India {Part 2}

It was the last Sunday we were in Mumbai. The day I began to feel a connection to this place called India.

We had gone to church with one of the pastors who acted as our host. We felt lavished with love and kindness as the church members welcomed us with open arms to their family. Shortly after the service began, they took a moment to introduce us. In that moment, one of the women reached into a bag and pulled a beautiful shawl out for each of us and placed it on our shoulders. Another lady presented us each with flowers.

It took everything in me not to cry.

We were honored and loved in that place. I was again reminded as I had been so many times on that trip what a beautiful thing this Jesus family is. How it stretched across the earth. How regardless of language, we shared a common thread.

Our faith.

After church, we went to the home of one of the church members in the slum. (We may have sipped on some coconut water before we got there! ;)) Though small, it was a nice home and its doors were open to the community. Barely an inch of the tiled floor could be seen because neighborhood children were sitting everywhere in the home. They were singing songs with action motions and coloring story pages and hearing Bible stories and being presented with prizes. The place was buzzing with activity and excitement and it was a weekly occurrence.

Some of the children were dressed in beautiful dresses. Others in simple t-shirts and jeans. Caste and religion seemed to play no role in that setting (a refreshing reprieve.) They were just there to have fun!

At the end after the children had each received a snack and drink, they poured out the door to play more outside. That's when several ladies from the community began entering the home.

There weren't very many chairs so many simply sat on the floor while we were given the seats. No one seemed to mind but I always hate feeling elevated above someone.

The pastor who had brought us to this home looked at us and said you can talk to them. I was somewhat unsure where to start.

How do you explain that you are exploring the possibility of starting a project that will bring employment to them?

The best you can and with LOTS of questions. They didn't know us from Adam. We didn't share the same language or religion with these women but I was drawn to them and their willingness to hear us out.

As we talked and learned more about them, their backgrounds and their struggles, I began to feel connected to these women. And I could stand it no longer. I hated looking down to them from my seat so I dropped to the floor and sat on the same level as them. One young woman began to stand out to me. She and her friend did bead work and had brought samples for me to see. From what she shared, there was great struggle in her life but I saw something else too.

A determination. 

A resilience.

A desire for hope.

And that's when it happened. That's when I could hold my tears back no longer. That's when I knew I could go back to this place. That's when I felt a connection. That's when I knew there was a place for SoloHope. That's when I knew but I didn't know what that fully meant.

Not sure I still do but little by little He is teaching me the way.

And you'll just have to learn what that is in the next and final blog of this 3 part series called India. If you missed the first one, here's the link to it: India {Part 1}. Please feel free to share so others can come along for this India journey too.

Emilee