By Kathleen F.
“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10
After 3 days there have been more chances for us of the team to share with one another and process our personal impressions and feelings right as things happen. – This has been really nice for me being able to share this meaningful experience with dear friends – (7 of us are from the same GCM group!) And in learning more about one another, I realize how unique and special our personal life-stories are and the amazing ways that God worked it out in preparing and arranging for each one of us to be a part of this incredible serving opportunity.
After returning to India after 4 years, my emotions were still running high – I was very excited and delighted at all the familiar sights and sounds and yet filled with compassion at the same time. I teared up more than once, especially while looking into the eyes of a precious woman suffering with despair and pain on multiple levels. I also feel so close to God in realizing His immense love and compassion for each of us and for the downcast and abused. And I’m so very grateful to Him for this privilege to be back in India to represent Him to those who’ve hardly known what it’s like to be genuinely loved and cared for.
Today we returned to the red light district in Navi Mumbai to the same clinic and setting as the day before, which was good because we all had a better idea of what to expect. We basically followed the same routine, – for my part this meant helping with registration and praying for the patients. This time I had my Hindi Bible with me to read certain passages from Psalms I felt would be helpful, – for I know how clear and powerful the Word of God is when it’s understood in one’s own language. – (I was sadly aware that many of the patients I prayed for yesterday had difficulty understanding my broken Hindi and American accent.)
After we finished clinic, we had a time of worship, and then there was opportunity to share testimonies and words of encouragement between the local staff and our team. A few of us expressed our admiration and appreciation for all the staff for their devotion, sacrifice, and genuine love for the women and for each other, which so glorifies our Lord. – (“By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love another.” John 13:35). And what was also so moving to hear was when they told us how some of the patients remarked how they felt so cared for, and in some cases started to feel better after receiving the personal attention and prayer they did from us over these 2 days. This was so encouraging because while you’re working with so many people trying to do your best, you wonder if you’re making much of a difference in their lives (I certainly wonder this), – so to hear them say that what we did really helped them was a wonderful blessing!
In late afternoon, we said our goodbyes and drove a couple hours out of the city to Jubilee 4, one of the children’s homes of Bombay Teen Challenge. In contrast to the former neighborhood we had just been where there was despair and suffering, there were now smiling friendly children (37 girls and 17 boys) living in a bright and attractive large-roomed house. As soon as we entered, we were greeted with warmth and affection, and we then enjoyed a delightful visit talking, playing, laughing (and dancing) with them. It was a sweet and happy experience.
Then we traveled a little further on to Ashagram, the lovely complex way out in the country where the young people who’ve been rescued are living in a safe, healthy and pleasant environment allowing them to heal, learn, serve, and grow spiritually. This is where we would spend the next couple of days.