Follow Me on Pinterest

Saturday, August 18, 2012


Bacon.  Perfectly cooked, crisp-to-the bite bacon.  How I love you, and did not even know it.  I've been back a week after a journey to India and have not been myself until today.  My Guy sizzled up the kitchen and I was in heaven.  The little things we {spoiled brats} Americans take for granted:
  • Google
  • Peanut butter
  • TV
  • Apples
  • Water from the faucet
These are just a few of the things I soaked up after landing stateside. I'm not often word-less; but am finding it impossible to describe this adventure!  

When my pastor first invited me, my heart said 'yes,' but he sagely suggested praying about it.  Oh, and seeing what My Guy would think about it.  From the get-go, I knew I was to go.  I asked Sister Kiwanya to be my partner to speak at the women's conference.  (In India, Christians are addressed as Sister and Brother).  
Is she beautiful or what?????

Well, God certainly knew THE perfect roommate for me.  We were overwhelmed (in a GRAND way) by the hospitality, grace, and love of our Indian sisters.  Tears fell...often.  And then, in our hotel room, on the floor, laughing at night.  Just one glance of hers would set me off.  We are soul sisters, for life!  After  day 2, I felt as if I had done 2,000 sit ups, my abs hurt from laughter!  In India.  In a ummm...'hotel' of sorts, with an air conditioner that forced us to wear socks while sleeping, and our shower was just IN the bathroom.  Water, water, everywhere.  Shower shoes were a MUST!

We had been told we'd "teach" or speak to around 50 women.  I'm no pastor; but when MY pastor said, "Can you give a party?"  Well!  H-E-L-L-O, yes, I can.  That gave me license to talk from the heart.  And so did Kiwanya.  We had an interpreter.

Day 1, Patna, Bihar.  We looked out into the classroom of women in saris - so different from us.

They stared.

We shared.

We told stories of families with alcoholism, addiction issues.  Of a childhood where parents did not say "I love you."  Of single motherhood, of distant parents.  Children in trouble.  They leaned forward, and heard us.  Our very own stories...

We learned a lovely, universal gesture is placing one's hand on one's heart.  We had like hearts.  It was beautiful.  How many times can one use "beautiful?"  Any doubt of why we were there was erased after our intros.  We may never know if we TAUGHT them anything; but they loved our love!  Oh, how we enjoyed that!  They relayed to our interpreter how shocked they were that "people who look like us" have the very same issues!

Day 3.  Kiwanya turned to me and asked: "Sister Virginia, did YOU know what you wanted to do as a little girl?"  And at that moment everything made sense.  I've always surrounded myself with women, girlfriends.  I'm a "woman's woman" far more than a "man's woman!"  They give me life.

As a young girl I was drawn to families - whole families.  I invested as much time with them as possible. I loved and STILL love older women - from the Young Life leader, who was probably all of 32, to my 16.  To my two aunts and loving Mimi.  At church, I stalked a woman to get to know her.  I wanted to sit at her feet. My gaggle of girlfriends have saved me.

And, so never before had Jeremiah 29:11 made more sense.  Oh, my YES...does the Lord know the plans to prosper me, to give me hope and a future!  A year and a half ago, when Pastor Dan asked me to come to work, I nearly fell over.  Next...working in our women's ministry.  Then, a mission trip to India...speaking to WOMEN about women, being strong in the Lord!

So, no, Kiwanya, I don't think I had a grand scheme as a young girl...dreams were dashed and not nurtured.  But, the Lord saves.  And redeems.

Back to India...I can't speak for K, but when I WAS speaking, I felt gripped by the Holy Spirit (and that was a specific prayer request of mine!).  It was just so delightful to share how to do life.  It took a while for the Indian ladies to warm up, but slowly, they'd stand and tell us their needs.  Devastated were we.

Our artist friend, Hannah, made a poster of a vase that we taped to the wall.  We handed out a sticky note in the shape of a flower and each woman hand-wrote, in Hindi, her prayer request.  They LOVED the poster and it was quite a hit!  And, yes - it looked beautiful.

Now, don't think the trip was all-so-serious.  We toured the Taj Mahal.  Oh, yes we did.

Agra, India (built 1632-1653)
 Built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his third wife.
Widely recognized as "the jewel of Muslim art in India."
(It was stunningly beautiful).

We toured "Old Delhi" in a rickshaw.  And saw henna heads!

Our hands became works of art...

But, mostly the work was done in my HEART.  

India - I love.  

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11