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Courtney & Sydney in India – July 2013

Hey Friends and Family,

Yesterday, we officially left Happy Valley (the place we have been most of this month) to head back to the city. It was a very emotional time of leaving so many brothers and sisters there that we have come to see as family. Later on, we were talking about it and I just don’t think I ever realized the impact that us being there had upon many lives. All the more, we are praising God for His grace in our lives as it is nothing in us that encouraged them so, apart from Christ.

It is crazy to be back in Bhubaneswar so soon, as we feel like the month flew by and yet also like we have been here forever, as we just love the people like we have in fact known them forever. We are so thankful for our Indian family! God has been faithful through it all, and we are excited to share testimony of all that He has done through this month as we return and talk with all of you once again!

Both Syd and I are praying for God to show us what is next, in terms of our future and how India fits into it. It seems God has positioned both of us to return to the US for a season, anyhow. I will begin working on raising the funds for LifeChange and am praying about working for them part-time. Syd is headed to Virginia to see what God has for her there, and will also help with LifeChange as she can. Both of us are talking about returning to India, soon, and plan to seek further wisdom in this as the emotions fade and we seek the Lord.

Please continue to pray for us in our transition back and in wisdom for what is next as we learn to trust the Lord to show us in His timing.

Tomorrow, we fly to Delhi and spend two days there before we are America-bound on Tuesday.

Pray for our Indian “mom “ and “dad” as we will say goodbye to mom tomorrow at the airport here in Bhubaneswar and then goodbye to dad later in the day when we arrive to Delhi. Pray for the God of peace to comfort mom’s heart and for her to have vision for all that God is doing and to praise and hope in Him alone.

We are so thankful for this month here, for our Indian family, and to see testimony of what God is doing in India through LifeChange International. We are thankful to each of you for supporting us and praying for us through this journey and look forward to seeing what He has next!

By His Grace, Courtney and Sydney

 

Courtney & Sydney in India – July 2013

I had a moment today. A moment in which I absolutely, positively lost it. It was hot today, more so then what IMG_3761 2is normal during this rainy season. I kept sweating and itching. And I was wearing a nice dress, for a change. Everyone was staring. At first, it’s just funny. But after weeks, I just want to give them the show they’re looking for.

But I restrain myself, thank goodness. [Let’s just be clear though—I could totally entertain them.] While “mom” was picking the veggies out at the market, I took a photo of the police officer and he wasn’t too happy about it, to say the least. I felt even more like a piece of meat as he tried to force us into giving him a bribe to leave us alone. The corruption is overwhelming. A few days ago, I talked about eating the cow in a Hindi home [they don’t eat the cow here; they worship it]. Sometimes, I have no filter.

IMG_3757When we drove home, there was a woman with her face covered in black lines. I asked why and mom explained to me. Many years ago when the British took over this region, the white men would rape the young girls. Desperate for a way out, the women decided if they could make themselves look uglier, perhaps the men would no longer desire them. Thus, they tattooed (probably in an incredibly painful method) black lines across their entire faces and heads. Mom explains that the women in their 60s and 70s with the lines, are the ones that didn’t get raped. And the ones without the lines, well they weren’t as fortunate, she tells me.

The topic changes but my mind remains fixed on the woman covered in black lines.

We ride back into town and get caught in the parade. We are stuck and the car is turned off and the sweat is—well, it’s everywhere. The police make me feel self-conscious and the people around the car are captivated by our white skin, as usual. I feel suddenly as though I am in a cage to be sold, a commodity and I remember the woman with the lines and my mind says jump out the back and run. Then mom says, “Let’s play a game,” offering up a deck of cards in her hand. I laugh?

Then the cart comes. Twenty or thirty grown men at least, pulling and pushing this huge float with men standing atop, even a little boy. They are worshipping the idol and I see it all fading so fast. All men will fall to hell or their faces and only God will remain lifted high. Thousands line this one little street in the middle of no where India all to worship these men on this cart and in light of how it all ends, well, I just don’t know what to do with the weight of it all.

