22 Jun Personal Care
We live in a fast paced culture where people are too busy to talk to each other. These days with all the technology explosion people don’t even bother to see who is standing next to them. Earlier when we travelled in a train or bus we would say hello to the next person and by the time we ended our journey we could have become good friends. But these days we find it difficult to say hello to people as their ears are plugged with ear phones and we should tap them and say hello which is quite embarrassing.
All are busy in their own world with no connection with the other person. We live in a virtual world where we always communicate but never communicate. We don’t even like to have face to face conversations and all what we see is a person behind the mask. We can portray ourselves as very good human beings without anyone seeing our reality. We can use a number of emoticons to show people that we are happy. But the smiley on our device never reflects our real life. We also live in an instant generation where everything is at our door step with just a click. We don’t even need to get out and meet people.
In such an environment what is the place for personal care? How do we meet people? How do we draw their attention? A big challenge!
But behind every virtual, ‘seems to be happy’ person there is always a void. In spite of all the business of life, having so many virtual friends, they are lonely! Suicides are on the rise, depression and psychological disorders are rapidly spreading, people are in need of a listening ear! They think the gadgets can provide them everything but sadly they do not have feelings, they cannot understand emotions or struggles. There is a need of a person who has emotions, feelings, who can understand them in and out. It is only in a face to face conversation that we get to know the real person.
The best example is Jesus Himself, instead of being an impersonal God communicating to us he took the fleshly form and identified with us and communicated with us. He understood each of our emotions, every struggle, every pain and he can help us in all our helplessness. Not only had He communicated to the whole world but He also took individual care even when he was on a busy schedule on the earth. He gave importance to a single individual despite his packed itinerary. He knew each person’s need and helped them to be in their shoes.
The one thing that attracted me to the UESI was this kind of personal touch that EU people showed. No matter who they were, professors in a college or engineers or students, they all sat together, prayed together, had fun together. I remember the college professors from my brother’s EU visiting us when I was in school. The way they were talking and having fun surprised me because I had never seen such a ‘cool’ behavior from teachers. We always maintained a distance with our teachers. But here they were like friends and even their love for our parents made me think what type of fellowship this is!
I was a very timid, shy girl but they loved me so much and tried to build me up right from then. It was in one such sitting with a senior student that I accepted Jesus as my personal Savior and after that they had concern not just for the spiritual things in my life but for every other aspect of my life. Even now I don’t know why they invested in such a timid and shy person! But their personal touch impacted me so much that I longed to be a part of the fellowship. My total personality changed from then on. I don’t exactly remember all the teachings I received, but I remember all the people who took special interest in me to make me what I ought to be! They did not give up but persevered and so I am here today serving the Lord.
So I proudly say that UESI smartens the weak ones and not just smarten the smart ones! UESI saw to it that a quiet person in the group is given importance so that the best in them is brought out. It is through the EU platform that I learned to talk to people. The GBS helped me open my mouth in a group. The EU meetings which helped me to face people. But all these happened because of the people who invested in my life individually and built my confidence. I knew that there were a few individuals on whom I can count on! They knew me very personally, they were there to help in any situation – whether sickness in the family, financial crunch, being in the hospital with my parents and helping them or any other thing. It was heart touching and even my family got so impressed that they asked me also to join UESI though I wasn’t willing at that time.
UESI people were there with us throughout our thick and thin. When my father died, we both, the children were in the NMTC and EU people in Kerala took care of everything right from looking after my mother, cooking, cleaning, fetching water from down the hill, to taking care of the cows! Our locality was surprised to see such care that they kept asking what kind of a group is this! The SS of UESI Kerala at that time took leave and along with his family stayed with us for almost a week till we got over the shock. When my mother had a stroke she was all alone and it was the EGF people who took care of her in the hospital until the time we reached. They took care of all the meals and bills till we got discharged. That’s the care we experienced in UESI. They were not just concerned about our souls but took care of every aspect of our life. It costed them so much, their time and resources, but it was because of such care and love that the two of us are in UESI and involved in different parts of our country though many of them couldn’t go outside Kerala.
But the fast paced life has even affected UESI too. We are too busy with programs or numbers that we lose individuals. We are in such a rat race of reaching the target that going for one individual seems to be a waste for us! We conduct Christmas programs and say 100s of students heard the gospel. We have discipleship camp and say these many disciples are there. We do LTC and say these many leaders are there. Do we take pain to know how many of them have really made a definite commitment with God and how many are growing in that? We rush to the Bible studies and say “hi” and “bye” but our time with students is very limited.
We are also in the social media so most of our communication is through whatsapp, Facebook, Instagram etc. rather than meeting up with people face to face. So we don’t know what’s exactly happening with them. We see their outward performance and think that they are fine. They know the UESI vocabulary very well and impress us and we think that they are mature believers. But behind all these performances there is a real person! We can find it out only when we spend quality time with them. The shallowness will be seen when we have a close walk with them. It will not happen instantly, but it is time consuming. We may not be able to run around and do so many things if we really spend time with individuals. I often say if there is quality, quantity will come. The best example is the early Church. They had quality fellowship many were added to the Church. When the disciples caught the vision they spread across and shared the good news. All because of the intentional, qualitative training they got from Jesus! They saw it in Jesus’ ministry and caught it. Jesus was never carried away by the crowd but always took time out with his disciples to inculcate radical commitment in them. Andrew brought Peter to Christ and later Peter became a fire brand. So by investing in individuals let us not forget that they will do great things. Understanding one individual’s potential and investing in him/her is rewarding.
Once I attended a program where there was a panel of JNU Christian Fellowship pass outs along with their mentor sharing how one individual has impacted them. That in turn impacted many universities and many NGOs sprouted up. There was a focused training of the students that they all caught the vision and spread across doing greater things!
Of late, are we losing on this core value? We need to introspect and ask, “Are we more on programs than people, quantity than quality, structure than shaping lives?” Let us not be blinded by the enemy’s trap of making us too busy for people that we lose quality time with people. We may be very much satisfied with the numbers and reports but that may be at the cost of individuals. One person recently commented, earlier UESI was remembered by people, now more by programs and events. Let us get back to the basics and build one another in faith thus obeying the command of making disciples so that in turn they will disciple others! Let it be contagious!
Jessy Jacob, UESI staff worker (Training Dept) currently based at Delhi along with her husband Jacob Varghese and two daughters Prashansa & Prerna