Within the past year, India’s government took nearly 400 young girls–most of them born out of brothels and prostitution, and gave them names. Most were merely numbers to the government, but even those that had birth names had been called ‘rejected’ ‘unwanted’ or ‘unloved.’ They were renamed–given new identity. And my prayer, is that one day, those same girls might find another new name in Christ Jesus.
Yeshu Naam Ki Jai ho. Jesus, your name be higher.
Though I have only been in India for a little over one week, I feel as if I had never been anywhere else. This is such a lofty statement to make, but the Holy Spirit has definitely worked within our team and in our ministry. I am living with seven other women–all single–all ranging from different ages and life experiences. They bless my hearts daily with their contentment in the Lord and they are challenging me to more and more hold fast to scripture as a sword and spear against the enemy. It hits me more and more each day that we do not fight against flesh alone. Each day, I ride a bus into the city where we have our stitching center in the slum area. Several days ago, while hearing the Muslim morning call to prayer, I saw a Hindu believer wearing a shirt that bore a picture of the cross. Over the cross was written one word: destroy. Though I am daily reminded of the evil and darkness that has overtaken this country, I am also daily encouraged by the believers that have found the one true God. Each night, we sit with some ladies who have beach shops and sell to the tourists.They call me sister, and their eyes light up with a joy I am unable to describe. Their husbands have never worked a day in their life. They beat the women if they do not make enough money. Their families disown them because they choose to believe a God they have not yet acknowledged. And yet, they hold on to a Bible they cannot read and proclaim that “the Lord is light and life.” I sit and hold their hands and read them scriptures and pray that one day–these women will be able to read the words of truth on the pages of our Holy book.
I feel as if daily I am learning so much about compassion. Compassion is not sadness and it is not empathy. Compassion induces change. Action. as each day passes—as I come home with dirty and sticky clothes—as I find geckos crawling on my ceiling or rat droppings in my bathroom—as a smell of mildew invades our room because the towels take so long to dry on the line—I have to ask myself—am I truly compassionate? Or do I merely feel bad? This does not solely apply to India. This is within America. Tennessee. Mount Juliet. My home. Compassion causes change—and am I really changed inside?
Internet is limited and our power cuts out almost daily. I am finding, however, the largest amount of joy in small pleasures—a roommate I truly can call my sister—a team of encouragers—cold water bottles for special treats—a fan that runs when the power is on. I dance Hindi with the girls. I roll balls of yarn for them to crochet. I give hugs and smiles and slowly learn Hindi phrases. I swam in the ocean and have learned to buy fruit in the market and enjoy more than anything my morning bus rides of silent prayer.
And each night when I lay to sleep—I thank God for allowing me to be here. Because when I ask God to show me his heart for this country—he does not show me sadness—he shows me hope. God is drawing his children back to him, of this I have faith to believe.