Sunday, February 9, 2014

Let there be Light!

Thinking back over today, I feel truly speechless. We live in a place that offers us the world, and we have every blessing we need, yet we find problems and thirst for more material possessions. Here, the people have met live in huts, don't have clean drinking water, and are mostly illiterate. Yet, they have hope and joy that most Americans I have met can't even comprehend. It is difficult to reconcile. Please don't think I am saying that I am exempt from that myself. I am selfish in ways that I didn't know until I met the people of Kalphar slum. 

We spent the day at a retreat center in the south part of Kolkata, celebrating a church service. Families from the different communities we serve came together for one large service, including Baptisms and communion. Over 150 people sat on the floor together for several hours, singing songs of praise and listening to a wonderful sermon. They have hearts that are so open to Grace, even though they have been hurt beyond measure. Several of the testimonies we've heard this week mention addiction, abuse, persecution, neglect, and disease. Instead of dwelling on problems, the people here have learned to pray and trust in Jesus. Their sense of hope and trust is incredible! 

Each of the ten people we witnessed get Baptized this morning faces persecution and abandonment. It is truly a leap of faith for them to publicly proclaim Christianity and accept Christ. I can't imagine facing the hardship they face just to say that I am a Christian. My own walk of faith pales in comparison. But I have come to learn that it isn't about who has a more difficult journey, but accepting that no matter what, we can't earn His grace. We are all made in His image, and loved unconditionally. I am so grateful that my eyes and heart have been opened this week to the incredible things God is doing in this world. 

Throughout the week, our team continues to make small discoveries: piles of trash on the side of the road, men bathing on the sidewalk, cows roaming the streets, a family discarding snack waste over the side of a boat, dogs laying in the shadows of busses in an airborne sea of fleas. What is most interesting is that even in our short time, we have stopped being shocked by most of these things. In fact, we have already started becoming immune to some of it. If we, as outsiders seeing this for the first time, have become numb to the problems, how will people who live in this city fix some of these major problems? Fundamentally, making changes in those areas could change the lives of the people here by reducing disease. One of the aims of SEED and the trips we take through Cross Point is to make fundamental changes in the communities they are located through education and addressing practical needs. For Christmas they got solar lanterns to provide light in the darkness of night. This week we did a ribbon-cutting for toilets to improve health through sanitation. 

Our team has consistently wondered: what can we do to make an impact here? How do we rectify the injustice and iniquity? There isn't an easy answer. There isn't one answer that will solve the earthly problems. One thing we have learned is that small changes can make a BIG difference. So we set a goal: raise money to buy new industrial generators for Kalphar. The ones they have now are substandard for their needs. They emit gas fumes, are very loud, and get easily overloaded. We want to raise $5,500 so they can get quiet generators that can handle more power. This will allow power to support new computers to teach the school children and new sewing machines for the vocational women. They'll be able to do more complex work on these machines, and ultimately, make more money for their families, and the projects that SEED is doing. 

Are you willing to help us make an impact? Maybe you could make small changes in your life to give a few dollars. It's about more than just money - it's about your heart. Skip the morning Starbucks run once a week and give the money toward the generator. Eat at home a few nights or turn off the fancy T.V. (by that I mean cable or satellite). For each of us, it looks a little different. For me, it's cutting out drinks. I love nothing more than running through a drive-through for a cold, unsweet iced tea. But that money adds up and can make a big difference on a global scale. So I'm cutting out buying drinks for a year- tea, beer, coffee, and sodas. What can you do? 

Maybe you want to make a change in your life, or maybe you want to make a one-time donation to support the generators. Either way, you can learn more and donate here:  Your gift is appreciated and will make more of an impact than you can imagine! If you'd like to see some of people we have met who will be impacted, follow me on Instagram, user name Smithly, or check out the hashtag #CPIndia for everyone's posts this week. You'll see faith in action! Thanks in advance for helping us do great things in the world. 

1 comment:

  1. You are truly an amazing woman! I am so very lucky indeed! And I miss you terribly :(