They will be radiant because of the Lord’s goodness

So, three blogs over the course of two weeks is actually really good for me. I’m quite proud of myself in that aspect. I’m writing this one in Kolkota, and some on the plane where the whole team got upgraded..for free…to business class. Joy Jeshu!! What a crazy blessing and what a fun time we’ve all had together up in business class to end the trip. The perfect finale to a race well run. This team has been such a blessing to me firstly. We had so much fun in our room all week, Mama Christine, Mama Karen and I. Everyone has gotten along so well and had something so different and unique to offer. They made me feel like an equal and a cherished princess and I’m so thankful for the way they served each other and I’ve loved getting to know every person on this awesome team.

 This trip has been so unique and so set apart from any other trip to India I’ve been apart of. As we spent the last day with the Jewels in a crown ladies we just spent the morning worshiping with them and then they did a dance for the team. I was just so overwhelmed by love for these ladies. The fire they have for Christ, the heart they have for their families and communities, the courage they have to go and love Jesus was inspiring and such a blessing. We took them to lunch our last day there and using almost no English, I had such fun with them. We just got to laugh and have fun and giggle, and they are so silly and so much fun. My heart was overflowing with joy seeing thejoy they have even though their lives and situation give them every reason and opportunity to deny themselves that joy and happiness. Of all the places in the world, I’m so thankful I’ll be interning with this organization and getting to love on and encourage these ladies.

   The Lord wrote a song through these ladies this week. His name was proclaimed in the midst of Kalighat, where people were lined up to give offerings and sacrifices to their goddess. We were worshipping in a building only a few feet from the river where they used to sacrifice babies and throw them in. He brought laughter to the hopeless. A young lady who still hasn’t accepted Christ stepped up and led worship and wrote a line in Hindi for the song we wrote. He showed up through drums, through paint, through beautiful dances, through Bible journaling, through singing, through repurposed trash! He showed up in giggles and laughter. He made himself know in smiles of the broken and in prayers of the unworthy. 

How unworthy we are to bow at his throne and yet how much he loves us. How little we have to offer and yet he uses our insufficiencies and shines through the gifts he’s given us. Thank you Lord for music, no matter what language, what kind, where you are it touches people and speaks to people in a way nothing else in the world does. It was so cool to see a new friend of ours, Jordan Raycroft (look him up he’s amazing), put on a concert a church in Kolkota and see how many people showed up and heard the gospel. So neat to see a new sweet sister who’s going to Bethel this fall, sing lyrics for the song we wrote on behalf of these ladies knowing she grew up with them. These past two weeks reminded me of why I fell in love with music and really rekindled a dying flame of a spirit of worship.

“…you will take up your tambourines again and go out in joyful dancing! For this is what the Lord says:

Sing with joy for Jacob; shout for the chief of the nations! Proclaim, praise, and say,’Lord, save your people, the remnant of Israel.’

They will come and sing songs of joy on the heights of Zion. They will be radiant because of the Lord’s goodness. The young women will dance for joy, and the men, old and young- will join in the celebration! I will comfort them and exchange their sorrow for rejoicing!” (Jeremiah 31)

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Sing your song, dance your dance, tell your tale

Wow. Where to begin? We’ve been working at Jewels in a crown these last few days doing a worship art workshop. Everything from singing, to dancing, to painting, to boomwhackers and percussion games, to bible art journaling, to making cross art out of trash has gone on this week. It’s been amazing to see these ladies, freed from slavery, living in the freedom of Christ learning all sorts of ways. I’ve never worshipped like this before, I’ve never felt so connected to my brothers and sisters in Christ while leading worship then I have this week. The Lord is working in the hearts of these ladies as we get to be a small part of watching them prepare to testify and share the love and freedom Christ brings for themselves with those around them. This has been by far the best trip I’ve ever been on. We’ve written a song with the ladies and it’s all their words, their thoughts and I can’t wait for everyone to hear it. While we were having songwriting session yesterday I just wept as I listened to them talk. I express myself through song, I’ve grown up performing, I’ve been writing  since junior high, it’s how I share with God and others what’s on my heart, and the way these ladies were doing just that so spoke to my heart. I can’t wait for everyone to hear it. These words came straight from them. This is their story, what they want the world to know about JIAC, Jesus, and themselves and I’m so honored to be even a small part of this.

I can’t even describe everything that’s happened and how all the Lord has showed up but its been the best trip so far I’ve ever been on. The ladies are so joyful and so funny. One girl, when I was telling her I’ll be back for her in January, told me, I’ll go back to America, get married, have four kids and them come back, it’s been a running joke with the ladies now. They’ll just come up to me and show me the number four on their hands giggle and walk off. It’s so fun to have these memories with these ladies and get to come back and spend an extended amount of time. I’m so excited to have gotten to know them and be able to pray for them, and then come back and see how those prayers have been answered. Wow, what a cool oppurtunity. As I was learning to make chai with one of the staff members today she was saying no other intern has had that oppurtunity. So cool how God is preparing me.

Last night we had the most incredible worship night with the team, the family who lives here as full time missionaries, and their really cool interns. Tonight we ordered in Chinese and had a movie night. This trip is just so fun. It’s been hard work but God has made it so enjoyable. 

Tomorrow we go to an Indian recording studio (Yay!) and record the new song!! So stinkin excited!!! Thanks so much for your prayers!!!!

Fifth time’s a charm

As I write this I’m sitting on an all too crowded plane with not so very pleasant foodand some random child sleeping on my shoulder the whole time and I’m not sure what time or day it is but I do know by the time I can actually post this I’ll be in one of my very favorite places in the whole wide world, Kolkota, India!!! After these two travel days I’ve been so blessed by this awesome team and I can’t wait to serve along side them! There are some amazing people on this team that are all crazy creative, gifted, and talented in such unique ways! 

   This is my fifth time back to India and I’m pumped! We’re working mainly with the organization I’ll be interning with in January!!! This trip is so timely and helpful in that I’ll be getting to meet everyone, have face to face conversations with people, and get a good idea about what the first five months of 2016 are going to look like!!

    Even after the few meetings and planning I already know this will be such a trip of joy! The suitcases jingle when you roll them from all the fun instruments we’ve crammed in there. Everyone on this team is so excited and encouraging, the women and children we’re working with are anticipating our arrival and this is just a fun trip! Sure, it will be a lot of hard work, it will be hot, I’m more emotionally raw then I’ve ever been having left the day of my Papaw’s funeral, but this trip will be full of joy. Firstly, for me, because my papaw loved  traveling and mission trips more than anyone I know and I’m so excited to honor and remember him in the way he would have been proudest of. Secondly, our tasks there in include a worship arts camp! 10 days of music, songs, dance, art, crafts, and bible stories from the Bible of strong, influential women who lived set apart for Christ. This is my kind of deal!!!

Here’s where to come to check up on the team and hear about the trip but if I get lazy and slack on the posting look out for our incredibly gorgeous and talented team leader, Kay’s, blog and updates on the Go Beyond Kolkota page!!!