Last year six months seemed liked the longest amount of time in the world. I’m committing to be away from family, friends, and familiarity for six months! One month has passed and how wrong I was. I wish I could grab January back and hug it and cling to it a little longer. Time here has gone by so quickly and in 30 days I’ve already learned more about myself, more about the ministry I’m most passionate about, and more about a part of the heart of our Creator I’ve never been able to experience before. I feel I’ve done my best cherishing every moment and memory, living and participating in everything that’s asked of me, trying every food, taking in every smell (even the awful ones), and making the most of each moment but I still can’t believe that one month of my time here has passed. Although, seeing how much I’ve grown, accomplished, witnessed, and been apart of in just one month makes me all the more excited to see what God will do in the next 5 months. To think my time has just begun and God has so much more in store for these ladies, for Kate and I, and for the teams coming to serve with this ministry makes my heart soar.
I’ll give you a glimpse into what my day to day looks like here every week. Monday-Friday, 9:30-5:30, we’re in the office with the ladies. Worship and morning devotionals, this month we’ve been talking about purpose, English lessons, Bengali lessons, and of course their jewelry making are all apart of their time in the office. The amount of time they use though to pour into these ladies spiritually is truly what sets this ministry apart from so many. When there was a concern in the community, we just finished work early and went and prayed as we walked around the community. Their schedule is up to God and in every moment the staff and the ladies are waiting to hear from him. The ladies are so special. They have a joy about them that’s contagious. I would love to share stories with you to show you where God’s brought them but they’re not my stories to tell. While some of the stories are devastating and hard to hear and take in you wouldn’t know they come from that from the way they worship the Lord in the morning. The thoughts of those things in their background wouldn’t cross your mind when you saw the way they cry out to God on behalf of their families and friends in the community. You wouldn’t be able to tell from the way they proclaim the Lord’s goodness more than any middle class american with an effortless life. That past doesn’t define them so it’s not up to me to share, these ladies are not victims they are warrior princesses. They’re not a pity story they’re an encouragement to my faith and the way they love and serve inspires the way I want to live and serve. What happened in their past isn’t apart of the picture anymore because they are learning to live in their new life in Christ and take advantage of the freedom he gives them.
Saturday is house church out in the red light community. One of the JIAC ladies uses her home as a meeting place for this care group and it’s such a blessing and it’s truly growing despite opposition from the enemy. I’ve been working with the kids program and it’s been so good. There have been some hard weeks where a handful of the kids are a little wild, but it’s just their reality, they don’t know better but they’re learning! These kids are so hungry for some Jesus and it’s such a blessing to sit with them. We’ve been singing the song Break Every Chain during morning devotionals where the lyrics say, “There’s an army rising up to break every chain.” These children are that army rising up. If this generation grows up in the gospel and walking in the way of the Lord just think of the generational chains they’ll break in their community. I truly believe that pouring into these kids now, even when it’s hard, is something I want to be apart of because I believe they can truly change their communities for the Lord. One of the girls who works with us has been in charge of that and she walks with such authority and the kids have so much respect for her so I can’t wait to see how the Lord uses her and these kids.
While that was more of an overview and not super specific you get a good glimpse of what all’s been going on here in India and I can’t thank those of you who have been supporting me financially and in prayer enough! I wish I could get every second of January back and hold it a little longer but I’m so excited to take February day by day and taste and see what else the Lord has in store. How I need him here in ways I truly don’t back home. It’s so beautiful to be completely run down and exhausted, to pour myself out so it’s truly him flowing through me and loving on these people in a way I couldn’t in my own strength. I’m seeing so much of his heart for justice, for the world, and for these people. I’ve been so blessed by my hosts and the way they love each other and the way they’ve served and taken care of me. Also I bought all my produce for a week for less than $5 USD so that’s a big reason as to why I wish I could just stay forever.