in a shell of insecurity and fear. I had never learned or experienced God’s unconditional love.

After marrying my husband, Kendall, we acquired everything that the world said was important. We lived a life of selfishness, greed, and personal gain. Sadly, without knowing it, we were lost, empty, and far from God. As the years went by, there remained a God-shaped vacuum of emptiness within us. However, God was pursuing us, and it became more apparent to Kendall that the void needed filled by Christ. One night, after a prayerful plea to God, he stumbled upon a Christian coffee house. This was the night that he counted the cost and accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior!

I now became Kendall’s “mission field.” The Holy Spirit began to soften my heart, and the calloused layers peeled away. For the very first time I found myself in church, and on a glorious Sunday morning I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior! I had found the ONE true God, yet it was God who found me first, rescued me, and made me his own!

Recently, God assured me in a vision that even as a 5-year-old little Indian girl worshiping at the feet of idol statues in “puja” room, he was in that room too. I did not know it then, but I had a real sense that Jesus was in that room, pursuing me and claiming me for a time in the future. I left worshipping many gods and found the ONE true God. He redeemed a lifestyle of selfishness, insecurity and painful emotional wounds, to a joy-filled, peaceful, powerfully changed daughter of the most-high God!

I have now come full circle with a deep love for my own people. I have returned to India many times sharing the unconditional love that only Jesus can give. The church is alive and dynamically growing in India, and the communities where most transformation is found are the ones creating partnerships between the community church and the educational hubs in those communities. This is the future growth of freedom in India—watch and see what will happen as God beckons the church to build these bridges of hope with his great love. Pray for the two-way bridge of love that God is forging between Global Partners in India and Indiana Wesleyan University. Wait, watch, and be amazed!