Final Thoughts – Reflections on my first visit to India – Part 10
When you get off the plane in India into a culture which has over 30,000 gods, you may find it a little hotter than you are used to, you may get sweaty pretty fast, it might smell funny (like curry), but you will most probably fall in love with the people.
India is amazing, the people are warm and welcoming, and they will greet you and take you into their homes and hearts. India holds some of the friendliest people I have ever meet.
White, blonde and female
In India, the women with their dark complexions, all have amazingly shiny, long, thick heads of dark hair. I was born with fine, blonde hair which meant it was impossible to avoid standing out.
An object of great curiosity, I was stared at and surrounded by Indian gentlemen on numerous occasions wanting to be photographed with me. Being white in India to something akin to being a celebrity. If you want to feel like a celebrity, India is for you!
My advice girls, dye your hair black before visiting if you don’t want this sort of attention!
Flip-flops, vipers, cockroaches and monkeys
I went through swamps in my flip-flops … although it might have been nice if I’d been told, “wear sensible shoes, there’s a risk of vipers!”
I have a photograph of the cockroaches which invaded my bathroom space. But let me reassure all future visitors to India, they are easily flushed down the drain, or rather hole in the wall, with the shower hose.
Monkeys, considered sacred by the Hindu religion, are not behaving very much like gods these days.
The rhesus macaque monkeys, which we saw roaming freely in the grounds of the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort, live in large social groups. It is very entertaining to watch them interacting with each other.
Mostly, they will be sitting or lying by the side of the paths just checking you out.
Their faces and mannerisms can be so similar to ours and their antics are very entertaining. They are cute, curious and nimble. A symbol of mischief and quick-wittedness.
Despite several stories of the monkeys stealing food, cameras and mobile phones from unsuspecting tourists, they are opportunists mostly, not out to harm you. As long as you remember they are wild animals and you respect that and act accordingly, you will be fine.
Is it worth it?
For all who are working within Vision for Asia, it often seems to be an odd life which the Lord has called us to.
It can be a roller coaster of emotions and some days I question the absurdity of it all. I wonder is working with Vision for Asia really worth it? Are we really making a difference?
God’s work … not ours.
But then I remember the call. I remember the people we support, why we came, why we go, and I remind myself just how worthwhile, fulfilling and exciting serving God in this way is. Ultimately, He is the One who keeps us focussed and drives us forward. It is His work … not ours.
Something to think about
Mission trips are a time for new experiences. They are a time to try new things, to have conversations with people you don’t know and get deeper with people you’ve known for years.
If you are feeling God calling you into missions, I pray that you will answer that call by stepping out in faith and signing up for one of the many mission trips offered through Vision for Asia.
However, if travelling 5000 miles to Asia is not for you, then perhaps God is calling you to support our work here in the UK in other ways. You can read about how you can do this on the “Get Involved” section of this website.
I hope that by sharing some of my experiences with you through these blogs will have helped you in your decision making.
To all our supporters, Thank you for making a difference in our lives, and in the lives of the thousands of Asian people who have been lifted out of poverty by your financial support. For those who have heard and will hear that Jesus loves them for the first time, because of your love, prayers, and continuing support.
We are in this together. God bless you abundantly.