As I write this post, I’m sipping instant Korean coffee out of a Chinese bowl, writing in a Walmart notebook from Kona with a German pen, sitting on the floor of a hotel in Kolkata.
Besides the first week of outreach, this week was the most full of my entire DTS.
“Helping” (dancing with and trying to be as cool as) the boys practicing the choreography they performed at two churches to raise awareness for Life Connection, the ministry we’ve been working with.
Getting horribly sick just before getting on what would become a thirty five hour train ride from Nagaland to Kolkata, and then better just in time.
Kat’s ankle breaking to the point that movement was impossible while we crossed the tracks, just as a train was coming. With the whistle growing louder, closer, all the guys rushed to carry her across the three sets of rails. As she sat on the bench, waiting for the train and recovering from the shock of escaping tragedy by inches, Rosie prayed for her ankle. Overnight it went from break to sprain.
Waking up on the train to the outer rumbles of a 6.7 megaton earthquake around 4 AM.
After this, the ride consisted of sleep, hanging out the door to breathe in the scenery, and making friends with a five year old Bengali boy peeking out from behind momma’s skirts just long enough to laugh at the yellow haired girl. Watching Bollywood videos and listening to worship on an old Nokia with Sunil (I’ll post his story later in the week, hopefully. Suffice it to say never have I seen such joy in one from his circumstances). An hour into this, I asked if he was sad. Quick nod, then the headphone is slipped back in before a word can escape my mouth. What could I have said anyways? We both knew why he was sad, and that I could say nothing to fix it or relate. How can I relate? This week was his holiday, his one week with three guaranteed meals a day, a bed at night, and a roof over his head. Although LC will be there from 8 AM to 4 PM everyday, providing food, education, a shower, community, and love, come 4 o’clock and he must return to the train station. There’s only so much one family can do for so many street boys…
So what could I say? What could I do, besides lay a hand on his shoulder and simply be there?
Hours later, we arrive. With the delay of the quake, the journey took four hours longer than expected. The morning after we arrive, Steffi, Kat, Caleb, and I all wake up horribly sick. Because of dehydration, Steffi and Caleb both blacked out. Neither Steffi nor I could keep any food or liquid down, and we all had fevers. This continued for well over twenty four hours. While Kat and Caleb began to show signs of improvement, as the days continued Steffi and I grew gradually worse.
Last night, after concluding with my leaders and parents that if the doctor’s antibiotics didn’t help, or at least stay down, Steffi would be flown to her family in Germany, and I to mine in Denmark. After having this same determined bug twice, we desperately needed IVs and for our bodies to accept some sort of sustenance.
And so we prayed. We prayed to the God who had already in these past two weeks resurrected a girl from an early death, healed a broken bone, healed impure skin, and fixed a projector so it will play only the Jesus Film. We worshipped Him, praising Him for all He’s done and will do. Rosie was the first to begin praying for me, before the time of intercession had been discussed. In case you havent noticed, God has gifted her with healing prayers, and a compassionate heart of gold. As she prayed tirelessly for me for a good ten to fifteen minutes, I felt as though something heavy, warm and comforting had been placed over me. It was so heavy I couldn’t move beneath it, but I felt no pain. I could barely open my eyes at this point, and even lifting my arm was impossible. But finally, after crying in the bathroom because of the unbearable, unending agony, because everything here is so unfamiliar, because four months without my beloved is excruciating, I had peace. I felt the presence of my Father, and I was comforted. Even just typing this, the tears of that overwhelming sense of His divine love return to my eyes.
From 7-11PM we continued. When I woke up this morning, save a runny nose from the pollution, I was 100% better.
Today Jon (our leader) got us a kettle, and Chris brought instant coffee. He was right: Koreans make the best instant coffee. I was able to eat my first full meal (noodles with vegetables). I’m able to walk around the room without becoming lightheaded.
As a safety precaution, I couldn’t go do ministry with the rest of th team today, but tomorrow I’ll be released from quarantine.
And as I write this, the afore mentioned beloved is getting settled into his new Miami home and job at Calvary Miami Beach. When I return, he will be there waiting for me, and the long distance will be over. I still can’t quite fathom what it will be like to not say goodbye anymore. After six straight months without his embrace, or his smile whenever I look beside me, my love will be waiting for me when I return. Six months of waking up, waking him up, at midnight just to hear each other’s voices because we don’t know when next we’ll have a chance. Six months of craving my hand in his. Six months of emails and texts the size of books, of crying on the phone because I can’t cry on his shoulder. Of reading the Bible together, praying the connection doesn’t cut out. And this was just this stretch. Long distance is not for the faint of heart, but it will soon be over.
Seventy three days until I’m in his arms again.
Sixty eight days to complete the Lords will in India and Nepal. Then the adventure of ministry in the city Jesus has permanently called me to begins.
And through it all, the Lord is faithful.
Until next time, ohana.
“X marks the spot”Come in, come home
A quiet whisper
Behind the storm.
A polluted sky
Always half open
To souls passing by
Always shut tight
To strangers in the night.
Still guard standing.
From up above
Supper’s aroma wafts down
Overtaking for the evening
The putrid waste below.
Caress your tongue
As the gate
Like an embrace
Pulls you in to see
Her wells of empathy.