Victor Kubik talks with UCG videographer Jamie Schreiber about his experience traveling across India.
[Victor Kubik] This is Victor Kubik, President of the United Church of God. With me today is Jamie Schreiber, who is videographer here at the United Church of God. Welcome.
[Jamie Schreiber] How are you?
[Victor] Hey, it’s great to have you here, Jamie. Jamie is a very talented and creative individual that I have greatly admired with the work he’s done here, working with Beyond Today television program, and with many other video presentations. But he does a tremendous job. Jamie has just returned from India. Jamie, tell us about your trip, and tell us why you went and how did it come about that you went.
[Jamie] Sure. Thanks for having me on the show. Long-time listener, first-time caller. I actually – so I first kind of just went for the adventure. Because I love to shoot. I’ve taken a camera everywhere I’ve went since I was a kid, so when I heard my parents were going to go over there again, I’m like, I’ve got to go. I want to go with them. But second of all, I just wanted to go and tell the story of what they’re doing over there on the ground level to preach the gospel. And they set up a lot of different Beyond Today meetings over there – subscribers of the BT magazine and the television program – and so they go from city to city, and they just preach the gospel.
[Victor] Well, who are these people? Is it the members of the church, or just exactly who was it that you work with?
[Jamie] Sure, so it’s a variety of folks. So Dave and Jolinda Schreiber are the ones that are on the ground over there. They travel over there at least once a year, sometimes twice a year for the Feast. But the people over there – it’s a huge variety of people. We get people that have been connected with the church since Worldwide days, but the majority of the folks are just brand-new people that are trying to come out of Hinduism or just normal, Sunday-keeping –
[Victor] Well, how do these people come into contact with us in the first place?
[Jamie] So we have a TV program that aired over there for a few months, and we got a lot of people that were contacting my dad –
[Victor] He’s the senior pastor.
[Jamie] Yes, sir. But they contacted, made contact with him through ucg.org and then they go onto his email list, and every Friday he sends out an email to these folks, and they kind of become the follower of his writings.
[Victor] Yeah, that’s very, very interesting. Now, what did you actually get, and how will it be used?
[Jamie] So a lot of the stuff that I get over there we can use for what we call “B roll” or just cover footage for Beyond Today. At its smallest level, I just came back with a bunch of great B roll of a foreign country. On top of that, I interviewed these folks on how they came in contact with UCG. I asked them questions like how difficult it is to be a Sabbath-keeper in a land that has literally like three million gods. And the majority of these folks have to work six days a week – they have a Monday through Saturday workweek, so it’s really, really hard for them to keep the Sabbath. And even the children go to school six days a week, so I’m like, “How are you guys doing this? How is it happening? How are you successful?”
[Victor] Well, how are they doing?
[Jamie] Some are struggling big time. Big time. One man we interviewed does not allow his children to go to school on the Sabbath, and they get punished. Every Monday they show up to school – the girls are forced to sit outside for two hours, I think, in the hot sun. And when we were there it was 109 degrees. So it was miserable, you know, right there, at least that time of year. So they get – luckily, they’re really smart girls, and they call their classmates I think Saturday night, and they get all their work done on Sunday. So on Monday they show up, and they’re not behind. So if they fell behind, who knows what kind of punishments they would get? The father made it seem like it would be a lot more –
[Victor] So there are work-arounds?
[Jamie] It seems to be, at least for his city. A lot of other people say there’s no work-around, because exams are given on that day, and if they don’t take the exams, then they can’t go forward and get any sort of job, and they’ll be on the streets.
[Victor] It’s very interesting about some of the trials that people have in countries that don’t have laws that protect freedom of religion.
[Jamie] That’s right. Yes, sir.
[Victor] So, tell us the places you actually visited.
[Jamie] So the first day we went to Chennai, which has like 8.2 million people in the city. It’s just ridiculous. I believe that’s the capital currently, right there in Andhra Pradesh, I believe it’s called. But so, we met there first, and he sent emails out to Beyond Today subscribers, and they had a small group meet, and they talked about the second coming of Christ and some of the new information to these people. They’re just coming in through the Sabbath, so the internet, he says, is great. They’re taking in, drinking in. And then from Chennai we went to a little town called Chirala – we took a train, it took us about five hours, which is an interesting experience in itself, on Indian train. And they met with the man – his name’s G. P. Samuel, and he’s been keeping the Sabbath since, like, 30, 40 years. And he’s got a little group of people, and that group that he teaches uses UCG materials to explain certain things. The next city we went to was a place called Gudivada. This is kind of an interesting story. This man named Joseph Usala was a translator for my dad. India’s got 29 states, and every single state has its own language. So it’s – you know, if he went over there, Dave went over there and tried to learn one of the languages, it’s only a drop in the bucket for where he goes next. But back to this guy, this Joseph guy. He’s a Christian, Sunday-keeping Christian a couple years ago. And he was a translator for my dad – I think it was maybe during the Feast, so he was there for a whole week. And from that experience, he now is fully on board. He keeps the holy days and is a Sabbath-keeper, and now – I think he has a small group now, I think he teaches – he invited my dad to come out there and speak with 70 other pastors all throughout India.
