Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Shout out to McM!

            When I attended Church camps in high school, there was a strong emphasis that EVERYONE is called to international missions.  There was an incredible amount of pressure to place a push pin to the map where God was calling you.  I started to place my push pin on Africa.  Everyone seems to be called to Africa… Eventually I didn’t even participate in this activity because I didn’t feel called to international mission.  I felt guilt and shame because I seemed to be the only one in the room that was interested in only local missions.


            Not much of a plan, other than trying to get my M.R.S. degree, I enrolled in McMurry University.  I only applied to McM.  I thought I would find my husband and the degree wouldn’t be so important.  As time progressed, my education became important to me.  I found that I really love Sociology.  A common phrase I often say is “I just want to love on people.”  Not having known what Sociology was, I found a degree that can allow me to “love on people.” 


            2 ½ years at McM has taught me a lot like I am worth an education.  I can use my education to empower others and myself.  I can use my education to “love on people.”  McM has provided oppourtunities for me that I could never imagine.  I had zero desire to participate in international trips.  In January, I went with the School of Business to London and had a blast.  Well, I told God if that trip went well, I would go to India.  Now, India was a little different.  I didn’t feel called to India.  I just wanted to go.  Well, I had a great time in London, so the following July I went to India with McMurry in Motion.


            I wasn’t prepared for how much I love India.  If you don’t know, God’s children are in India.  I met them, “loved on them,” and they loved on me.  I am planning to return to India for six months starting in February.  I could not be more excited!  I’ll be working with Life Light Ministries (check out their Facebook page!) 


            I’m honest in saying that no one has been hard on me for being a single woman.  I’m even more honest that being single has been hard on me.  I want someone to “love on.”  If I was married right now, there would be little chance that I’d be listening to God’s call for me to “love on His children in India.” 


            My time at McM has been a blessing.  Thanks to my lifegroup and Mandy Hale, author of The Single Woman, I embrace being sassy.  I am excited for the next chapter in my life.  PLEASE be praying that I continue to listen to God’s call even when it’s tough, that I embrace my sassiness, and pray for Life Light Ministries. 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

So, it has been several weeks since I've returned from India.  It's nearly two a.m. and I'm wide awake!  This never happens!  Why am I awake?  Because I'm thinking of my girls at NBCH. 

I miss my girls so much! I miss Reena, the leader. I miss, Monika, who is so silly! I miss Komal, who is sweet and soft-spoken. I miss Shiwani, who has the best spirit. I miss Ranuka, who shines ALWAYS. I miss Gloria, who can't keep her eyes off of me. I miss Mahimai, who trusts me.

On the last night, each group had a child that spoke kind words in front of the large group.  Can you guess who was willing to speak in my group?  While all the children spoke about going to zoo or hiking up the mountain with their group leader, my Reena blew me away with her kind words.  Reena said, "Didi Chelsea always asks us how was school and what we learned today."  I am a huge fan of education, but I did not realize the small, constant phrases I spoke, are making BIG impacts in my girls. 

At the end of the night we met in our small group and I gave the girls candy.  I started with the youngest, Mahimai and her eyes became large.  Gloria and Mahimai's dad is a director so they only spent a couple days with me which is another cool story for another blog.  Gloria's eyes also filled with excitment.  My girls were spoiled, so they did not care that they were getting candy at all.  I even got there favorite, Cadbury.  That's all they ask for.  My five girls were weeping at the thought of me leaving.  As I handed each girl her candy, I would say "I love you." 

This was the first time I was able to say "I love you" to my girls.  I was uncomfortable by our growing relationship.  Now, I can't imagine what my life would be like not to know Komal, Reena, Ranuka, Shiwani, Monika, Gloria and Mahimai.  I dream about these girls.  I know God has bright futures for all seven girls and all the children of NBCH.  Please be in prayer for Life Light Ministries and NBCH. 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Wow!  What a wonderful end to the day!  Tonight, we went to Sanjay’s home for dinner.  I was able to ride a bicycle for a good portion of the time while others learned to drive his motorcycles and play soccer.  I rode on a motorcycle for the first time today!  I just loved being able to bike a little.  I’m really missing exercising.  The dinner was excellent!  The best meal I’ve had here and that’s saying a lot because everyone knows I’ve been eating really well!

