You Came Back for Me


There are many times that stand out during the last few years as “life altering”, or “heart breaking”, or even “you knew God was right there”… . I know I’ve talked before about my inability to produce words worthy of their subject. So often times, they remain unwritten.

Today, I’m going to tackle one of these stories, because I don’t want it to fade away unheard.

April 2012 we took a group of high schoolers with us to India so they could dedicate a well they had spent all year fundraising to build. We were also performing medical camps, and for this reason, were being given a tour of the hospital in Trichy, India. Our last stop was the Leprosy Ward. My husband, children, and I were probably the only American’s in our group having ever seen anyone with leprosy, and I can probably safely say, these three teens remain the only ones from their high school. These kids were awesome, yet cautious. At least, when it came to adults. They were completely immersed when it was with children. Adults on the other hand… hey, I’m not judging. They used to scare me too.

I was bringing up the rear of the line, and Avery, who was the only girl of the three, was ahead of me several feet. I could barely see as she encountered a woman… the last bed by the exit door. The woman was weeping. She was reaching out her arms, and I watched as Avery leaned in, the woman’s arms wrapping around her, pulling her close. It wasn’t long before I saw Avery make a hurried exit, the woman still sitting there saying something we didn’t understand… tears streaming down her face when someone said, “she wants prayer”. It was a fairly smooth transition as I moved in, and placed my hands on her, closed my eyes, my head next to hers, and her hands instantly gripping mine. We prayed together. I in English… she in Tamil, but together. Then I wrapped my arms around her and told her how much I loved her. She’s been with me every day ever since. The rest of the day I stayed close to Avery, neither of us saying much. Just being nearby, hoping maybe she could feel that I understood. That I had been there once, too.

That was April, 2012. November 2012, same hospital, there we were, the Board of Directors for LoveManifest. Same tour, same ending, again with the Leprosy Unit. I never, EVER thought she’d still be there. Yet there she was. I can’t remember the last time I was this excited to see someone. My long lost friend. My dear one. I rushed to her and sat on her bed and we just hugged. We hugged and hugged and hugged for the longest time. She was not weeping. She was positively BEAMING. Her smile couldn’t have been bigger! Together with an interpreter, I asked her if she recognized me, and she did. I asked her if she knew how much I thought about her, and she laughed. I asked her name and she said “Theresa” (pronounced Teressa). Then she turned to face me… her face maybe one inch away from mine, and said, “you came back for me”.

It isn’t often I get to see someone twice. In fact, aside from the kids at the orphanages, this was the first time. It is so different when it’s a relationship, isn’t it? There’s a familiarity and comfortability to laugh and to love all over people that doesn’t always happen the first time you meet.

There are many moments that have had enormous impacts on me, but these are two that stand out on top. My first time in India I was in such emotional upheaval, I could hardly move. Like Avery. I didn’t even know how to function in that place. I remember watching my friend Mike as he prayed for people, and wondering “how does he do that?!” and he witnessed my heart break. I’ll bet he can tell you the moment too, because those are things you don’t forget. We got into the car and I lost it. Uncontrollably. He held my hand, and he prayed for me. Then we drove on in silence. Me and my teacher.

In April, not only was I able to comfort someone I may not have been able to comfort years earlier, out of fear, or raw emotion, but I also witnessed the breaking of a young girls heart for the widow. The leper. Yet out of that heartbreak, she (Avery) wasn’t able to stay for long. But she was forever changed in that moment, and I pray one day she will be back, and maybe she will bring someone with her. Maybe she, witnessing their heart break, will swoop in to comfort the one left waiting for prayer, and then slide in quietly next to her friend to let her know she understands. She’s been there too.

And on it goes.

God Fueled


Every trip to India, something different is revealed to me. Maybe something I didn’t know about myself. Maybe something I didn’t know about God. Emotions vary, strength comes where it didn’t before. It’s never something I can anticipate, or for which I can prepare. I have to just go, and trust that He’ll take it from there.

I remember the first time I traveled to South Africa. It was 1998, and I was terrified. I didn’t want to leave the house, and would have been perfectly content eating cheese and crackers on the deck for 10 days. I was forced to walk through the townships and to see… see things I’d never seen before. Poverty on a grand scale. The remaining injustice’s in the aftermath of apartheid. No water. No electricity. So many of the same things I see in India now. Only I was relatively unaffected. The only thing I remember being a shock to me was that I was considered to be in an inter-racial relationship (something that had never crossed my mind), and only four years prior, that would have been illegal. I couldn’t see past myself.


Your guess is as good as mine.

My lack of emotion was displayed in my lack of action in South Africa. I didn’t do anything because I just wasn’t feelin’ it. I was unaffected, and therefore, ineffective I lived that way for a long time. Emotion = action. No emotion must mean it wasn’t important enough to do something about. I’m not proud of that. I had a whole lot more fear than faith back then.

I don’t feel that way anymore. Thank you GOD! Because I can’t live in a constant state of devastation and be useful. I was a mess, I mean, a MESS my first two trips in India. My heart was broken into pieces I never thought I could gather together, and I slipped scarily close to the edge of a depression that would have required professional help had it gone much further. The reverse had happened, but the result was the same. I was SO affected, fueled by emotion, that I was again, ineffective. Yet now, almost four years in, He has given me the ability to hold it together every once in awhile. To be able to speak without hyperventilating. To work with an urgency that can only be described as God fueled.

Now, according to my friend Mike of Wells for Life, this changes from trip to trip, and you could find me once again at Christmastime, sitting outside the mall, tears running down my face, physically unable to enter. Coming home, waving my arms and shouting “Christmas is canceled! Christmas is canceled!”

But today, I am resting in His grace. Believing in His promises. Amazed by His love for all people, and how He moves us to act on behalf of His children. Regardless of how we feel.

