Thursday, May 31, 2012

India is incredible.  The more I'm here the more I feel blessed to have this amazing opportunity.  In some ways, India is what I expected it to be and in other ways my preconceived notions have been completely stripped away.

Traveling went really smoothly, so praise the Lord for that.  Even though there was a little confusion at the airport in Mumbai, our team was able to figure it out.  It was a huge blessing to travel together because I can't imagine making that trip on my own.

When we first arrived in Goa the locals would openly stare and take pictures of us.  Since it is almost monsoon season, tourists are pretty rare, so it is pretty uncommon to see seven white women walking down the streets of Goa.  I've come to the realization that I will no longer be able to blend in for the next six weeks.

One of my first observations was the incredible disparity between the rich and the poor.  There are really nice houses and five star resorts amidst the rubble of extreme poverty.

Our first day was super relaxing and we were able to rest and recover from our jet lag. We had some time to spend on the beach with the Lord and it was really needed.  The beach is beautiful and today we were able to explore more of it.

On our second day, our team split up to go to two sites.  I went to go work with women who were being taught how to sew and embroider.  I was so humbled by how warm and accepting these Indian women are.  They immediately made us feel right at home.  Even though there is a language barrier, many of the women can speak fairly good English.  My teammates and I are attempting to learn some Hindi.  I've realized that I'm pretty terrible at it, but at least I can make them laugh at my poor pronunciations.

On our way to the women's center, we encountered some street children. My heart broke for them.  It was so amazing to watch our leaders treat them with love, giving them hugs and telling them how beautiful they are.  I wanted to do so much for them, but I felt pretty helpless. Our leaders explained that we can't give them money because these children are owned and the money goes straight to their owners.  They explained how important it is that we love on these children because they are rarely showed any affection at all.  In India, and Hinduism, it is a common belief that those who are deformed, widowed, or poor have done something in their past to deserve their current situation.  Therefore, many have little to no compassion for these beggar children.  There are so many opportunities to show Christ's love here.  Pray that I make the most of these chances.

I think it will be difficult for me to remember God's sovereignty in the midst of such extreme injustice.  Pray that God will continue to remind of His power and faithfulness.

Another thing I've come to realize about Indian culture is that personal space does not exist.  We travel by bus to certain places and I can honestly say I don't think I've ever been closer to 24 other people.  I couldn't help but laugh as the bus driver encouraged more people to hop on when I already felt as though there was barely enough room to breathe.  This is kind of a silly prayer request, but I do get a little motion sick on the bus rides, so if you could pray that God would prevent that, that would be awesome.

I feel in general that getting sick is almost inevitable, but please pray that I will trust in God no matter what.  He is bigger than any illness or injury.  There are also two Indian women that come to the center that have meningitis.  One of them passed out while we were there.  Please pray for their recoveries. One of them has almost been quarantined from her family because of her illness so pray that God will show her his deep love for her.

My teammates and leaders are incredible.  God has given them such beautiful hearts and I feel so blessed to know them and be working with them.

Pray against sickness and exhaustion.  Pray that God will use us despite our weaknesses.  Pray that we can shower these people with God's love and they would know that it comes from our Heavenly Father.  I feel so incredibly humbled and honored to be able to have this experience. God is good.

I'm sorry this was so random, but I just had a lot on my mind.  I hope it's not confusing.  Thank you so much for the prayers! I love you all!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

3 days till India

So, I would just like to preface this blog by saying that I am not an eloquent writer by any means, so if you're reading this I hope that you will bear with me as I attempt to articulate my thoughts.

Only 3 days left until I fly to India.  To be honest, I still don't think it has hit me that I'm going to be living on a different continent for six weeks this summer.  How this whole summer came to be still astonishes me.  Without God putting the beautiful Ali on my wing this year, none of this would be happening.  As I was first getting to know Ali she told me about how she was planning to apply for SOS (Summer of Service, a mission program through Northwestern) and apply to volunteer with an organization called Rahab's Rope. At that time during my life, I had really been searching out what area of Social Work God was calling me to. Before meeting with Ali, I really felt a pull on my heart to work with women and children.  Ali told me that Rahab's Rope is a Christian organization that works with women and children teaching them different trades to prevent them from being pulled into sex trafficking- so immediately I was interested.  Ali encouraged me to apply and I did, only half expecting anything to work out. To my surprise, things did start to work out.  Rahab's Rope accepted both Ali and I, and a little while later, both Ali and I were accepted into the SOS program.  It has been a pretty crazy ride since then, preparing, fundraising, and praying a lot. God has been so faithful through it all.

As my time in the U.S. comes to a close I am getting very anxious and excited for my trip.  I really don't know what to expect while I'm there, but maybe not having expectations is a good thing. I just pray that God will work through me, despite my weaknesses. It's almost inevitable that I will make some sort of faux pas, but I pray that it won't interfere with the relationships I'll make while I am there.  God is doing and will do awesome things on this trip and I can't wait to be amazed.

Please pray for safe travels (God willing)