Earlier this year I partnered with a missions organization called Reaching Indians Ministries International and I had the opportunity to travel to North India and visit a few of their ministry sites. Since coming back to the states I've been asked to write about my experiences on a few different occasions. Here's a devotional I wrote for Asbury UMC in Madison, Alabama that I thought I'd share.
Busyness is difficult to overcome. It seems as if there is always something competing for our attention. Calendars filled with responsibilities cover our walls, computer screens, and mobile devices. They have become the bible that guides our daily steps. Anxieties and worries seize our thoughts. Visions of the future distract us from the present. When did life become so complex? Work is important, but so is taking time to enjoy the simple things in life. I was reminded of this during my first trip to North India.
It was a dry and hot day in Nagpur, Maharashtra, India. The sun was beginning to set and I had just completed my tasks for the day. I decided to spend the remaining hour or so of sunlight visiting the children at the Mission India Mercy Home in Nagpur, one of the 18 Mercy Homes planted by Reaching Indians Ministries International. Vijay, our driver dropped me off at the front gate of the Mercy Home. As I stepped out of the rugged SUV built for spirited Indian streets and choppy dirt roads and on to the dry dusty ground, my mind was immediately overcome with questions like, “What will I say to these kids?” and “Why didn’t I bring someone with me?” I’m generally a reserved person and I was worried about how I would interact with the children. “Would I come across as boring or weird?” I didn’t have much time to process these questions, as I found myself quickly approaching the Mercy Home door.
Seated on the porch steps was a young group of boys playing a game with two wood chips. The game involved the player placing one of the wood chips into a notch in the ground and hitting it with the other wood chip causing the first wood chip to fly up into the air. The player would then hit the airborne wood chip with the wood chip in the player’s hand. The individual who could hit the wood chip the farthest was the winner. Nervously, I approached the young group of boys and made my best attempt to engage them. I was successful. Within just a few minutes I was fully immersed in the activity. For those few moments I became a child again. I had no responsibilities. I forgot that I was half way around the world. I forgot that I had Bible school classes to teach. I forgot about the language barrier. I found such great joy in such great simplicity.
I’m back in the U.S. now and my calendar seems to be growing larger each day. There is a lot of work that needs to be done. Appointments must be made, meetings must be attended, people must be visited, and places must be traveled to; however, in the midst of all the busyness I now make an effort to think back to the moment when my biggest challenge was to hit a tiny piece of bark as far as I possibly could.