As we pull off the cement road, several minutes from the compound, the car fumbles onto the rock as the engine quiets. The driver jumps out to open the white gate enclosing this place, like safe arms around a child. As my feet come down to meet the dirt, my eyes meet this place for the first time.
Perhaps because the poverty is becoming more normal then I would like to admit, this place radiates God's goodness and testifies to His provision immediately. It's dusted white stucco covering voices a welcome to all who approach its gate. Though inside the building you will find no comforts of the typical Western school, the presence of the holy spirit sustains.
Up to this point on the trip, I have undoubtedly fallen in love with this mountain and the people who call it home. The compound is an incredible refuge for hundreds in need. God is undoubtedly at work here—and it is all for His glory. Yet, I have not heard Him speak, not experienced the movement of His Spirit uttering beneath the breeze—not until stepping foot into this schoolhouse.
Though nothing about it seems natural or reminiscent of anything I would call comfortable, God is present and there is a need. As I toured the empty classrooms, plastered with barren walls aside from a simple chalkboard in the front, I began to ask and pray. Lord, do you really think you have prepared me sufficiently for this role in the future...me...really are you sure? What does that even mean really—how could I ever feel prepared for this? Yet your Spirit testifies—not me, not my strength.
The two or three rows of wooden benches suffice as seating for the sixty children enrolled upon conclusion of the this summer break. The five native teachers, all somewhat proficient in English, work to teach science, math, social studies, and English to these students. With vision for expansion, the introduction of a few new teachers is a must, particularly an English-speaking one.
As I wonder through the second floor of the school building accompanied by one the teachers, the question continue to flow from my tongue. All of these windows (open to the ground below)—how does it stay warm in winter? "It is very, very cold," she replies simply. The more I look around, the quicker the list in my head continues to grow, as I imagine all of the needs I see here. Some windows, real ones that protect from the great outdoors. Books, markers, DESKS, notebooks, color on the walls, a playground perhaps, even some rugs on the cement.
List fresh in my mind, I ask this teacher to share several practical needs she places at tip priority for me to make note of as well. Before I could even glance her direction she replies, "We need the Word of God."
How does my selfish, materialistic, comfort-dirven, distracted, prideful American heart respond to such revelation? I quiet and get lost in myself as I attempt to acknowledge God's grace in my life, that I would find myself here, standing in the dirt of India, little children bowing to kiss my feet, men bowing in reverence, women who stare and smile.
In a place where I am made to be a celebrity, simply a result of my skin color and place of birth, that right here in this place of pride and fame, God would enable me to cry out for Him, "Abba Father...I do not know you. Not like these people do. Lord Jesus, I believe help my unbelief."