“All of You is more than enough for all of me, for every thirst and every need. You satisfy me with Your love, and all I have in You is more than enough.”
So, talk about culture shock…this past week in India has definitely been a life-changer. If I were to sit here and type everything the Lord has revealed to me in this country, you and I both would be here for hours, so I will share the biggest things and we’ll talk about the rest when I get back
We flew into Delhi, India last Thursday night. I got my first dose of India driving leaving the airport, which was quite an adventure. The only driving tool they really use is their horns–lanes and blinkers are less important here than in the U.S. I was amazed though at the peace that came over me the minute we pulled into the orphanage. Even though I was on the other side of the world, about to face a very different lifestyle for a week, the Lord made me feel so at home. When we got to the orphanage, the leaders and some of the older boys came out to greet us and help us get adjusted. They were so gracious, and showed us in the first 5 minutes of being there what true hopsitality looks like.
During the week, we woke up at 6 o’clock every morning for prayer with the kids. Then they did chores and we spent time with the Lord and had team Bible study until breakfast. Later in the mornings, we divided the kids into teams and played games with them for a while, then basically just hung out with them for the rest of the day. They have afternoon and evening prayer too. Evening prayer times were ones that we got to lead by sharing songs, skits, and passages from the Bible. We were so blessed with cooler weather while we were there too! Returners from last year’s trip had told us about the 115 degree heat they experienced every day last year in India, but this year God gave us 4 days of rain and lots of breeze. It warmed back up by our last 2 days, so we got a small taste of the heat but are still praising the Lord for making the trip so enjoyable in that aspect. Playing with the kids in the rain was a blast too; I will never forget those excited faces sliding into mud puddles and having the time of their lives.
Because the team received so much financial support this year, we were also able to take the kids to KFC and a water park! They hadn’t been out to eat since the Global Journey team took them last year. They love KFC, and sure enough know how to eat down to the bone. They loved the water park too! That was such a fun day for our team and for the kids. We had a dance party, got to share our love for Jesus with a Hindu woman, and got to see evidence of truly thankful hearts through the smile on every child’s face. (We also got a few fun stares for being the only white people there)
Like I said, God has taught me SO much through being here in India. I expected to come into this third world country with so much to offer these kids. I thought I was the one coming to give…the Lord turned that one around on me quick. It was through my little friend teaching me simple game of throwing and catching rocks that I realized how much I had to learn about simplicity. I almost titled this blog ‘spiritually spoiled’ because that is exactly what I have experienced this week. I may have things at home that are worth more money than these kids may ever see in their lives, but they have more joy than I have ever seen in mine. There is so much beauty in simplicity. It’s so easy to pay attention to God and enjoy His presence here because there are not a million materialistic things competing for my attention. I’m not constantly looking for ways to please myself or make myself comfortable. Here, I am able to remember that this life is not about me. By doing that, I am able to fully, wholeheartedly give my attention to the only One who deserves it.
I also learned that I am not owed anything in this life. So many times throughout my life I have just assumed that I deserve to be healthy, that I deserve to have parents, that I deserve to have comfort, that I deserve to have friends, that I deserve to go to school, and have my needs met, and to experience happiness, and to have salvation…wrong. I am worthy of nothing. All of these wonderful things I experience in my life are gifts! Gifts– not things I have earned or am worthy of at all. Through this revelation, God has shown me how to have an always-thankful heart. Everything happens according to His will, and He has a reason for everything that makes up my life. He cares enough about me to have a plan for my life, and to redeem me back to Him, so how can I ever be anything but grateful? The Lord may choose to bless me with a family, friends, a job, a school, clothes to wear, and food to eat, or He may choose to give me none of those things here on earth. Either way, I will remain thankful because I will still always have more than I could ever deserve. I have Jesus, who is more than enough!
If you view these kids through a materialistic perspective, you’ll pity them. They take bucket baths, wear the same few pairs of clothes over and over, sleep on mattresses made out of some straw like material, and only see their families once or twice a year. Seeing them through a spiritual lens, though, is incredible. I feel arrogant now for thinking I would go in and give them so much, when they have given me so many new perspectives, laughs, hugs, and helping hands. From simple things like dusting off the ground where I lay my scarf, calling me “Auntie,” hand-washing my clothes, and giving me pieces of artwork that took them forever to complete, the Lord has spoken volumes to me about how to be a selfless servant. I have realized how truly self-centered I am, and how detrimental that is to my walk with Him. I can’t grow closer to Christ, or become more like Him by making the focus of my life me. I’ve known this in my head for a long time, but seeing the lesson unfold before my eyes this week has really captured me. These people don’t have time to think about themselves because they are busy serving others, and ultimately serving the Lord. They stop their activities 3 times every day to meet together to pray and worship the Lord, not because they think they have to, but because they want to. They realize the importance of keeping God at the center of their lives, and it shows.
The Lord has put such a hedge of protection around that orphanage. Outside its walls is extreme poverty and spiritual darkness. Cows wander around the villages because the people believe they are holy. All you really see is dirt and people bearing the heat underneath flimsy huts. The smell is awful and in other parts of India there is a lot of Christian persecution. Although it is heartbreaking that these kids aren’t able to be with their families, and they live seemingly rough lives in comparison to Americans, in comparison to the rest of India, they are truly blessed to be in a place where their physical needs are met, and most importantly, where they are hearing the truth of the gospel every day. Praise God for that! I experienced the presence and peace of the Holy Spirit so richly in this place, and I pray that these kids experience the same.
The children at Emmanuel Christian Home have captured my heart. I knew leaving them would be hard, but there is no way to really prepare for what it actually feels like to fall in love with children, then have to tell them goodbye without being able to promise coming back. When I heard our bus honk on its way in to pick us up yesterday, my heart sank because I knew that time had come. Those final hugs, “I love you’s”, and “yes I will try to come back, please pray that God will make a way for me to” were hard. Then when the kids ran after our bus and waved goodbye at the gate, I waved back with tears of sadness and of joy. That may be the last time I’ll ever see those faces on this side of heaven, but I know I have a trustworthy God who will continue to care for those kids better than I ever could, and if it is His will for me to come back one day, He’ll make it happen. Until then, I will remain thankful for this massive blessing of getting to know and learn from these kids. I am so unworthy of their service and love, and of the Lord’s desire to teach me through these incredible experiences. I serve such an awesome God, who serves me more than I will ever deserve. To Him be the glory for all things. He is so worthy of all of our praise!
I can’t wait to get back and share more about what God has revealed and done on this trip. But until then, please continue to remember my team and me in your prayers. Please continue to pray for protection and for opportunities to share the gospel, and that we will set our minds on the Lord always. Thank you so much for your prayer and support, and for making this trip possible for me. My life is already being changed and we still have 3 countries to go! I am so thankful for you, and for the Lord working all things together for me to be here. There is no place I would rather be.
I love you all so very much!