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India 2011

The 2011 India team:
 Logan, Mark, Tom

We stayed in a tall apartment building.  On the final evening, I climbed to its roof.  From there I scaled its water tank and gained a vista above all the surroundings.  The afternoon monsoon rains had passed.  They had taken with them some of the dirty air, and together with a cooling breeze, it was almost pleasant.  They also had produced a moment of increased visibility like I had not seen in that city, nor any like it throughout all of Asia.

                I beheld a sea of buildings, one pressed against the next, in all directions, the sight only ending because the earth curved away from me.  Hindu temples and mosques stood among them, the mosques topped with mega-phone shaped speakers blaring prayers toward north and south and east and west.  They joined with constant car horns, unmuffled engines, roosters, screaming children, arguing merchants - the noise of the street.  It was like a symphony, a wretched symphony, crying out the depravity of man.

                I looked below me.  On the street lay beggars and diseased, some sleeping on concrete amidst the bustle, some only inches from passing traffic.  To my left was a space between buildings, the only one I could see.  It had been reserved for the dead.  Dilapidated grave markers were scattered randomly, not in rows, amidst a few weeds and small gatherings of wind-blown garbage.  A small metal awning stood over a slab of concrete in the center, housing coals still smoldering from the unwrapped body that had been burned atop a heap of firewood earlier, the Hindu way.

                I looked from the beggars to the graves.  The temples to the graves.  The mosques to the graves.  The arguing merchants to the graves.  The children to the graves.  My soul sank within me to depths it may have not yet known.

                I boarded a plane to begin this quest, head high, chest out, declaring like some conqueror of old, "that none shall perish", and now, my bag packed to return, I am faced with, no enveloped by, a vivid painting of hopelessness, the likes of which I have yet experienced.

                Then I looked to the heavens.  What can be done?  I don't speak the language.  I don't know the customs.  I don't have the resources.  I don't have the time.  I don't have the strength.  I am not wise enough.  I am not persuasive enough.  I'm not good enough.

                Then the Words of Matthew we had studied this very week began rushing through my head.  "There is only One who is good."  "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."  "You of little faith.  Do you not remember the five loaves for five thousand?  Or the seven for four thousand?"  "I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move.  Nothing will be impossible for you."

                As I returned my gaze to earth, my eyes came to rest on the brightly colored church and seminary we spent the week working in.  It shone like a light in a sea of darkness.  Out from it came the Word of Christ.  Hundreds of pastors carrying hope, thousands of children with a destiny, branch churches, orphanages, medical clinics, emergency relief to the afflicted, food to the hungry.  It cried out, "Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest."

                Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God was breaking our bread and we were handing it out.  There will be enough!

                It will take effort.  The expectation of participation in the rescue of the lost is evident throughout all scripture.  Even youths shall faint and be weary.  Young men shall fall from exhaustion.  But those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.


Humbled.  Grateful.  Apprehensive, but confident,