One child. My child. Your child.


One child. Your child. My child.

When our children hurt, we hurt more. It’s how God designed us, I think. To care for our children’s welfare over our own. We would take on their hurts in an instant to spare them any pain, particularly emotional pain.

What would it feel like to have someone tell your child that he or she was contaminated. Unclean. Less than human. A dog. What would that feel like to you as a mother. A father. Would you break down doors to get to the person who said such a thing to the one you love more than anyone on the planet?

What if this message came from millions of people? How many doors could you break down in a day before collapsing in a heap of defeat, hands bloodied from futile attempts at justice? Ten? Twenty? A hundred? How long before you give up? Would you ever?

The term “untouchable” is used in the USA as a sort of elite status, mainly for sports stars. Not so here in rural India. It is a term used for millions of people falling below the lowest status of the caste system. One step below “extremely backwards people”. It is a term for those born to clean your toilets. Born to scrape, to suffer, to be permanently oppressed.

The caste system has been outlawed for years in India, yet it is alive and well in the interior villages. Take one of these dear ones out of this situation and place him anywhere else, and you would have no idea. But they would know. They’ve been told all their life that they are less than human. Not allowed in the homes of the upper caste’s because they contaminate everything they touch, everywhere they go… These beautiful people, men, women, and children alike…

I don’t even know where I’m going with this, other than to speak it out loud.

You, my dear children, are made in the image of a Mighty God. A God who knit you together in your mother’s womb. A God who loves you, and has plans for you, not to harm you, but to give you hope and a future (Jer 29:11). He has a purpose specific to you, made before you were ever born. The same God who made me, my children… He made you too. We will not stop until you hear the truth. You are more than you’ve been told you are. You are princes and princesses. Children of the King. Come, claim your inheritance. Come. Let all the little children come.

No Relief


No Relief

Caitlin said something on our first day here that has haunted me for two days and this morning swims relentlessly around my brain.

“there’s no relief here”.

She reflected in a stunned fashion how everywhere else you have patches of poverty, bad neighborhoods, good neighborhoods, maybe a park, but there are always areas of relief. Where you can breathe. Where there is no trash. Where there is some sort of evidence of hope.

These parts of India are not like that. There is no relief. It is shack after shack after shack. The poor, the naked, the widow, all congregating and existing as what appears to the outsider as “hopeless”. Even those who have managed to start up a small business selling soda are attempting to sell to people with no money. We step cautiously around piles if feces on the streets with flowers laid on top. It’s a dengue fever breading ground.

We spoke with Father Dhana about this over breakfast. Glenn asked him if there was a way out for them, and Dhana’s answer was short and powerful and not unlike our own in the US. Their hope is in the children. Educate the children and this horrendous cycle will break.

I immediately think about the size of that task. 1.3 billion people are in India. 70% of those live in the outlying villages.


It’s 3:50am and too early for math. My numbers might be slightly off, but you get the picture. Millions and millions and millions of people.

So my thoughts go to water. Some minds would go to building schools, but we see a lot of schools. They don’t always have water, or sanitation at these schools, but they do exist here, and the government pays for them. My mind goes to water because many children spend their days collecting water rather than going to school. That’s their life, and if that’s their life, then their hope just took a nose dive.

I’ve talked with children who receive a bore well and have asked “what’s the best part of having this well in your village?”. The number one answer has always been, without fail, “now I can go to school” or second, “I have more time to study”.

Today we will dedicate two wells in two separate villages. Home to over 1,000 people. Clean water for a healthy start, and a new way of life. One that frees them up to get an education. Not only that, but we get to talk about the love of Jesus. Our one true hope, and what compels us to be here in the first place… and that is just plain exciting!

I suddenly remember a song we sang together this morning.

“My hope is in You Lord. All the day long. I won’t be shaken by drought or storm. The peace that passes understanding is my song and I sing, my hope is in You Lord. I will wait on You. You are my refuge.”

If you have wanted to make a difference. I mean, real significant life altering destiny changing difference, and God is speaking to you to bring water. Do it. It’s easy, and it’s the start of everything.

Jesus Take the Wheel


Well, that was fun. Amidst hurricane Sandy’s cancellation of over 7,000 flights out of the US, ours remained, as we’re set to flight over the North Pole into Dubai. The flight (all 15.5 hours) was uneventful and full of laughter and anticipation for what’s about to come. The long long layover in Dubai proved to be a time of rest for Glenn (on the floor behind a row of chairs) and a last opportunity for Starbucks.

When we arrived in Chennai, we happily collected our luggage and proceeded to the JetAirways gate, and I watched with great pleasure as the rest of the LoveManifest team experienced walking out the doors and into India for the first time.

Then we were met by the threats of Cyclone Nilam. Not sure what “Nilam” means, but it must be along the lines of “poor attempt to stop an unstoppable God” because flight after flight was cancelled, but ours remained all systems go, without regard for what appeared to be the hesitancy of the flight crew.

As we sat in the airport, the winds bent the trees outside the window as the rain was blown sideways. We went upstairs for really no reason other than to escape the cockroach infestation downstairs, and Mimi prayed, and I hear her say “Lord, shut up the wind and the rain”.

When we walked back downstairs to board, just ten minutes later, it was completely calm. No wind. No rain.

The flight on this prop plane was one of the most intense flights I’ve ever been on, although any turbulence is very unsettling to me, but the look on the face of the flight attendant was not very reassuring. There was a man next to Caitlin who would vacillate between crying out and praying. She would calm him saying “it’s going to be okay. It’s only 10 more minutes”.

Glenn slept quietly in his seat. An empty seat beside him.

Or was it?

That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” -Mark 4:35-41 NIV


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