Friday, June 8, 2012

On Arriving in a Foreign Land

As we race past cars, not stopped even by markings of lanes on the pavement, my eyes dart around. I see trach. Lots and lots of trash. Colors everywhere—even in the darkness, this place is rich in color. As we cruise further and further from the airport and grow closer to our place of resting for the night, I see poverty. Everywhere. People piled atop the medians in the middle of the road, sleeping on a ragged blanket as the cars and bikes whiz by, often honking in conversation. My heart beat increases. It feels as though it could explode from my chest. My eyes try to shut, but the Spirit says no—you must see my people. Be broken, as I am. It's okay.

Oh Jesus, where does the work begin? The need is truly overwhleming, the poverty incomprehensible, the hopelessness paralyzing. God, show me how to be apart of your Kingdom in this place. Lord, show me little ways to start somewhere—anywhere.

I've always thought I'd walk off the plane and just know, just "know" this is where I belong. While this wasn't the reality, stepping out that door I was met with midnight heat, a continual lull of honking horns, a scent so unfamiliar, the most beautiful people I have ever laid eyes on—and an overwhelming peace sustained me. Hungry for knowledge and time in this place, learning from these people, I took my first steps into this foreign land surprisingly fearlessly.

This place is like nothing I have ever seen—like nothing I could even begin to explain.

Walking through the city, even in the middle of the night as it was, it was as though I forget to put my clothes on or something was taped to my forehead as I felt the eyes looking my white skin and blonde curls up and down. Everyone stares. The women—out of curiosity and impatience. The men—out of some curiosity but mostly lust. The children—they stare as though we are both ghosts and movie stars at once. Waving, with big toothless grins, even from the rooftop, bug eyes and huge grin plastered across their faces.

Jesus, soften their hearts to us white folk. Give us more grace to know them—especially the women. Teach me your ways, Lord. Break my heart for what breaks yours. Speak boldly. Help me to be a doer of your words, not just a hearer. Teach me to hold fast to your promises, for you are good.

"Oh India, you will not be forgotten by me. I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud and your sins like a mist; return to me, for I have redeemed you." Isaiah 44:21-22

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