Sunday, July 22, 2012

Needed: Flexibility When Plans Change

I really intended to post this trip so that you could journey with me. It hasn’t worked out as I intended,.  What I have learned was the nature of this trip and most mission trips is that they don’t follow a set-in-stone itinerary. We were told at the beginning to be flexible and that was surely needed. The moment when arrived in India we discovered we had no way to get to Manali and that our hotel rooms had been cancelled for the first night. Our team had to learn to accept each twist in the plan as God’s hand in our trip. We just went by bus and had an 18 hour adventure and it turned out better than the original plan.

We had planned to have a popcorn and movie night with the kids at the orphanage, the brand new Blue Ray DVD got fried by the electricity and a new lesser quality one had to be purchased at a  local mountain store. The show did go on, just the following night. The kids got to see Kung Fu Panda.

On Wednesday, when it came time to fly back to Delhi, we got to the airport and got checked in with time to spare . . . except, the weather forced a flight problem. We had to wait for at least an hour and a half to hear the pilot’s decision whether or not he would attempt the flight. This is the only flight leaving from the airport for Delhi each day, so a cancellation would put us back one day or have us on the bus for another 18 hours. Prayers were said, God lifted the fog and we flew back to Delhi.

The forced airport delay on Wednesday meant rescheduling our ministry time at one of the slums. We did get to meet the children on Friday morning at a doll museum and then again in their own school in a south Delhi slum on Saturday a.m.

On Friday afternoon as we were traveling to do activities with the kids at a north Delhi slum, we found out that there were about 25 boys ages 12 – about 17. This issue fell in my lap. I had left all of the older kid materials in Manali. We got to the school and I still didn’t have a plan. I stood in front of the materials suitcase and asked God to show me something in there that we could use . . .  the answer . . .  folded paper frisbies.  The boys also found the ‘facepainting’ done by Anna and the other team members appealing . . . they just had the designs put on their arms and called them tattoos.

On Thursday we went to Agra to see the Taj Mahal. The heat index that day was 114 degrees. I became sick and thanks to a kind and knowledgeable team member, whom works in an emergency room, I was able to be back to myself in about 12 hours.

No, I didn’t post as often as I intended: no WiFi, jet lag, illness, and our team kept us very busy. I hope that you will still stay with me. I took notes on the many things we did, observed and learned. I have many photos that I still intend to post when I get to an internet connection  that can handle posting them. (The Amsterdam airport had free WiFi, but after a half an hour trying to post one photo, I gave up on that. My only chance to post any photos would have been at the hotel in Delhi, but I was sick and needed to sleep.)

In addition to the challenge to be flexible, here is something else I have learned; when God takes us out of a familiar situation,  we are forced to learn new ways of doing things. The holes and weak spots in our character come out. This trip has brought my fears, pride issues, control issues, and selfishness to my awareness. God in His gentle correcting way is bringing me into new surrender to Him and to new levels of service in His name.

Please watch for the next post. I am very anxious to show you my photos and also to share our time in each of the slum settings. Both have profoundly affected the members of our teams.

I am heading home to sleep.

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