Yesterday, we were able to hike a mountain!  I would say I’d rather do it by myself though.  The children had a blast, but it’s pretty scary walking up a hill with 80 kiddos in flip flops that are breaking.  I got to hang out with my buddy, Gloria, who also was wearing flip flops.  I was responsible for ten girls yesterday, just a bit overwhelming, but a great time nonetheless.  One guy called Gloria my daughter as a joke…

I really love it here.  I see God’s people.  I’m not homesick as much as I am missing silly things like a pedicure with my girlfriends or a phone call with my mom.  I’ve had hot showers though recently so I am grateful. 

Please keep praying for our team.  People are homesick and it is about time to go home.  I will try to blog a little more before we leave.


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Today may have been my favorite day so far.  I went to an Episcopal Church and it was so nice to sing gospel hymns and knowing Sierra Vista was doing the same thing this morning!  My heart is so joyful in knowing the comfort of home so far away.  I can’t say I’m quite homesick, but I could go for my favorite drink and donut from Starbucks.  And it wouldn’t hurt to share it with TyBaby.

What is different about Church is the influence that the culture has on a Christian Church.   Women would wear shawls and had marks on their foreheads for marriage.  Everyone took their shoes off for communion. 

Then, I went to Church at the Children’s home.  It was the craziest thing I ever saw to see these children praise the Lord.  It was beautiful!  One of my girls, Reena even sang a duet.  I’m very proud of all my girls. 

Yesterday, the girls started calling me Mom.  As if the marriage dream wasn’t enough to make me want to faint…  I love these girls.  I really would like to sponsor Monika, (who doesn’t have a sponsor) but I’m just not ready to see myself as a wife and mother yet.  One day, but that just isn’t the season God has me in.  When I graduate, we’ll see…

We celebrated Papa Dongerdive’s birthday at the children’s home.  It was so impressive to watch the children eat rice with their hands.  It was a little gross, but cool nonetheless.  I tried to pass off the rest of my chicken and salad to my neighbors and they didn’t want it.  The littlest girl at the home ate it for me, what a rock star!

I was hurt by the plate situation.  The children each have their own plate with their name on it, sounds like a good thing, right?!  Wrong.  They have their names on their plates so the cooks can’t steal food from the children.  The home has gone through four cooks in this last year for various reasons.  The new cook has a daughter in the home, so I think she will be more promising. 

I gave my girls Snickers today.  They all loved it.  We shared with the house mom and she didn’t even know if the candy was from India or America.  I’m shocked by how simple these people are.  I want to live a simple life.   

Ruth 1:16-17 Ruth said, "Don't force me to leave you; don't make me go home. Where you go, I go; and where you live, I'll live. Your people are my people, your God is my god; where you die, I'll die, and that's where I'll be buried, so help me God--not even death itself is going to come between us!"

I am praying that God make clear the plans he has for me.  His people are my people.  I see Jesus even in those who don’t proclaim Christ.  Welcome to Planet India!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

I was so tired last night that I couldn’t blog which may have been a good thing because I have a lot to process.

I felt great all morning until after breakfast than I thought I was going to lose my toast.  The school was so nice at letting me sit down and gave me plenty of water.

I started co-teaching English with Dr. Buzan and Dakota.  I think we are off to a great start!  Today, we will discuss Little Red Riding Hood.

In the late morning, I was in a class with sixth graders from St. John’s English School.  We will learn about World Religions together.  It’s going to be a good time!  Snarkiness is universal, there is one chatty cathy in the group and the girls just kept looking at me and smiling. 

We came back to the hotel for lunch.  When lunch was almost finished I was asked to take my picture with one of the waiters.  I was very caught off guard by being singled out.  John warned us about not talking to strangers and saying where we stay.  Well, I bill my room every time I eat in the hotel… I’m sure he just wanted a picture with a pale girl.  He walked away and came back and asked for more pictures with my roommates and me, which made me feel a little better.  He only shook my hand good bye, which may be common, but men must extend a hand first.

Today, at the home my girls came back from school excited to see me, and I was excited to see them!  Komel is still not back.  The girls assure me that she will be back tomorrow.  My sweet Ranuka got hit with a cricket ball in the lower back.  I had my arm around her and I could feel that ball hit her body as she collapsed into me.  Everyone around us kept saying don’t cry.  My instinct is to naturally cuddle her.  I was just blown away with how many children were saying not to cry.  I would have been bawling for quite some time.  Ranuka tried to fight the tears, but that ball hurt.  We went inside and listen to Taylor Swift and look at pictures of TyBaby and friends.  The girls are trying to learn everyone’s names.  The girls noticed the battery was getting low and asked if I had my charger.  I said, not right now.  They became worked up and said, no more music.  I said its okay because I knew we only had a few minutes left.  They wouldn’t have it; they were so worried the phone would die.  We looked at pictures only. 

