Today was a fantastic day. I will tell you about it, but first let me tell you about yesterday.
Saturday morning we went to the school at 7a.m. to play sports with the children. When we got there we had about 12 children. First I played Badminton with some girls which means that we hit the birdie back and forth for as long as we could and if it drops then the next girl plays. I was ok at it. I didn't embarrass myself too terribly. Then we went to play Indian Volleyball or Throwball which means we caught and threw a large ball over a volleyball net. I was doing great until I caught a ball, jamming my ring finger in the process. Ouch! Immediately the first joint of my finger went crooked. I looked at it and since I couldn't straighten it I asked the girls near me to pull it straight. Yeah, it didn't work. Not so much. So, I switched games again and ended up playing with the 6th grade girls. We played freeze tag and Carrom, a game with a large square wooden board with wooden pieces and pockets. Then I taught them how to throw an American football correctly. I even showed them how to hike it which they thought was hilarious. I'm happy to report that I didn't receive anymore injuries! It was such fun to play with the kids and to see them in a smaller group setting. After that fun we had a meal with Ananthi, whom we now all call Auntie.
The team is now divided into 2 teams. One team stays here to minister to the children of the school and the slums(that is the team I am with) and the other team is working in the area of child trafficking/prostitution in Delhi and leaves tomorrow for Mumbai. Our team made more home visits in the slums. It is difficult to convey how these visits go. We walk into a room of about 6x8 which is their entire home. A larger home would be 10x10 with an upstairs roof. These homes are dark, hot and crowded with the double bed platform in the corner which doubles as a couch. When we come in they introduce their family to us and then they share their prayer requests. After we pray they will try to serve us some soda or snack of some sort. It sounds lovely and it really is until you have to do it again and again and again. After the 4th visit I was just done. I couldn't emotionally do it anymore. It is difficult to explain, but the truth that I am powerless to do anything for them becomes overwhelming. They treat us like celebrities...we pray for a few minutes and then we leave them...still living in the exact same situation...to climb into our air-conditioned van and go eat our food in restaurants and sleep in our clean beds. We have seen so much poverty and sickness. Blind people who's blindness could have been prevented by a simple cataract surgery in the states. Naked babies. Cows eating garbage. Pigs running loose. Beggars. Children with skin conditions. A baby with horrible burns who's eyes are painted black because it's parents worship the god of death. You can appreciate that I just couldn't process another visit. I joined our driver "B2" in the car along with a teammate, Glenn, and we talked about nothing. David and Colleen did one more visit and then we headed to the church for a work project. The men did the work(my favorite kind of work project) and Colleen and I visited with some of the women and took pictures. I met one of the students who's name is Mercy. Don't you love that? She is in the 9th grade and is the head of her class. (Her mother is the woman who doctored my bleeding toe the other day)We shared testimonies. It was so nice. At the end of the day, around 730pm we headed over to "Capitol Curry" for dinner. It is a nice Indian restaurant with ESPN on. That was my Saturday. (I prayed for the folks at home who were celebrating our sweet friend, Sharon's, life and Homegoing!)
And now for Sunday....we started by attending church with Auntie. The service was exactly what you would expect in a third world country. Delightful. All three of us that were there were asked to share. Of course I cried, but it didn't go into the ugly cry, just couldn't talk for a bit. All of our speaking was done through a translator named Kapil. I don't have any video of me sharing, but I don't need any. I won't forget that experience for a very very long time. After the sharing we were asked to pray for anyone who wanted prayer. In the states we rarely have anyone come to our prayer room. We don't admit our need very quickly in the US. Here every single person in the church came forward for prayer and waited in line like we were "holy" people. I was struck with the huge responsibility of it all. They waited in line to have me pray for them...me....how absurdly amazing. I even had two women ask me to pray and bless bottles of water. I guess they are hoping that it will now have some sort of power. Only God knows if He intends to use that water for His holy purposes. It was a precious time. Blessing the children who came for prayer was my favorite. If I can say this and not sound arrogant...as the children waited for me one of the older women tried to push them out of the way and I thought about Jesus and how he said, "no, let the little children come unto me" and I asked her to leave them. I loved laying hands on their heads and faces as I prayed. It was like nothing I've ever had the pleasure of experiencing before. God was in our midst. It was a holy experience.
After church Auntie took us to a wonderful Chinese restaurant in a 5 star hotel. It was just 4 of us and we had such a nice time. Auntie is like a holy woman to me. She is one of the most delightful people I've ever met. I have fallen in love with her. While we chatted after our meal our American contact, Laura Marie, called us from New York. She had to leave us on Friday to go back to the states as did Frances. I cried when they left. Laura Marie is a 26 year old woman who is the executive director in the U.S. for the organization we are here to serve. The Lord allowed us to share some intimate conversations this past week and our hearts bonded in a deep way. Part of why God brought me to India was to meet Laura and Frances. Precious people who inspire me to love God and others and journey this life looking for ways to serve the world. She called to check on us as we struggle to get along without her. Frances is 19 and I've mentioned her before. A remarkable gal for her age, really for any age. We had a ton of fun together and are hoping to meet up in July while we are in north Georgia.
I know this is a lengthy post. I hope you have stayed with me through it all. Can I say with a smirk, "comments would be nice!?" Thank you for all your prayers. I will continue to process all that I see and share as much as I'm able. I will post more photos because you know I have a ton! Just 5 more days in India....
Love in Him who is alive and working in India,