In case anyone missed it, I went to India for two weeks.
I had an amazing time and I'm still processing through all of it.
But I figured I should blog about my time before anyone started thinking I went for nothing.
So here goes! :P
First of all, I was soooo nervous about my trip. I tried to hide it and I'm not sure whether or not I did well. It's been a little over a year since God specifically called me to India. Although I was excited to finally go, I was scared that I would hate everything about it. I mean, that would happen to me. I would hate something that I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt God had called me to.
During my first hours and even days in country, I watched and listened and soaked up everything with wide-eyed wonder, afraid to evaluate my feelings. Soon enough, I knew. I did not hate India. In fact, reality was quite the opposite. I was truly, madly, deeply in love with this beautiful country!
|Becky H., Wendy, me, and Bethany overlooking the farms outside of|
Hyderabad after hiking up a mountain.
I loved the colors, I loved the views from my window, I loved the food, I really loved the chai,
and most of all, I loved the people and what our gracious God is doing in Hyderabad!
I expected God to reveal something to me and to do something in and with me,
but as is common, He greatly exceeded my expectations.
The best word to describe what He did in me during my trip to Hyderabad is heart-stretching. With every child I met, played with, and loved, with every painful story they told, and with every ray of hope they had, God stuffed my heart full, stretched and grew it, and then stuffed it full again.
|Wendy, Chelsey, and I had a blast playing soccer with Shiva and Nagaraju!|
This process was not exactly fun. Every time we left a group of children, I felt as if my heart broke a little. I didn't want to go. I didn't know how I could love another group of kids as I had loved the previous group. Yet God always came through. With each bright smile on a beautiful brown face, I knew that once again He grew my heart. He gave me room in my heart to love these amazing children in the way He wanted them to know love. And with each smile, hug, dance, laugh, and barefoot soccer game, I knew that He was growing and molding my heart into one more like His.
|Playing the 7up game with my buddy, Raju!|
One of the most difficult things to learn was that my brothers and sisters in Hyderabad do not need me.
They do not need me to come and tell them the best way to care for the orphans in their community. I do not necessarily know the best way just because am I American. It was when I learned this that I truly felt humbled. I am not 'needed,' yet God wants to use me.
Meanwhile, I absolutely loved seeing how my brothers and sisters cared for their orphans (and will probably blog about it soon :)). And no, they didn't need Americans to tell them to care for their orphans. God put the care of the beautiful, wonderful children on their hearts and they are following His command.
|Dude, I look so hilariously white in this picture!|
Mahish, Vamshi, and Aijay- some of my friends at Sarampet Orphan Farm.
And Richie, our translator's son.... Just because he's adorable.
In the midst of the humbling and the heart-stretching, I learned that yes, India is where God wants me to be. I heard Him correctly. And who knows, He may even want me specifically in Hyderabad! I know that it is no coincidence that He brought me there this summer.
|These lovely girls, Hema and Suma, did an amazing job with my henna. :)|
Would I go back? In a heartbeat.
When I got on the plane to return to America, I couldn't help but cry. I did not just leave the country and people that I loved, but I left my heart behind as well.
Now, I am in America. Although I am glad to be back, I am homesick.
I cannot wait 'til God takes me back to the place that my heart calls home.