* Pulls cobwebs away from rotting keyboard *
Let's cut the small talk. I've been hitting snooze on my blog alarm. I threw the old thing out, installed a solid metal cage with 50 hungry crows. No Food. No snooze facilities. Easy math.
2015 began with a hefty dosage of Hep A, B, Typhoid and Malaria vaccinations juiced into my blood stream. 15+ hours later of grueling, narrow spaced travel and an old Indian woman's feet on top of mine for 4 hours, my exhausted body and bordering on maniacal mind finally settled on South Indian soil. The moment I stepped into Kerala's late evening heat and forced my fatigued limbs through it's thick walls of humidity, I got an immediate sense of the this nation's vastness. A vastness I would in time learn was not restricted to kilometers.
REHOBOTH. A name forever ingrained me. The name of the girl's orphanage I traveled 7000+ miles for. I knew only what I heard from the mouths of those who had gone before me and prepared the way.
Morning broke before the sun had a chance to rise. Enormous booming roosters filled a pitch black canvas with shattering crows. The few hours of sleep we attempted were swiftly snatched away into the Indian night. The little energy we gathered quickly disintegrated as we woke unwillingly.
Once the skies brimmed with blue and the deep orange sun infiltrated our unpracticed skin, I stood in wonder at the surrounding rows of coconut, banana and rubber trees, cassava, sugar cane plantations and spice gardens. This was Fiji on HYPE. My heart settled in the peace that the familiar brings.
The Familiar. What a strange notion. Strange that one would travel 7000+ miles to escape what is attainable and FAMILIAR. Yet, here I was clinging to its loosened coat tails. I've found that the more you desire places and things that remain unknown to you, the more you acknowledge what you do know.
Our purpose in Rehoboth was simple, on the surface anyway. Organize and classify the Primary and Bible College's Library, mind you there were hundreds and hundreds of books to sort through, in searing heat. We taught English and books from the New Testament and led devotions. Every morning we woke, took cold showers, walked red dirt paths to a beautifully laid out breakfast of vegetable curry, local coconut stew with rice, toast, spreads and tea, always tea. I enjoyed the work in the library, knowing that my minuscule tasks of classifying each book was a gain for one of those smiling little rascals.
Meeting the girls of the orphanage was something I was continuously processing long after I left and even now. I'm not going to pull you in with a World Vision, Humanitarian sob story. I was very aware of my position. It was not easy to pull away the lenses of development from these interactions. I was in constant realization of the long colonial ties and its legacy. I, a product of Western ideals and comfortability, face to face with what society has determined as the "other". I hated that this was the box history would classify us in. Yet, what I also was very conscious of was the paradox of the meeting of two young colonial souls. India and Fiji. I wasn't just another Westerner passing through the Third World with a better, more sophisticated version of life. I was a carrier of a history similar to their own, rejecting of my educated concepts of the "Other".
BUT, my realizations didn't stop there. As I met one pair of wonderous eyes after another, I found that I was more broken than any of the homes many of them came from or didn't come from at all.
What they saw was not what I achieved, who my parents were, where I'd been, what I've done. They only saw who I was in that moment. Nothing else mattered. They knew what brought me into their home. Jesus. And that was enough.
How is it that I can leave home and come home? How is it that we've never met, yet I love you. Because a GREATER Love, loved you and I FIRST. And that's all that matters.
I didn't miraculously discover God in that orphanage. It was them I discovered, His people, His servants. Diligently working away for a Kingdom Coming. God wasn't on top of any of the mountains I climbed either. He never left. He was at the morning service in Auckland when I decided to go to India and He was there on the flight back. This was no spiritual renewal or pledge to bettering myself. This was me being obedient, that He would be made bigger and I only a fragment of a mighty plan.