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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Days 8 and 9 in Kolkata

I am running a little behind on my blogging... Please forgive me. When you arrive somewhere far away you have jet lag and an adrenaline rush. That's what happens for me at the beginning of mission trips. But for the past couple of days I have moved past this and now I am on India time and becoming tired. Don't get me wrong... It is my complete joy being over here, it is a privilege to experience the things that have been laid out, and an honor to be an encouragement to so many heroes here in Kolkata.

I am going to have to come back to days 6 and 7 later. I am going to blog about today, day 8. Holy moly! This has been a day I have been looking forward to ever since God said I was returning. The day started with us going to the slum village that has a beautiful school called New Hope. This school is run by two of the most AMAZING people, Rudra and Mita. They have such a beautiful story of how they left their high paying jobs to completely leaning on and following their Heavenly Father. These children at New Hope (in a slum village) are so well behaved, sweet, polite, and SMART! We had such a fun time teaching them today and loving on them! The time with the kids flew by! Next thing you know we were saying goodbye and off we went and we headed off to one of the red light districts in Kolkata.

Holy moly! This ministry we went and visited was AMAZING! The ministry women are all from Europe and it was so inspiring to hear that the Holy Spirit completely has been in control of every aspect of this ministry. The ministry serves men and women who are HIV positive, the children that live in the area, and the women who are workers or live in the area. This building and the ministry women were completely fully consumed by the Light of the Holy Spirit and it pours out of them. On top of all that they made us sandwiches! No rice or dal. Yay! At 3 o'clock the women began to trickle in... All of the different women came and they all were happy. They went upstairs to the terrace to work on a mask craft and play games... While the second half of us did prep work for the cooking class. We made biscuits, white gravy, and salsa... All the women sat on the floor while 3 of our team ladies put on a cooking show. It really was so fun! Then they all got to sample these delicious treats. After we ate our snacks we headed up to the roof and got to be part of another amazing way for the women to express themselves through music therapy. It was the MOST beautiful experience to hear and see. This ministry is located smack-dab in the middle of the red light district... Completely surrounded by apartments full of women... Women like you and me. As we are surrounded by so much darkness there is so much hope and restoration waiting for the women and men of Kolkata. Our night came to close as we listened to the pounding of drums, laughter, song in Bengali, whispers of a violin, and hymns from a xylophone. We all sat in a circle listening and hearing the hope as we were surrounded by the unknown of what the dark buildings held. We left the red light district around 6 pm, it was dark, and the ladies were lined up. It was heart wrenching (to say the least). The women lined up with the unknown looming in the distant. The men walked around with excitement of what the night would hold. As we left we tried to make eye contact with the women to give a smile of hope, but I think they felt shame of us seeing them doing something so shameful in their culture. We got on the bus with tears streaming down our face, heavy hearts, and feelings that we could never explain. It was a joyful and hard day all in one. 

I am going to add day 9 to this blog post, because we did about the same thing as yesterday.... Same, same but different. What really hit me today is all the kids in the slum village being watched and protected in some sort of way from being trafficked. Rudra and Mita, who have the slum school in the slum village look out and protect the kids the best way they can. Because children who are poor are most likely to get trafficked because the family is in desperate need of money. Very hard to wrap our minds around that but people (no matter what nationality) do desperate things in desperate times. (Never say you would not do such a thing because truthfully you have no idea what desperate means. I have seen it but still can't grasp it.) Then I think of the red light districts here in Kolkata. Going from prevention... To what could really happen is overwhelming. Seeing such beauty being thrown out like trash and treated like trash is the most horrific action you could imagine from a human being. (Probably worse behind closed doors but I cannot fathom that). Beautiful young girls I have seen that are in close danger of being trafficked. So, today I compared the two areas and in both God is at work!

While at the ministry in the red light district today I got to share the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000 with children. After sharing the story I asked then if they had ever heard the story before and they all said "Yes!" Then they said they new a song about that story and I asked them to sing it and they all said YES! Amazing is an understatement! Then they asked us to sing, so we sang the Doxology. It was so beautiful singing that in so much darkness and as men came in and out of a brothel right next to the ministry building. Chills.

We ended the night by going to a fundraiser for an aftercare home that I have referred to as M. Girls who had been rescued from the sex trade danced and shared some of their stories. It was so beautiful. I am sure while they were lost in the darkness they thought they would never laugh for fun, dance for joy, or be free from bondage. This fundraiser showed how powerful, mighty, and strong the one true God truly is!  

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