We flew in to this beautiful city and were immediately overwhelmed with the aroma of His spirit amongst many other new aromas. The first feeling of 110-degree weather with 80% humidity and the beautiful faces making their homes on the sidewalks tells me that I am not in Texas anymore and gives me a great love for South Asia. I cannot doubt His purpose for these people and I hold strong to His mercy and grace. I am already in love.
Orientation was full of new ways of travel, teaching, learning, and loving the world He made. I was taught how to share His story in many different ways and truly love these people. Something that has stood out to me since I took my first auto through the slums was the face of the “untouchables." Caste system is everything in this side of the world and you are who you are no matter what, there is no changing. The people that have stood out to me are the people that South Asians call “talking animals." They have no value here, they are never touched, looked at, loved, wanted, or even thought of here. My heart has broken in everyway for them. One little girl came up to me in broken English saying “Sir, chapati, chapati, sir…chapati, chapatti," as she motioned to her mouth. I will never forget the face of that beautiful little girl.We are torn when giving them money because anything we give them does not go to them it goes to their pimp. We offer them food when we can and just by simply holding their hand or looking them in the eye gives them a chance to feel loved. I cannot comprehend looking at a person and not considering them human, this was a big culture shock for me. We were out for dinner one night practicing our stories when I saw a woman all alone begging for food. Everywhere you go you see beggars and the hopelessness in their eyes hurts me a little more every time I see them. I trusted in His timing and sat down with her to soon learn we could not communicate. He told me just to sit with her. We motioned to each other and did what we could to communicate, at one point she grabbed my hand and just held it, I felt the years of mistreatment in her hands. By His grace her niece came up and translated for us and I ended up telling her my story. The woman's name is Lali and her niece is Mooni. Lali is about eighty years old and spent her life raising Mooni, giving her everything she had. There are so many stories like these women and everywhere you look He gives you a chance to sit and love them. Please be asking for divine encounters with these people and for away that I can show them His love so that they will know that there is hope and He is truth.
We have been to many temples, mosques, and holy cities to watch the people wash their sins away in the river. It was so hard to watch people who have traveled for days by foot to bring back “holy water" to their families. But if they sin again then they have to go back to rewash. I can't help but think of the time when my sins were washed away with His sacrifice and His promise of life. It is so hard to watch these people who do not know of the truth and are longing to be clean. It is our privilege to tell them of His freedom and that we have been paid for. I have never encountered so much darkness before but it is making me realize how bright He shines even if we have to look a little harder to find it.
For His Glory,
Lauren is a student from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor serving with Go Now Missions as a semester missionary in South Asia.