It’s afternoon and I cannot name a place on my body where there is not some sort of bump that itches. Like a funny joke, they all start up at once. Kids are everywhere as it is a day off of school [and their energy levels seem to expand the closer we get to bedtime] and our lunch company lingers well into the evening. There are to-do lists everywhere, some correction of the ones I have completed, adding to those too and I feel the room getting hotter. There is no rest and I am feeling suffocated. The kids get louder and most of what I know is back with the mascara that I must have forgotten alongside the bathroom sink.

I jump up in the middle of conversation and run upstairs at which point all the building up floods out onto the pillow now lending support to my head. It’s too much, I decide. There is no way I can do this every single day, after day after day after day. I plead with the Lord because I love the people, I really, really love them. I splash cool water on my face and breathe in and out. I smile to the mirror because I am learning joy that so far exceeds my feelings and I don’t know how else to remember. And the trials, those too, I am learning to count as joy. There is a steadfastness lacking in the ever-wondering of my heart and I desire to see it come while the eternal wait continues.

And here, I find it because God meets me in this place of the itchy, sweaty, unorganized and underprivileged land they call India, the same one which God is teaching me to love outside of myself.

I go downstairs and we leave to visit several homes. I look into the eyes of these brothers and sisters filling my cup and stomach, and of myself I am seeping onto the couch beneath me. I am a selfish brat most days here, and it builds up. Until the holy spirit at His finest breathes the body to life right in front of my eyes and there is no denying His work in this place and the yearning He is growing inside of me to be apart of it.

They are my family, these ones sitting around me and that is undeniable in spite of me, myself and I.

We pray for them and my life verse is plastered on the wall across from the couch where I sit, duh. Well, of course it is? I think to myself. “His power is made perfect in thee.” The translation, I have no clue, but He is reminding me to boast in these weaknesses that His power might be magnified in my weakness and so I write to boast tonight.

I have no words as I see the itching, lizards, and to-do lists fade so quickly in light of the glory of Christ and his spirit at work in these people and this place. This is real, you know?

It’s the eternal that sheds light on what is fading. And truly, I do not think lizards will be an issue when every knee bows and every tongue confesses.

Who’s Kingdom are you yearning for, my daughter? Whose are you furthering?

Mine is here and to come. Open your eyes to see beyond yourself and see my bride preparing, glorious and longing for hope too.

We leave one week from today [for the city] and the thought is painful already. We are both wrestling today, with the Lord and this place is changing us in ways neither of us saw coming. They expect us back here, and soon. Please join us in praying for us to know what the next step is, and for deeper focus on relationship in our final week here.

A girls night is in the works for Sunday. Pray for that too.

By lizards and His glorious grace,

Courtney

 

Courtney & Sydney in India – July 2013

IMG_3525A year ago, I saw glimpses but now there is unrelenting and indescribable joy pouring from the Holy Spirit’s work inside. I look at her and long to learn it in my own life. She is beautiful, in her yellow saree, gracious in her slow and gentle words. She makes the little ones speak to us in English , pointing their shy, little faces upward with her palm. She is fearless in her loving discipline of the older ones. They call her Auntie and the respect illuminated daily is unreal. She is mom to many here.

And this week, she became a mom to us too.

She is a servant of the gospel. She is always cooking and visiting and laughing and explaining and translating. Her prayers are meek and gentle, beneath her covering of reverence to He who has overcome. Her posture before the Lord in prayer in itself, offers glorious testimony to His grace in her life. I am challenged by it. Even her words, calm and quiet in recognition of His greatness in our lives. I appreciate the spirit of meekness at work inside of her. She laughs at the days to come. It’s a trust unsettled deep inside my heart as I fret and fear and plan for the tomorrow that isn’t even promised.

This week, they bought us Sarees and before the nights’ end they flawlessly answered to “mom” and “dad” at the sound of our voices.

