In 8 weeks from today we head back to India with 6 adults, and 8 high school students in our LoveManifestNexGen program allowing them to connect with the people they have been working toward for the past year or more.
Have you ever served meals at a shelter during Christmas or Thanksgiving? We’re behind the table serving food we won’t be eating… the table becoming a clear and present barrier between “us and them”? Of course it’s unavoidable. The table has the food on it! We are there to serve! This is the way it has always been done.
Oh so close! We are so close, you guys! But there is more for us all!
Our visits to India are like leaping across the table, grabbing a chair, sitting our butts down, fellowshipping with our brothers and sisters, and feasting together. As family. In communion.
While our mission in India is always face to face love and connection, with the exception of what is a very fun and interactive “serving of lunch” to our LoveManifest Home & School” students, the “service” portion is done here in our part of the world before we board the plane. Every “job” in India is done by Indians. Every student has a special gift they chose to offer which has been driving them: the clean drinking water they are providing through hand pump bore wells, and care for our i35 special needs children. Every one of us is looking forward to a special visit to see our family in the Leprosy Unit of Sagayamatha Hospital. A place we have not “provided anything” but feel deep kinship.
As I watched our teens sit quietly with their parents at our meeting yesterday I had to laugh (inside) at the contrast of who they were right then, and who I have experienced them to be.
I’m not sure it changes whether your 6, 16, or 46, when you’re sitting there with a parent, you’re “a kid”. Because you’re their kid. This will never change. They didn’t talk much, yet they are talkers. Some real speed-talkers!
Sitting here this morning, I think about just the Cardinal Newman High School seniors (in the photo above) who I’ve known for the shortest amount of time (one year or more), and whom this blog is about. I know only a little, but I think about their character right now. Not only as who I’m being trusted to take into India, (HUGE) but whom I am trusting to take into India? It’s an enormous responsibility to take someone else’s child to another land. Parents have high expectations of me. As they should! I would too! But I’m no tour guide. I also have high expectations of their kids. Not in what they “feel” or how they “react”. This is always unique to them. I’m trusting them to be responsible, respectful of the culture and the team, participatory, positive, in unity, on time… many things.
I don’t expect them to act like adults. That would be lame. But they are expected to act responsibly and with maturity.
A lot to ask? Maybe. Maybe. But I don’t think so.
So this morning, contemplating these wonderful young people, and all God has planned for them, I wrote their names, and one by one listed the qualities I already see in them. I gave myself 15 seconds on each person. I would like to share the combined list with you.
Deep. Thoughtful. Introspective. Light. Joy. Compassionate. Kindness. Interested. Honest. Enthusiastic. Consistent. Affectionate. Energetic. Loving. Strong. Eager. Respectful. Adventurous. Funny. Participatory. Listener. Considerate. Encouraging.
LoveManifest is anti-poverty tourism. This is at the top of our core values, and non-negotiable. Each student knows this in advance. If they had made no sacrificial gift of their own, there would be no visit. Each has demonstrated their willingness to work and provide a substantial contribution to better the lives of their fellows based on their own gifts and talents to the people they will meet AND not to be overlooked… attitudes of grace, openness, and acceptance of what they are about to journey through together.
These sound like young people I can trust. Young people I feel good about investing.
Please join us in praying for this team.
Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.
1 Timothy 4:12