When I got to home, I felt like I was on vacation. Home was easy conversation, beverages with ice, and fun things to do. India was hot, fast, and filled with prayer. My friends welcomed me home happily and so did my bed. Remnants of India pop up—like being surprised to find toilet paper in the bathroom, brushing my teeth with water from the tap, and driving on the right side of the road (or driving at all!) But, I keep feeling like America will be over and I’ll be back in India soon enough…
The strangest thing about coming back is how life is slow. Everything about India is intense and fast-paced—the traffic, the music, the preaching, etc. Here, it’s grocery shopping, cleaning, work, sickness before anything else. It’s harder, it’s slowing down… No, it’s distractions and meaninglessness. (Ok, not that intense, but it’s definitely anti-climactic coming back to real life. I know this is common for many coming back after a spirit-filled missions trip, but I did not expect it.)
I also hate coming home and seeing my sin. Somehow, I forgot about my communication issues, control issues and my extreme amount of self-absorption while I was in India. Then, I come home and boom–here it is flaring up as strong as ever. It made me so depressed the first few days, until I realized I was just feeling sorry for myself and that I can quit being a baby and think about other people.
Despite these negativities I once again adopted upon coming home, I realize I am home for a reason. I had this beautiful, wonderful, amazing experience in a far-off country that is filled to the brim with sheep without a shepherd to come home to another country full of sheep, waiting for a kind, patient, gracious, loving shepherd. So, here I am. I am so inadequate in every way, but God taught me in India SO much about how kind he is that he will take anything you try and do for him as a gracious, life changing present for the building of His kingdom. He smiles at my little efforts and passions as if they mean the world to him… while in reality, my “gifts” are probably more like the dead mice my old cat used to leave at our doorstep. He’s good.
So, here’s the last of India that–I hope–lasts forever.
Such good kids!!
The last few days in India were a blur. The conference ended, and I was exhausted. It was a harder conference overall—it was EXTREMELY hot and we didn’t connect with the women like last time (Prati didn’t even speak their language and there were many more women there). We did, however, get to hear from one of the leaders. She was very willing to share with us and was an all around thankful, joyful person. Praise the Lord. I didn’t realize that if they don’t have teams from countries like ours they have to cancel the conferences—that’s so crazy. So, these women really did look forward to us being there and appreciated us immensely.
One thing that was very cool was that the women got up and shared how this conference has struck them. They mentioned each one of our teachings—how God used us to inspire them or corrected wrong views. It was crazy to see how God used our simple studies to encourage and equip these women! Many copied notes to take back to share with their villages! That was one of the most rewarding moments of my life—Prati leaned over and said, “See, your labor is not in vain.” If only all ministry was this obviously impactful… (I take back all complaints I made about studying for India teachings before the trip–HELLA worth it!)
Praise the Lord!!
The last day, we went shopping in Hyderabad. It was so much fun! This is coming from me who hates going shopping with a passion—any kind of shopping, I hate it. Seriously, I go grocery shopping once a month at most. Prati took us to an Indian mall. I stuck with Caitlin and Adi, my buds, and it was a different experience. It wasn’t too crazy because it was a mall and not street shopping, but it was different than America and I liked that. My favorite purchase was a ridiculous polo t-shirt for Zak (which consequently, he wore when he proposed to me). Men in India wear really patterned/colorful button-down shirts regularly.
Beautiful view from our last hotel…
The last meal with Prati was sad, but fun. It was also some of the best food we ate all trip! A pastor (who took us shopping, lol) joined us. We made it to the airport and after a long time in line, we said bye to Prati. I sincerely hope I can spend time with her in the future. She is one of the most encouraging people I’ve ever met (if not THE most). She’s worn-in and humble, but confident and beautiful in Christ. Talk about #lifegoals. I’m tearing up right now thinking about how grateful I am for her guidance and encouragement this trip. I will never forget the words God spoke through her to comfort us and empower us in him. She motivated me to love and know Jesus more–which is my ultimate goal with anyone I meet. I was honored to be her disciple for two weeks and I think of her and rush to my word so I can be as strong as she is someday.
Everyone was surprisingly in good spirits the last day and travel day—for the most part. I think we all got a little sick of planes. I kinda hit a point of frustration being in Amsterdam as our flight was delayed (I’m bitter at that place because it did not give me what I want—wahh.)
I miss Naan
We got to the Akron airport and everyone dispersed. I couldn’t take it. I went to the bathroom before seeing my family and cried a little thinking about how amazing it was to spend two weeks with such beautiful women for Christ—people I look up to and admire entirely. I’m so grateful for their patience, company, and that these spiritual giants would even give me the time of day. It was so much fun in every way.
We said bye and India was over.
