I Have Arrived: Smiles, Bows, & Tears
Today, my first full day here in India, I visited Charminar.
My team will be arriving here later today at tomorrow so with the help of incredible host staff where I'm staying, I was given quite the tour of a place that quickly brought me to gut-wrenching tears. Despite the utter poverty, and I mean poverty on levels America will never know, the people here are incredibly loving and embracing. While my intentions were to go into the marketplace to buy attire to blend culturally, the Lord had other plans.
He opened my eyes. To a people who were blind and living in oppressive darkness. Beyond their smiles were eyes that carried deep pain, sorrow, and anguish. This pain wasn't going to go away with me just handing them a rupee (Indian currency). And while I locked eyes, smiled and bowed to show them that they matter in spite of the deplorable conditions because they are imago dei, my heart was shattering. I cried as I rode past filthy and barefooted children eating food from the ground. I hung my head in shame as I walked beside people stretched on the ground moaning from ailments.
The Lord spoke very softly to my spirit and said, "My beloved, these are the least of these. These people are not just physically in need, they are spiritually dead. These are who I sent you to love."
There were moments when I literally lost my breath. I had only walked the street with my driver for a couple of hours and if I didn't have to finish my lessons I would've stayed all day. To break bread with the women who I encountered and shared a few words with or to put shoes on the feet on the little boys who were laughing and trying to get me to buy pearls from them that I didn't need.
I'm not here to be their savior. I don't have the means or power to be. But I am full of the Savior's love, with lips ready to introduce Him, and the power of the Spirit that enables me to be His hands and feet.
There was a reason I hadn't finished my lessons until now. God needed to give me more context. He needed to open my eyes through personal engagement. He needed me to get it.
Please continue to pray that His work will be done and hearts will be receptive of Him as He leads the team and I onward.
"Father, make of me a crisis man. Bring those I contact to decision. Let me not be a milepost on a single road; make me a fork, that men must turn one way or another on facing Christ in me." –Jim Elliot