Well I haven't written in ages so thought I should share a little of what I have been up to. I spent last week in Hyderbad (a city north of Bangalore) volunteering at a children's home.
There are 4 children homes in the one suburb run by the same organization. I was also able to spend a week with my little sister who is volunteering there for 1 month with her friend. It was a great week, doing what I love with people that I love. But it was also a hard week at times.
These particular homes are for Children with disabilities. I will never forget the overwhelming feeling of sadness I felt when I first walked through one of the homes. If I am totally honest I felt scared and sick to my stomach as well.
The first room I walked into there were about 8 babies, all under 2 years. Each of them has a disability of some sort, from blindness, to a skin disease, to clapped feet and others. I felt overwhelmed with it all, feeling so helpless and scared to even pick them up in case I did something to make it worse for them (a silly thought really).
The 2nd room we walked into had about 10 - 15 kids with ages ranging from 4-13. Again my stomach felt sick at the helplessness of the children. Nearly all of them were laying on mats on the floor not being able to move much, if at all. My eyes welled up with tears as I sat next to one who was crying, I don't think she was in pain, but probably just wanted someone to sit with her.
The need is just so great, there are so many kids out there like these children who have been abandoned in particular because of their disabilities. The children in this home are the fortunate ones because they not only have people caring about them, with medical treatment and sooo much love but they are also taught about God and His great love for them!
As I sat there with them I was struck with the reality of heaven, and how great it will be when there will be no sickness or disabilities. Where all who have been saved will be given new bodies, there will be no pain, just joy! Where all who have been called and responded to God will be able to worship with all they have! What a great day that will be.
"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies." Romans 8:18-23
Which brings me to the second thing that God has been teaching me lately. I am reading a book called 'Follow Me' by David Platt. Such a great book and I have been greatly challenged by it. It's talks about what it means to actually follow God, about some of the misconceptions that people have about what it means to follow God. It's says that ultimately a call to follow Jesus, which is completely initiated by Him, is a call to die. A call to give up all we have, all our desires, all our things, to give up our lives for Him.
As I was struck with the reality of how great heaven will be I was also struck with the idea of how horrible life without God will be for some. And that being called to follow God means that I am to die to myself and do all that I can to share Him with others and bring glory to His name!
Not a new revelation but one that I need to keep being reminded of. It is so easy in the western culture to become comfortable, to remain in our comfort zone, to not die to ourselves but to live an 'easy' life. But this is not what God calls us to do as His disciples! We are called to step out, to be bold for the Kingdom.
"Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." Matthew 16:24-25
I am amazed out how people in India seem to get that. For a lot of those who become Christians, it can mean giving up their comfort, the past way of doing things, their family and home and sometimes even their lives. Yet they are so open about their faith! About the fact that they are Christians. They put up verses in their homes and stickers on their cars and signs on their houses so that all who walk into their homes know that they are following Jesus. Now I know these are only signs and that doesn't make them a Christian but the point is they get what it means to be a disciple and aren't ashamed or afraid to show it to people! I feel I can learn a lot from them about that. How often do I shy away from sharing my faith, or talking about what I'm involved in?
When I was in Bible College if truth be told I would sometimes dread people asking me what I studied. Because as soon as I told them 9/10 times there would be a sigh or an OH that I knew meant they thought I was weird or crazy and then they would do whatever they could to get out of the conversation. It's silly to think I cared that much of what people thought, but I think most of us do.
Yet God calls us, as His followers, to give up all we have, including the approval of others, to live a life that points people to Him. So pray for me, as I do for you, that I would not shy away from making His name known, especially as I head back to Australia!
"Giving ourselves wholly to Christ is the only way to discover who we are, the Only way to become who Christ means us to be, the only way to experience his riches in this life and the only way to fulfill the purpose for which he made us. It may seem frightening, but once you do it, your only regret will be that you didn’t do it sooner." Reflections on C.S Lewis.
- the precious children at the homes I met, that God would reveal himself to them, and that in all difficulties they would know the hope and glory of a life with Christ.
- me, that I would be a follower of Christ that is not ashamed to proclaim His name!
"Sing to the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples! For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols, but the Lord made the heavens. Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and beauty are in his sanctuary." Psalm 96:2-6
- safe trip home in the next few days
Praise God for
- a great time in Hyderbad with my sister
- the opportunity to serve Him looking after such beautiful children
- the many lessons He has taught me in my time here!