There was something fitting about their protection over us and their love for us that became overwhelming standing in that little fabric shop as they chattered over which color saree would look best on Syd and I. Dad pointing to one and mom to another. Back and forth they went, language we couldn’t understand but with a love that made perfect sense. It came out quietly at first, unsure how they would respond to us offering up such a title.

They laughed and grinned. So we just continued saying it. And it has stuck.

DSCN2804Dad tied the scarf around his neck to show us how to do it and I nearly fell onto the floor in such laughter. [He has it off within seconds of us pulling out the camera, of course.] He then proceeded to tie each of our scarves around us and in this moment we were overwhelmed.

For this daddy-deprived daughter, it was a moment I could testify to the hand of God once again so graciously redeeming an area of my life once shattered. I don’t think I will ever forget this moment, where the God who has drawn me to Himself back home, came and touched me with a father’s love half way across the world. What grace!

It is a humbling moment for us all.

Sam (dad) is a dreamer, a visionary. God has surrounded this place with protection and favor. The testimony to this is unreal. Sometimes, when Sam is storytelling, I can’t even reconcile his words as anything but fiction in my limited mind. He preaches the word with boldness and cares for the least of these with more compassion then most. The plans God has given him for the future are abundant and I am excited to watch them come to life! I love just sitting across the table from him over dinner, listening to him carry on about more vision and dreams for this place. Either Syd or I always keep a notepad within arms reach now, as we have to-do lists everywhere. God is at work through dad, though, and it is so good.

Time with mom and dad is doing something in both of our hearts and I think they will forever be just that—our Indian daddy and momma.

Today mom was talking and said “Sam did this….” And she paused to correct herself. “Oh, I mean, dad did this…” What a blessing this little family continues to be.

And what a blessing our extended Indian family is as well. I have never seen the body of Christ fleshed out as such a close knit family until arriving here.  It feels as though we have forever been family, sometimes. Even with the ones with whom I cannot understand a single word. That has to be only the holy spirit at work, right?

I am so thankful for the body of Christ. The one that made a way for us to come here for a month and the one that has so graciously welcomed us into their life for the month and far beyond, I imagine. Many times we find ourselves standing in front of church or parents or students and testifying to the hundreds of Americans praying for them right now. We tell of God’s provision for us to be here dealt out through the gracious hands of our church family and brothers and sisters back home.

They don’t know whether to laugh or cry and it is funny to watch their faces teeter back and forth as we stand before them.

They are grateful to you back home, friends. And so are we!! 

Daily, I find myself thinking about heaven. I’m catching glimpses and longing for the day more and more. Someday, ALL of us will fall to our faces before the Lord and cry out. All tribes, tongues and nations together at once. It’s a promise I can’t soak up enough, as I realize one day each of them will worship in unison with each of you. A bond unseen and never broken. We really are a family, all of us here in India and all of you back home in the U.S. God is great and greatly to be praised!

Today, we give thanks for dad and mom, each of you back home, and our family of Christ here in these villages. We are encouraged and exhausted!! Thanks for your prayers, always.

Written by Courtney Osborn

 

Courtney & Sydney in India – July 2013

IMG_3311We sat in that little living room for hours, it had to have been. This was the first home we had visited where the conversation was fluent, minor a few snags in pronunciation of course. He is the dad to two boys attending the school where we teach, and his own duties of research and school inspection and teaching English qualify him to communicate well. His dreams of studying in America came to life in our midst, and upon the discovery Syd’s dad is indeed a teacher his grin could not stretch itself far enough. It won’t surprise me when he calls Sydney’s dad, asking for the job.

They fed us salty cake and when we’d had our fill, more cake appeared. We drank Sprite and later on some Chai. We laughed a lot. And yet there was a grieving stirred inside too. This day off for us from teaching at the school was a celebration of just one of the millions of God’s worshiped by our Hindi friends; and this family had been completely sold into the deception with no glance back.

