Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | December 29, 2011

A Monument to Love

Agra, India | 28 December 2011

Casting its reflection on the still waters of the Yamuna River, the Taj Mahal is regarded as one of the seven new wonders of the world and a must-see travel destination. This meticulously engineered epochal monument was built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal who died while giving birth to their fourteenth child. Construction began in 1632 and took 22,000 workers a total of 22 years to complete. The beauty, symmetry, and detail of the monument is nothing short of amazing. But what is even more amazing is the love that inspired Shah Jahan to build this mausoleum for his favorite wife who lies entombed under the canopy of the central dome. Hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over the world travel to Agra annually to see Shah Jahan’s marble ode to his beloved wife Mumtaz — a monument that is arguably the most recognized icon of the Indian subcontinent.

When planning this trip to India for Marcus Patterson and his children to dedicate the boys home that our missions ministry constructed in memory of his late wife Diane, I asked Marcus if there was anything else he wanted to see during the few days allotted for our trip. He immediately said that he wanted to take his children to see the Taj Mahal. Having previously visited the Taj Mahal on two occasions, this was an easy request to fulfill, even on our tight schedule. As I watched Marcus and Daniel and Danae at the Taj Mahal, my thoughts turned from Mumtaz Mahal to Diane Patterson, a loving wife and mother who spent two years of her life serving the people of India. Not many people know that Diane had earned two masters degrees from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Diane devoted herself to equipping her family to love God and modeled passionate devotion to the purposes of God at home and among the nations.

The school we have dedicated in Diane’s memory is not a Taj Mahal but instead an ordinary and functional building. However, those who gave the funds given to construct it were inspired by Diane’s love for God. The building we have constructed may not last for centuries or will never become a must-see destination visited by thousands, but it will last for at least the next generation or two and will be a place where orphans and the children of the poorest Christian families in Orissa will find refuge and receive a good education. I can hardly wait to see the expressions on the faces of Patterson family as they visit the home for the first time — a place that will be something more memorable and meaningful to them than their visit to the Taj Mahal. In many ways, the home we have constructed in Diane’s memory is itself something of a monument to love — to the kind of love that will equip children to love God, love people, and serve His purposes in spite of the hate and persecution that Christ-followers in Orissa have experienced in recent years.


  1. Omar, I wish I could be there with you and the Patterson family. How exciting to finally dedicate the Boy’s School built in Diane’s memory and honor!


    • Hey DL…

      We too wish that you could be here with us. We just arrived a few hours ago. The boys greeted us with wreaths of flowers. It was good to see them again and to introduce them to the Pattersons. Marcus wept tears of joy to finally be here. It was a beautiful moment.


  2. Omar,



  3. I have been there in March 2007. Really is it a great monument of love! Thanks for keep sending us history of Taj Mahal!


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