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Impact India 360
Work Boots & Talent Shows

Hey all – we finally found a little internet to send you an update! You’ll be hearing from two of our FBC Prescott team members about their first days at CEM…

From the airport we all loaded into a bus. It was small so it required another full vehicle for our luggage to be transported. I had prepared myself in advance for a terrifying driving experience in light of accounts from other past visitors. It ended up being slightly less scary than I had anticipated. Still, there was plenty to be concerned about, lots of honking and lane changes and very little clearance between passing vehicles. My expectations had adequately prepared my mind and my nerves followed suite making for a peaceful ride.

It was through the bus windows that I would catch my first glimpses of the country I learned so much about over the past few months. I found it difficult to discern what I should have taken pictures of as everything I saw I wanted to remember. I decided to stop looking through the camera and began snapping at random so I could focus my efforts on processing all my eyes were taking in. The first thing that struck me was the poverty, to say that these people lived humbly, would by no stretch describe their situation. There were animals wandering aimlessly about, water buffalo, pigs, dogs, goats, many types of critters. 

The architecture was both ornate and rundown mixed in with hut-like structures made of dried vegetation and dirt.  There were people cooking over open fires and women holding their naked, dirty toddlers on their hips, many elderly people were hunched over and looking starved. The trash was piled high everywhere I looked along the streets, also there was a canal of sewer water. This was all quite foreign to me. I knew these things existed in the world but had never seen them beyond in photographs taken by others. Prevalent through it all was the people’s use of color. Color was everywhere in the brightest hues, in their clothing, buildings, signs and artwork. It seemed a stark contrast to their circumstances.

Once at the orphanage we were welcomed as if we were royalty. The children reached out their hands in hopes just to touch us for a moment. If there were any way I could have reached out my arms and hugged them all at once I would have. After the initial greeting we had time to begin interactions in smaller groups, each time was quite tender and personal. I began to fall in love, true love, as quickly as is possible for a person to do so. 

Each child whose eyes I’ve had the privilege to look in to exhibits a hope different than I’ve encountered before.  They refer to me and the other women I traveled with as “Sister”. They greeted at us from time to time in this way, “Sister, God loves me, God loves you, so I love you.” I inquired with one you girl about what lead her to the orphanage and her parents. The language barrier made it difficult so she said something to clear it all up, she said “Sister, YOU are my mother and YOUR HUSBAND is my father.” 

She did not mean that she was expecting me to literally bring her home with me, instead what she meant was that God has designed things in such a way that we are all relationally responsible and blessed to love and care for one another. She sums it up better than I ever could have. 

It is our most special fortune to love one another as Christ loved us. I believe when this idea is found only in words it is a “task” or a “burden” but when we apply action to the words they lighten in such a way that they rise up and feel practically weightless bearing little to no resemblance to a “burden”. This sums it up for me and will for you too if you take the scriptures found in James and throughout the bible and choose to be “doers” and not just “hearers” of God’s word. I’ve heard it said that “kindness is love with its work boots on”, I pray your hearts will be prompted to put on your work boots.

– Jamie

So far this trip has been fantastic! On Saturday when we arrived we were showered with flowers and every child wanted to shake our hand. We looked around a little bit and were pulled into a room by some sweet girls so that they could take our measurements. So they could work on an outfit for each of us. That evening when it was time to go to chapel all the little girls wanted to hold my hand and take me to where they sat. “Sit with me! Sit with me!” they would say or “you sit here!” chapel was amazing we got to hear so many kids singing and praising the Lord.

Then when I got up this morning Lakshmi had made us some wonderful coffee! I don’t think I’ll be able to settle for the stuff in the U.S. We then went to chapel with the kids and then ate breakfast it was delicious, as are all the meals we have eaten here so far. After breakfast we had a chance to see what church was like for them. Everyone there was so wonderful. We sang a song in church and even though they might not have understood what we were saying they all wanted to learn the song. After church we went down to the courtyard where we all got the opportunity to pray for all sorts of people children as well as adults.

Shorty after we got lunch which was again super delicious. we then went off to take some relaxing time time. We didn’t do a lot today because it rained quite a bit. The sewing women pulled us aside again to try some things on us to make adjustments. Finally later in the day we got to do a little dance for the kids as part of a talent show. All the kids participated, it was so much fun to watch them enjoying themselves. 

It is so wonderful when the kids come up to us and ask our name and ask if we want to know theirs. They are so precious to me and to God. I feel truly blessed to have been able to come on the trip. God is doing great things here. I can’t wait to see what he has in store next.

– Abby

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