Hannah's 10 Most Memorable Moments

“So tell me, how was India?” The question of the hour. My response is always the same, “It was amazing. Trip of a lifetime.” I usually get a nod, “nice to hear that” then there is a change of subject. Occasionally there is the next question, “So like, what was your favorite part?” This gives the hope that they are genuinely interested so I tell them a couple highlights, which usually satisfies their curiosity. And that is just fine.

Honestly it's overwhelming trying to tell someone what it was like because there are few words I can put together in order to fully paint the picture of what I witnessed- the beauty, the pain, the lure of an old world culture fighting to remain in this modern time.


To make it easily digestible, I have put together a list of my 10 most memorable moments while in India for 10 days. This is just a small glimpse into what I experienced on an adventure of a lifetime I hope to relive next year.




1
Naked Man
We landed at 2 am in Kolkata. We were driving down the dark streets and just trying to make sense of it all. I saw a man, naked, praying to a very small shrine.  Let me start off by saying since this was some of our first trips ever out of the United States, everything was extremely new and overwhelming. Not in the kind where your overloaded with emotions and questions of "WHY?!" just simply intrigued by the sights and smells. Rarely do I feel as innocent as I did as a child. I wish I could experience it all again for the very first time.

2
Mud Paths

A small, adorable swarm of children rushed to our van to escort us through their "homes" to the school. Mind you we each have roughly 4-8 children personally escorting us. The ground was swampy and muddy which led to the ministry's fitting name of "Mud Paths." People came to their open doorways and windows to see these strangers. I had no idea where they were taking me as I was one of the first being led. We had no form of communicating with one another and I loved it.



3
Tight Squeeze
For a couple days we had been hosting VBS with various villages, singing songs and sharing the love of Jesus. It was the last VBS being held in Kolkata and I honestly thought, "I don’t know how these kids could possibly be cuter than the last." First off, shame on me for even letting that thought cross my mind because God definitely proved me wrong there. Different environment, different village, less ventilated room (how that's possible, I don’t know), just as heartbreaking and these kids completely STOLE my heart. I didn't have a fighting chance. I sat down and within seconds I had two girls on my lap and a young boy sitting to my right. I kid you not, he nonchalantly grabs my right hand, wraps it around his little body and gently squeezes it tightly. Tears at this point were nearly impossible to hold back but I managed to keep it together. I have no idea what heaven will be like but I saw a glimpse of it in that tiny room. It. Will. Be. Beautiful.



4
Heart Shattered

Mother Teresa's Home for the Dying was so beautiful. It was like an oasis in a desert. Right smack dab in the middle of the red light district was a sanctuary for all those sick and close to death. We prayed over the men and women that were being treated- prayed for healing, their suffering, and that they draw close to God in this time. We don’t know what these women were dying from. Could have been old age or disease but we didn’t care. We were there to love and serve. I was speaking with one woman when I see something near my face. I turn and an older woman who was blind had her hands reaching out to touch my face. For a split second I asked the question, "well should I really let her touch my face?" but I immediately kicked that though out and gently guided her hand to my cheek. What a beautiful smile I received in return. She reached out for my other hand and just graced it with a kiss. What a completely undeserving, humbling moment. My heart shattered....yet again. To be in the place that Mother Teresa started her ministry was hard to fully grasp.

5
Pretty Package

The Kali Temple although filled with demonic oppression certainly helped explain a lot. My takeaway there wasn’t the experience itself but our conversation in the car afterwards.  The chaos of worshipping a false idol, which happens to be the goddess of destruction AND is a prostitute, seems to make little to no sense but we (The American Culture) worship both of those things just in a "prettier package" as Morgan would say. We know how to make worshipping those sins seem enticing while there it manifests itself in the simplest form- destructive and chaotic.

6
Extra Extra

Western influence on the advertisement was just an oddity and juxtaposition to the primal culture that still thrives there. Not much to say here except the Media Planners/Buyers that purchased the out of home ad space should just be fired. "Ain’t nobody got money for that."

7
Words From God
When we were in Rajahmundry, we went out to the Deep Forest to visit remote villages. We were all sat at the head of the church facing the crowd of mainly women, a few children and a handful of men. One at a time we stood up to introduce ourselves and deliver a brief message of encouragement to them. Before the trip I had prayed that not one word escape my lips that wasn't from God. In each person's message I heard the Lord's voice. It was powerful and so dead on. I’m sure each of us were slightly trembling before we stood up but as soon as our mouths opened you heard the confidence they possessed in delivering what God had to say. Chills. What struck me heavily when standing up in front of everyone is how beautiful they were. My message was that the God who created every facet of my being, knew me before I was born was the same God that created them perfect and beautiful. We didn't speak the same language, we didn't have the same skin color, yet I recognized them all as my brothers and sisters. Hallelujah.



8
No Like Dis!
I sponsor a boy in the Rajah Children’s Home through Children’s Relief International. I realized soon before the trip that I was going to have the privilege of meeting him face-to-face. What was I going to say to him? Should I bring him a gift? How do you explain a "sponsor"? Once we were there it was natural and it was decided on that we would not tell him who I was. I was able to spend time with him and all the other precious children three days in a row. I would say the MOST SPECIAL time on this trip was when we took the kids to the park. We were all playing volleyball and Vijay asks to teach me a game. It was called "Rrrring" and similar to Frisbee. You should know I have horrible hand control and hate Frisbee so I immediately felt embarrassed before we even started playing. It was a rubber ring you threw vertically to each other and tried to catch it before it bounced out of your hand. This kid was so determined to have me play and play well. He was precious. Every time the ring veered to my right he would just sigh and say “Miss, Miss no like dis!” In that moment I couldn’t stop thinking, I’ve been staring at your picture on my desk at work for MONTHS and now you are right in front of me. I love you so, so much. God, how can I possibly leave him tomorrow??

(Vijay! I had clearly been crying)


 9
The Monkey Attack
Monkeys literally jumped on our people. Don’t hold chips in the park.

10
Family
Over all my team. I inherited a new family the moment I boarded that flight. We were honestly a pretty random group of people and God knew we were all just a perfect fit for each other. I would say "where one was weak the other was strong," but not once was our entire team not all in. We were strong, we were loving and we were courageous. When I first signed up for this I was nervous and excited- but I cant express enough how meaningful and important it was for me to have done this with Morgan. We are in community together, we do life together, so it just makes perfect sense why people so invested in one another should also do God's work together. 

It's hard coming back and getting back into the swing of things because YOU DONT WANT TO. Being able to know that someone you interact with daily knows EXACTLY how you feel without trying to find the words is just special. She experienced what I experienced; the pain, the joy, the newness, the excitement, the fear. If you consider going on an adventure like this please encourage someone you are in community with to do it along side you. 

I love this whole group so much and cant wait for all nine of us to go back together again. This week we will also be posting more about Morgan's favorite moments, CRI, their ministries and how YOU can get involved. 




India I love you and miss you everyday.

-Hannah

2 comments:

  1. Hannah, thank you for writing from your heart. We are are to get a glimpse of your courageous journey as you brought LOVE to the beautiful people of India.

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