In honor of W.O.W. Week, The Gathering on Tuesday focused on Lipscomb alumnus Angad Madra. Madra shared the challenges he faced as an international student and how he grew in his faith.
Madra started his Lipscomb career his second semester of his freshman year. Coming to
Lipscomb, he was unaware of the school’s Christian affiliation. “The only thing I knew about Jesus was that his birthday was the 25th of December, and that wasn’t even true,” he said. His only knowledge about America came from how Hollywood portrayed the country. This is why he was so surprised when he first heard the announcement, “There will be a man on the second floor,” when entering Fanning Hall.
Madra wanted everyone to see the value in learning about other cultures because of the growth he experienced in his adjustment to the American culture. He encouraged students to get to know international students because learning about them and their culture will give a true representation of where they’re from.
A huge challenge Madra faced when coming to Lipscomb was that he didn’t share the same faith of
the majority of the students. He practiced Sikhism and wanted to continue growing in that faith.
While at Lipscomb, he said, he felt attacked by people wanted him to get baptized.
He would meet Christians who would tell him that he was going to hell because he didn’t believe in
Jesus. In conversations, he felt as if no one truly heard him, so he felt isolated. Rob Touchstone was
the person who changed this pattern that Madra kept witnessing. Touchstone approached him and
told him that he wanted to talk about Sikhism. Until this point, Madra was bombarded by people
who would preach Jesus but not live like him.
He started meeting people like Touchstone, and he became attracted to their lifestyle before he
knew they were living that way in an attempt to live like Jesus. The Christian faith became real to him in a way that he couldn’t ignore.
A huge challenge Madra faced while being at Lipscomb was having an issue with his visa
because he didn’t know that it was illegal for an international student to be employed off campus. He had 30 days to leave the country when Touchstone got him in contact with a group from his church going on a mission trip to Mexico. Mexico didn’t require a visa for entry, so it worked out best in his favor, but he still had to reenter America.
After returning from Mexico, Madra had some issues crossing the border. He was held for hours to , and no one could determine what the actual problem was. Once he was finally able to come back, he knew that he was meant to be here.
Faith has since become everything for Madra. He recognized that it’s foolish for him to be a “lukewarm”
Christian right now. He knew that he either had to go all in or all out, and he couldn’t go all out.
He encouraged everyone to live as missionaries on this campus and this city. “If you’re living life as a Sunday morning church goer,” he said, “you might as well not do that.”
Madra had a moment where he recognized the love God has for us by the difficulty he put Jesus
through. This happened when he was handing his daughter to his wife, and the baby burst into tears.
He realized his jacket zipper accidentally scratched his daughter’s face. It was then he realized
he couldn’t imagine what God went through when Jesus was standing on the garden ceiling
calling out to his father for help, and God told Jesus he wanted him to go through with his plan anyway.
Madra has loved fellowshipping with students and sharing his story. He has extended an invitation to meet with students to answer their questions or simply to talk.
Photo by Charissa Ricker