Thursday, February 26, 2009

A Day with Sythani

Every now and then things work out in such a way that it is just crystal clear that God has a plan, and He changes our humanly plans for a reason.

As I wrote about in my blog Meeting Dilsili, my sponsored child was not able to come on the planned meeting day. Even though I would not have a child to be with, I went into the meeting day ready to be available for God and the people on my team to use me however I was needed.

Little did I know that God had a different plan. Because of an injury, there was a woman who had to back out of coming on the trip last minute. The India staff responsible for communicating with the children and the staff that would accompany them on the meeting day was with our team from day one, and we kept him very busy. Because of this and the difficulty of communication in some places in the country, the child ended up coming to the sponsor day. By God's perfect plan, I was available. Although she was sad that her sponsor was not there, the child, Sythani, got me all to herself. She was able to have a special day, and so was I.

Sythani is 16. She came to the meeting day with one of her project staff, Charles, and also her mother, Aisha. Sythani and Aisha are Muslim, but accept the help of Compassion even though they are very clear that the Gospel is preached and that the ministry is based on the love of Christ.

Sythani's mother Aisha had never seen the ocean. With a Muslim woman on either side of me we played in the Bay of Bengal for a majority of the day. None of us cared that we were in skirts down to our ankles. We played and laughed and had a great time.

Towards the end of the day there is a time set aside for exchanging gifts. Sythani had given me a hand made necklace with hearts and beads of sage when she greeted me in the morning. Of course I did not know I would have a child for the day, and I had already given all the gifts I had brought to Dilsili the day before. Wanting to give her something I gave her everything I had on me that I could spare. I gave her my sunglasses, the shells we had collected on the beach together earlier that day, a small journal I had in my bag (I had to tear out several pages I had written on :), and last but not least a bracelet I had on my ankle that I had made for one of the VBS crafts. The bracelet was one that told the Salvation story. It was a simple hemp bracelet with 5 beads on it, all with significant meaning. Before giving her the bracelet I explained the meaning of each bead: gold for Heaven, black for sin and life without Christ, red for the blood of Jesus that he shed on the cross, white for purity and our hearts being washed white as snow when we accept Jesus into our hearts, and green for growth in our relationship with Christ. Out of respect I asked Aisha if it was okay to give Sythani the bracelet. With a big smile on her face she said yes, and I tied the bracelet on her wrist.

Before the children started their journeys home we went to our hotel and had time to say goodbye. While in the lobby another couple that was on the team brought over a butterfly bag full of school supplies. They said God put it on their heart to pack that extra gift, and they would know who to give it to. Sythani was blessed again. I asked if I could pray for them, and again with a big smile on her face, Aisha said yes. Standing in an out of place hotel lobby in India, I prayed over this Muslim girl and her family in the name of Jesus. When they left there were tears in all our eyes, and I felt as though I was leaving another one of my children.

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