When I was a little girl I sat through a lot of church services. I’m talking two church services every Sunday until I was about fourteen years old. Most of them have blurred together into one memory that includes the strong scent of ladies perfume, singing hymns and daydreaming the hours away while the pastor delivered his message. Always at the end of the service the congregation was invited to go to the front of the church for an “altar call;” which meant we had the opportunity to make ourselves right with Jesus by recommitting our lives to Him and confessing our sins.
One service though stands out from all the others. A missionary family from Calcutta visited when I was about nine years old to share their experiences and to gather support for their work with the poorest people in the city. They told stories of leprosy, spiritual darkness and poverty the likes of which I could scarcely imagine with my limited Colorado small-town-girl perspective. After that particular service my own personal altar call involved lots of pleading, praying and crying, not for the little children shown in the slideshows, but for God to please never make me go to India.
Perhaps my childhood fear of having to go to India actually planted the seeds of what has become for me a fascination with all things Indian. Still though, going there didn’t really cross my mind until recently. It seemed too far out of reach.
Two weeks ago at the library we received a greeting card from a young man who taught a digital photography class to kids in Homer. The card featured a photo of his most recent students in a small school in northeastern India, not far from Nepal. Something happened when I saw the card. I went back to it several times over the day and looked again at the school children on the cover. For some reason the card made it all seem possible.
My growing desire to go to India wasn’t something I shared with many people and I didn’t expect my family to jump on board with my crazy idea. But much to my amazement they’re into it. We don’t know any of the details yet, only that it will take about two years to save enough money to make it all happen. A savings account has been opened. The beginning of a plan is in place. I haven’t felt this excited in a long time.