As he gawked at us, mouth open wide, when we explained that our parents are not married, our moms are re-married, our siblings are also a more complicated web to explain than English meeting Hindi can make sense of.

Does your dad love you, sister? He kept asking, as he couldn’t reconcile the love of a man defined by leaving our moms and not supporting us completely until marriage. And in the moment, we assured him of our parents love for us, despite brokenness. But I won’t forget his words. We told him that we hope to offer a different legacy to our future kids. We explained that because of Christ in our lives, there is much love we hope to offer. He nodded and smiled, yes sister, I think you will. 

We don’t agree on much spiritually and my prayers for this family have remained from a year ago when I met them. I love them, you know. Their youngest we nick-name ‘roly poly’ as it is a far too perfect description of his build with his small round glasses,  and endless prayers for God to relieve him of his asthma. He is precious and I often catch myself laughing simply at his sight.

He carried out the cake to us and hid a piece behind his back to eat too. We could not stop laughing. It was hilarious. I love how the joy of the Lord is not bound by income, nation, or language.

I left in awe of God’s grace in my life. Thankful for it. This man, he seemed so broken to hear testimony of our American lives. Perhaps his version of the American dream fleshed out through us sitting in his living room was crushed too.

You pay how much for your rent? Your phone bill costs what?! You do not live with your parents? How could your dad not love you enough to stay with your mom and support your family? All legitimate questions to which I know the only way out is Christ.

Even as he hopes with all his might in the opportunities afforded to him through studying in the US, I watch him wrestle with the disappointing truth we share. I think it is often in the brokenness welcomed when idols are crushed that we look out of the pit and see only Christ. I pray even such a simple conversation would strike some hope lost in that of the U.S. and the world of academia in his heart.

I took out my phone to show photos of my life and within minutes his boys had it in their grip, uttering gibberish and laughing. Life is funny this way. In those moments when I took those photos, I never thought these eyes would see them. If only we will live life this way too—always accountable and never unguarded for the day of the Lord is coming!

And that’s just it—the day of the Lord IS coming. And unfortunately this family won’t be there apart from Christ’s holy sprit drawing them to Himself. And when you hear about the 33 million gods and the 1.4 billion people worshipping them, well it’s sad but you continue living life of course.

Until you get here and the numbers become faces that you love on every day and the gods become the cart parading down the street in front of you and the sacrifices offered behind the curtains of the markets in which you eat and it’s just so very real.

Suddenly the Old Testament law becomes applicable and God’s grace is displayed through it more in my heart then I ever imagined.

This man loves his family more. He desperately desires to see his boys succeed and find happiness. The compassion he shares for his wife’s illnesses and beauty are humbling. And yet, apart from Christ where is eternity? Even for the boys that spend hours listening to me teach everyday?

It’s a wrestling happening here more and more regularly. A debt I wish I could pay for him. For all four of them. But I can’t. All I can do is love more like Christ.

For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. 1 Corinthians 1:17

Psalm 71 reminds us as well, that God is a rock of refuge, to which  may continually come; HE has given the command to save ME (and others!) for He is the rock and fortress. ONLY God can save, no matter how desperately we desire to see a brother or sister come to faith in Him.

And at the end of the day I toss and turn deep into the night, knowing my lack of ability to convict with wise words is indeed surrendered to the magnification of Christ in all of His glory and yet—I so desperately want them to get it.

Christ is the same with us I think, as He begs us to not befriend the world. To the extent as such, that doing so is indeed enmity with Him. He tells us how He yearns jealously over the Holy Spirit He placed inside of us and then promises grace to be more and more.

I don’t understand it and I can’t live outside of it. Oh grace, how sweet the sound. Please fall upon my brothers and sisters here as their idols leave them severed from hope eternal, found ONLY in you oh precious Lord and Savior. Friends, please join me in praying for this mom, dad, and two boys. 

