We have a small group of students from Taylor University in India right now with Jim. Here is a reflection from one of them:
Right now, we’re in the town of Shimoga. We’ve been here since Tuesday, after two days of traveling, around 20 hours spent on a plane and a five hour bus ride. We’ll be here until Monday, when we leave to spend time in an orphanage in Bangalore. The days spent here so far have been rich, and even in the short amount of time we’ve been here, so much has happened, and there is so much to process.
India is full. Of color, people, buildings, animals, noises, smells. There are cows that walk down the roads, constant honking, coconut trees that grow taller than the buildings, and women dressed in brightly colored saris everywhere. There is always something to look at, always something to see and wonder about.
Since arriving in India, we’ve been treated with nothing but kindness. The people here are so hospitable and welcoming, and interacting with them has been a blessing.
The time spent with the children here has been a joy. There are nine children in _______ and they are each beautiful and precious in their own way. They have greeted us with life and smiles and laughter. They are so eager to spend time with us, and it’s been an honor to be so readily accepted and embraced. It will be hard to leave. Our time with them has consisted partly of hosting a VBS program for them, and partly simply spending time with them and playing games. Much of our verbal communication with them has taken place through a translator, but I’ve found that it’s amazing how much communication can take place without words. Sometimes, all you need to be able to do is laugh with someone.
On Thursday, we spent a few hours talking to Pastor Christopher, who is in charge of the home, about his story and some of the children’s stories. They were not easy stories. He talked about the persecution they have faced from Hindu neighbors – once having to take his family and the children in his home and spend two months in Bangalore before it was safe to return. He told both heartbreaking stories children and hopeful, beautiful stories about them. It was an honor to hear them all. When we were finished talking, he asked us if we would forget them when we went back home. It was a humbling and challenging question. I hope we don’t. I hope we never forget.
We still have more than two weeks of the trip ahead of us, so please pray for our health and our safety as we continue to travel. Pray that we’ll be able to love the people who we come into contact with well, and that we can see in them the face of God, and that they can see that in us. Thank you for your prayers.