I hope you aren't misled by my title. Let me explain.
Some of you may know, because you helped me get there, and you prayed for me while I was there. For the rest of the world's knowledge, I just spent the last month in India, in the state of Andhra Pradesh. I went on a missions trip with my school, and we worked with Covenant Children's Homes (CCH) and India Christian Ministries (ICM) to do a series of 4 summer camps for orphan children.
It was an incredible month. I can't even begin to tell you all of the things that God did in me, my team, and in the kids. Mainly, he gave us a "heart to see" his father heart. His heart is so big and kind and full of love, that He has called us his kids, and he has set his love for us in the heavens. His love is so great that it is never more, and it is never less, but it is always enough.
I had the privilege to see God's heart, and to understand it in my heart like I have never understood it in my head. Going in to the trip to India, I was physically, emotionally, and even spiritually drained from a busy junior year of college. As excited as I had been in November when I signed up for the trip, I found myself equally dreading the upcoming experience. My team of 10 students was headed to one of the poorest, darkest, and hottest places in the world. We were expecting health issues, dehydration, no AC, lots of rough stories from children, and broken hearts. In some ways, all of our expectations were met. You may have seen it on the news, but while we were there, 1400 people died in the state of Andhra Pradesh. The heat index averaged 130-140 while we were there (Fahrenheit). It gets to a certain point in heat where you don't notice temperature anymore; it's just plain hot, and you sweat buckets. We didn't always have AC, and the stories and things we saw definitely grabbed our attention and grieved our hearts.
But we didn't break, not once. Not on that day when it was 125 (without the heat index), when we all had stomachaches from the extremely spicy food (makes you sweat, your eyes and nose run, your mouth to burn, and your insides are destroyed. But it is SO good), and that second camp seemed to be falling apart compared to the first one. Even then we were held together, and we found ourselves rejoicing at the end of the day. God pulled things out of our hearts that we didn't expect, and he used us even at times that we felt grouchy or noncompliant.
For me, God startled me by changing erasing my expectations, and writing a new story with me. Not just for me, but with me. God is the greatest lover of duets, I think... (but more on this later). Not only did I end up falling in love with the place and people of India, but it happened in the first few days. And yes, my expectations were met, but to be honest I barely noticed the few times we were sick, and the heat didn't bother us nearly as much as it should have. Even greater, the Lord gave us hearts to see his love and his plans for the children we encountered and the families and staff we worked with. Suddenly they didn't look so much like men and women and children raised in poverty and in darkness. We saw them as brothers and sisters, as aunts and uncles, as sons and daughters of the Most High God.
And more, God pulled my heart. I have been following Jesus since I was four years old, but now I am not just following my savior or teacher or even just my healer. I have been branded with a family name, and I am trotting after my Dad, holding on to his hand or his coattail, skipping from one of his footsteps to the next. My whole life he has been trying to teach me this, to get it into my stubborn head that I am HIS. Then He gave me the choice to follow him. He said "won't you wander with me, child?"
Well, I said yes. And I'm going to spend the rest of my life saying yes.
On this trip, the Lord renewed and made firm my dreams to work with orphans, and to spend my life wandering around the world with him in long term missions work. I don't know when or where I'll be (though I truly believe that I will go back to India at some point. I'll share that in another post), but I look forward to this adventure.
It's possible because I'm following my Dad. He is leading me and walking with me. Wherever I go, or even if I stay, I will have my home in him.
I can't wait.
But it starts now. That's why I'm still looking for him. I'm home, and I am entering a season of rest before I jump back into my final year of undergrad. Yet even now I am seeking my Dad, talking to him about my next move, resting in him, and getting to know him better.
I hope you can join me. Join me in your walk, and we can walk together with our Dad. Share your adventures with me, even as I share mine. Sometime in the future, I may call on you again, to pray for me and stand beside me as I do Dad's work.
I'll be sharing a lot more about this in the coming days. God has done so much in me, and I want to speak of His goodness to you, so that you can know him better.
In the meantime, for those of you who joined me in this good work, thank you. I could not have made it without your prayers and support lifting me up.
For all of you, keep dreaming, and thanks for bearing through another long post!
With love and prayer,
your Sister and Fellow Adventurer