Delhi Reflections

After successfully surviving the Indian customs and getting my passport stamped twice in Germany, of which I feel like a poser because all I experienced was the clean airport and expensive food, I am currently half way across the Atlantic Ocean on my way back to the States. I have had a lot of time to sit (~24 hours of traveling) and begin to semi-process the last month of my life in India. However, I don’t really know what that looks like since the experience was one I do not think words can describe.

Prior to leaving, I had heard about the sex-trafficking campaigns, the End It Now movement, the Indian class systems and “untouchable” people from the book Gospel for Asia. My sister also mentioned I would see begging children, paralyzed and disabled people (some crawling up stairs to worship/feed golden statues), a lustful darkness covering the country, etc. However, the preparations did not become real to me until the “begging child” became Sanjub and his brother Raul from the market; children with souls, children with no shoes or shower or education or parents to provide for them or love them, children who are rarely asked their name, children who survive off of trash or scraps from sympathetic people, children who had never in their life heard of Jesus. Or until our team saw a person with leprosy. Or until I walked through temples where women worshipped face down to golden statues for fear of karma. Or until I could not escape the sight or smell of trash and flies and urine and feces on every street corner. Or until I walked straight through the Red Light District itself and saw women in brothels calling down to men; women who have accepted their identity as one that is to be given away. Or until I worked with 15 of their beautiful children, who have fortunately been taken out of the business and given hope: hope for a future and a relationship with Jesus Christ.

I hate that humans are like that-that we cannot seem to understand another persons situation until we are actually there, until we have had to sacrifice something, until we have been uncomfortable. I am praying that you feel the heaviness in my heart for a place that has a huge harvest but few workers. Karen Watson says “I wasn’t called to a place, I was called to Him. To obey was my objective, to suffer was expected, His glory my reward.” I love the way she describes suffering out of obedience, obedience to God who has already won the battle against sin and Satan. Carrying the burden of salvation or fighting *for* victory would absolutely crush you in this country. There is too much darkness, too much spiritual warfare, and too much visible idol worship. Praise God for the truth in Acts 17:25,28 “And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else…For in him we live and move and have our being. We are his offspring.”.

The entire trip I visited and revisited Isaiah 61, Psalm 115, Acts 17:16-34, and Romans 8. These Scriptures truly came to life for me, and they very closely depict what our time in India was like. If you’d like to pray specifically, I highly recommend praying straight through these verses. Dwell in them. Our team also posted daily updates through pictures on Instagram #midtowndelhi.

All in all, the trip “hurt so good”. It was not an “emotional high” or spiritual mountain top experience, but it did break my heart even further for what breaks God’s. It stripped and revealed a lot of idols in my own life. The team had fun days and also really hard days. We witnessed the fruit of previously answered prayers and also prayers that were answered immediately. I was not “needed” in India, but am so thankful I had the opportunity to join in the work God was, is, and will continue to do there.

Revelation 21:3-4 “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”“

Differences in Delhi

A lot of of my American comforts have quickly been stripped away: make-up will just melt off, straight hair will turn curly from sweat and be pulled back, nice cars are pointless since India driving is like a real life game of Mariokart, food is not wasted, toilet paper is not flushed, tooth-brushing is done using filtered water from a bottle, etc.

However, after getting into a routine with my team since arriving, a lot of the visible differences are starting to fade. I’ve had conversations with locals, eaten a lot of rice/naan/curry, mastered the teams’ regular metro route, bartered with auto drivers, learned an Indian dance, spoken bits of Hindi, and also seen my own sin in all of the broken areas around me. What meets the eye appears drastically different, but internally is all the same. Both broken, both in poverty, both worshipping idols and seeking acceptance from people/things, both in need of a Savior.

Hebrews 10: 19-22 says “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.”.

I am thankful The Lord has prepared me for these things-that Isaiah 61 is always on my mind. Thankful I read “Sold”-the story of a little girl deceived into becoming a used object-raped for the disgusting and twisted satisfaction of sinful humans. Thankful to wear the same Chacos my sister wore just over three summers ago while praying for the salvation of people here. Thankful for grace and the truth in Acts 17: 24-34. Thankful that God pursues us faithfully when we run completely away from Him.

Being at the children’s home has been amazing. Each of the fifteen or so children there have been rescued out of brothels in the red light district. I have truly been encouraged and awestruck by the work God has already done in their lives. Their smiles and the stories behind the smiles gives me hope for all of Delhi. There is so much healing from past wounds and a team of leaders present who show them a beautiful picture of the gospel. I am praying that God will raise up a generation of people here who fear Him and proclaim His good news.

Wes shared a wonderful message last Sunday from John 6:35 about how we often turn to a cup of sand (idols) to fill us when we are hungry or thirsty. However, Jesus is our living water that satisfies and the bread of life. He fills us with joy and replenishes us. Our entire life should be an act of worship-breathing in a life of grace and exhaling a life of worship.

I am looking forward to the next few weeks!!! Thanks for reading this, being supportive, and joining me in prayer.