I can’t help but feel, again, like I’m going back. I probably won’t, obviously, anytime soon, but I hope this feeling motivates me to share God’s workings in India with people here. And I hope he forms in me a heart of compassion, confidence, and of relentless faith.
These are the things I learned in India.
Compassion for anyone and everyone. This is kind of obvious because I went to India which is full of hurting people. But, I’m overwhelmed by how beautiful they are. All of them. Coming home I realize I didn’t even see my friends this way. Now, I am struck by how much they matter! How much others should saturate every second of my life! How much I love to help and encourage and be of any need I can to beautiful people created in the image of God! I had to go to India to learn this because of how hardened I am. But I encourage you to think about who you encounter daily and view them as God does. Is that hard? Yeah. So, start your day in the word to set your mind to how he views them. Your life will change. People aren’t a problem, anymore. They aren’t annoying (as much, lol). And they’re valuable. The most valuable things in the world! Even the poor in the streets of India… Oh, how the Lord loves them and us and everyone you meet.
Confidence in God and His word because his goodness is worth living for and his righteousness cannot be ignored. This was beautiful to learn. Why would we doubt God’s word? Why do we lack confidence when we act on it or teach from it? No. It’s God’s word from God to humanity. There is nothing more that we could be confident in. I love that he taught us this. The Bible became so much more important to me. Though, I must confess, upon coming home I was busier than I’ve ever been in my life. I neglect the Word often and I feel it. But the couple of times a week I do open it, it illuminates my life. A goal from India is to soak in the word, daily. To discover who God is through it and to understand the depths of his care for us and his plan all along. I am so thankful for classes like LTC to teach me how to do this so I can gain confidence in God and my words to others aren’t light, but saturated in the deep truths of his love for us.
The realities of the new life we have. I might write a separate blog on this when I am emotionally stable enough to do so because the new life is still too amazing to comprehend. One thing I will say is that I hardly thought about what having a “new life” in Christ before I went to India. In India, my guilt and negativity consumed me often and God reminded me repeatedly of the new life in Christ to depths I literally had never imagined before. What confidence we have in this!!
How precious every life is. Even yours. Kinda riding off of the last point… I get SO stuck in the thought that I don’t matter in God’s plan. But I do. He lavishes grace upon grace onto me for a reason. He’s given me a purpose and a mission. He loves me so much and delights to see me delight and gives delights in blessing me. I play a huge part in expanding his kingdom. SO DO YOU! Do not take what you have been given lightly and DO NOT let the devil infect your perspective of who you are. You are fire and you’ve been given the chance to spread it. People need fire. Imagine if we never forgot this? We would never need to turn to anything to fill us/waste our time. I would not need to sit in front of a mirror doing make up 15 minutes a day to feel worthy or watch netflix for an hour to experience joy–no. I CAN take everything from Him with joy in how much He loves me!
Myself & my friend/sister in Christ. She preaches POWERFULLY and we are the same age!
Do not doubt God. He takes your little steps of faith and turns them into a marathon of accomplishment. I was humbled to see what my creeping up to the podium in front of women that first day did for them… I realized this CANNOT be my own power. No. There is a God and he took this simple message and spread it deep within the hearts of the women there. Eternities will be changed because of the steps we take in our lives. Even if it seems like this step of faith is useless or you don’t think this person will listen– YOU NEVER KNOW! Either God will change lives with it or he will teach you something great about who he is– or both! I have seen this play out since being back in negative and positive ways. Negative because I see myself going back to the old ways of doing things without faith–manipulating and cutting down the severity of the truth to appear “cool”. I’m ashamed of doing these things. When I do it, I remember what God showed me in India: be bold, do not be ashamed, and do not think that my efforts will go unnoticed by God. He will come through. He will take your steps of faith and his spirit will accomplish more than my persuasion and manipulation ever could. He’s already shown me such things here as one day I just asked one girl what her objections were to receiving Christ. I prayed with her to receive Christ that day. This was God’s power, not mine. No fancy lingo and over-preparation, just faith in God’s truth.
→ Here are some things I think I touched on in the other blogs, but would like to add to complete my culminating ending point. So, here:
(Sidenote: I wrote two other lengthy blogs on my trip while in India. I could not post those publicly due to names/places travelled. If you are interested, I can send them to you personally.)
Friendship is one of the greatest things we can have in this life. A sad fact that I did not know this as strongly going into India, but during and coming out of the country, I am so thankful for friends–for the good and bad and especially grace.
You are exactly where you are supposed to be. So take it with both hands and do something beautiful for the Lord. He’s waiting for your first move, putting chances in front of you and lessons to learn. Do not sit and think “if only”. No, the time is now. These are the days we have. Let us rejoice in them and make His name known.
God is so good, He blows me away. Far, far away. What an exciting adventure we have in store as we get to learn the great lengths of his goodness.
Me & my beautiful sponsor child. (And her mother!)