[Jamie] So it was a giant group of people and I got some great shots there. I’ll include that in the longer story. Let’s see – from there we went to a town called Vijayawada, which, that city’s starting to grow. They held a BT seminar there first, and I think only 4 guys showed up. And then when I was there this time, there was 23 people. So like, it’s growing. Let’s see, from there we went to this little place called – if I can pronounce it right – Visakhapatnam. And they have 8 pastors or so, I think, were waiting for my dad there, along with all their wives. And they have just recently come to the understanding of the Sabbath and holy days, too. They get all of their information – they just are drinking in these booklets and they all get together, sit down, and they study them, and then they come together on, I don’t know, Sunday or Monday as a little group and try to prove them or disprove them, to see if they can – and then go and deliver that message to all of their different followers from there. So it’s kind of a cool story. The next city we visited was Hyderabad, which I had been to that one once before, really, really briefly. There’s only one person there, I think, that wants to be connected with UCG. This time they had six people show up to the meeting. And none of – the cool thing was, none of those guys had ever met each other before. And they felt completely alone in this town, or in this city. It has almost 4 million people in it, and they’re, you know, they’re by themselves, that’s how they feel. There’s one man there who’s a doctor who basically seems to have everything together. He can answer and defend almost anything that we believe, as well. So that’s kind of cool. So I think he’ll probably be the group leader.
[Victor] Oh. In Hyderabad?
[Jamie] Yes, sir. Hyderabad.
[Victor] That’s a very well-known city.
[Victor] You hear about it all the time.
[Jamie] Yeah, huge tech hub, too, I guess. India’s just a land of contrasts. You’ll have the most beautiful buildings you’ve ever seen, and then right next to it is a guy living under a Pepsi sign. If I could describe India to somebody, I could say it kind of feels like a tornado went through the city and just ripped it all up, and then the poorest of poorest people just grabbed the scraps and started building little huts and homes. It’s really sad, a lot of it. Now, again, that’s not every single person out there, but it’s a very, very, very poor land. That’s for sure. Yeah.
[Victor] I know your parents, you know, they have managed the affairs of the churches there. And I’m just very happy to see the growth that’s taken place.
[Jamie] Sure. Yeah.
[Victor] Because we’ve heard about the little groups – maybe one in Sri Lanka, one in, or maybe two, in India, but now it seems like there’s just new groups arising, and they arise as a result of reading our material, they are convicted, and they want to form a group, and they want to further study --
[Victor] – what we are taught as Christians.
[Jamie] Yeah, and you know, sometimes over here just working for the Media Department, we think our efforts – are they doing anything? Are they going forward? And then when I go and hear, I’m like, “Yeah, we’re doing it. This is great. People are making a difference in these things we’re producing.” It’s really cool to see.
[Victor] I know I have the same feeling here, working – is that we produce all this material, and it’s not until you travel overseas and see its effect on somebody 8 thousand miles away.
[Victor] And you say, “That’s our work there, and that’s the word of God”. And it’s producing change in people. It gives you so much encouragement.
[Jamie] Yeah, that’s right. The one challenge about that is that, like I was saying before, that India’s got a different language in each state, and some of the adults don’t always speak English. But we have several members – or, well, potential members – that have already translated 3 of our booklets into Mizoram, is one of them, or Mizo, I believe, and then Telugu is another one. So they want to do their part and try to help and preach the gospel to –
[Victor] Mizoram, is that that way far, Far East place?
[Jamie] Yeah. That was actually my favorite spot. That was the last city that I hit up. My parents continued on after I parted there. Actually, they’re still there right now. But Mizoram was unbelievable. It actually doesn’t feel anything like India. The cool thing about Mizoram is, India itself is only about 2 percent of Christian, and the rest are mostly Hindu. Well, Mizoram, the state of Mizoram, is 98% Christian. There is a ton of SDA and COG people there that are just kind of floating around. And they don’t – they’re not connected, not everyone’s connected. They want to be together. So when we went to Mizoram, there was a man named P.C. – I forget his last name – but he has a super strong desire to untie all these people. So you know, the internet’s only coming around the last few years it seems like into people’s mobile phones in India, so most folks still don’t have it, so they can’t just look up, you know, where’s this seventh-day group meeting? So this fellow named P.C. was taking us around to all these different Sabbath-keepers and church of God believers and introducing them to my father, obviously employed by UCGIA, and trying to just see what they can do to work together and preach the gospel together in their state.
[Victor] Did you get some video of them?
[Jamie] Yes, sir. Yeah, that’s my – like I said, that’s my favorite footage of the whole trip. It’s so pretty. The town itself is just kind of stuck to the side of this mountain. It was really beautiful. And when I was in the taxi ride down the mountain in Mizoram, the clouds kind of rolled in, and we were above the clouds in certain sections, and I think that the thing that hit me the most was, there’s this Scripture that’s just, “Pray ‘Thy kingdom come’.” Simple as that. The Lord’s prayer. And I – to be honest, I don’t always include that in my prayers. And I think going to India, it gave me a different perspective on that Scripture. And I don’t necessarily have to pray “Thy kingdom come” for myself. Honestly, we have it pretty good here in the U.S. But I really should start praying that more often for those people. Those people who have to – are persecuted – basically, the daughter, the two daughters that get punished. Or the people that are just living under the, like I said before, the Pepsi sign. Because those people need the kingdom now. So I think that’s probably my biggest take away from the trip.
[Victor] Thank you. Well, it sounded like it was a very, very good trip, and you have a lot of footage or a lot of video that you had recorded, and we’re anxious to see it crop up in different ways. Well, thank you for coming, Jamie, we really appreciated your being here on Inside United. So thanks for joining us on Inside United and come back again soon for more.