So I now have my vaccinations, visa, malaria medication, and plane tickets. The waiting game is what I am playing now. I am getting pretty nervous, as it is the first time I have ever decided to go somewhere where I know absolutely NO ONE! I am traveling to India alone, and upon arrival in Vishakhapatnam, I will be picked up by someone I don’t know from the town of Tuni to begin getting settled in for the month.
Once I’m there, I really don’t know what I’ll be in for. I know I will be working with orphans through an organization called NASA. I may end up teaching them English or math on top of just hanging out with them. Other great things I will at least get to see, if not participate in, are as follows:
The leprosy house. There are different groups of people in India who are afflicted with this disease, and much like during the time of Jesus, they have been shunned. The people of India are leaving them for dead, and think the very sight of them is offensive. NASA partnered with the government to build a community for these people so that they can have homes, live productive lives, and gain a sense of identity through Christ.
Widows and elderly assistance. Due to economic circumstances and crumbling ethical behavior, many people, once they have reached a certain age, are driven from their homes. Once this occurs, many die from starvation or illness. Their only means of income comes from begging on the streets. NASA actively seeks out these people in order to provide aid, a listening ear, and a means of making a living. For widows and other people, NASA will provide things like sewing machines...so they can not only make a living but also have some restored hope.
Social action ministry. NASA does much in this arena as well. One of the most amazing things to me is their push for women’s emancipation. In India, women are usually treated as objects, and are seen as tools necessary for child bearing and rearing. Also, women are subject to sexual exploitation and dowry, and usually die from malnutrition or complications from being forced into prostitution.
NASA is working to change this. They are involved in trying to organize women and encourage their communities that emancipation will lead to a more whole community. What is great is that they have actually made progress in this area! It is just really encouraging to see these injustices being dealt with in such a way that is life giving and so full of hope.
I have heard it said on numerous occasions that India has a way of changing people, and I am certain that this will be true in my case. Pray that God will increase my capacity to love as I go to serve and love “the widows and the orphans.”
Also, I am just giving you all fair warning now, but please accept my apologies in advance for my March newsletter. Since I get back from India on March 8th, I will not be able to get the newsletter out until a few days after that. Thank you in advance for your graciousness...if I were a woman, I would probably do a curtsey here.
Before and after pictures of my room.
MY ROOM - BEAUTIFUL!
So in an earlier month’s newsletter I wrote about simplicity. To be honest, I’ve written about a lot of different things God has been convicting me of but haven’t actually acted on many of them. Either I would get bogged down by different things and forget about it altogether, or I would just put it off for no apparent reason.
Which is why I am pleased to announce to one and all that I have successfully simplified at least one aspect of my life. What does this mean, you ask? Let me tell you! I got rid of much of what I own! I’ve been feeling the need to rid myself of many of my not needed possessions, and after one week of intense sorting, bagging, and dumping at the local salvation army...I now own much less than what I did before. I got rid of 6 bags of clothes, 6 boxes full of random trinkets, 3 major pieces of furniture, numerous other chairs and tables, and even painted a wall. It feels good, I’m not gonna lie.
The main reason for doing this is in order to set myself up better to just go as God would call me. Jesus called his disciples into ministry with a simple charge…“Follow me.” What is great is that the apostles would respond by “...leaving everything, rising to follow him.” These people left what they had behind to follow a greater purpose. These people who followed Jesus made themselves available by their willingness to leave their worldly possessions and occupations behind them.
The thing that makes following Jesus tough sometimes is the simple fact that we aren’t willing to let go of certain things in order to be used by God. I just have felt convicted to try and detach myself from my possessions so that if I am called to go, I can go...and go without hesitation. Please pray that as I move closer to the summertime that I will listen intently to God concerning how I should set up my life in order to be more in-tune with him...and so I can, in turn, serve the teen staff better.
(to learn more about the organization i'm going to work alongside, visit www.nasaindia.org)