By Hope Livingston*
INDIA — Robert Trenton*, leader of an international company, resigned his job.
Robert and his wife Stephanie* rented out their home, stepped down from responsibilities at their church and arrived in India last year. The Trentons committed to stay in India for 17 months with a plan to reevaluate at the end of that time.
Their decision came after years of experience in business and continued communication with their longtime friends, Christian workers Charlie and Abbey Noffsinger*, who serve in India.
“Truly, not enough can be said about how much we respect the Noffsingers. We see their passion for the lost, their tremendous work ethic, their integrity, humility, persistence, sacrifice, commitment,” Stephanie Trenton said.
Charlie Noffsinger had gotten involved with the business sector of India and asked the Trentons to consider joining them in the work because of Robert’s business experience.
Robert Trenton taught high school mathematics and coached high school basketball for 16 years until his two older brothers asked him to join them in business. His brothers founded a start-up insurance software company.
Keeping in touch with the Noffsingers, Stephanie Trenton said, “It was even in the back of our minds that it would be neat if God would have us work alongside them in some way in the future.”
Yet, in June of 2000, Robert Trenton became an employee of his family’s business and spent the next 11 years working for the company. By 2011, the business had developed into an industry leader with more than 400 employees spread across offices in three states and the United Kingdom.
In August of 2011, the family business was sold to a large global consulting company. Around the same time, the Trentons received training through their state Baptist Convention and began a church in their home. Charlie Noffsinger also started talking about an opportunity for Robert Trenton to use his business skills in India.
“He wasn’t shy about saying that some of the skills that Robert has could definitely be used in this endeavor,” Stephanie Trenton said. “As he shared about it, both Robert and I began to sense that God was drawing us to be a part of it.”
“We just felt led to ask them to pray about coming to India and they responded,” said Charlie Noffsinger.
At the time, the Trentons and the Noffsingers thought multiple visits during the year for two to three weeks at a time would be sufficient. But, after the Trentons made their first trip, “we all agreed that it didn’t really make sense to make several trips a year, but to stay for a longer period of time. It’s about relationships,” Stephanie Trenton said.
“Robert left a very well-paying job to be a part of this work, and I can’t say enough about how excited we are to have this family join our team,” Noffsinger said.
Upon their arrival in India, the Trentons spent a significant portion of their initial time learning the language alongside a couple of other families. Stephanie Trenton began building relationships with neighbors while Robert Trenton prepared and taught a college course on servant leadership, based on Biblical principles.
The leadership course opened doors to begin a coffeehouse fellowship the last few weeks of the semester.
“As we are gaining the trust and respect of the students,” Robert Trenton said, “they are opening up more and asking many questions about the servant leadership model we are teaching and our relationship with them is being strengthened.”
Interested students from the class were invited to the coffeehouse fellowship, which provided an informal atmosphere for further discussion of things pertaining to leadership and gave Trenton an opportunity to further develop and strengthen relationships with the goal of opening up doors to share the Good News.
Hope Livingston is a writer serving among the peoples of South Asia.
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