“Why did you decide on going to India? Did you want to find yourself or did you just want a good excuse for a holiday?”
“I’ve kind already found myself, and have for a while. I actually kind of never really thought of going to India for a holiday to be completely honest with you.”
“So why did you go?”
“But, why India?”
I have been asked this question ever since I finalised everything for my Indian mission, even when I’m physically in India, two weeks into it mind you, I’m still being questioned. My initial response to it was, “Well, why not India?”, as in the context of, why not go to a country where the people are less fortunate than I am? I always imagined my first overseas trip to be Europe – if you know me well enough, you’ll know I’m obsessed with Rome. Instead, my first trip is in India, and do I regret it? Absolutely not.
India is not what I imagined at all, I think ‘beautiful’ is an understatement. Charismatic, captivating – I think those are the right words. Actually, I don’t think there is a word to describe India, if you’ve ever been to India you would understand my situation, if not, GO – I’m literally stuck for words and I’m a walking dictionary. The people, the food, the smells (maybe not so much), the colours, the peace – enchanting. My favourite thing though would have to be the love of the people in India. This is how nice the people in India are (again, ‘nice’ is an understatement): I’m walking with my group through a village called Maranayakanahalli and at least 3 different families offered us in their homes for chai and lunch. Readers, I challenge you, yes, challenge you, to name me someone who has ever done that for you back at home… Hard right? I think after having lunch at a locals house, my outlook on door knockers has changed. To all those salespeople I’ve shut the door on, I’m sorry and please come back for a feed!
Ever since I was a kid I’ve always wanted to do overseas mission work. I know God has given me this opportunity as part of my growth in Him, I’ll always be forever grateful.
Grateful, that’s another thing.
The children here in India find joy in the smallest of things. One event that really hit home for me was watching a group of children, no less than 12, running through the village of Meenakunte, pushing a tyre with a stick. Who would’ve thought that a tyre and a stick would bring so much joy to a child? We take tyres for granted so much at home that we don’t even realise how much we rely on them. Here, they bring joy. If you ever spend a month in India, you will learn to be grateful for every little thing you have, especially the little things you’ve never thought about, like a shower.
“So, why India?”
I think my favourite word is ‘agape’. It’s a Greek word that means “the highest form of love”, or “sacrificial love”. In combination with my beliefs and what I’m passionate about, I think that I decided to come to India because I love to help people, particularly those less fortunate than myself. We’re all born equal, why should some live better than others? Why is it that the richest of people are miserable with their lives but the poorest are intoxicated with joy? Because of love. There may be the occasional events where you feel like love is not in your life, but at the end of the day, someone is willing to give it to you – I don’t know about you, but my someone is God. I mean really, when has He ever left you? He literally tells us that He will never leave us nor forsake us (Deut. 31:8). Because of God’s love toward us, we are able to love one another.
I know people say this all the time but, it really doesn’t matter how wealthy you are, or to put it into context with our fast-paced society, how many likes you have on your new photo on Facebook/Instagram (I find that people think that the more likes you get, the more people like you – not true). I think that if you have actual love in your life, doesn’t have to be physical, you can experience it in your own way, you’ll live a life of so much joy and peace. I also think that if you go to India, doesn’t have to be India but maybe an equivalent third world country, you will see the love that you wish you had (even though you’ve kind of already had it all along) and then receive it, and will therefore want to share it with everyone.
That’s why I wanted to go to India – love. It’s the greatest gift from God and I want everyone to be able to experience it. My team leader said to me on the second day of the program in India, “I can see your faith working through you and radiating onto the people you help, how do you continue to express it?” I pondered on this and responded with, “Everyone is a creation made by God, therefore, every creature deserves love. Why should I love my friends at home and not a child on the side of the road? My faith teaches me to love everyone, so I do.” This is a commandment we all ought to follow – “Love one another, just as I have loved you. “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”” (John 15:12-13).
I’ll leave you all with my favourite quote by Mahatma Gandhi (yes, he’s coincidentally from India), “Be the change you wish to see in the world”.
Love from India!
SAYG – Rebecca Kozman.