Outreach Trip to India
In 2005 my husband and I were at a fun place in life. Our children were grown, we had fulfilling careers, lots of great friends, a church that we were very active with; life was very satisfying. We were living the American Dream. But we began to sense a new call on our lives. A call that would require us to leave our family, everything we had worked for, our home, our church and basically our life. Would we answer that call?
We had an inner “knowing” we were to sell our beautiful home, which we had worked hard for, and take the money we received from it to go on to the mission field. So in 2006, we put it on the market and reaped a good harvest. We began making the necessary preparations to move overseas. We had no idea how long we would be gone or exactly where we were going, but we followed our Lord and Savior’s leading. I remember asking the Lord constantly, “Is this really You?” “Are you asking us to leave our home and family to follow You to only You know where?” He confirmed over and over again that indeed this was His leading and His will for us at that time. So, we joined Youth With a Mission and headed for Kona, Hawaii for training (yes, we know, someone’s gotta do it!). After several months of training we went to India with our team of 15 adults and 5 children ages 9 months to 15 years.
India has a population of over 1.2 billion people with most of them living in dire poverty. They are mostly Hindu with some Muslims and approximately 5-10% of the population is now Christian. They are a lovely people but many are stuck in very horrific conditions with no hope of anything better. There is much demon possession and oppression as their “gods” are demanding but give little in return. We served at a Devadasis Village; Devadasis’ are girls usually dedicated by their own parents at the age of 6 to their Yellamma god for sexual service at the temple. After these girls have their first menses, their parents take them to the Temple Priest who gets to use their little girl first, and then any other man who wishes, gets to use her as well. These girls/women end up living together with their children in small villages, as no man will marry them. They are very poor but they believe that they are pleasing the Yellamma god by giving their bodies in this way as an act of service. They often die at young ages due to aids or other diseases.
We had the opportunity to make a real difference in these women’s lives. We showed them the love of Jesus Christ by serving them and showing them that they do matter. They were just throw-a- way’s to be used and then discarded. But we held these women in our arms and prayed for them. They wept and so did we. Once they learned of the love of Jesus Christ and the sacrifice He willingly gave on the cross for sins with the only thing He asked in return was for them to believe in Him and accept His love and forgiveness, they did with awe and thanksgiving. The gods they had served had always required them to do something for him/her, now they met the True God who had done something for them.
The pastors we worked with while in India have continued to serve these women and some from our team have even returned to continue the message of Jesus’ love and our love for them. Since our visit, some of them have moved from the Devadasis Village and have been taught new skills. They are giving their children a better life and are growing in the freedom and love offered by Jesus Christ.
India is very beautiful in it’s own way. One must look past the trash, smog, the noise, and the sickly, underfed animals to see it. But it is in the faces of its people. They are worth the time and money it takes to reach out to them. Their culture does not help one another in their suffering due to their belief in reincarnation and the caste system. If you are suffering, you deserve it and if they help you, you will only have to suffer again in the next life.
After serving in India, my husband and I were led back to Ron’s birth country of Australia to serve with YWAM as staff members. We enjoyed reconnecting with family and friends and making many new ones. We served on staff at the Newcastle base in New South Wales where I performed such duties as staff training and development. I also found that I have a gift for raising materials and donations needed for the base. My husband Ron served as a Project Manager and oversaw many of the building projects.
We returned home when our youngest was to marry a man she met serving on staff at the YWAM/Maui base.