It was the Christmas week of 1971. Lilly and P.G. Vargis were sitting on a rock after an evening walk outside the army camp of in the North Indian state of Kashmir. In the silence of the majestic Himalayan Mountains, they both began to worship God. Lilly started to pray. As she began, P.G’s eyes caught sight of little fires starting all over the mountains. They were the cooking fires being lit by households in the mountain villages to cook their evening meal.
P. G. stopped Lilly in her prayers and said, “Lilly, see those flames of the cooking fires on those far mountains? Behind every fire there is a family. And, those people on the mountain have never heard that there was a Christmas. Should not those people hear at least once that there was a Christmas?”
“Who will go to those people?” inquired Lilly, looking puzzled. “Even if you go, they will not understand you, because you speak another language.” “Can we go?” P.G. asked. Lilly resisted at first and then became angry. He now pleaded, “Lilly, the world has been celebrating Christmas for 2000 years. We are about to celebrate another Christmas. Should they not hear at least once that there was a Christmas? Lilly, at least once; just once?”
Lilly broke down and said, “Yes, they have a right to hear at least once that there was a Christmas. If you will go, I will go with you.” Under the starry night on the cold Himalayan mountain, they clasped their hands and answered the call to take the Good News to the far flung and remote, unreached people of North India. This was the beginning of IET.