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Impact India 360
The Best, Worst Trip Ever

editor’s note: Any newcomer to CEM can experience quite a range of emotions. This place has a way of drawing the best and worst from even the seasoned veterans. What follows are team member and newcomer Vickie’s unfiltered thoughts and the story of God in the midst of it.




After five planes, a bus ride and two days of non-stop travel, we were looking forward to rest and to sleep, laying flat instead of upright.  We flopped down on our mattresses with one-tenth of the padding of our normal beds in the U.S. and had the best, worst sleep ever.

The first day of the trip we walked the streets of India I observed suffering, sadness, loss, fear, grief – all things that I am terrified of, yet have absolutely no control over. Suddenly, even though I was in the company of a great team of people, which included one of my best friends from back home and was surrounded by, what seemed in my mind, as trillions of people in my personal space, I felt utterly alone. My foundation had been rocked and I had no idea if it was even possible to rebuild. I felt an urgency to return as quickly as possible to my life in the States where I could make sense of things.

As this was an impossibility, I simply returned to the confines of the C.E.M. campus which gave me a sense of relief (not the relief I was seeking, but my pulse rate at least returned to normal levels). I did the only thing I could think to help: it was as if all I had just seen was sticking to me and so I had to take a shower to wash it off. Sadly, the water pressure was lacking and the water temperature was frigid; but I must say, it was the best, worst shower I’ve ever taken.

In the first days of my journey I had seen such despair in the form of hunger and poverty. This was no “hand grenade” to my sensory world; it was more like an atomic bomb, wiping out everything I’d ever known. I was spiritually and emotionally shaken and there was no hiding it. I wore it in the expressions on my face. I was doubting! Where was God in all of this?!

Seeing that I was having a difficult time, my loving friend  came along and (metaphorically speaking) slapped me upside the head as they sometimes do in Indian culture. She spoke these exact words:

“Is your God not big enough for India?”

My internal response was “Oh man! How can I believe what I do not see?!” I found myself back at square one in my faith.

Slowly but surely and in magnificent ways, God showed up. But the truth is He was never absent. It was my perspective that needed adjustment. I finally saw Him when I stepped back and observed from a distance what was difficult to see when I was too close up.

I saw happiness in the faces of the children as they discovered their creativity through a craft that inspired imagination, I heard joy in their voices as they worshiped and sang praise, I saw thankfulness in their eyes when we did something so simple as remember their names, I felt love as they showered me with hugs and small homemade gifts and shouted out the names of people on my team. I became aware that the love exchanged all around was an affirmation both of the love we all have for one another but especially the love that God has for us.

There were moments on this trip when I had to rethink my friendship with my friend Jamie. I questioned her sanity over and over again as she displayed constant and uproarious laughter over things I found horrifying. I was unable to reconcile so many things – like how it could be her third trip to India in one year’s time, her confidence in embarking on a host of new experiences that I found frightening, her willingness to drink and eat things unknown and so much more.  But I think I’m starting to get it, maybe not fully but I get it.  I have concluded she may be my best, worst friend ever.





If you had asked me if I would return to India at the beginning of this journey, the answer would have come in a quick, clear and resounding “NO!”. But on my last day here, after my once dazed and blurred heart’s perspective has cleared, God has revealed some things to me: He is powerful, He set the Universe into motion and sustains it.

During my devotion this morning I read this in Colossians 1:17 “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together”. I realize I don’t have all the answers and I don’t have to try to figure them all out. I can rest in God’s promises and so I’m thinking differently, than I was earlier this week. Will I be back? I’m thinking, a quick, clear and resounding “MAYBE?!” I mean after all, this was hands down, the best worst trip, ever.

4 Responses to “The Best, Worst Trip Ever”

  • I appreciate your honesty and pray that God continues to reveal Himself to you “again”! And this is from someone too chicken for India or Kenya.

    • i love to go to india for the next trip…..I am only scared of spiders. but Love toward the people can overcome it.I want to involve in the ministry. please let me know how can i join in the next trip

  • Wow!! You know… I don’t like to read,… but oh boy what a trip right, what a great experience. I’m glad you saw the other side of the coin. God bless you for letting your heart open to God!!

  • Vickie:
    I’ve read your story three times now and I may read it again. Some how it makes me feel closer to my daughter, who is there now. I wonder if she is feeling like you did or are the children touching her heart and expressing their love in a way she has never felt before. Is she all caught up in the excitement of playing with the children? Susan is a great and loving daughter. I am anxious for her to return home so I can hear all about her trip to India.

    We are not all blessed with the same gifts. I’m not sure I would be able to do it.

    There are different kinds of gifts, . . . And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. 1 Corinthians 12:4a,28

    with Love,
    Susan’s Mom