Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Unutterable

The first full day of ministry has concluded here in Nellore. It began comically, trying to find a place none of the 5 accompanying Pastors had been to before. This is not a place a Garmin, a new iPhone app or even an old-fashioned map could help you locate. Even the semi-nearby residents could not direct us with any certainty. Our van made three turn arounds (you can't u-turn on a one lane path). When our driver would ask the local shop merchants or those passing by where the school was, they would scratch their heads in confusion and seem to direct us to a place we had just passed, and it always seemed to be a muddier road than the last.

We finally found the two room school house, not from accurate directions but from the school master standing in the middle of the road flagging us down. There were no other cars traversing the village which made it easy to know we were looking for him.

We got out of the van and began to draw a crowd. The social worker (a parishioner of Pastor Benhur) was our host and had arranged for our program. He escorted me to the school (two rooms 10 x 5) filled with excited children but no chairs, desks or electricity.

It was obvious the porch around the building wouldn't accommodate all the children and gathering adults so where do you think we set up our makeshift road-show? In the road of course!

The children carried the mats out to the street to see what the first foreigner they had ever seen (probably the last) had to show. They kept staring in disbelief at the color of my skin, my eyes, the shade of my hair, and the strange words coming out of my mouth. But they laughed the same as children all over the world at the tricks and the stories. Today down a muddy street in India at "the ragged edge of a broken world"* the message of the Good News was proclaimed.

Our next destination was a familiar one. We had no trouble locating the village of the leper beggars. It is a place near to the Pastor's heart and to mine. These are the same people who had their entire village bulldozed at the whim of a land owner. Our first trip to visit them, they were next to the cemetery. Then the land became more valuable than their shelters and they lost what little they had. Now they are even further removed from the city, but next to the latrine for the school.

Four young boys dressed in uniforms took their place under the tree to watch the show. I thought it was unusual, but I didn't have a chance to ask anyone about them. When the program was complete, I asked the Pastor if the leper children were now able to go to school. He shook his head. "Oh no sister these are not leper children. These are children who left school to go to the latrine and saw what was happening and stayed." I asked if any of the 50 children (from a few months old to age 17) had a chance to go to school.

"No, sister."

"We do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered." Romans 8:26

I praise God for the indwelling of His Spirit. What do you begin to ask for when there is no education, no medical assistance, no economic relief, no change EVER. A new government won't help these people. A cure has already been discovered for leprosy, but reformed health care will not affect the state or advancement of their disease.

They are outcast and beyond destitute. But they are not beyond the hand or the heart of the Almighty!

They smiled today. They remembered me - and I remembered them. For a sliver of time this side of eternity, under the shade of mango trees the lepers were laughing.

In the whisper of the wind, I could almost hear the angels too.

"But me, I'm not giving up. I'm sticking around to see what God will do. I'm waiting for God to make things right. I'm counting on God to listen to me." Micah 7:7

Counting on the Author to write the rest of this story
Charlynn

*Quoted from TEAM Ministries
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