Time is a funny thing; some moments feel like days while some days feel like moments. Our final moments have come too quickly, yet it feels like a lifetime ago that we piled into a van outside of APU and headed to LAX to begin our journey.
God has worked in mysterious ways from the very first step on Indian soil. There are countless, indescribable memories that will hold a special place in our hearts and lives forever. India, the place and the people, has branded us in a way that will not allow us to remain unchanged.
That being said, today was bittersweet for all of us.
This morning, the first day of school welcomed Riverside students, teachers, and the American Team alike. Their smiling, fresh faces brought joy to us all. After the morning assembly, the high school (6th to 10th class) boys and girls gathered in separate areas and participated in Manhood and Womanhood seminars. APU and Simpson joined forces to produce excellent seminars that handled topics like respect, worth, puberty, and healthy, Biblical relationships.
This afternoon, the Indian staff gathered together, putting on a wonderful procession to commemorate our time here and send us off. Select Riverside school students paraded with us, holding the flags of Riverside and the school’s four houses: charity, nobility, purity, and honesty. They presented Pastor Gerry and Pastor Kay with an Indian flag, asking them to pray for Jesus’ presence in India.
We then proceeded up the hospital steps, an action we have done countless times in the last weeks. This time, our gathering included teachers, hospital staff, APU, and Simpson students sharing moments of our time together and how it has blessed each of us in a special way. The Indian Team then gifted each of the American Team with handcrafted cotton saris made here, in Mori’s weaver village. After, many of the pastor’s and their wives who attended the Conferences arrived and shared the ways that Pastor Gerry and Pastor Kay blessed them during their time together.
No words adequately express the sweetness of the days spent in Mori, India. There has been every emotion from laughter to tears, joy to frustration, love to disgust. Life here is a wonderful adventure and to participate in God’s work makes it all the more worthwhile.
At 6:00am, tomorrow morning, we leave this little pool of the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. We will load into vans, tears in our eyes, heaviness in our hearts, and begin our journey home; but the same people who loaded into vans 18 days ago are not the same people who will load into vans tomorrow.
Our deepest gratitude goes to Solomon Darwin, his dedication to bring this ministry about, how he has sustained it through its many seasons, and created the opportunity for us to share in God’s work.
As Matt quoted John Piper earlier today, “If you live gladly to make others glad in God, you life will be hard, your risks will be high, and your joy will be full.”
With our whole selves and thoughts beyond words,
Leo, Katie, and the Team