-Kelsey

First Impressions

From the second I stepped a foot outside of the Delhi airport around 2 am two Sundays ago, I came face to face with distractions and darkness. Even walking through the airport, I received cold, blank stares from men and women of all ages. Maybe it was my teams’ matching chacos, maybe our unique kavu bags, maybe our white skin, or maybe confusion of why we were there-not many people choose India for vacation. Shortly after exiting the air-conditioned lobby, we all packed into a taxi and drove into a city that will forever be engraved in my mind and on my heart. My face was smashed against the window, my eyes scanning all around excited to see a new place, when my hand shifted gently over my mouth. I saw garbage everywhere, graffiti, crumbling buildings, homeless/naked people sleeping on tables on street corners, police checkpoints (where they casually carry massive shotguns), street dogs, and so much more. It was a lot to take in.

I closed my eyes and reminded myself to breathe. HORN. I hadn’t seen anything like it before. However, when my eyes shut, my nose began to crinkle from the smell of trash, body odor, and pollution. I covered my nose. HORN. HORN. HORN. My ears cringed and heart beat loudly from the sound of such busyness during the early morning. I realized that I was just ten minutes into the trip, and then I felt a bead of sweat drip down my back. It was 90 degrees at 2 am. HORN!!! I reminded myself to breathe, but all of the distractions had seemed to take my breath away.

Bloggin’

My team will be posting updates/pictures/prayer requests on a blog that previous teams have written on during trips to India the last two years. Please check it out at the link below; however, I will try to also update this one!

Midtowndelhi.tumblr.com

Also, I LOVE the book titled “Sold” by Patricia McCormick and highly recommend you to read it. It is an easy read and I guarantee you won’t put it down until you finish it.

ONE MONTH LEFT!

After one month of prayer, reading books, sending out support letters, selling t-shirts, working, and having a garage sale, God has been constantly revealing to me His faithfulness, provision, and sovereignty over my month-long trip to India this summer. I will be leaving in 27 days, and I couldn’t be more excited.

A few things I have been dwelling on within the book called “When Helping Hurts”:

Jesus is the Creator, Sustainer, and Reconciler of EVERYTHING. Jesus died for our souls, but He also died to reconcile (put into right relationship) all that He created. 1 Colossians 1: 15-20

The task of God’s people is rooted in Christ’s mission: preach the good news in word and in deed.

Poverty=result of relationships that do not work, that are not just, that are not for life, that are not harmonious or enjoyable. It is the absence of shalom in all its meanings.

Poverty is rooted in the brokenness of the foundational relationships; therefore, every human being is poor in the sense of not experiencing all relationships in the way that God intended. Until we embrace our mutual brokenness, our work with low-income people is likely to do far more harm than good.

Poverty alleviation is the ministry of reconciliation: moving people closer to glorifying God by living in right relationship with God, with self, with others, and with the rest of creation.

I have really enjoyed reading about concepts and stigmas I did not even know existed towards foreigners, and am preparing for the Holy Spirit to do amazing things in/through me in New Delhi. It is such a relief to know that I do not carry the burden of other people’s salvation, but that God has been, is already, and will continue to be at work in India before and after I leave. However, I am full of hope and joy because I get to be a part of God’s plan for reconciliation.

Prayer is a powerful tool for the mission of God and is used to advance His kingdom. Will you join me in praying for our team (for unity, for servant-hearts, against laziness/fear), the Children’s Homes (for healing from past wounds, for the presence of peace/laughter), leaders already present in India that we will be working with (for refreshment, strength, and wisdom), the Brothel Outreach Center (for openness and for them to find hope and healing), and the people of India ?

God has also provided a total of $2,715 for my trip to India so far! This is a big deal (over half-way to my goal of $3,500) in just about 30 days! With less than one month remaining, I still have time to fund the rest. If you are interested in joining my financial support team, find out ways to contribute in the post below this one!

Thanks for reading!

Kelsey

I have been pretty chatty, although hopefully not boring, in previous posts. Therefore, this one is a summary of all the others.

1.)The first post (titled “Namaste”) is an update on why I am going in India!

2.) PRAY PRAY PRAY!

3.) If you would like to financially support me, you can make checks payable to Midtown Fellowship, write my name (Kelsey Solomon) in the memo line, and mail to: PO Box 505, Columbia, SC, 29202 .

4.) If you would like to purchase a T-shirt, see the design/link to purchase one in the previous post.

5.) If you would like to make a flat donation online, you can click the “India Donation” button listed above.

6.) If you have any questions or want to hear more about my trip, please email me at solomon.kelsey@gmail.com!!

My fundraising goal is $3,500. In addition to the money I have earned by working to set aside for this trip, I have currently raised $2,715 from friends/family/supporters. I will try my best to keep this number updated. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for joining me in prayer/financially to make this trip possible.

Isaiah 6:8 “And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.”

LOVE YOU ALL!

Fund the Nations designed this great t-shirt for me to help in my support raising for India. If you would like to purchase one, I am selling them for $20. You simply click on the box labeled “India T-shirts!” above and check out in PayPal. Please be sure to add your size in the “note to seller” box before you hit the pay button (drop down buttons aren’t an option on tumblr).

The shirts are super comfortable, seeing how I bought one from a friend last month and love it! I am planning to close my orders on May 20; therefore, you should receive your shirt no later than the beginning of June. THANK YOU SO MUCH!

John 3:30 “He must increase, but I must decrease.”