let the children come
Every trip to India has a different feel. Something new for me to learn. I couldn’t quite place my finger on this one, and just kept calling it “joy”, but having been quietly home six days now, have finally figured it out. It’s a word that has been with me all year, and I am excited (in the way “excited” makes me want to cry) to say, it’s “purity”.
From the time we got to the airport (just after being put on high terror alert), or maybe before, I don’t know, there was a purity about this trip. An innocence. A hope, and a joy. Even amidst the heaviest moments was this absolute unquestionable certainty God was in control. It was pure faith. Childlike, and sweet.
Some may wonder how there can be so much laughter, and dancing in the midst of such devastating circumstances as rural India. In the middle of profound poverty, lightening storms, terror alerts, and political disturbances. But that’s what makes me marvel at the this particular team. They were not clueless. They were not oblivious. They were very much informed, and knew what was going on around us, but in the very thick of it chose to believe God is who He says He is, and danced through it all.
This morning I was listening to the old hymn most of us have heard and can recite by heart:
Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace
Perfect lyrics, right? But have you ever heard the ending?
His Word shall not fail you, He promised
Believe Him and all will be well
Then go to a world that is dying
His perfect salvation to tell
So much is packed into these two verses, but I’m sure that one line jumped out at you too? “Believe Him and all will be well”.
Every team I’ve ever been on has been faithful beyond description, without exception. The miracles we’ve experienced have been ones that I have yet been able to put to words. This time was just unique. Not better or worse… but sweetly different.
There are so many times that I could write about… praying through the night on the bathroom floor with Darby… Kathy’s precious breakfast prayers… and I will later. But one moment I’ll share now is when at a village school, mobs of excited children were being shoo’d away from us by their teachers. Melissa, just beside herself, and with tears in her eyes turned and said ‘no, no, Jesus said ‘let the little children come!'”
And come they did!
Right then, our beautiful friend and partner, Father Dhana, walks past the stick shaking teacher with cookies and hands them out to the children.
Jesus. Jesus. Everywhere.
I want to thank Darby, Melissa, Kathy, and Father Dhana too, for demonstrating what it’s like to believe Him, with the faith of a child. To act in direct contrast to your surroundings. To be an example of Jesus in every circumstance. You stretched me.
When there is nothing else, He is there.
The Little Children and Jesus
The people brought children to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus was irate and let them know it: “Don’t push these children away. Don’t ever get between them and me. These children are at the very center of life in the kingdom. Mark this: Unless you accept God’s kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you’ll never get in.” Then, gathering the children up in his arms, he laid his hands of blessing on them.
— Mark 10:13-16 The Message
Val you were a great team leader. I watched you and every decision you made was based on your faith in God. Thank you for being such a great leader but to me you have been a great teacher. This trip was life changing for me in so many ways.
That is so moving. I love the children part. God bless Melissa for her giant heart for the children and for Jesus. No words got hire much I love father Dhana although I have not yet meet him. All of you rock! I love, Love Manifest and all that it stands got. Bob would be proud!!
I have always witnessed a very special thing regarding Love Manifest Team led by Valerie : that the mind and thoughts of these members have been seen in their action ,– this is because of God’s Presence in their hearts that is perpetuated through devotion of prayers. I have seen their faces shine with sun shine of Jesus. It is very special for me to partner with God’s people. Their Love of God does necessarily make them reach out to children , women and the sick in need.
That day is forever burned into my memory!! It made me feel so angry that the children were being treated like dogs! They MATTER!! I’m so happy Father Dhana stepped in!
Thank you for being such an awesome team leader!! I love you :o)
The cultural barrier I would name it ,- the incident of the Govt School teachers driving out the children ; in their view the teachers thought that the children were disturbing their honorable guests while being received in their midst ,– may be teachers expected the children to behave as if in a class room atmosphere. Excited the children were and they wanted to show their excitement by shouting all of them trying to reach out to the guests in awe and enthusiasm which sounded abnormal to the caring teachers ! I apologise on behalf of the teachers and I know for sure that they did not act in bad faith or in disrespect. They do care for the children in their own way expected that they did not know how to calm down the excited children as this was a new experience to them.
Thank you, Father Dhana! Please don’t take this as criticism. It was only observation of one team member’s response to one snippet of time. 🙂 We are tremendously grateful to the school for hosting our camps and running it so smoothly! Those were very joyous children! Obviously cared for and loved! Yes, back in my elementary school days teachers would chase us around with a yard stick, and we would run away and laugh, just as the kids in India did. We are not any different here. It seems Jesus had a very different way of crowd control. But then, that was Jesus. Everything He did was opposite of our best ideas. 🙂
Yes, the children are the very center of life in the Kingdom of God! The unbelievable faith of the children we met in India!! I have a fourteen year old orphaned boy praying for me everyday! Thank you Val, Darby, and Melissa for an ever changing experience. Father Dhana rocks!