Thursday, July 31, 2008

today for lunch i had a butter and cheese sandwich. if only it would have been from cake world it would have been much more delicious. and although my beverage of choice was orange, it was far from mirinda. and the cashews weren't the same without the coffee and biscuits.

someday, i hope and pray with all that i am to be back with the people i absolutely love and adore not only sharing in their lives, but also sharing some of their typical foods that can't be found here in the states.

oh Lord, give me the strength to continue loving boldly and entrusting people into your care.

Monday, July 21, 2008

it's hard to believe i've been back in the states for a week. it's even harder to believe that i spent six weeks in India. as i was talking to one of my friends on the internet the other night she asked me to sum up my trip in one sentence. i sat for a second and thought how in the world can i explain the past six weeks in one sentence? finally, i settled on, "it was the most amazing and fastest six weeks of my life."

i'm not sure i would have ever gotten used to the spices, the massive spider in the kitchen, never having straight hair, lizards on the wall, laundry in the sink, cold showers, my fingers smelling like curry/stew, almost getting hit by cars in the cities, the potential of getting lice every day, or showering twice a day. however, it was very easy to get used to the hugs, singing with the children, being called 'sister', the small ones in my arms, the mountains, the stars, the wind, the flowers, tea/coffee time, laughing with Johnson, Nandini's tugs, Jayabala and Raka's kisses, Dihvya's smile and hand holding, Sejola sitting on my lap, Sharon at my side, all the girls' joy, the staffs' humbleness, and the reverence everyone showed the Lord during chapel and prayer time. it's safe to say that Hope Children's Home became my home away from home quite quickly, and i consider each person there apart of my family in some way or another.

although so much of me wishes i was still in India, i know that i need to be thankful for today and to not live in the past or the future. my time at home has been full of sleep, laundry, and reconnecting with friends and family. i can't tell you how thankful i am for the relationships the Lord has placed in my life and how encouraged i have been by each and every one of you.

regardless. i hope that by now i have conveyed how life changing my time in India truly was. i can't quite describe all the changes that i feel like have taken place in my life, but i can tell you that i now know more of what it means to pray continually and expectantly, to trust whole-heartedly, to love with no reservations, to be still before the Lord, to entrust people into His care, to have a sense of wonder, for His power to be made perfect in my weaknesses, and so much more.

i am thinking back right now to the night after study time as the children were heading off to dinner. i had spent the hour and a half study time helping the older girls with their homework, but as they were gathering their plates and cups to walk to the dining hall, sharon came in and latched on to my left arm. i was a little preoccupied due to the fact that this was also the night that dihvya was sick and didn't think much of sharon holding on so tightly. as we proceeded outside together, though, she looked at me and said "sister." once my eyes met hers, she handed me a small box with daisies on the outside of it. i tried to give it back to her because i knew even something as small as this box was a prized possession for her, but she was insistent on me taking it. so i did. and as the three of us girls sat out on front of the girl's hostile talking with nivya, i turned the box over and over in my hands; finally, though, as i glanced down at it, i saw she had written on the side of the box "my friend elizabeth." my eyes started watering and as i opened the box up, i found a material flower on the inside. i didn't quite know what to think or say, but i did know that my heart was overwhelmed with appreciation. when the children filed out of dinner, sharon quickly found herself right beside me. it was then i was able to wrap her in my arms and tell her thank you. i still have the box in my room with the flower inside of it, and everytime i see it, i smile to myself and thank the Lord for the lesson sharon taught me that night of selfless giving with something as small as a material flower.

there are so many stories just like that one that i could share with you...and my apologies if i already have shared it, but time does not allow for that right now. i feel, though, that in the weeks to come i will be continually updating this with more stories as i go about my days and i continue readjusting to the "american way of life".
readjusting to my own culture has been quite difficult. i find myself getting irritated a lot quicker with people who are obsessed with material things, and i have even found myself getting irritated with my own thoughts and my own possessions. i do know that it will continue to get different, and i am thankful for that. in the mean time, know that i am praying for the Lord to continue teaching me and for Him to show me what it means to extend grace more effectively. thank you for your patience with me as i am finding so much that putting words to my experiences is more difficult than i expected, but i pray that somehow, someway the Lord would allow me to use what He taught me to bless all of you as well. until next time, know His love for you is wider, higher, and longer, than anything you could ever, ever imagine.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

oh what i would give to hold that little girl in my arms right now.

as good as home feels, my heart still aches to be in India. however, i know that isn't possible, and i know that isn't what the Lord has for me right now. there is still so much to process through, and there is still so much i want to share, but i still just haven't been able to form the words. i knew it was going to be hard to leave after loving boldly, but i am so thankful the Lord gave me the strength to do so. i suppose that i must continually remind myself that it may not get easier but that it is going to get different, and i praise the Lord that He is going to remain the same throughout it all. i still promise to update more thoroughly when i am able to form the words. join me in continually trusting that His ways and thoughts are far above any of ours.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

so many times while i was in India i remember saying "i don't know if i have the words to explain anything..." and now as i sit here and write this, i am at the exact same place. i haven't made it to my house yet, due to my cousin getting married today in mexico, so as i write this, i am sitting in a hotel room in another foreign country wishing with all my heart i could be back in India.

i haven't really let myself think about the children, the staff, or johnson much besides what they are doing at different moments in time. (for example, right now, they are sleeping b/c it is almost 1:45 in the morning there...) and i know that if i think about them too much my heart will ache more than it already does, and that is something i don't think that i want to go through until i am at my house.

we will be leaving mexico tonight, and then flying out of california tomorrow. upon my arrival home, i promise to update more extensively as i know i have much to share. until then, may you continue resting in His truths and promises.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

I don't have much time but I wanted to take the time to update this to let you all know that I am still alive and loving my time here in India.

I cannot believe that we are departing on Sunday, and it has been quite the challenge to fight back tears everyday so far this week. I have a feeling Sunday my eyes are going to be bloodshot and my face tear stained, but I am still so thankful for the opportunity I have been given to be here for a little over five weeks.

The children are still amazing, beautiful, and loving, but they, along with the staff, are not happy we are leaving. I had one girl tell me the other day as we sat under a coconut tree that I just needed to move to India and finish my studies here and live with them for the rest of my life. I wanted to tell her I would in a heartbeat, but at the same time, I know that isn't what the Lord has for me right now.

So, for now, I will just continue praying that the Lord would show up and give me his strength to get through the next few days, and I will also continue praying that the Lord will give strength to these people here who have truly become my family. I have so many stories, so many things I have learned to share with each and everyone of you. Although the transition back to America may be difficult, I am looking forward to how the Lord continues to use this trip to not only bless me, but bless others, and I will continue praying expectantly for the Lord to show up not only in my life in ways I have never experienced but in your life too.

Be blessed today, my friends.