Once we were on the flight from Doha, Qatar toward the USA I asked each team member to write out their thoughts of this trip. I asked them to write a reflection of the trip in general, how the Lord spoke to them, and what they would do differently in the future. This post is a compilation of reflections of the team members.
Kolkata, the city of extremes…. Bright, kind, beautiful, hopeful, helpful, and strong people surrounded by oppression, darkness, fear, and persecution of Christians. Standing in awe of these Christian people who struggle there every day.
The most memorable experience was the river baptism. Aside from the 8 new believers who were baptized, there were only 3 of us present. While there were people on the opposite shore of the river, I doubt they had any awareness of this public declaration of faith. I was filled with love & joy as I prayed over the women as they walked up from the river.
Prayer is so powerful and we witnessed the deep need in many places. The ladies on our team prayed over every woman in the church at the N village individually. Our hearts were broken for what breaks theirs. In a single day we spanned all emotions, excitement, apprehension, hesitance, joy, tears, laughter, sadness, gratefulness, and more. God took us deeper into the lives of his children who desire to know Him better and it is an amazing and humbling blessing to be used by Him.
There was something even more special about coming to India this year for me in that I felt it was coming “home” to friends that we have cultivated over the last few years and being privileged to join them in what God is doing in this place. I continue to be amazed at the resilience of the children in the slums who are being a light in the darkness of the faith of the believers, and of the leaders that are “counting the cost” to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. God is raising up these believers to go to their villages and slums, start churches, in their homes, and truly do the ministry of Jesus. The numbers of millions of people here who are still unreached is staggering. It truly has to be God’s work! God continues to use these trips to encourage me in my faith and to challenge me in many areas… and to break my heart for what breaks His. I always have a lot to “digest” spiritually after coming here, but this quote from an Indian pastor’s sermon continues to echo in my heart:
“Look to the cross.
Think of the cross.
Meditate on the cross.
And then go set your affections on the world – if you can.”
There were so many things the Lord did on this trip it is hard to single out the one thing that spoke to me the most. The way the Lord used each person this trip to minister to the people we encountered was one of many things that God did while we were there. Everyone was truly a servant and we were blessed as were the people we had an opportunity to pray, share, and minister to. It was a tough trip physically, mentally and spiritually, but God was so good. Being in India, especially Calcutta, is like no other place I have ever been. It is overwhelming in almost every way. It seems hopeless from our standpoint. Walking in the streets each day I felt so inadequate about even being there at all. Then the Lord spoke to me and said, “You are not big enough for this situation, but I AM, just keep walking, that is all I am asking of you Just trust ME.”
My second adventure in India was so very different from the first time. Last year my senses were overloaded! So many sights, sounds, smells. I knew the people were beautiful, but had only met a few. I loved the children. This year, we spent good quality time with many different people, specifically those Americans permanently serving in Kolkata, the New Hope children, and many native Indian individuals serving our Lord who face challenges we can’t even understand. We talked, toured, ate, praised, taught, and prayed with many, many people. My prayer list now has so many individual faces! And that is so cool. I was blessed to be able to spend 12 days with wonderful, caring Texas Christians.
God has deeply enriched and yet challenged us.