Friday, February 27, 2009
A Road that Leads to Somewhere
This road has 14 hairpin curves (a very car sick woman in my van counted). It climbs up the side of a steep mountain in The Middle of Nowhere, India. As we approached the mountain one of the India staff pointed out the road we would be climbing up, and I believe I can speak for all of the team when I say we all said a silent prayer. In an oh so comforting tone the India Staff told us that the road is very dangerous. "This road is very dangerous. Many cars fall off the side. That is a possibility," were his exact words.
The day leading up to this mountain road included a 3:30am wake up, 5 hours on a crowded train, several hours in vans on bumpy "roads", hiking through a river to get to a project, taking a potty break in viper infested fields, hours of playing with kids, and walking through villages to visit families from the Compassion project. To say the least we were all tired and ready to reach our next stop.
As we rounded each blind turn on the one lane road we honked as a warning to prevent any head on collisions. A couple times we would pass a vehicle coming down, and whoever was not on the cliff side of the road would pull over as far as possible to allow the other by. As the drive went on we became more comfortable with our driver's skills and their system, and were able to enjoy the sunset and hundreds of monkeys loitering on the sides of the road.
We reached our beautiful guesthouse and settled in. Electricity was sparse and had to be used for cooking, so no hot water or electricity for most of us, but that was okay. All I wanted to do was sleep. The rock hard bed was a very welcoming friend, and I was out in no time.
The next morning we took a 5 minute ride to the Compassion project we were visiting that day. Immanuel Child Development Center. When we pulled up several fathers from the project were performing a traditonal dance for us, and hundreds of children were lined up ready to greet us.
The welcoming was overwhelming and beautiful. It set the tone for the entire day. After we went through the line of 357 children, 50 Child Survival Program moms and babies, and several parents and project staff, we reached a tiny room where over 500 people squeezed in for the welcoming ceremony. During our welcome a little boy stood and gave his testimony of how his aunt was unable to have children. At Compassion he learned about Jesus and his power, and he went home and prayed over his aunt for healing. Praise God, his aunt is now a mother, and because of one child's faith his entire family is now Christian.
After we were welcomed I was blessed and surprised with the honor to speak to the crowd on behalf of our team.
As the day went on we did VBS (this was the day that we had twice as many children as we expected! See What NOT to Expect), I learned some basic Tamil, served lunch, did home visits, prayed over a Hindu family surrounded by an entire Hindu village, and absolutely fell in love with India and this community of villages. At the end of the day I did not want to leave. I should have been tired and drained with all the emotions and chaos the day brought, but I found myelf at peace and completely content in this place.
These two boys, Richard and Dass, who I had spent a majority of the day with, they asked me if I could stay. Everything in me wanted to say yes. When I told them no they asked me if I would come back. Although I couldn't make any promises, something in my heart told me I will. And until that day I will keep this place and these people, and especially these two boys in my prayers.
As I rode back down that mountain the next day there was no fear in me. That road in the middle of nowhere led to somewhere. Somewhere amazing and beautiful. Somewhere where people are hungry, and where people are being fed physically and spiritually. Somewhere that God is at work in wonderful ways. Somewhere that felt like home. Somewhere that changed me.