Mission trips are exciting things. Not only do we get to see a new place; we also get to share in the wonder that is spreading the Gospel to people in need.
This coming April, Doulos Partners will be traveling to the state of Punjab in the northwest part of India on a mission trip to share Jesus with the world. Punjab is a very culturally rich place and we are so blessed to have this opportunity, but that doesn’t mean it will be easy. We need your help, and your prayers to help us stay healthy, strong, and fearless as we carry out our God-given mission to expand His kingdom. Let’s learn a little more about Punjab!
(Doulos Partners recently took a mission trip to Cuba! Learn more!)
The Climate and Landscape
The landscape of Punjab is very flat, but that doesn’t make it feel desolate. The word ‘Punjab’ means ‘the land of five rivers,’ and it is just that. The five rivers are the Chenab, the Ravi, the Jhelum, the Beas, and the Sutlej. These rivers provide for a great irrigation system that waters farmland and creates nutrient-rich soils.
Unlike America, Punjab has only three seasons. The cooler seasons dip down to the 40s, making for a more mild ‘winter,’ but at the peak of its hotter seasons, temperatures rise to intense highs, sometimes even reaching above 120 degrees! There is also a season of rain, called the monsoon season. This season can cause flooding, but without it Punjab would be a very dry land. This season provides much of the rainfall needed to last a year, and is imperative for agriculture to continue as usual.
The Punjabi culture is all encompassing, with everything from philosophy, poetry, and dance, to cuisine, architecture, and science.
One type of Punjabi music, called Bhangra, is rising in popularity in our western worlds, especially in the form of mixed media, where a DJ will mix it into a pop or hip-hop song.
Dancing is a treasured pastime in Punjab and is carried out by men and women alike. Typically, you will see dancing at festivals, weddings, celebrations, and harvests.
The festivals held in Punjab are both religious and nonreligious, but all are extraordinarily rich in culture and excitement. One of the most notable festivals is Diwali, the the Festival of Lights.
Diwali is the mark of a new fiscal year in India, and celebrates the Hindu goddess of prosperity. During this time, Punjab residents will light up the state of Punjab in every way they can, and lanterns are lit and sent into the sky.
Mission Trips in Punjab: Past and Present
The most common types of religion in Punjab are Hinduism and Sikhism, with under 2% of the population claiming Christianity. That is why Doulos Partners thinks it is a great place to be planting churches.
When we went to Punjab in 2014, we learned that churches had been planted in over 400 villages. Our plan for this mission trip to Punjab is to check in on those churches and see what kind of progress they have made! We are so excited to once again be joining the Punjabi people in fellowship. We hope to not only see major progress, but plant churches in even more villages than before!