 

Courtney & Sydney in India – July 2013

Wow. I don’t know how to describe the past few days, a week already of being here at Happy Valley.IMG_3111

We arrived on Sunday night to a welcome celebration of children dancing and playing drums, and the women who stay at Happy Valley embracing us while wrapping us with beautiful leis made of flowers and leaves from their compound. It was easy to feel at home in this jungly, mountain area.

We were welcomed again on Monday by the students at the Mt. Carmel School, run by Sam & Bana’s ministry LifeChange International and were able to observe how things work at the school. They have Preparatory (for those who are just starting the school), Pre-nursery, and Standards 1-6 where the students are taught Orissa (regional language), Hindi (national language), English, Social Science, General Knowledge, Geo-Science, and Conversation classes.

DSCN2786By Tuesday Court and I were placed on the schedule as English, Social Science, and Math teachers for Standards 3, 5, & 6 and helping in the Nursery. I am excited to see how this school will flourish and expand in the future as Sam has a vision to make it the only school in their area of Khandamal to teach and offer boarding for Standards (grades) 1-12. How amazing would that be?!

Our daily schedule (except for Wednesday which was a holiday for a Hindu god) usually consists of being at the school from 8ish to 1:30ish, then eating lunch around 2:30 and taking a nap or preparing for something that we have been asked to do (which everyday there is more to add to our list of tasks to help with for the LifeChange ministry, whether at the school or here at Happy Valley– God is keeping us busy!) From 3-5pm is pretty much designated as “rest time” though. After resting we visit different houses of family members of Bana & Sam, or parents of the children that we are teaching. Every day seems so laid back but also full of new adventures and new people to share the love of Jesus with them.

It has been wonderful to get to finally see the place that I have heard so much about from Courtney, and meetDSCN2793 the wonderful family that is front and center, chosen by God to be led by His Spirit to run this ministry. The more I get to know them, the more I have a deep love and respect for how they demonstrate the love that God our Father gives us when he adopts us and calls us his children.

“By this we know love , that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?” (1 John 3:16-17)

Sam and Bana have opened up their home not only to us but also many boys and young children that stay on the compund with them while they attend school.

“Beloved, if God so loved us (that he sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him), we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.” 1 John 3:(9)11-12

I see the love of God clearly through the love that Sam and Bana show us as well as every person they come in contact with. It is incredible how much favor they have with the community here. Besides the daily increasing number of people we’ve found that are related to this couple, Christians and Hindus, government workers and political leaders, influential pastors, and humble parents only wanting the best for their children all are putting their faith in the mission this couple has of making a difference in their village for the better; the difference being the transformative power of Jesus Christ.

DSCN2800Court and I even started calling them Mom and Dad as we can tangibly feel the love that they have for us. They have even picked out clothes for us! Last night sealed our relationship when they took us shopping for sarees because we wanted to fit in more with the culture. After the two shop owners (which both have children in the school where we are teaching) started two-by-two laying out beautiful pieces of fabric for the sarees, our “parents” helped to ensure we were making the best decision and receiving the best quality. Sam, like a good dad, told us which ones he liked the best w/out trying to influence our opinions too much. Bana made sure that I knew the sequins would probably fall off the one I chose, and that it might not be very soft on my skin. After choosing our favorites, Papa Sam taught us how to wear the excess fabric as a scarf, and after demonstrating on himself (too fast for us to take a picture), he tied one around each of our necks. I felt blessed and totally comfortable with this new relationship!

I could go on and on about how much I am jealous for the deep, loving relationships that take place between family and friends here, but I will save it for the next time. This family has indeed been a reflection of Jesus for me, which is awesome! God is so gracious to sacrifice his own Son, Himself as Jesus, so that it is  possible for us to have a relationship with the Him, the King of Kings when we turn from our selfish desires and trust in Him. The best thing for us is to be in His presence, where there is fullness of joy!

With my family here in India I can see that they are trusting in God, seeking his face, sitting in his presence, and their joy and love are both a result of that.

