"So, how was India?"
It's hard to find words to respond to that inevitable question.
Certain words swirl in my mind:
But words can't do justice to the daily sounds of vegetable vendors calling out their wares, the voices of an Indian congregation singing jubilantly, the variety of languages heard as an audible backdrop to the Taj Mahal's majesty.
I will tell you, though, that I have never been humbled so consistently. I learned so much in 6 short weeks, and learned to love ferociously––to love my wonderful team, the lovely nationals, the mesmerizing place.
My time in India challenged me to appreciate the beauty of life, its challenges as well as its high points. In new ways, I saw that true fullness of life and joy is only accessible through Christ.
Some favorite experiences included:
Fellowship with Indian believers at slum small groups
Exploring the city––taking rickshaws, the metro, walking around
Deep, soul-nourishing conversations with new friends and teammates
Cultural immersion: from the food to the clothing to witnessing temple worship
Being caught in a monsoon at midnight––after being locked out of our flat!
What sights I saw. From the begging mother pounding on my car window to seeing an elephant casually walking down the highway...alongside a camel.
Countless other memories could be recorded: English and computer teaching, developed friendships at an academy and kids' camp, and several stunning scenes.
But more than all that, I saw God at work tangibly and beautifully in an oppressively dark place.
Spiritual warfare is real, friends. The problems and heartbreaking realities of India––its poverty, corruption, and hopelessness are large and seem impossible to overcome.
But I hold Christ to His Word. He promises that every nation will bow, worship, and glorify Him as King. And I pray India will be lit afire for the Savior of the world, to magnify and exalt Him.
"All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name." –Psalm 86:9
Nothing compares to the glorious and exceeding joy I had to share the gospel in at least 4 different settings––3 of them in front of larger groups. After all, that is my life's purpose (Acts 20:24).
Was India easy?
Was it worth it––to build friendships entrenched in eternity, to see God's miraculous love fully and abundantly on display?
Yes, it was worth it. God knew I needed to see my pride as the ugly monster it is––to view my insufficiencies so He would be my sole strength.
I tasted more deeply of His goodness––I saw more of His sustaining grace. Toward me, my team, and the people of India.
All through 120 degree days, frequent 12 hour workdays, late talks, sweaty afternoons, vibrant colors, loud laughs, heavy cries, and great praise.
"But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us." –2 Cor. 4:7
The power belongs to Him alone. And yet, in His perfect providence, He ordained my team––8 other weak vessels and I––to be His ambassadors and servants.
So. How was India?
6 weeks of life-altering experiences, lessons learned, and grace lavished. I will never be the same.
And by God's grace, I will see my Indian friends again. If not on this earth, in eternity, when every tribe, tongue, and nation will encircle the throne of the Savior who loved us and commissioned us to proclaim Him in all the world.