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Impact India 360

Ultimate joy comes not from what you have, but what you can give to others. Midlife often allows the opportunity to transition from success to significance, and typically, the materialistic aspects of life become less important and universal spiritual values take on a greater focus. There is a kind of “magic” when pursuing timeless values like excellence in giving nothing less than your best. If most of us are honest, we, at one point in our journey, have or will ask the terrifying question, “Is this all there is?” This is not to say that all or even most of us live a life of “quiet desperation,” yet many of us, at one point or another in our journey of excellence, have felt this gnawing discontent questioning the very core of what we believe. In this apparent crisis lies the tremendous opportunity for personal transformation. Obviously, there are many paths that one can consider yet for me, India has been the catalyst for an extraordinary heart transformation.

My personal journey began in 2003 when I went on the first of thirteen short term trips to India. I had hoped a short term experience to Dowlaiswaram would allow me to develop the capacity to unconditionally care for others without an expectation of reward or reciprocation. India provided an excellent venue to develop my “compassion” skills.  I was exposed to a level of poverty and joy that both overwhelmed and haunted me.  Over the past eight years, I have received far more than compassion skills. I have been inspired by the courageous spirit of people.  Indians are the most joyful, kind, and honorable people I have ever encountered.

Each trip I experience Jesus changing a piece of my heart of stone into a heart of flesh that beats loudly and continually for these precious people He loves so dearly.  One such time, a hunched over woman, who I have seen now for the last four years, came to us for hope, and prayer for the healing of her backbone which was ravaged by years of skeletal fluorosis. As I laid my hand on her hardened back, I could not speak. Instead, I felt my heart soften, and in midst of emotion Matthew 25:40 came to mind “In as much you have done it to the least of these… have done it to me.” I saw Jesus incarnated. He was in the desperate need of this woman.

Each of us has experienced some level of dysfunction, with cruelty and pain hardening our hearts along the way. The good news is that Jesus promises not only to replace hardened hearts but to reveal His power through our weakness. As his glory shines we catch a glimpse of what is real.  Each trip to India has been in part a continuing miracle of God’s promise to do intensive heart surgery. He replaces a heart of stone with a heart of flesh that beats passionately for all things eternal. Although painful, like any heart surgery, it is worth it in the end. 

Written by Sal Aragona, President, Impact India 360