Monday – Orphanage/School Visit and Shopping:
After a massive breakfast buffet visit, some prayer and Bible reading time, and personally taking out about 3 cups of coffee, I was looking forward to the day. The day’s number one objective was to visit our hosts’ orphanage/school and spend time with the children and staff there. I was excited to be riding with the school’s director and founder on the way there. She shared multiple stories and testimonies about how God supplied everything we would see on that day. I couldn’t believe some of the stories and that they are functioning out of their own pocket books without outside support. There are at least 100 orphans that they care for at all times and about 400 total children, many who come from the outside, to attend the school.
As we entered the front gates, the children had formed long lines on each side of the pathway leading into the compound. They were all wearing their school uniforms, each wearing colors that appeared to identify their grades, which included blue, red, green, and yellow. The children at the front of the lines, who would be the ones who lead us down the pathway, carried colorful flags. After a brief meeting before walking down the vibrant pathway they had created for us, we returned to the entrance gate. When we were finally in place, drum beats began to ring out in front of us as we made our way down the path. At that point, I pulled out my iPhone and recorded our walk. Each child clapped and either smiled or waved at us as we passed by them on the way to the building where we would all eventually congregate. It was a sweet moment and a warm welcome.
After we were all in place in the building which appeared to be their sanctuary, we were treated to a variety of skits and dances that many of the children participated in. I could tell that they had spent quite a bit of time preparing for us. Afterward, the local staff came in and a couple of our pastors spoke some incredible words of encouragement to them. I sensed that the words were well received and that they needed to hear it. When we were dismissed from that meeting we had an opportunity to tour the facilities and see how they operated. I was amazed to see how far they were able to stretch dollars (or rupees in their case). Every aspect of what they were doing was done in excellence. It was really phenomenal. It made me wish they had more funding to be able to do even more. I could tell that their ministry was good ground in every sense.
When we left there our hosts wanted to take us to a Pizza Hut for some American food. At this point, I must admit it sounded great. We ate until our hearts were content, then they took us out for some souvenir shopping. While we were shopping I couldn’t help but think about how much my wife would enjoy all of the beautiful clothing and jewelry. I did the best I could to get a few things I new she would like and a few outfits for my little Indian prince at home. While out shopping we decided to cross the road and check out a few stores on the opposite side. If you’ve ever been to a busy city in India you would know that crossing 10 lanes of traffic like Frogger is not for the faint of heart. There is no crosswalk, red light, or traffic cop in most places so we just had to go for it. I was given the following instructions before crossing: Stay together, walk at a steady pace, do not speed up or slow down, and do not make eye contact with oncoming drivers. Just like clock work the drivers whisked past us, literally missing us by inches. They know how to anticipate your walking speed and in my opinion are some of the greatest drivers in the world.
After wrapping up our shopping adventure we headed back to the hotel where we had a final team meeting before a few members of our team parted ways with us. The following morning they were scheduled to fly out to another city nearby where they were to minister to the people there. The following afternoon we were scheduled to return to the states, which would conclude our portion of the trip. After discussing the trip (emotionally in my case) and everything that took place, we retreated to our rooms to catch up on some more sleep before making the 30 plus hour trek back home.