I'M GOING TO INDIA / by rebecca keating

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Back in high school, I’m pretty sure I Instagrammed or blogged about going to India at least a dozen times. My mom’s side of the family is from the Hmar tribe of India, tucked away into the Northeast edges of the country, and that place is so special to me. I have travelled there twice, when I was 13 and when I was 15, and both trips carry some of my fondest, most vibrant and exhilarating memories. The past 6 years have been really focused on being where my feet are (aka in school), but the time has come where fulfilling my duties as a student calls me back to India. 

Interdisciplinary Studies (IDS) is a major and program where a student can combine multiple disciplines to gain understanding on a specific question or topic. I have the honor of participating in this program, and in it, I am integrating English, Theology, and Anthropology. I’m using these disciplines to understand lament, songwriting, and the Evangelical church cultures of NE India and the US. My claim is that there needs to be more space for lament in our North American Evangelical churches, as many do not make room for lament as often as they should. I want to understand this lack in our congregational worship, then look at churches in Northeast India and observe how they respond to suffering and practice lament in worship. 

In my two trips to our village in Sielmat, India, I witnessed worship services in which people were experiencing great sorrow; the way that other members of the congregation mourn with the hurting is truly beautiful. What furthers that beauty is that these services are never only a time of sadness. There is always an acknowledgement of a hope of healing and praise to God for His faithfulness, even when suffering is present. I want to understand this way of lament in the Hmar tribe’s churches to inspire a more rhythmic practice of Biblical lament in our North American churches.

This summer, I will spend 6 weeks in Northeast India. I will stay in my family’s village and travel throughout the surrounding area. There I will do ethnographic research consisting of participant observation and interviews. I will attend and participate in church services and meet with people from the village.

To allow my trip to happen with ease, having financial support would be an incredible blessing. If you’re willing, I would receive with utmost gratitude any donations for this trip. They will go toward travel expenses such as airfare and lodging. To donate, simply click the “Donate to my research project in India” button on the right sidebar of this site. (All donations ARE tax deductible:-) It will take you to the giving page where you can take it from there! 

If you are able to aid in funding my research project and trip, I would love to thank you by acknowledging you in my final project, and I will send a copy of my research project to you when I graduate in May 2019 and complete my study. Prayers are always, always welcome and appreciated: pray specifically for safety while traveling and for the Lord to show up in ways that I could not plan on my own in the church services and times of fellowship with the Hmar community. Lastly, I will be doing my best to post often on this blog and on Instagram during my trip. Be sure to insert your email into my subscription box to get my words and photos straight to your inbox!

I’m thrilled about this opportunity to research in such a unique way the topics and people that I have so much love for. My past trips to India have been so formative in my becoming, and I'm on my tippy toes with expectancy for what this trip will hold.

If you are joining with me monetarily or simply spiritually, I'm excited to continue learning about our global Church family and share with you what I learn!