Oddly enough as I returned to India to say goodbye [when I left India in May I had been expecting to go quite possibly back and live there…which is no longer the case.], the 5000 or so miles I had travelled lead me to realisations that I probably otherwise wouldn’t have stumbled across back here in England.
Being back in Lonavala at first I found myself overwhelmed by a sense of lonelyness. It is hard to be unaware of being alone when you’ve spent 5000 miles and the best part of a day travelling alone. It hit me especially hard as I am only too aware that in September/October time I plan to go to Cambodia for at least 5/6months but I’m hoping closer to a year. This again like India will be a lone adventure, I won’t be going as part of a team or travelling with anyone. The plan is to go and work at an orphanage and start to explore and realise some of the hopes and dreams growing hidden away in my heart. As I felt overwhelmed by this feeling of being alone and especially of again being alone, I started to be reminded and reassured that in fact I’d rather be struggling and living than sat back in England static and ignoring the adventure…to not be living the adventure that I’ve been lead to would be pretty destructive to my spirit…I’d be a shadow of who I was created to be. I was reminded of a tagline that I used to like when I was younger from a brand called No Fear which was ‘I’d rather be dead scared than dead bored’. It struck a cord and woke me up to the promises of God. He hasn’t created us to be alone, He has created us for relationship, to be His people, to be part of His church bringing His kingdom…as I let this overcome me I can be confident that there will be a time that I will be rooted in a we, a group of people with whom I will be able to see and be part of a WE that is seeking Gods dreams being fulfilled, His Kingdom coming.
This is not to say that I am not very blessed by the wonderful friends that are in my life. They were very much present in my first days of struggling in India as I emailed and messaged them and they supported me…It was them who helped my temporary blind eyes to be seeing eyes. But something I had been feeling but it took the prayers of a friend to give the feelings words was her picture of me as a plant currently in a pot and with roots that were filling up the pot, I was a plant that had purposefully not yet been planted. This picture helped me to firstly voice the feelings that had been burdening me and frustrating me [a little bit like feeling like you’re banging your head against the wall] before going to India and secondly as I faced my fear of being alone in India to have something to hold on to. I am able to be content with now and also re-inspired to be patient because I know that my hope is in a safe place.
Apart from all the working stuff out in my head which was a blessing to have I had come to India for a purpose. The purpose I had when I booked my ticket was still that of a regular to-ing and fro-ing between England and India, but as time pasted and I didn’t get the visa I had asked and hoped for and I found myself excitedly waking up to Cambodia my purpose arriving in India was to say goodbye for I don’t know how long. Everything else aside there was one person who I had come all this way to say goodbye to most. This person was Jwona [in the picture above] my wonderful beautiful friend who has a smile that lights up the room. My friend who I can still only say a few understandably words to yet it is her who cried as we sat hugging each other knowing we would have to say goodbye. This is such a hard goodbye to say because beyond the obvious language barrier there is many other barriers to are staying in contact the most obvious being that she lives in a slum and has no access to the technology that is the lifeline for me to those who I am separated from on other sides of the world. She will be able to be kept updated as will I by a friend Rex who works at the local YWAM base who has been our interpreter and he will be a third party communicator. But the reason Jwona will never be forgotten by me nor cease to be my friend whether we are in contact or not is that she will always been in my heart. I don’t really care how cheesy this sounds but it’s true. Jwona has forgiven me for not knowing when or if I will see her again because by the grace of God she has been able to start to glimpse her worth, in a culture that does not bestow this precious gift upon her, by an odd white girl who can barely ask her how she is that has travelled thousands of miles for only a short time for her. I thank God that I am blessed to call Jwona my friend, she is unforgettable and I long for her to know the God that brought us together and placed her in my heart.
I also in my time in India got to see Tabitha again! For those of you who don’t know her story I’d recommend reading some of my older blog posts. Tabitha is a happy bouncy healthy one year old who is a story of hope! Society had it out for her, she is the third daughter of a poor family and is alive by the grace of God. In the midst of her desperation at her situation Tabitha’s mother almost took medication to end her pregnancy but God had other plans. I hope that Tabitha will bring hope to her nation, that she will grow up and be a force for change bringing righteousness and justice to her people. So much of what I see in India seems hopeless but her little growing life is full of potential that has been ordained by God who is greater than any nation or the darkness that hides within in it. And I am so thankful to have the chance to see her and see how well she and her sisters are doing as her family grows in their faith.
This is another idea I have been left inspired by [don’t worry you’re almost there not much more to read ] which is the call to Nations. When I booked my ticket to India I didn’t deliberately intend to be there for the Arts Gathering [a YWAM conference that happens all over the world specifically for artists…in the wide sense not just the painter sense] but thankfully it did. I was at the Lonavala Arts Gathering last year which was an inspiring time and even meant that I got to be part of the first ever Arts Gathering in Nagaland which is in North-East India. All of which have been great times to receive teaching that specifically speaks to the artists and acknowledges how we were made to reflect the ultimate creator who is the source and root of our creativity. One of the speakers was called Hans who with his wife runs a dance school called Alive dance in Norway. Hans was talking with a passion about Nations not just individuals but dreaming bigger than little change, dreaming of whole nations being sheep nations and not goat nations [Matthew 25:31-46]. This gave new meaning to the verse’“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.’ for me and my understanding which had polarised my view of what I was reading as I read the bible. Before this point the bibles talk of nations had passed me by. Reading the prophets I’d find inspiring bits that have spoken to my life or inspiring verses that give me hope in the light of brokeness of our world. But my vision for seeing this change or my response is little by little instead of praying and acting on dreams that seek to see whole nations change and be set free. The prophets were speaking to whole nations, not just me and my journey of faith, I’m not sure that’s something we easily understand or see in English or maybe even Western culture. My dreams have never dared to be this big but in understanding a little more that the passions God has placed in who he created me to be [the same applies to you] are for His purposes but somehow I’d missed the massiveness of His purpose and plans. So it is not new for me to be excited by who God created this funny wandering strange girl that I find myself to be but it’s new to me to be excited about how big the vision that we have been called into is. So in understanding that I’ve been created for His purpose and glory I’ll be making sure I’m not scaling down any dreams or passions instead I’ll let God be in charge of the scale and not just the direction from now on. And now the hard bit…to turn this inspiration into action because I’m tired of being inspired and letting it come to nothing!