Hephzhi and Benny are thousands of miles away from their churches in India but they feel at home at First Baptist Church of Indianapolis.
“It’s like our church at home so that’s why we like coming here,” Hephzhi said.
The music is similar. The order of worship is similiar. And they like the sermons and the choir. Only the language is different.
“Everything is good,” Hephzhi said. And “everyone’s welcoming and friendly.”
An information technology job is what brought Benny to Indianapolis in March, 2016. Hephzhi arrived three months later.
They both grew up in church in India. It was important for that to continue in Indianapolis. “God is the one who leads us day by day,” Benny said. “There is not a day that goes by without remembering God.”
In India, only 2.3 percent of the population is Christian, with the Methodist church being the predominant Christian denomination. Hindus account for nearly 80 percent of the population; Muslims make up 14 percent.
But in Chennai, where Benny and Hephzhi lived, Christianity is a respected religion because of its contributions to education.
They both lived in Chennai, but with a metropolitan population of 7 million, they didn’t know each other and attended different churches. They met in college and married more than two years ago.
Benny and Hephzhi miss their families but enjoy living in the United States. “I like this place,” Hephzhi said, noting that Indianapolis is a contrast to Chennai. “We lived in a metropolitan city in India and it was very polluted. Here it is not like that. It is very clean. She recalls that it was “very much crowded” in Chenni, with tight living spaces. “It’s not like that here.”
In Indianapolis, they live near the Monon Trail and are still able to experience nature. “It is very relaxing,” Hephzhi said. “We find some peace here,” Benny said.
They began attending church more than a year ago, shortly after Hephzhi arrived in Indianapolis. At the time they didn’t have a car so they had to walk to church more than 1.5 miles, about 10 blocks from 96th Street. “We prayed and we got a good car two weeks later,” Benny said.
Finding a church was important to Benny and Haphzhi, They’re glad they found FBC Indy which they joined December of 2016.. “Everyone here is very loving and we feel very comfortable,” Hephzhi said. “We very much enjoy the worship service and everybody is very nice.”