I just realized I completed put down the wrong days in my last blog. I guess I wasn’t lying when I mentioned that everything seems to blend together here… Regardless, TODAY is actually Thursday and yesterday was Wednesday. Now that we have that straight, let’s begin.
Wednesday, August 6th:
The morning meeting/devotional time with the IGL staff seemingly went well. I shared out of Colossians 2 and mainly tried to talk about the gospel since a lot of their workers are unbelievers. It was fun. Right after that we were able to meet Laura’s sponsored kid, which was awesome. She asked Craig to take a box full of presents and stuff for him and he was so excited when he saw it. If you’re considering adopting a child through IGL just go ahead and do it. I wasn’t doing so before this trip but am going to after seeing the real impact it makes.
After that, we went to the YMCA in Salem where they were having a regional pastors meeting. That means that all the pastors there are leaders of other pastors. Craig taught on worship and did very well. Logan and I both were able to share our testimonies, which was (again) humbling but awesome. After that and before we left all the pastors together prayed for the three of us. Remember that verse somewhere that says “the prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much”? Well, these dudes are incredibly righteous. I don’t remember a time feeling more empowered after someone prayed for me. After that, we went back to the IGL office to help edit some websites. They need a lot of help with that because most of the people who work there speak English as a second language. It was nice being able to help in a way that we could see was for sure beneficial. Later that night we went back to the boys’ hostel to teach our last devotional. Craig was all prepared for it but we ended up (thankfully, as you’ll see later) getting it pushed back a day. We did play some cricket with them, though. I tried to teach them football but that was pretty much a disaster. The language barrier can be pretty frustrating.
Thursday, August 7th:
This morning we went back to the office in order to finish up editing those websites. Then, Jeremiah, one of IGL’s workers (who also graduated from seminary and helps lead the boys in Sharon), took us out to some stores. We hadn’t been able to buy much of anything until today, so it was cool. I liked being able to see where people buy and sell things. Salem is so big and we’ve mainly been in villages and churches so I feel like our perspective is widened with every new experience. We all kind of hate shopping, though, so yeah.
After shopping, we asked them to take us up a nearby mountain. We’d heard it was awesome and wanted to do so before we left. So, Logan, Craig, Demi, Jeremiah, Raj and I all ventured up there. Like almost literally everything else we’ve done here, it far surpassed anything we could have expected. I thought we it’d be some 15-minute ride up to look down from an overlook. Instead, the drive took an hour and we saw probably 1,000 monkeys along the way. Once we got up there we were so surprised to find a whole entire town! From the bottom of the mountain one can hardly even see a single road, so this was a shocker. It wasn’t only a town, though, but some sort of fancy tourist/vacation spot (at least part of it). There was even a lake (?!) up there. So, we went on a 10-minute motor boat ride on the top of a mountain in India. It only cost 350 rupees for all of us combined, which is a little less than six dollars. Afterward we did end up finding a sweet overlook, which was also amazing. All of this was hidden quietly in the mountain we’d all been looking at regularly. Who knew? Like I said before, after being here for a few weeks I’m only beginning to see what’s actually going on around me. I wonder what else we are all surrounded by daily but don’t see.
We were late getting back as usual (“Indian time” plus “Xenos time” isn’t the best combination) so we weren’t able to play sports with the boys. Craig was still able to teach his last devotional, though, and he did well especially considering that he didn’t know he’d be teaching to all the ages until he sat down to begin. He thought it’d just be six or so college guys but it ended up being about 30 altogether. I’m so glad we were able to get the gospel out to them one last time. After the teaching we hung out with them for a while and took some pictures since it’s our last day. It was heartbreaking to see how sad they were for us to leave. It’s not like we’ve really done all that much for them, either. They are just completely longing to be loved. Perhaps the saddest part was that one of the fairly older boys started crying before we left. A lot of the others started making fun of him for doing so, but it was sweet. Well, I think it was mainly really, really sad. Craig did a good job of reminding him that he has Asap and Jeremiah there still. That’s the huge, blaring beam of light that we noticed in the midst of being so sad to leave… these boys really are in great hands. Praise God that there are people here who are loving them in a real way. As I was starting to be grateful for that I began to think about all the kids in the world who are without it. These kids here, who are now being taken care of, loved, and given the opportunity to know Jesus, were still so sad when some people who had invested just a small amount in their lives were leaving. It made me think about the millions of kids who don’t have anything like that. Who is going to love them? How? I don’t have the answers to that but I can tell you that seeing these kids faces (and seeing them excitedly sharing what they know about the Bible to us) is one hell of a motivator. There are so many people dying for love- why not share it? I’m not that good at that or anything right now, but I want to be. This place is contagious.
Anyway, this is probably going to be my last blog post while in India. I’d write more but I’m really tired. We leave for Bangalore tomorrow, where we will be staying in a hotel in order to take a plane early Saturday morning. From there we’ll be taking a 23.5 hour layover in London so we can see the city. I’ve never been to Europe (besides the one hour layover on the way here…), so that will be fun. I can already imagine the contrast.
I don’t think I’m going to write anything summative just yet. I need some time to digest it all. I do want to say, though, that I am so grateful I was able to come here. I’ve learned more about the world, God, and how I might fit in to all of it than probably any other three-week span of my life. Our stay here has been filled with everything from seeing God working in the most amazing ways to witnessing some of the more heartbreaking things we’ve ever seen. I don’t know what it all means just yet but man am I glad I came.
P.S. Thank you all for your love & support from afar. It’s been incredibly encouraging to hear from people as well as read the comments on here. I can’t wait to see everyone soon.