India, Day 8 - Village Outreach
Recapping day seven took forever. It was like flying west--the day just never ends. After arriving in my second location and being greeted by the "cast of thousands" that live with my hosts, we all took a good night's sleep and were up with the sun the next morning. The day began with a group devotional before the orphans went to school. If you have never heard a group prayer in India, it's a unique thing. Everyone prays aloud simultaneously, and I have to confess that it caught me off guard when I first heard it.
Devotions over, kids at school and breakfast eaten, my host and I set off in the Bolero once again. Our project for the day was village outreach. This area is home to a myriad of transient "gypsies" who move in during the harvest seasons, live lightly on the land until the harvest is over, then move on. We went to reach out and speak with these people. We didn't take any gifts, we didn't raise a tent, we just walked up, spoke to the people, and moved on.
More than anything else, this felt like pure missions work. My host reminded me of Paul. Go into the center of a community, speak, and continue on your path. It was at this point during the trip that I began reading through the book of Acts in earnest, trying to learn from the example of Paul, whose restless and often reckless devotion to his calling has been matched by very few individuals since. This week, I would read, watch and learn.
Poverty is hard to look at, no matter where you are in the world. But poverty without hope is even worse. When you walk into a mass of crude tents to visit a people group who neither know nor have imagined a life any better than the one into which they were born, it's hard to watch. And we had nothing to offer. We couldn't make their lives any better materially, and we did not lead them to believe that we could. We simply tried to give them a little hope. I don't know what kind of impact our visits had on the people we spoke to, but we can hope that they took it to heart.