Anyone who has been to Gan Sabra, in the hillside city of Aizawl, knows you arrive with more brokenness to be repaired than you realize. God is so alive amongst those streets and in the hearts of the people. Somehow I got on the plane to begin the trip thinking I was in a great place with God, mature in my faith, and ready to shape the lives of others, and not my own. Yet as I stepped out of the car onto the play yard of the home I immediately knew that God was going to do some big work in me that week. The kids don't quite realize how much they help our transformation, and how big of a stamp they leave on our lives.
I know that to many it might sound selfish to talk about how I was affected by my experience in Aizawl, but it has a lot to do with the kids and all about the glory and splendor of God. None of this is my doing, I speak all of this in complete humility and awe! I think when we consider ourselves a servant and/or a missionary we often like to pat ourselves on the back and we often get inflated with the compliments of those around us who think we are so "brave" and "selfless". If those people only knew how much fear and hesitation also occupies our thoughts, and not to mention anxiety. It reveals lack of trust in God, how broken we are, our lack of joy, and a whole slew of things. But when you are in this place, so close to the Holy Spirit and surrounded by children with the purest joy, change happens.
I am currently reading a book written by John Mark Comer called God Has A Name and he writes a chapter about his experience with God in India working in an orphanage. As soon as I read the title of the chapter I knew it would hit home. He describes the time spent with children in India to be equivalent to a never ending birthday party. I have never been able to describe the feeling that well! The people of India, and of many other nations I'm sure, appreciate the rarity and beauty of having a joy that comes from God, and that be the only joy that sustains them. It's something I consider myself lacking just about everyday.
God gave us the ability and calling to love, and these kids take that calling seriously. They may not have a cure for HIV, but they do have an unwavering faith that God is in their favor, He is for them and with them. This changes my perspective every time I think about it! What a testament to truly walking by faith and fixing your eyes upon Jesus. It is a blessing to be a part of this sweet, little family and to have been able to experience God so closely.