Wednesday, August 25, 2010


I stepped out the door of my apartment and waited for the rickety elevator to make it up to the sixth floor. As the elevator arrives, I open the two doors, for it is not automatic, and it very slowly, shakily makes it's way down to the ground floor. It's raining, so I whip out my umbrella and make my way down the makeshift brick road, trying to dodge the puddles of mud. There are no rickshaws, so I walk until I find one, past the garbage dump. There are a few children squatting by the trash, using it as their bathroom. I pull out my handkerchief to cover my nose. An empty rickshaw comes along and the driver decides he will take me. The ride is not long, it's actually a walkable distance, but since the hot season and the monsoons, rickshaws are the preferred way of getting to the office. 

I arrive at the office, climb up the stairs to the fourth floor and go into my little room where my desk is. I have about five minutes until our daily office prayer and devotions. We all gather in the largest room in our office and everyone makes their prayer requests known as our director writes them on the board. Someone reads a psalm and we present our requests to our Lord. As someone prays, the sound of squealing goats can be heard in the background. Some of us snicker because it's rather funny sometimes. You see, our office is across from a mutton shop, and we always know when it's slaughtering day. It's kind of an ongoing joke at our office, that newcomers don't believe until they hear the goats actually screaming, breathing their last breath. And see all the jaw bones right outside our office. 

Stillness time is next; 30 minutes to just rest in God, spending time with him, before we embark on the craziness of the day. And then the work starts, everyone doing a different job. Sometimes it's slow, sometimes it's exciting, sometimes it's monotonous and sometimes it's rewarding. Sometimes I want to scream, and sometimes I want to laugh. Sometimes I do little tasks all day, and sometimes I get completely engrossed in writing a story. We all have our little offices, but we visit each other throughout the day. The office I share with Jamie and Mervyn has a comfy chair we call the special chair. It is notorious for being the chair people come and sit in and bear their souls to Jamie and I. Frustrations, stress, joy. Many good conversations have come up out of that chair. 

Lunch time arrives and we all gather in our normal little groups to eat together, or catch up on the news online. Then time for a twin brothers run. Twin brothers is the little stall right down the street where we can find diet cokes and all kinds of tasty goodness. We don't know if the two old men with missing teeth are actually brothers, but we are certainly convinced. We love them. We think they love us too. Or at least the business we give them. I will make cookies for them one day soon. 

The afternoon passes by, sometimes fast, sometimes slow. And then it's time to go home. No rickshaws home, it's usually impossible to find one at this time. I walk home on the main road, ignoring the stares from people. Yes, my skin is white, thanks for noticing. I turn onto the little road to my apartment and the kids are all just getting out of school. They have their cute little uniforms on, the girls with two braids in their hair and they all have backpacks often way to big for their small frames. The two little half naked boys that live right outside our complex are tormenting our gatekeeper. Again. They like to run into the parking lot and throw things at him. He runs at them with a stick and they run away laughing. And this process repeats again and again. Home sweet home. Auntie arrives soon, vegetables from the market in hand, and cooks an amazing indian dinner for us. Before some of the other girls left to go back to the US, we all used to eat together, debriefing about our day. The feelings expressed usually span the whole spectrum of the emotional grid. I love this country. I hate this country. 

Not every day is like this, but most are. I wish I could come up with an adventurous, thrilling story to share, but I have none right now. So when they do come up, they are dear to me even more. Seeing girls rescued from horrendous abuse, watching the perpetrators getting convicted, seeing the same girls graduate school and laughing and dancing. Or learning and performing Michael Jackson's "Thriller" for some of our girls at an aftercare home. Now that was fun. And fulfilled the lifelong dream for some of us to learn that dance. What can I say, we dream big. But I hold these events close to my heart. And so many of the little things in my life here have become endearing to me. 

Despite my day to day routine, God has taught me more this year than I feel like he has ever squeezed into one year. Contentment, perseverance, submission, sacrifice, humility, trust, relationships, being selfless, loving other you don't want to love, the list goes on. It's been extremely tough at times. Really tough. And then other times I feel like I'm not sacrificing enough, I should be giving up more. I must have needed these lessons. I know I needed it these lessons. So many ugly things have emerged out of me. Like a thick muck, rising out of a drainage pipe full of sewage. Some of it I took care of, and some of it is still being worked on, only by the grace of God. Oh how we stubbornly hold on to our disgusting waste, and sometimes don't even know it. It's like we walk around with poop splattered on us and have gotten so used to the stench that we don't even realize it. That's what sin is like. Thank God for his incredible mercy, grace and redemption. And the blood that cleanses us of our waste.

What's next? I don't know. Several weeks still remain. I can only hope that they hold a few more adventures in this dear land that I have mysteriously come to love. 

"If by doing some work which the undiscerning consider 'not spiritual work' I can best help others, and I inwardly rebel, thinking it is the spiritual for which I crave, when in truth it is the interesting and exciting, then I know nothing of calvary love." ~Amy Carmichael 

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