January 6, 2019

Girl on Mission 5

The city of Mumbai is jam packed with 23 million people and operates like a frenetic assembly line of relentlessly moving rickshaws, motorcycles and pedestrians. The constant chaos pulsates through the city at a jarring pace to the soundtrack of sharp horns, engines revving and your heart pounding as you watch your life flash before your eyes. And the stray dogs. The skinny, mangy, malnourished doggies make me weep inside. But these rugged survivors amble along just fine, making a home wherever they lay.

As I’ve mentioned––to anyone who’d listen––I didn’t want to go on this missions trip. Mostly because India was never on my list of places to go, I've struggled with fully understanding the reason for short-term missions and I don't like going outside of my comfort zone. But since I work on the global missions team at Pacific Crossroads Church, helping “send” people out into the world for discipleship, and since Jesus gave clear instructions to his disciples to, “go out and make disciples among all of the nations,” I figured I probably should do at least one trip before I die.

When I first arrived in Mumbai I thought I’d made the worst decision in my life. The noise and pollution and crowds of people are excruciatingly unbearable for an HSP (highly sensitive person) with OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder). But it’s a good thing I’m traveling with a group of beautiful and compassionate people. We’ve rallied together through each other’s ebbs and flows. The girls held my hand when crossing the streets because I just couldn't do it on my own. Yes, I have issues.

During our time in Mumbai, we met a plethora of people, attended services, posed for group photos, and heard powerful testimonies and stories of healing and redemption. It was a blessing meeting the pastors and church members from the slums. These are churches are supported by India Evangelical Ministry (the incredible organization we’re on missions with). The folks in India sing praise songs, talk about scripture, and pray like each breath and melody is a celebration of love and joy. Their reverence for God is inspiring and contagious. When they shake my hands they love to say with bright gleaming smiles, “Praise the Lord.” I might do this back in Los Angeles just to see how many people run in the opposite direction.

I had anxiety about going into the slums. I thought seeing the utter lack would crack my heart into pieces (it did on some level). But the radiant light shining from the faces of these Christians is a glorious thing. They have remarkable gratitude for the Lord. It’s almost incomprehensible when you compare it to their living situation. They’re a lot happier than most Christians I know back home!

Every Sunday, 40 – 50 people cram into these pastors’ homes (a 12 x 12 room) to worship God and study scripture. The spaces are so tiny, many members have to gather outside the front door, standing on their tiptoes to see inside. They need larger spaces to gather, but it costs money to expand. Not a lot, but it’s money they don’t have. Money I want to help raise.

After the initial shock of “what have I gotten myself into” I began to soften and see the bigger picture of short-term missions. At first I thought it was only about sharing the redemptive love of Jesus with others, but as each day passes, I see it’s about experiencing a completely different way of life. A way of life I never could've comprehended deep down in my soul without having been here in person. Each day gives birth to a fresh perspective about missions trips, the world, humans ... My spiritual lens has most definitely widened.

We’re now down in Kerala, staying on IEM’s campus with the Bible College students and the orphans who live in their Children's Home. More on that later ... Enjoy the time lapse video and photos of the streets of Mumbai.