Hey friends! This was one of the best weeks of my life, spent at an orphanage in Kota, India. Honestly, this was the leg of the trip that I was looking forward to the least, but that just shows how foolish I am. God has shown me so much of himself through these kids and my time here. The wonderful characteristic that God showed me this week is that He is love with no reserves, constraints or conditions.
The orphanage here holds 500 children. I’ve had to repeat that to myself every day… 500 homeless, parentless children. Ponder that for a moment. I’m sure if you do, you’ll wonder why I chose to describe God as loving instead of the countless other words for God. But that’s the beauty of it – He is light in the darkness. Shelter in the storm. Happiness in the sadness. Love in any and every circumstance.
I want to share my favorite moments (and moments I saw love):
*When we first got here, I was wondering if the kids would be a little shy, maybe take some time to get used to us… boy, was I wrong. I walked out of the door and the first kid that saw me came running to me screaming, “Auntie!!!” [side note: they call people of respect Auntie and Uncle, I have SO learned to love the name]. I saw God in that first child. I saw how happy she was to just have a bit of my attention. A look, a hand to hold… that’s all she wanted. Even though everything in me wanted to feel so bad for her, for the tragic life she’s had to live, she didn’t need me to feel bad for her, she needed me to be happy with her. To love her as her heavenly Father does. So I smiled and hugged her and thanked God because I only love because He first loved me.
*Here in India, it gets to be around 100-105 degrees in the heat of the day (I am suffering with you, Texas). It is a total desert. After sitting in church one night (no doubt sweating our butts off), we walked outside and felt drops of rain. Y’all. It was like madness. We had dinner waiting for us on the table, but dancing in the rain called our attention first. Everyone in the nearby vicinity had their eyes glued on these crazy Americans who were dancing wildly in the rain. We all laughed at the thought of them thinking this is what we normally do in America… haha. We were just so happy for the gift of rain and wanted to praise our Gift-Giver in joy. Why am I not this easily pleased in America? Why does rain usually make me cringe and run for cover instead of enjoy and praise its Creator? I need to love (and recognize) my God, my Redeemer, my Jesus, at all times, in every circumstance.
* When we were told that there were 500 orphans, I thought from the beginning: I can either make small relationships with 100ish kids, or go deep with a few. I decided to go with the latter and I am so thankful. My best friends this week were girls named Diyo, Sharda, Kiran, Solum and Kamla. I spent all week with them – in their rooms doing hair and make up, outside playing games and I sat with them at church. I can’t even begin to explain to you how giving these kids were. They have hardly anything, but they gave me everything they had. I never went a minute without one of my girls fanning me when I was hot (i.e. all the time), combing my hair, giving me henna tattoos or touching my face and calling me a princess (Diyo even popped a pimple on my face – that’s love). I thought I was here to serve them? I thought I was here to show them God’s loving nature, not the other way around. Not only is he unbelievably loving, but he is full of surprises. A perfect example of the loving and giving nature of these orphans is the second to last day of our time here, Diyo told me and “Ryan Uncle” (another guy on my team) to come over to their room after dinner for a surprise. We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. When we opened the door, it was like a party thrown just for us. The whole room had put in ten rupees (their money) and bought us a package of cookies, bread, candy and a coke. THE WHOLE ROOM PUT IN TEN RUPEES TO BUY US STUFF WE IN NO WAY NEEDED. It made me sick to my stomach to have such undeserved treatment. God gives. And gives. And gives. And we don’t deserve any of it – these girls GET that. They give with no reservations or second thoughts. And it is unbelievable. Why don’t I love like that in the States? Why don’t I throw my money into gifts for people just to show them God’s love? Why don’t I take time to invest in those around me? Why don’t I treat people as valuable?
[big big side note: When we walked into the room, we had JUST eaten dinner and were not hungry at all. Of course, we would eat some to be nice, but we kept begging the kids to eat some too. They totally declined and actually resorted to STUFFING our mouths with food. They would say, “Auntie dance!” and as I’m dancing, they’d literally open the candies and shove them in my mouth. At one point, I had 4 candies in my mouth and 2 cookies coming at me from children. So, logically, I knew I couldn’t handle all of that and they weren’t going to stop, so when I turned around in my “dance” I spit my candy out and put it in my skirt . When we had finally ended the night and I got back to my room. I unloaded 6 candies and 2 cookies from my skirt. Haha. It was the only way to survive. 😉 ]
All this to say, I spent a week with 500 grateful and happy children who have had seemingly everything taken away from them, but are still joyful in the Lord who gives exactly what they need, exactly when they need it. They have taught me how to love – and love fiercely. I will never be the same. I have learned so much about my lovely Savior, and for that, I am ever thankful.
P.S. The Tajmahal is really all it’s cracked up to be. Just, wow.
Uganda, here we come!
For His Name,