When I lived in India, Joelle, our friendly driver, Nagarajan, and I would make the 8 hour journey north to Bangalore every two months to visit The Boaz Project’s other four homes there.
I always looked forward to these visits! It was hard to leave our “family” in Tamil Nadu and to communicate why we made these frequent visits, but our time in Bangalore was always so refreshing.
Except when you fall into a huge crack in the sidewalk that leads straight to the sewage below. Then, it’s not so refreshing.
This is exactly where I found myself on our very first visit to Bangalore.
Let me rewind a little bit and explain how I found myself in this gross and I-can’t-believe-I’m telling-the-world,-but-too-funny-and-inspiring – (yes inspiring!) – not-to-share-predicament.
It was the start to a beautiful July day. Joelle and I were excited to spend the morning with the house parents at Agape, Pastor Tonglen and Glory Diana, while their children were at school.
We were able to just sit and talk with no agenda. We were also able to visit the Bible College and church that Pastor Tonglen founded. When it was time to pick their children up from school, they asked if we would want to surprise them by greeting them in front of their school. Naturally, we said, “of course!”
The day was going perfectly! We had arrived early and in just a few short moments, the Agape children would turn the corner, and we would be there to greet them.
After waiting for about five minutes, Esther, a beautiful girl who will proudly declare that her name means, “Queen,” came walking through the gate. As I turned to give her a big hug, I was rudely interrupted by a giant crack in the sidewalk which led to my left leg being scraped as I fell into knee deep sewage.
Picture this: hundreds of school children – who were already staring at you because you “look different” – now pointing and laughing at the foreign girl covered in nastiness.
Remember how I said this story was inspiring? Well, I’m getting to that point.
Pastor Tonglen and Glory Diana jumped into action. Thank goodness, because I was in shock.
Pastor Tonglen took off down the road to find a couple giant-sized water bottles.
Glory Diana walked me behind their vehicle so that I was out of the public’s eye and gently started telling me that everything was okay. Not once did she or her children laugh or make me feel any less dignified.
What Glory Diana did for me once her husband got back with the water is something I will never forget. It may very well be the kindest thing anyone has ever done for me. She got down on her knees, poured water on my leg, and, without blinking or squirming; she began to wipe the nauseating “gunk” off my leg. Now if that is not a servant’s heart, then I don’t know what is!
I couldn’t help but reflect on Jesus’ example of washing his disciple’s feet. Glory Diana was being the hands and feet of Jesus to me in that moment.
They then drove me to a store so I could buy some new pants. While I was looking, Glory Diana ran – literally, she ran – to another store to buy some cleaning wipes so I could feel as clean as possible.
What should have been a traumatic and humiliating episode turned into an event that opened my eyes even more to the never-ending service of these house parents.
Many people who are reading this probably have children of their own. I do not, but I have heard that being a mother can be a pretty exhausting job – a rewarding job that you wouldn’t trade for anything, but nonetheless, it can be strenuous at times.
Now imagine multiplying the amount of children in your care to anywhere between 9 to 40 children.
If you will, keep imagining with me. All of these children have come from traumatic pasts and they each have their own story and their own unique way of expressing their hurts and fears.
Some manipulate to communicate that they are sick and tired of being manipulated themselves.
Some are mean to communicate they’re afraid to get close to you because it hurts more when someone they love disappoints them.
Some are quiet and distant to communicate they’re tired of trying and failing to gain approval and love.
House parents like Pastor Tonglen and Glory Diana have an incredibly hard job! I asked you to imagine their situation, but honestly, I wasn’t even able to begin to imagine the countless hours, sleepless nights, and selfless tasks they have put into building trust and love into their family, until I saw Glory Diana gallantly rubbing sewage off my leg.
When you give financially to The Boaz Project, you are equipping our amazing house parents. When you come on a Boaz trip, you are encouraging our already inspirational house parents. When you invest in house parents, you are impacting hundreds of orphans around the world!