After being down for the count for the last 36 hours I finally feel well enough to go to the school today. My belly still cramps, but it is bearable and I can't stand feeling so useless. I promise not to eat any Indian food though. Maybe plain rice, but that is it.
I listened to some worship music yesterday and the tears rolled. Honestly, and I surprise myself by saying this, I would do it all again. The sickness was horrible, but not more horrible than being here was wonderful. It has been a life changing experience for me. I am doing a James Macdonald Bible study called, "Lord, Change My Attitude" and guess what this week's study is on??? CONTENTMENT! Only God in His sovereignty could have arranged that. "Contentment-being satisfied in God's sufficient provision....to rest in what one already has and seek nothing more, to say without fear of the future or envy of others, "I have enough." God calls all of us to contentment. Invites us really. We can certainly, and usually do, live in discontentment quite naturally, but He invites us to trust Him to give us what we need and then to be satisfied there. Being in India, seeing what I've seen, I am pondering contentment for them. I have plenty. Waaaay more than I need, so being content will become a conscious choice for me, but not unattainable, by God's grace. What about those living in the slums? How do they achieve this place of contentment? Believe it or not, the same exact way as you and me. Being in relationship with God on a moment by moment basis while choosing to rest in His provision. I can't comprehend it and I don't mean to simplify it, but this I know, God lives in India. He is as available to them as He is to us. He has not forsaken His children and those who are watching see His hand throughout their life, even though they live in the slums. I have seen such joy on a blind woman's face as she sang a song of praise for us. I see it in little Dolci's smile that spreads all the way across her face, even though she is an orphan and wears the same blue polka-dotted dress every day. God is all around me here. My spoiled American self has realized again and again that stuff does not matter. Relationships with God and others are all I will take to Heaven with me. Strip it all away and who am I? Would I choose to love God and be content in Him? O Lord, let it be so. Continue to rip away all that I think is important and make me find my true self in You. I don't want the truths from this trip to wash away when I finally take a shower in my own shower...I want them to penetrate my heart and change me down deep and that is my prayer. I have no idea how to resolve these two worlds, but I know God has brought me here and I don't want to waste what He has shown me.
I have found the child I want to sponsor. Her name is Mercy. Isn't that beautiful? She is the only child of her parents and is so precious. Her mom shared many testimonies of God's faithfulness to their family. They are the caretakers for the school and have a small home attached to the church property. I mentioned them in my last post. Mercy is in 9th grade and is in the top of her class. She and I have made a connection and I want to continue in our relationship. She and I both love to read. We were talking about books and she told me who her favorite author was(Enid something) and then went into her home and brought me out a little story book to read. I took it back to the flat and read some of it. It is separate little stories, sort of like fables where there is always a lesson to be learned. I can't wait to send her the Anne of Green Gables Series! I haven't been back to the school to see her yet, but Colleen(my team member) took her book back for me and she gave me another to read. Colleen told her I was sick in bed. Last night she called me on the phone to see how I was. She said her parents were thinking of me and she asked if I had eaten. They are very big on eating here! I told her no and she said I should eat. I told her I had some toast and she said ok. Too cute. I am humbled by her affection and concern for me. I hadn't even told her I wanted to sponsor her until last night. I can't wait to put her picture on my fridge. Do you have a spot on your fridge for a child like Mercy? There are so many here who could benefit from your generosity. Would you pray about it? It is only $34 a month and could change a life.
I will post some more photos soon. I am awed by God this morning and thinking of you all and praising Him for such a wonderful support system for me. He shows me His love through you. Thank you for being His voice. Many blessings and contentment, js