StoneBridge Church Community

Where are You, Jesus?

By Jill Lord

“Hold the plane!” Carlese hollered into her phone to Kyle, the young team member we were supposed to meet at the next gate.
I clearly heard his surprised reaction from the other end of the call. “You want me to what?”
“Hold the plane! We just landed. Don’t let them leave without us!”
Carlese, our Samaritan’s Feet team leader, hung up with Kyle, grabbed her carry­on, and all eight of us tore out of the plane into the corridors of JFK to catch our next flight on our way to India—where the gate was supposed to have closed thirty minutes ago.
We flew around several corners dragging our bags, caught the airport tran, and (according to the tracking on my phone) ran nearly a mile’s worth of corridors to the desk where we obtained new boarding passes and had our bags scrutinized. Then, amazingly, we tumbled into our seats, gasping for breath as the door shut behind the last of us.
Though we thankfully caught our flight, our luggage did not, including the 800 pairs of shoes we were to distribute throughout villages in India. While Carlese worked with Indian officials in the Hyderabad airport to assure we’d receive our bags, a team member’s passport was stolen. Yes, swiped in front of us, with nobody witnessing it. Great. A stolen passport in India.
Four hours later, around 6:15 am, we piled into the vans and headed for Stonebridge School at last... that is, until our van began thumping to the rhythm of a flat tire. As we stood shining our phone flashlights so our driver could change it in the dark, I thought, Where are you, Jesus? This mission trip has been one obstacle after another and we’re not even there yet! To say that we felt under attack is an understatement. Surely the Lord would do great things this week?
Later that night back at the airport, Carlese and Brent Jones fought to retrieve our bags. Distributing shoes to HIV victims and orphans was just plain wrong in the Indian officials eyes, so they would not release our bags. Finally, after four long hours of battling, they won and returned with our bags, only to find a scorpion waiting in Carlese’s room. Did I mention she immediately caught the bacteria we try to avoid in India? Where are you, Jesus?
That week we washed feet of India’s ‘untouchables’—only to discover some adults didn’t like their shoes, wouldn’t wear them, or wanted a different pair. A cat­fight erupted between two women wanting the same pair of shoes. We had the wrong sizes, the wrong styles, not enough. Other members of our team became ill. Where are you, Jesus?
I thought we would change the world in some small way, ignite fires for the Lord, anything! But I wasn’t seeing it. In fact, many nights I felt like a complete failure: that I hadn’t said the right thing, that I hadn’t led anyone to Christ like others had that week, that I wasn’t cut out for ‘mission work’, that I wasn’t making a difference there. A failure, indeed.
And after the fire came a gentle whisper (1 Kings 19:12).
Then I heard the whisper, “You were obedient. You came. I showed you My world.”
That’s it? Really?
And then I got it. I remembered that first day that I met my sponsor child, Mahesh. What a powerful event for me. The mother in me, who had longed to wrap my arms around the child I had only known from a distance, finally got to embrace him. Immediately, he took my hand and showed me His world – the school ox, the field of flowers, the school turkey and duck, the place where he plays cricket, his sleeping quarters. He led me into his world and I became a part of it. Now I understood. 

On another scale, the Lord took our hands and invited us to see His world and become part of what He is doing in India. We entered some churches that faithful pastors had planted in this Hindu nation, heard testimonies of the Lord changing hearts, washed the feet of children in an orphanage, placed new shoes on their feet and ran with them as they excitedly tested them out. We played volleyball with them, received henna tattoos, and blew bubbles with them. Oh, how we loved them!

Because of the school that our church began and continues to support, hundreds of previously Hindu children now sing praises to Jesus each morning in chapel. We were blessed to be able to worship with them, sing with them, play with them, and get to know them in our brief time there. We can only imagine what the Lord is doing in each of these children, and what He will continue to do for many years to come.
The stolen passport was found and returned to the rightful team member. Our lost bags were reunited with us, all team illnesses were healed, the room became free of scorpions, the flat tire was replaced, the shoes were distributed, the love of Jesus was shared and our hearts were broken as we sobbed goodbye at the end of the week to the children we’d grown to love and adore. I believe the Lord held that huge Airbus380 plane for us because he couldn’t wait to show us what He was doing in India, so we could demonstrate love to the children He loves, and become more deeply involved with praying for these children and this country on a more personal level.
Where were you, Jesus? Leading us by His hand the whole way.

Jill, a member of StoneBridge since 2010, is both a nurse anesthetist and an accomplished children's author; you can learn more about her books at www.jillromanlord.com. She also serves as an editor with our God at Work team.


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