That summer, along with a few co-workers, I returned to all the places we had visited during the last few years in the state of Punjab. I had been in and out of the state many times and was eager to see the fruit of our ministry there.
The breadbasket of India, with its population of 24 million, is dominated by turbaned Sikhs, a fiercely independent and hardworking people who have always been a caste of warriors.
Before the partition of India and Pakistan, the state also had a huge Muslim population. It remains one of the least evangelized and most neglected areas of the world.
We had trucked and street-preached our way through hundreds of towns and villages in this state over the previous two years. Although British missionaries had founded many hospitals and schools in the state, very few congregations of believers now existed. The intensely nationalistic Sikhs stubbornly refused to consider Christianity because they closely associated it with British colonialism.
I traveled with a good-sized team of men. A separate women’s team also was assigned to the state, working out of Jullundur. On my way north to link up with the men’s team I would lead, I stopped in at the North India headquarters in New Delhi.
To my surprise, there she was again—the German girl. This time she was dressed in a sari, one of the most popular forms of our national dress. I learned she also had been assigned to work in Punjab for the summer with the women’s team.
The local director asked me to escort her northward as far as Jullundur, and so we rode in the same van. I learned her name was Gisela, and the more I saw of her the more enchanted I became. She ate the food and drank the water and unconsciously followed all the rules of our culture. The little conversation we had focused on spiritual things and the lost villages of India. I soon realized I had finally found a soul mate who shared my vision and calling.