One last comment:

I have to share with you how PSALM 103 has been refreshing to my soul nearly every day this week:

“Bless the Lord, Oh my soul, and do not forget all His benefits – who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases.”  

So amazing. So wonderful. This psalm has been a promise from God that I can be thankful for even while I’m almost always sweaty, tired, stomach hurting (getting better, Praise God), stressed out over our speaking in front of people, or letting the enemy divide Court and I…. I must remind myself: don’t forget all His benefits. He has given me everything I need in Christ to be satisfied, and also to be more than a conqueror to anything that comes against us, and doing His work.

And as I speak about being refreshed, the rain is coming! I love seeing the hand of God working in this place.

I encourage you to read Psalm 103 and be blessed!

Please pray for us and India,

Sydney

 
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Posted by on July 12, 2013 in End of the Earth, General Missions, India

 

Courtney & Sydney in India – July 2013

IMG_7005

After tossing and turning in our dark Delhi hotel room for nearly six hours to see that alarm strike 8am, we couldn’t have been happier to pack up and head onward in our journey here in India. I am so thankful for our time in Delhi as we got some sweet bonding time as teammates in our windowless hotel room enjoying American snacks, a round of arm wrestling and a game of Bananagrams. [Which was made even better because Syd was tired and I actually beat her at the arm wrestling!] Re-match to come, I am quite sure, but no one is keeping score, not really.

We flew two hours South and made it here to Bhubaneswar. We are so blessed to be hosted by an American pilot living here. After being picked up from the airport, first stop:  Baskin Robins! Priorities right? It was exciting for me to get to see Philos, (the son of the Pastor we are going to serve) as he is here studying at a boarding school.

After a tour around the old part of the city, we viewed several ancient temples and walked within an arms reach IMG_6989 of plenty of cows which never feels normal! We ate a good meal at a vegetarian restaurant. I’m still trying to decide if man can indeed live on naan and veggies alone…to be continued! I am so thankful for Syd’s willingness to try and eat just about anything while I remain my picky self. Last night we stayed in our pilot friend’s boss’s guest houses and had the whole place to ourselves. We were exhausted and both slept pretty well.

Yesterday, we headed to Happy Valley, the compound where we will reside for the remainder of our journey, and I am so thankful to be reunited with our brothers and sisters here! The five-hour drive up into the mountains was be a long, hot one, but I can never take my eyes off of the people just doing life outside of the windows as we pass.

IMG_3074I don’t know that I could ever live here long enough for this culture to become normal to me, but I am so excited to see how God is going to allow us to serve and encourage the body of believers up here in these mountains and to bring a gospel of grace and hope for those who have not yet heard.

More updates to come! Thanks for your prayers!

In His Grace,

Courtney

 
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Posted by on July 12, 2013 in End of the Earth, General Missions, India

 

Courtney & Sydney in India – July 2013

A year ago I remember writing about the colors covering up the dirtiness of this bustling city in the heart of this nation that I love. I remember being Indiacaptivated by them, in fact. I remember the beauty of the women and the promises of God to bring redemption to these people being so near to my heart, an undeniable really.

This time though, I am met with a darkness behind the colors and I feel it lingering tonight, feasting away at the light inside of me.

It’s obvious in the men that gawk and smirk my way, as if a quiet message of my belonging to them or something. Not as evident perhaps, but I see it in the women scampering along the street edges with their eyes down, quiet and out of the way. I recognize it in the little boys on either side of our taxi uttering pleas that transcend language with fingers outstretched.

Sometimes, it’s too much and sometimes I need to remember I cannot save the world—nor is it my job.

We took a walk just several blocks out from our hotel last night. It felt safe and these legs were begging to move, these eyes hungry to see. There are so many people on just this little street in this one small area of this one huge city in this growing nation. We’d made it several blocks before I saw them ahead.

