Sebastian Turman, a junior biblical studies major, left for a somewhat spontaneous trip to India on Sept. 1 and is not sure when he will return, but he knows God wants him in India right now.
Last February, during his semester at Bob Jones University, Turman learned about unreached people across the world. He was burdened by the idea that so many people groups have not heard the Gospel and that few people are actively reaching them or planting churches. “That really laid heavy on me, and I was kind of developing, over the next couple of months, what I should do,” he said.
While working at a Pioneer Bible Camp in Utah over the summer, Turman met a couple who connected him to a mission agency in India. He felt like God was calling him to India, so he booked a flight for early September.
“When I decided that I would come to India, I did not know anyone in India. I applied for a passport, I applied for a visa, and I booked a one-way ticket,” Turman said. To apply for a visa, he had to provide the name of a contact in India. Because he did not know anyone, he put down the name of an employee at the hotel he would be staying at.
Turman was intrigued by India’s culture upon his arrival, but he struggled to find ways to communicate with others since most people in India primarily speak Hindi, the national language. “It was really difficult just communicating in the very beginning,” he said. “When people speak a different language, it’s difficult to get good communication with them. A lot of them did speak English, but it was still a challenge.”
Currently, Turman stays with various hosts in India, and he has visited four different places throughout the country. The mission agency helped Turman coordinate to meet different church leaders. He has been able to fellowship with pastors and believers. Through these connections, he shares the Gospel with local families. He also had the opportunity to teach students at a local Bible college and preach several times.
Turman is not sure how long he will remain in India, but he trusts in God’s providence. “My desire is just that I would know God’s will and that I would do it,” he said. “I know that whatever I face, He will make sure that I have everything I need to face that.”
Whether it be missions overseas or church planting in America, Turman is confident that his time in India is preparing him for the future. He said, “I don’t fully understand all the reasons that I’m here right now. I know that so far, I’ve learned a whole lot.” He said God has been teaching him throughout his experience, which he describes as “school, but without the papers.”
Turman made a final comment to pass along a message for two of his friends at BJU. He said, “Give a big bear hug to my good friends Nate Pulliam and Landon Smith for me.”