July 5, 2015 - India
Heaps of garbage line the narrow streets. Small communities of makeshift housing clump by the greenish-brown water, hide beneath overpasses or sit ten feet away from the busy roads. Pedestrians and bikes and cars and buses weave in and out of the traffic, sharing the road in a chaotic harmony. The buildings look like they have seen too many years gone by and the people look worn and weathered. I had heard a lot about this city, but none of it prepared me for these overwhelming sights on the ride from the airport to the place we were staying. I didn’t want the car ride to end. I knew that when the car stopped, I would have to get up and step out into the terrifying realities of urbanization that I was witnessing.
To my untrained eye, it was initially difficult to see the beauty in this city, so I retreated to feelings of despair and helplessness instead. But throughout this first week I could see and feel God’s presence if I looked hard enough. I see God’s grace in the countless number of men and women willing to help when we were lost and asking for directions. I see God’s patience in the store owner who helped us get everything we needed while we struggled to communicate through the language barrier. I see God’s compassion in the two men who yelled, pushed, and made a way for me, a complete stranger, to get off the unbelievably packed train at my stop. I see happiness in the community of women at my ministry site and the smiles of the children living in the nearby slums. I have met men and women who have dedicated their lives to serving and following Jesus in a place where Christianity is not common, and that has reminded me of God’s promise of restoration. Yes, there is brokenness and injustice here. But God is present in this beautiful city, God is with these beautiful people, and with God nothing is impossible.
Written by Ryan