By Larissa Elaine: Greetings from India! Today was our second full day in India, and our first day at the medical camp. We are trying to keep a daily update of our trip on the blog. When Josh proposed that we each take turns writing about our experiences that day, I jumped in line to be first (I must say there was no fighting over it, probably because I’m traveling with a group of Indians). I knew I must write because my experience is unique compared to most on our trip, since this is not only my first time traveling to India, but also my first travel abroad. It’s also my first mission trip of any sort.
Today started off with breakfast at the YMCA, and the arrival of Vicki, Sue, and Jilu, making our team complete. After breakfast, we took a bus from Mumbai Central to New Mumbai. After an hour or so drive, our bus dropped us off on a narrow dirt side street in front of the alley way that houses the brothels. We were lead down the alley by Raj, one of our BTC staff volunteers, to the clinic site.
As we walked down the alley way, we passed the brothels on both sides of us. The brothels look to be six to eight feet wide, each consisting of only one level – a dirt floor. Women used in prostitution, madams, and children sat outside the brothels, many glaring at us as we walked past. The women sat under awnings which overshadowed much of the alley. Scrawny dogs hung their heads low as they meandered the broken sidewalk.
After an introduction to the neighborhood, I desperately needed to use a restroom. We were told we could use the community restroom, but luckily Raj and his mother (a former madam who has been saved) arranged for me to use a brothel madam’s private bathroom. Now as ladies, we always travel to the rest room in groups, and this was no exception. I was accompanied by Shainu, Shelley, Vicki and another BTC staff member. The brothel manager rinsed the floor for me (it was squat style) and I took a big gulp and stepped inside. Afterwards, I emerged and stepped into the small interior room. There Shainu had been asked to pray in Hindi over one of the brothel women. It was amazing. We hadn’t even opened the clinic yet and already God’s presence was being requested by the women! Amen!
A short while later, KK Devaraj, the founder of BTC, arrived, spoke, and we prayed as a group. After prayer, I introduced myself and mentioned how the BTC book made such an impact on the hearts of those at my work. To my awe, Devaraj placed his hands on me and prayed over me. What a surprise!
By that time the community was ready and waiting for us, and we were part of a small ceremony acknowledging the local political officials and their allowance of the clinic today. We were able to interact with the red light community, each in our own way. Monday we saw some 127 patients – praise be to God for a great turn out! Free medical care mixed with curiosity brought forth a community eager to interact with us.
Our day ended with a prayer and delicious meal with Uncle Devaraj.
Here are some praises and prayer requests:
- Pray for the IT team. They will be spending the whole day at the BTC Office and they have lot on their plate (including editing some video footage that may appear on CNN). Pray that God would give them wisdom to use their time wisely and efficiently.
- Pray for the team as we will be spending time with the children at Jeevan Jyoti (the BTC orphanage in Kamatipura). The team members who went there on Sunday were so blessed after visiting these children. Pray that God would show us how to love and minister to the needs of these children when we visit them.
- Praise God for the amazing day we had at our first medical camp at the New Bombay site today.
- Praise God for the overall health and peace He has given to the team members, and the unity and joy He has given to us as we minister together as a team.
- Praise God for the amazing staff and volunteers of Bombay Teen Challenge who have been sacrificially serving and will continue to do so even after we leave!