Back to India

Elyse and Julie 2013

Back to India

By Elyse Snelson (on right above)

I start grad school in September and my goal this year was to visit all of the people that my schedule will make me unable to see for the next two years. My family was on that list, obviously, but also India. Last year my job prevented me from returning to India, so the last time I went was October 2013. Side note, somehow I managed to convince one of my coworkers that I was working in a leper colony and it took a bit of convincing before she believed I did not work in a leper colony. I spent two weeks playing with the kids, pretending to know something about phonics and being a sock puppet assembly machine. Mainly my time was spent teaching the kids what it is to “photobomb” a selfie.

Every trip the kids participate in “community day”. I was instructed to teach the team I was placed on a song and for us to come up with a skit. Both of these efforts failed magnificently. I decided to do the story of Elijah versus the prophets of Baal. In my mind, this was would be a magnificent hipster play.  Actually, I should have let the kids pick the story. During the performance I began laughing so hard that I cried. Mommy saw my attempts to disguise my laughter and she started laughing. “Naughty girl” she said as she swatted me while I scurried to the back of the room to laugh/cry in peace. Lesson learned, the kids do not actually need me to be perfect and direct anything; they do just fine on their own.

Meeting new people is my favorite thing. I love hearing about their lives, discovering their unique personalities and quirks. There is a huge disconnect between my small life and the rest of the world and sometimes I need that barrier to be broken. One night Amol, Daddy and Mommy’s son-in-law, spoke about his ministry and one aspect of that is to empower Indian women in the church.  He also spoke about the persecution that the Christian Indian community faces. I was so struck by that conversation.  Thousands of people had been displaced from their homes for weeks a few years ago and I had no idea that had occurred. The American church so deeply needs to see what is happening outside of our bubble.  For me, reading a headline is not enough, I need to go and see and hear from these people.

One of my favorite parts of meeting other Christians is hearing their specific calling to the world.  It’s easy to feel isolated and it was so refreshing to see that God is working and moving. Oh yeah, we are a body!  Across nations God is moving and I forget that often. Fellowship encourages both ways. The staff at the school work very hard to support these kids. These trips provide a face to the financial support the staff receives. I heard Mommy’s stories and saw first-hand how tiring it is to coordinate the staff and all of the children.  We are called to hold each other, sometimes literally but sometimes all that is possible is to hold each other in prayer. Please pray for the school and the staff, they are doing a really big job.

I am really excited to actually hug her, hear her stories and maybe laugh/cry again. Obviously I need to see all the kids. Got to get all of my family time in prior to becoming a lifeless grad school zombie.  Please be in prayer for the staff, the kids and our team.  I’m still working on my Venn Diagram for bomb crafts.