It's been a whale of a week.
My tendency to dance, jump, prance around, and do handstands against the wall have been increasing lately. My heart has been so full of worship and awe and I can't contain the joy that He lets me in on by letting know Him. And more than that, He has been letting me in on the things He is doing around me and I don't even know what to do with myself anymore. He is wholly worthy and so much praise is due Him for His constant goodness and graciousness to us.
This, written intentionally out of order, is the week that I have had:
A few days ago, an anonymous donor gave me $1,000. Whoever you are, you are an answer to prayer.
The other night we received word that $4,309 was donated for a slum church that Sarah (one of the women I am Living with here) has been raising since the beginning of this year. And how much did we need? $4,300. Slam. Dunk. Jesus.
There are hopes and plans (Inshallah) for a building in the slums to be completed while we are here. The believers don't really have a meeting place anymore and there has been a lot more trouble than usual for the Christians there. More than we want there to be a building, we want there to be a revival. Not a revival of emotions or commitments that fall on rocky soil but a revival that calls the dead out of their graves, being set ablaze with abundant life for the union of His glory and their/our joy. So be it.
Thursday we visited friends at a leper colony with whom we spent time in back in the fall of '09. We were embraced with joy and orange soda as we sat with some of the most childlike people I have met. They remind me of true royalty. I see Jesus in them...right in front of me.
Tuesday we visited friends at another leper colony. I was amazed -- the kind that caused my jaw to hang low -- when I saw that they remembered me. And more than that, my closest friend there brought me a picture of her and myself that was taken almost two years ago. It was in a small photo album that had her family photos, wedding photos, and photos of a few white people -- including me. It was strangely humbling to hear that she has prayed for me every day...and to hear that she has been asking God to bring me back to see her "once more." My favorite part, though, was when I asked her if her husband was still Hindu. She smiled and said, "No, he is Christian now. My whole family is Christian now!"
Later that day we encountered begging girls who approached us for chipati and money, neither of which we had to give them. We wanted to give them ourselves; we wanted to give them Jesus. So we did. We held their hands and walked around with them and clothed their naked feet with new shoes. We taught them silly songs and watched Kingdom come as He transformed their begging into laughing and satisfied them in such a way that they did not ask us for anything more. I saw myself in them. I saw Jesus in them. To behold Him at all is to Live. I was made for that.
Sunday morning we returned to Asha House. My soul! My soul, my soul, my soul. We walked in that gate and five of the kids were standing in a line with garlands of marigolds in their hands. One by one they placed them on our necks. We had to bend low for them to reach us. Our first interaction with them this time was on our knees. That seems so fitting to me. Let the children COME!
I cried tears of joy to see them again. Each of them hugged each of us and said, quietly but with a smile, "Good morning, Auntie." Seeing their faces and hearing their voices and getting to reach out and touch them sent me overboard. So I just cried and laughed and hugged and praised the One Who let me experience such a beautiful homecoming. And there's more where that came from. He promised. :)
Yesterday the kids gave me a name. They picked a name for me: Small Auntie. Or, in Hindi, Chorta Auntie. I was hiding with one of them behind a door in the lunch/church/school room and the others saw and told on me...they kept referring to the space behind the door and saying, "Small Auntie...Chorta Auntie..."
It is a beautiful thing to love and be loved.
There is so much more that has happened and is happening. I wanted to share the short version of it all. And also this, which has been fascinating me:
By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of His mouth all their host...He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast...Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, on those who hope for His lovingkindness, to deliver them from death and to keep them alive in famine. Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. for our heart rejoices in Him, because we trust in His holy name. Let Your lovingkindness, O Lord, be upon us, according as we have hoped in You.
From Psalm 33