“Lord, are you calling me to go to India this year?”
This is my prayer every year. This is the prayer of many of you for mission in our homeland or far away — every year. I thank God for the team that traveled with us and for the intercessors who remained on their knees praying for the mission and the people. The people we met in West Bengal had prayed earnestly for the team to come. All the prayers were heard by the Lord and He answered in ways we will never know about. No digestive issues! No accidents! No lost luggage! No lost team members! Thank you, Lord Jesus!
The principals of two large diocesan schools — St. Michael’s and St. Peters — hosted the team with the traditional tea and biscuits. Both principals love their roles as administrators and helping mold children in their Christian schools. Every social caste of Indians attend the schools. Both principals asked our team to pray for some students who are disabled or are “naughty”. Four students are: Supratin, Rohit (both are disabled), Rohar (for calm) and Elisha.
Last year, we met the director of St. Michael’s Safe House who was shy and kept to herself. This year, she was confident, smiling and most helpful in making decisions about gifts we brought for the ten girls and the 50 village children. God gives growth to the very poor village. Bp. Dutta is building a school on the grounds of the Safe House! The families were too poor to send their children to school (couldn’t afford uniforms, books, etc.), so the bishop started an afternoon school in the Safe House. NOW, the school has come to the village. We do not know the opening date for the school, but this is a true gift for these children to receive an education, and perhaps an escape from frank poverty.
Women performed the rite of washing of feet to welcome strangers into their village. Washing feet is Scriptural. Mary Magdalene washed Jesus’ feet with her tears and dried his feet with her hair. One of the last acts performed by Jesus was to wash His disciples’ feet, honoring his friends. My tears come easily as I remember sitting in a red plastic chair, surrounded by the men and women who paraded the team into the village with dancing and drumming, and then bending over gracefully, the women washed our feet.
At the Festivals of Hope, we prayed with people with wild eyes, weeping eyes, hopeful eyes, healed eyes. I know the Lord hears their cries, their pleas for themselves and their children. Many nursing students came for prayer for their families and their studies. In a prayer line, an elderly woman dressed in rags, pushed a little child in front of a well-dressed woman for me to pray for him. With gestures and eye contact, I asked the woman if I could pray for the child before praying for her. She took a step back to make room for the little boy. I did not have a translator and do not know what his prayer needs were, but God knows. I continue to keep this unknown child in my heart, and thank God that it matters not where you are in the social order, He cares and He answers the prayers of His little lambs.
This was a great team! Every team member shined with their special Holy Spirit giftings. Thank you to the families who released their loved ones to travel thousands of miles away from home for two weeks!
A big alleluia for Bp. Dutta, his wife Rita, our three pastors who traveled with us, Ruth Pugh, Director of Music, Mr. Gorai, the Cooks, the Accountant, Ankita and Caroline, Communications and the many pastors who hosted the team. A most affectionate thank you, Lord, for the diocesan drivers who delivered us safely to our destinations. A professional driver in India requires these qualities: focus on the road; ability to read the drivers behind, in front of, and beside him; super fast on the brakes; hand and eye coordination; excellent hearing; and nerves of steel!