My dad and I awoke at 6:30 and packed our bags. Today we are scheduled to visit local churches to worship and preach the gospel to them. Our taxi from last night fixed his tire so he drove us to the first church. It was a mud hut with a roof made of palm branches. About twenty-five people, not including us, had crammed themselves inside. They played their drums and sang worship songs. I could not understand the words of course but the sincerity on their faces showed that they meant every word. How wonderful it is to serve a God who understands the praises of his people! I said a few words and closed with prayer at the end of the church service. We shook hands, took pictures, and then made our way to the next church.
It was the same experience at the next church. They already had a building made of cinder blocks. There was only a sand floor so they put down mats to sit on. It did not have a roof but they put up a canopy to make us more comfortable. I guess they know that our white skin is sensitive to the sun. How considerate! I preached an entire sermon this time. It was frightening to me but, like most things, the fear was only from the unfamiliarity of the situation.
The people here are wonderful. They live in absolute poverty but they are generous and kind. Other than the difficulty communicating, they are easy to be around and spend time with. Seeing the things I’ve seen so far has been more difficult than I thought it would be. I knew it would be tough but there is a difference between knowing something exists and experiencing it firsthand. I’ve always known that God has a compassionate heart for hurting people. The situations that these people live in is heartbreaking. The American in me wants to provide a better life for them but that is not what they ultimately need. They need Jesus to give them hope and salvation, and the promise of a better life when this one is over.
After our visit with the churches in we headed back to Chennai. It was another three-hour drive. We went to sleep early. God please continue to give me strength. I miss my family very much.