We walked out onto the balcony overlooking the slums. My brain could not process what my eyes were seeing. Poverty. I have learned much about the term; lived amongst people suffering from it; donated money and time to alleviate it, etc. But I don’t think I ever understood it until I walked out onto this balcony and viewed the slums of Ghaziabad on the U.P. border. If poverty were to have an image it would be this. Roofless, crumbling units stacked inconsiderately on top one another; tarps with tears and holes covered with mud and garbage used to accommodate the many family members that sleep on the dirt beneath them; mounds of garbage overlaid with men, women and children picking through its contents, indifferent to the filth and stench it exudes. A little girl, reaching slightly higher than my knee, followed us out on the balcony. She pointed out towards the slums and yelled, “My Home, My Home”. I asked her where, still in disbelief that she could live in these conditions. “Behind that rick-shaw”, she replied, confirming the sad reality of her life and the lives of many many others that live in this dreadful place.
As we sit in the car stuck in traffic or stopped at a stop sign, small children knock on our windows asking for money. There are so many, each looking equally helpless with their disheveled hair, frail bodies, and dust-covered skin.
As I walked down the street a small boy who looked 7 or 8, but was probably 4 or 5 years old, followed me asking me for money. He bent over, touching my feet, then stood up touching his forehead – a symbol of his deep respect. Unable to communicate with him or provide him with money, I placed my hand on his small, dust-covered head, and prayed for God to protect him, and provide for him. I looked into his pale eyes and saw the hope in him. He was not discouraged; he was simply surviving. And he was determined to survive. But I wondered if he knows love, because more than anything I wanted to love him. I held his hand smiling and he smiled back before running off to plead at another foreigner’s car window. photo credit: GFA
The latest edition of The Economist said that the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative revealed a new measure of global poverty. This concluded that eight Indian states account for more poor people than the twenty-six poorest African nations combined. These statistics are difficult to swallow. So many poor people in such a small space. I felt hopeless when I first saw the living conditions of some of the people here. But I was recently challenged by the writings in “The Hole in Our Gospel” by Rich Stearns of World Vision. In this book one of many passages tested me. He asked, “When you look into the eyes of the poor, do you see hopeless cases of poverty, illness, and suffering, or do you see future students, teachers, and leaders?”
The sun doesn’t shine for Delhi
As we work on coals of fire
The sky fills up with colorless dreams
and hopeless tales of life
Women walk by with thorns on their heads
and men wear years of worry
Children with skin as gray as the sky
watch with watery eyes
The moon doesn’t shine for Delhi
As we sleep on coals of fire
The sky is as dark as the hearts of those
exploiting the defenseless ones
They hunt the streets where children rest
stealing the innocent ones
Where is the light in Delhi?
Who will save us from this fire?
In Ladakh, the sky softly caresses the mountains, and the mountains gently touch down on the earth. Three completely different elements, purposes, and appearances living together harmoniously. It reminds me of the people of Ladakh. Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, and Christians, all sharing one community peacefully regardelss of the turmoil that exists around them.
My eyes are still trying to adjust to the majestic beauty of this glorious place. As I am writing, a local woman is singing praises in the cool, damp night.
I sat in front of a friendly fire offering me warmth and light, and I praised God. I wondered about him in awe. His art is utterly sensational. How can it be that all this magnificent beauty exists in a world where I am so small, yet He says that I am worth more than all of these things?
While we were sitting, two young women I had met earlier joined us for some warmth and some tea. Veronica is from Argentina, Salooah is from Tunisia. Veronica played the classical Indian guitar for us. To the right of her sat Salooah, and to the right of Salooah I sat–the best seat on the lake that evening. Everyone else crowded around as she played . People camping nearby began to gather also, mesmerized by the tune. As I sat there I felt a strong sense of the Spirit. I felt a connection between us all. We came from far and wide throughout the world. We had different cultures, languages, dress, gifts, and purposes. We knew nothing about one another. But at that moment we were all connected. We shared peace, love and harmony with this place and with each other.
That is what heaven will be like, I am sure. We will all gather from different walks of life with the common love for God and one another to sing praises as we enjoy fellowship, community, and Peace.
I don’t want to be a hearer who forgets. I want to be a doer who acts. I want to put away all wickedness and to live in the righteousness of God.
When I was on my way to Delhi, I kept thinking about a quote from Ghandi: “Be the change you want to see in the world…”. That’s what I want to be. I want to be the change. As I was thinking these things, a question kept plaguing, “What is the change you want to see in the world?” So I began to envision the changes I want to see in this world…
First of all, I want to see children like him realize their full potential and become all God wants them to be…
You kiss me with Your rain drops
You remind me of Your presence by the wind that shakes the leaves and the grass.
I am not alone in my anguish
Nor am I in solitude during persecution
Your love surrounds me always
It heals my heart and strengthens my soul
You give me comfort in the darkness, security in the moonlight
You create wonder and awe inside me
at a glance upon the stars
Your glory surrounds me and keeps me
forever in Your grace
Father I will stand and forever sing Your praise
The enemy goes against me, deceiving and malicious in action
But it is never too much compared to the One Almighty.
I shall never fear evil and all its deceitful ways. For my heart is set on Jesus.
He shall teach me and guide me in all of His righteous paths
He gives this gift so freely. If I only knew in the beginning all i had to do was ask.
Humble me Lord. Humble me sincerely.
Humble me before You for it is the only way that I will see that I am nothing without You. I am nothing but a season; a chance that soon will pass.
But the Lord sustains forever
And never changing He remains.