This morning I found out that two of the girls’ mother is in the hospital because the father lit her on fire.  This is not an uncommon story.  Now, we know these girls!  I can’t even imagine what today will feel like as we go to gather and play.  The girls are taught to cry.  Prayers for John as he talks with the girls today.

I’m also praying for the work that God is doing at home.  I’m so grateful for my time here, but God is revealing some of the work He is doing back home and I’m so excited to see people’s hearts grow in the Kingdom. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Monday, July 15, 2013

Wow!  What a day!  First, we went to St. John’s English School and had a grand orientation.  The students danced for us and welcomed us with many flowers.  There was a power surge which was a little shocking (as I’m proof-reading, no pun intended).  We waved to all the little ones and it was very sweet.  I got to explain Thanksgiving.  A student wanted to know what that Thanksgiving is.

We came back to our hotel for lunch and to rest before going to New Beginnings Children Home.  At NBCH, I got to meet four out of five of my girls.  Komel went home to visit.  The girls welcomed me and the first thing they asked about was TyBaby!  I didn’t realize I talked about her so much in my bio that I sent them earlier this year.  I was given cards, two sets of earrings and a nose stud.  I may need to get my nose pierced in India.  My girls are ages ten through twelve.  They are so beautiful and at least two of the girls have siblings at the home.

I’m struggling with how I feel about Komel going home to visit her family.  I think that would be such a tease.  Maybe it’s a good thing.  I guess I’ll find out when I meet her, hopefully tomorrow. 

One of my girls, Monika doesn’t have a sponsor.  I’m not sure if she will keep being able to go to school or live at the home.  I don’t think they will kick her out of NBCH.  All the girls tell me about their sponsors and are proud of them.  I hope Monika will get a sponsor soon. 

I’m requesting lots of prayers for growth of our team.  I also ask for prayers of discernment.  I’m really challenged as to how to process what I’m learning.  I’m grateful that McMurry University has plans to have a long lasting relationship with Life Light Ministries, but will I?

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Today was a touristy day of Mumbai!  We started the day with a late breakfast, though many of us were not able to sleep in this morning.  For breakfast, I had an Indian pancake which came with a spicy coconut sauce and a curry sauce.  It was thin like a tortilla, but more airy. 

Our first activity was to ride a train, “the heart of Mumbai.”  The train is open so many people will ride hanging off the train since trains are often overcrowded.  I was not as brave, but I did ride with my head out of the doorway.  We only rode the train for two stops.  Trains are Mumbai’s largest mode of transportation.

We went to the Prince of Wales Museum where many of us could have spent days looking at everything.  Amid was helpful in explaining some paintings and games.  I found my sweet TyBaby a book about Mumbai in the gift shop and can’t wait to read it to her soon!

Next, we saw the Indian Naval Academy.  I was pretty excited by this and am missing my dad.  We were on our way to the Indian Gate, which was a crazy experience.  Here we were bombarded with beggars and salesmen.  People were staring at us.  It was a very overwhelming experience and if it hadn’t been for Amid, I’m not sure I would feel as safe as I did.  This is about the only super touristy place in Mumbai.  It was sad to see a cycle of poverty.

We went to McDonalds!  I had half of a Big Mac which was actually made of chicken.  It was pretty good.  The McDonalds in India delivers.  I hope America never gets a delivery system for McDonalds.  I asked Amid if he takes his children to McDonalds often and he said, “Never.  It is too expensive.”  My meal was like $4.  It was just shocking since we view McDonalds as such a cheap meal.  Amid has a wife and two boys.  I imagine many people do not go out to eat on the scale that many Americans do.  By the way, I feel just as awful after eating Indian McDonalds as I do when I eat American McDonalds.

We then got to see Queen Victoria’s Palace which is being turned into a train station. 

Our last stop was one of Mumbai’s beaches.  We received a lot of stares here as well, but no one bothered us like they did at the Indian Wall. 

I probably will not blog tomorrow because we are leaving for our final destination in India!  Monday I will meet my girls, Komal, Monika, Ranuka, Reena and Shiwani.  Please be praying!