In the morning, our team visited the women's group at Jewels In A Crown (JIAC). We were impacted by the redemption we witnessed in the women as they worshipped Jesus, read the Bible and learned English. These women have been rescued by Jesus and his faithful labourers from the sex trade and shown the way of life in the Son of God.
In the afternoon, we went shopping for Indian clothes, so that we could fit in and relate to the people we will encounter.
Next, we went to one the ministry's children's home. The home was in a village. We had to walk on muddy trails that did not have any mercy on our clean feet. This was very unpleasant for me. I felt like such a city girl. The children we visited have been rescued from the train station were they used to try to survive by begging or doing menial tasks for money. Some children were orphans and some had parents that were not able to care for them (ex. due to alcoholism). At their new home, they are cared for and educated by people who love and serve Jesus.
It was on this day that I was impacted most so far. Although the children touched my heart, the ones I was most impacted by were the house parents. They were so kind, loving, godly and persevering. They shared with us about the struggles that they went through yet they were not discouraged by them whatsoever. But rather, they said "these are only trials that come to life, but Jesus is greater than those and we keep our focus on Him". I admire them more than they know. It encourages me to be faithful in ministry. Jesus, let me serve You faithfully till the day I die!
The last thing I want to share is that on this day, from the morning, I was struggling with something. My whole team was white, while I was the only brown person on the team. Many of them are stared at and served very well here in India. Because I look Indian- yet it is noticicable that I am not from here- I do not receive that special treatment. I felt torn. I was flattered and happy that I look Bengali, yet I felt left out because I was not treated like my teammates and I could not relate to their experiences. It bothered me so much. I prayed and asked God why. Could it be that I also wanted to be admired? Did I want to be viewed as special, like them? I don't know. Maybe it's something I'm not ready to admit but I knew it was wrong. I prayed throughout the day and it got better. I was viewing it as a disadvantage. It also brought up a lot of things inside of me that reminded me of negative experiences in Canada because of being a minority. I cried and confessed it to the team that night during our debrief. Instead of viewing it as a disadvantage, I had to remember that God can use by brown skin. The 2nd person who told me I looked Bengali on the first day said "the women will be so happy that you look the same as them. You will be able to relate to them". Those were such positive words. I had to remember those words and pray that it would be true lest my India experience would be ruined.