Tag Archives: India

Finding Peace in India

Trevor with group at HBII am in India this week. My husband, Terry, is teaching pastors and their wives. I am supporting with video, pictures, prayer, and the like. I like my support role. I find it peaceful to record the stories as I listen to the people talk. I love watching their faces as they connect through the translator with Terry’s American stories.

Yesterday, we listened to them tell us their stories. I have done this in the past when meeting new pastors. Many of them are heartbreaking…almost beaten to death, rejected by their families and cast out to live on the streets by their own parents because of their faith in Christ, being sold into prostitution, alcoholism, drug addiction, attempts at suicide and much more. I have found a single thread that runs almost every story. They just wanted peace.

Life is pretty simple here. You work to get your food and clothing for each day. Your expectations, if you have any, are low and simply based on improving your life. You don’t have many other possessions. Although they drive like maniacs, it is a much slower pace of life in some sense. But many of the people don’t experience any rest or peace.

Perhaps their lack of peace is due to the fact that 3.2 million people live in the same land area as my hometown of Corsicana – population 25,000. The city literally never sleeps. Or could it be because they have no assurance of what tomorrow will bring and no way to plan for it? The day before we arrived they had an unseasonable amount of rainfall accompanied by a hailstorm. Now their crops are ruined and the cost of food has gone up 100%. Their lack of peace might also be due to their religion that offers the impossible task of appeasing a variety of gods that are “unpleasable”. They have a deterministic outlook on life, because that same religion teaches that everyone will get another chance in their next life.

Another common thread in their stories is the sense of instantaneous peace they find when they meet Jesus. The look on their entire face as they share that experience is both breathtaking and overwhelming. The local pastor, Trevor, says that people can recognize a believer just by looking at their face. He says it is because they see peace and light.

In the midst of this newly found peace, their life circumstances still do not change. They still work every day for the food they need. Some days they go without. They wear the same clothes every day. They travel hundreds of miles for 2-3 days just to hear someone teach God’s word, always in very rough conditions and sometimes experiencing persecution. But they are at peace.

Maybe that is why I like coming here so much. I sense God’s peace in a very dark place. I wish I could bottle it and bring it home with me. When I return home, I always find myself starting to rush and be anxious about the things I need to get done. And I am supposed to know better! I am praying that God will give me peace as I return, and remind me to bring my anxious thoughts to him like my brothers and sisters here in India.

So as I am finishing up, I’m thinking, “Do people who are in darkness around us see peace and light when they look at our faces?

John 14:27 My peace I leave with you….

Tina Jacobson is founder and CEO of The Barnabas Agency.

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

JaipurThe Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel opened on March 6th. My husband and I were eagerly anticipating and hoping to see the movie before we left for India but the schedule didn’t allow. We thought its predecessor, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel was a great movie, very entertaining. But what made it special for us is that we went to Jaipur, India after it released and actually saw the place where it was filmed. Because of our firsthand knowledge of life in Jaipur, we could relate on many levels. Having friends in India and “doing” ministry there, we hoped that the second would be just as good. Hey, if it has Richard Gere in it, it has to be, right?!

At this very moment, we are back in Jaipur and we hear that the reviews have not been so great. But it made me think about PR. (I know. You are asking, “What doesn’t?”)
With the success of the first movie and cast including Richard Gere and Judy Dench, expectations for the sequel were high. The first week grossed more than $8 million and by the second week the total was $12 million. I am not a movie critic or expert, but I’m not sure this is what everyone had hoped for.

So what happened?

The reviews by moviegoers were great, most were 10s, but the response from movie critics was not so great. Did their opinion keep people away? Was it the time of release? Was it a poorly written story line? Poor acting? (Hard to believe with that cast!) Was it promoted well enough? (Probably so. I saw it everywhere.) We may never know for sure.
Such is the nature of PR. With all of the work that goes into promoting and building a public platform, you never know for sure what will “stick” and resonate with the audience. I am sure that the PR strategists behind this film did their homework and knew their audience. I am confident they did everything possible to get the actors placed on the right shows, posted throughout social media, and the trailers were spectacular, sure to capture the attention of anyone enamored with the exotic feel of India. Since I haven’t seen it yet, I can’t comment on the storyline…was it weak?

Sometimes a book is promoted well, has a great cover, the authors receive rave reviews only to see it fizzle because the writing is not that great, the message doesn’t resonate or the author fails to “stay” in the public eye to continue to promote the book. There are other times that little is done in the way of promotion yet it rips through a certain demographic and finds its way onto the best-seller list (e.g. – David Platt’s Radical or Donald Miller’s Blue Like Jazz) and in the process, provides a platform for the author where they now have a “voice” that people will listen to.

I say that it all goes back to spaghetti. “Spaghetti,” you ask? Yes, spaghetti! Throw it on the wall and see if it sticks. And throw a lot of it. And keep throwing it. Throw different kinds of spaghetti (angel hair, fettuccini, lasagna, etc.) and see what the audience likes. Sometimes you are not surprised by the results and sometime you are.

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be strategic or targeted, but the truth is that sometimes we are surprised, sometimes maybe not, but we have to keep trying.

What are you doing that is working for you? How are you promoting your message, building your platform? I would love to hear from you!

Tina Jacobson is the founder and CEO of The Barnabas Agency.