Over the last three months, I have planned lessons, played games with children, fed infants, navigated my way across many busy roads (with a few close calls I must admit!) and learnt a lot about a very different culture. I have learnt that Kolkata is a place full of people ready and willing to welcome me at every opportunity, people who are passionate about Christ and about promoting the cause of those in need of His love. I have learnt many practical things too such as how to speak Bengali and how to eat using only my right hand (It’s all about the thumb!). God has also taught me a lot during these first three months and I wanted to share a bit of what He has taught me with you in this blog post so I hope that this is insightful and may even encourage some of you!
“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed but not in despair; persecuted but not abandoned; struck down but not destroyed.” ~ 2 Corinthians 4:8-9
When I was searching for a way to summarise my experience of India so far, I found this verse in my journal and, although I haven’t experienced everything in the verse, it stood out to me. I have faced various challenges whilst here and, particularly in the first few weeks, doubted that I could be of use. During that time, stepping out of the gates of the guesthouse was an achievement for me and these outings would still have been accompanied by anxious thoughts. There was a point when I had accepted that the next six months would just be outlined by these anxious thoughts and fears.
However, as 2 Corinthians 4:8-9, despite those challenging few weeks and other challenges that still come my way, by God’s grace, I was not crushed, I was not abandoned and I have not been destroyed. Through all of this, God has been teaching me perseverance and to trust in Him which I am gradually learning to do. Being here in India has taught me to depend on God more because, although I am blessed to be surrounded by people who care for me here and I am able to be in contact with my family, He is the only one in India who has travelled with me on my whole journey to this point and therefore, is the only one who completely understands all my thoughts and feelings. It’s truly amazing how God has shown me His faithfulness and enabled me to persevere through these challenges to arrive at this point where I feel more confident and able to be useful in our different projects. I am really looking forward to the next three months and although I don’t expect it all to be easy, I am beginning to realise that the difficult times are when God’s faithfulness to me is most evident. Therefore, although I won’t exactly celebrate the hard times, I hope to be able to remind myself that out of each hardship comes many blessings.
I am thankful for:
- God’s faithfulness to me.
- The continued encouragement from family and friends.
- The opportunity to have this incredible experience.
- That I would be constantly reminded of the hope that Christ has given us and that this would not be overshadowed by feelings of homesickness over the Christmas season.
- That I will enjoy our upcoming holiday and come back refreshed and re-energised to get stuck into our projects again.
- That I would stay in good health (I have had a few short periods of illness recently).