Gospel for Asia (GFA) joined in celebrating India’s Independence Day recently with flag-raisings, patriotic speeches and community service.WILLS POINT, Tex., August 29, 2016 / Christian News Service / – Across India, workers, students and volunteers supported by
In one district of Maharashtra, about 1,300 children from 75 churches helped plant some 1,500 trees as part of a beautification and environmental project to celebrate Independence Day. Volunteers also participated in a traveling addiction-awareness rally to emphasize national health.
In Karnataka, Bible college students, staff and their families decorated the campus before holding a flag-raising ceremony with local officials. They then broke into small groups and cleaned up surrounding areas, including poor neighborhoods and leper colonies.
“I never celebrated Independence Day like this in my life,” said first-year student, Akash. “Along with my friends, I cleaned the police station. It was really a joy to do that.”
Police officials also praised the effort, thanking the students for their work.
In Madhya Pradesh, Bible college students and staff held a ceremony of prayer and speeches in honor of Independence Day. As part of their community service, students cleaned up the area around the police station. They swept the walkways, cut grass and straightened up the area. After a morning ceremony, students in one district of Himachal Pradesh also followed up by cleaning the area around the police station.
After early holiday ceremonies, volunteers also celebrated the national holiday by cleaning the areas around hospitals in Chhattisgarh and West Bengal. Mosquito-borne diseases, like dengue, are spreading throughout the city of Kolkata in West Bengal, emphasizing the need for hospital hygiene. Workers used spades, spider net removal tools, hot water and scrub brushes on and around the hospitals.
At a Bible college in Sikkim, 27 female students joined in the celebration, which included patriotic speeches and songs, a first for many of the students. The early morning ceremonies began with prayer, followed by a flag-raising and singing the national anthem.
Independence Day is a national holiday celebrated each year to commemorate the nation’s independence from the British Empire, which was finalized on Aug. 15, 1947. The new nation was established only after a long period of mostly non-violent struggle spearheaded by Mahatma Gandhi.
“India has much to be proud of on this Independence Day,” said K.P. Yohannan, founder and president of GFA. “We pray the Lord would continue to bless this nation and give wisdom to the officials and government leaders in this next year.”
Gospel for Asia has – for more than 30 years – provided humanitarian assistance and spiritual hope to millions across Asia, especially among those who have yet to hear the Good News. Last year, this included more than 75,000 sponsored children, free medical services for more than 180,000 people, 6,000 wells drilled, 11,000 water filters installed, Christmas presents for more than 400,000 needy families, and spiritual teaching available in 110 languages in 14 nations through radio ministry. For more information, go to www.gfa.org.