Trinity Church members, Roger and June Hedlund have influenced many lives in India, and have reached past the borders to Nepal, Sri Lanka, and more of south Asia, for over thirty years. During their two-month visit to India in January 2016, they were blessed to see the fruits of their labors which span several generations of students.
It all began when Roger was invited to teach at Union Biblical Seminary in Yeotmal, Maharashtra, India in 1974 for two years while the staff and faculty were being trained. Only God knew a two year invitation would become a thirty-two year stay. While Roger was teaching and strengthening young minds for the Lord, so was June. She taught English as a second language at the University of Engineering in Chennai, served on the Kodaikanal International School Board of Directors for six years, and played her violin in the worship services at their church, which she does at Trinity church now. June added a personal touch to her ministry by sending birthday cards to their neighbors each year, and when they left India she graciously gave her violin to a little girl who’s family couldn’t afford to buy one for her. Even in music the Hedlunds will continue to ring out for many to hear, as well as their teaching.
Roger and June’s main reason to visit India this year, was for the 20th anniversary of Dharma Deepika. This academic journal on South Asian Missiological Research was produced as a book and a double issue in the collection of works, Breaking Barriers and Building Bridges; An Appraisal of the Missionary Legacy in India. Dharma Deepika is evangelical in commitment, global in vision and scope, and dedicated to open inquiry of issues related to the Church’s mission in contemporary South Asia. Roger was the managing editor of Dharma Deepika and the 2016 issue of its publication was presented in Roger’s honor. Books have been a large part of the Hedlunds missionary outreach. Roger has written and edited over twelve books, and June has edited medical textbooks published for the Christian Medical Association of India.
Not only did the success of these written works give merit to the Hedlunds, they also had the opportunity to see how far and successful some of their former seminary students have come. One student was elected Bishop of St. Thomas Evangelical Church of India. Another, who converted from Hinduism, is now a Christian song writer and singer with several recorded albums. Another one is the Director of World Vision in India, and one more has become the Executive Secretary for Theological Education in Nepal. The list of students and their accomplishments continues, as this is only a fraction of their extraordinary achievements.
Many people have been won to Christ by Roger and June, which is the result of their hard work and genuine hearts. They devoted their lives to giving and loving, and as a result God has strengthened the roots of the seeds they planted. They created a missionary legacy in India, indeed, and it is an encouragement to know that we can see the fruits of our labors with hard work and faith.
By Alexandra Trefrey