These mammas with babies on their hips. Earlier, they’d stood beside our taxi uttering desperate pleas, fingers pinched together and hands outstretched. Sometimes language is irrelevant. Poverty speaks a language of it’s own, and I am learning I would often prefer to read it through a lens of my own good rather then that of another. So I sat there in the back of that car, fearful even to gaze their direction knowing my own brokenness would overwhelm.

Sometimes helping hurts, and at one point I gazed up and my small understanding of how much I could hurt the impoverished here in India by giving all flew out the cracked window, swallowed up in that humid air humming to the tune of horns. I started digging around in my purse for those little coins like my life depended on it. The taxi thumped to life again as it maneuvered down the road, taking both of us and our American money with it.

Her face continued to haunt me though, well into my nap and afterwards. I wrestled with the helpfulness and hurtfulness for giving or not giving, for both her and myself.

And now here we are walking from our hotel, down this strip besides the three lanes of traffic expanding into five. My eyes lock with hers this time, a few blocks down, no matter how hard I try to point them elsewhere. This time there is no car door between us and suddenly that feeling of safety is gone. She still holds that little baby. Up close, her eyes are sunken in and hollow inside. She has a little girl, who reaches for my skirt as I quicken my stride back towards the hotel. I didn’t know what else to do really.

Settled safely onto the hotel steps a few minutes later beside Syd, all I knew in my head faded as India’s darkness overwhelmed. I remembered classes and seminars and sermons on this stuff. When Helping Hurts was buried in a bag a few stories up in our room and its presence made me angry.

What would a mom so desperate and broken do if her situation demanded more? To what extent would she go? Selling her daughter, for a  better life with husband or job, perhaps? Her story is echoing through my research pages and it’s all too common.

Giving money might feed the issues underlying, so I remember the candy upstairs for the kids we’re going to teach, and I think we should go get some and bring it back to this little one, sent out to beg. Somehow I picture the treat a re-claiming of her childlike innocence and I for that I want to fight. I say it aloud and realize how incomplete my supposed solution sounds. My teammate ever so gently reminds me of reasons we just shouldn’t go back there and I nod my head in agreement, though my heart is screaming out to do something, anything. 

It’s in this moment I don’t care whether my helping hurts them; I just need to relieve the war waging inside of myself. We sit beside one another and I feel humidity drip down my back. I watch buses and cars and men pour in and out of them. I remember God is here and He’s working and I wish we could just catch a glimpse of it for ourselves.

It’s barely 5am and I sit crouched on this bathroom floor to wrestle with Jesus, I just know it possible, likely even, that that precious little girl, those big brown eyes, she could be sold into sexual slavery and her innocence robbed. In time those precious brown eyes suddenly appear sunken in like her mothers. I want to stop it but I can’t.

Syd reminds me of Jesus sending out the disciples in Luke 10. He tells them to greet no one on the road, to remain in the same house eating and drinking what they provide, but to not go out from house to house. Not long ago, a wise woman walked me through this passage and I see God was already preparing my heart to trust in His words and to rely on them here in India.

He sent them out two by two and it’s no coincidence Syd and I have been sent together into this overwhelming harvest.

As we continue our journey to this house where God has called us to stay, please pray for continual discernment in how to help (or not help) in ways that wont hurt these people. Pray for my heart as it is leaning a bit far into the darkness of human sex-trafficking here in India, and losing sight of the glory of  how Christ is being magnified.

As we continue to hear creation groaning and yearning to be set free from the bondage of corruption [Rom 8:18-25], pray that we would seek and trust in Christ’s huge plan of deliverance and promise.

We are thankful to be reminded of the way God hears the desires of the afflicted and strengthens their hearts; how He does justice for the fatherless and oppressed so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more. [Ps. 10:17-18] This really gives us perspective that God is ruler over all and He is sovereign. We trust Him to teach us to to do good, seek justice, and plead for the widows cause, but ultimately yielding to His holy spirit at work in and around us. Not of our own strength or merit that we may boast, but completely dependent upon Christ!

In His Grace,
Courtney