You’re probably going to see quite a few posts go up in the next few days. You see…there’s another Compassion Bloggers trip going on, this time to the Philippines.
One of my dearest online friends lives in the Philippines, and I have some Filipino cousins, so this country is dear to my heart. I’m catching up today, as I haven’t been online much over the last few days.
I love to follow these trips. I love what getting this real-life glimpse does to me…glimpses that are sometimes more like raw gashes ripped open…viewpoints and experiences from real-life people like me, into worlds that are nothing like mine but which God has miraculously enabled me to have a small part in ministering to.
I’d love to go on one of these blogging trips someday…to experience what they do first hand, to listen to the Father’s heart and receive all that I know He would show me, and then to share that with the tiny bit of world that follows this blog.
I actually signed up for it today. The last time or two I thought about it, I listened to the voice that said not to bother. After all, this blog isn’t followed all that widely so I probably wouldn’t get picked. And after all, I haven’t posted the blogs they’ve asked me to. (They didn’t mesh with the heartbeat of this blog, that’s all.)
And yet…I want to go. More specifically, I want to go to India.
When I was 17 and 18 years old, one of my closest friends was an Indian girl I worked with at JCPenney. We were the same age and we worshiped the same God and we had the same dreams of getting married and having children. But she dreamed of her parents choosing a wonderful Christian man from India for her, and I dreamed of the man I had known for 5 years and who very soon began to court me.
The contrast fascinated me. And we rejoiced with each other when each of us got married and had our first child.
And then we lost touch. Both of us moved, and somehow forwarding addresses got missed. I don’t even know if she is still in the US or if she went back to India, and I do not remember her last name or how to spell it.
But I miss her.
She is, perhaps, the reason why I chose a teenage Indian girl to sponsor. “My” girl is 19 now, and only has a few months left in Compassion’s program. Does she dream of marriage, in between her dreams and work toward finding a job to help support her family? She’s never told me so…though I feel quite sure she does. What teenage girl doesn’t? But there is also a good chance that she feels marriage is a dream that will never come true, since many Indian cultures require the parents of the bride to pay heavy bridal expenses, both at the marriage and for years after. And so that is one thing I pray about for her.
This heart for India has affected me in strange ways, too. I think that many of us don’t realize how selfish and prejudiced we are against Indians. I’ve heard many complain about Indian-owned places and talk about the owners in ways that I do not think Jesus would join. Who are we to look down on them because their way of living and what we call a “standard” of living is different than ours?
And then there is the tech support lines that many of us wind up talking on. Now, instead of being frustrated that the representative is difficult to understand or reading from a script, I find myself wondering about that human Jesus died for on the other end of the line. How hard did he have to work and how long did he have to wait to get this job? Is talking to me paying for the food that goes on his parent’s table? Is my long distance call helping him to escape poverty? Will I bless him as I hang up the phone?
This is why I sponsor H— in Calcutta/Kolkata. This is why I hope to stay in contact with her when she graduates and then chose another teenage Indian girl to sponsor.
All of this went through my mind again when Shaun Groves invited us to sign up if we were interested. And so I did.
Who’s to say that God didn’t put this on my heart for a reason? That maybe, some day in the future, I’ll be getting a passport and shots so I can visit “my” girls.
And if not, that’s okay, too. I’ll just continue to follow other people’s Compassion trips through the gift of the Internet.
And I’ll keep taking you all along with me.