There are certain moments in life when heaven softly falls down and covers the earth you are standing on, like a blanket of snow.
Those moments range from things like saying goodbye to a loved one for the last time, welcoming a new child onto the earth, standing in a torrential downpour in the mountains of Mexico, or even a stranger offering to help you change your tire.
Regardless of the gravity of the situation, these moments can never leave you the same because suddenly, the same isn't quite good enough. When you've realized the ground your feet are kissing is actually Holy Ground, your world demands a sudden change.
The children there overwhelmed me. With not many "things", according to my western standards, I learned so much from the love radiating from their hugs and smiles and laughter. From their kindness to strangers, like the little girl who offered me her bed if I wanted to stay to their hard work ethic in the scorching heat as they made bricks. I learned quickly that they didn't need a lot of "things" to enjoy the lives they were given.
Since the moment we left, I haven't been able to shake them. Their faces light up the warmest memories in my heart. They gave me so much in my few hours with them that have changed my lifetime, I can't not give them something back. Here are a few of the many who left their mark:
This is Kavita. She is in the 5th grade and is 11 years old. Her mother died giving birth to her and her father remarried and left Kavita in her grandmother's home, while he moved on with his new family. Since then, her grandmother has been taking care of her, but is now unable to work due to her age and health. Kavita and her grandmother are currently struggling to make ends meet and afford basic needs such as hygiene products and school supplies.
This is Yeshawanth. He is in the 5th grade and is 11 years old.
He has one older sister and one younger sister. His father is blind so his mother is working in agriculture to support the family. She makes very little money and is struggling to provide basic needs for her family as well.
This is Deepa. She is in the 4th grade and is 10 years old. She has an older sister in 7th grade and a younger brother who is 3 years old. Her father did electrical work and in 2001 he fell from an electrical pole and hurt his leg very badly. He has not been able to work ever since. Her mother is now responsible for taking care of the whole family and doesn't make very much money. They are also struggling to afford basic needs.
This is Prashant. He is 16 years old and is mentally disabled. His father had a heart attack while he was driving and passed away. His mother is now alone, working as a daily labor worker and is earning very little money. She is having a hard time paying for the extra care and treatment he needs.
This is Nagamma. She is 24 years old. Her father hanged himself and since then, her mother had been taking care of her. Nagamma is now studying for her Bachelors of Education, but her mother has been diagnosed with Tuberculosis. She is now struggling to continue her education because her money and time are going towards taking care of her mother.
Jesus has been so kind to stir up this passion in me and then to give me the opportunity to plug up this hole in my heart and DO something about it. My MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group has decided to take up Bendigeri as our International Service Project this year. We have contacts over in India to send money to that will buy the kids who are in need: school supplies, hygiene products, possibly a keyboard since the kids love learning worship music but don't have a keyboard, and possibly help to fix their community's church, depending on how much money is raised.
With the holidays coming up, it's the best time to look at all we, our friends, family and children have been blessed with. It's a good time to give up coffee once a week and give that money to someone who might be in need or to encourage our kids to set aside allowance money to bless others. We can show them pictures and stories or take them to places where they can understand how blessed their lives are and how they can bless others. I know there are plenty of local places that take donations like clothes, food, time, or money. Choose one that tugs on your heart strings. But, let's start being intentional with what we've been blessed with and and intentional with our little generation as we instill in them the joy and privilege of giving--not just taking.
So, before you make your wish list and get lost in all the hustle and bustle of the holidays, let's remember how much more there is in what we give! Let's be a part of doing His will...on earth as it is heaven.
If anyone is interested in donating to this little place in India that has stolen my heart, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or send me a Facebook message! They would appreciate any amount of money you can give.
|Some of the kids in the village|
|The church/school before it was damaged by the flood|
|Young boys helping make bricks|