8.03.2016

So I went to India

Hello friends, family and strangers! 


For the past two months I have lived in the country of India in a small state in the Northeast corner named Manipur. This was an organized mission trip through my college and I want to share a little of my experience with you.

So there were two different teams that went to India, one for three weeks then one for two months. Because our two month team was so small (two people) we traveled together with the three week team of ten and worked together while they were there.

               (↑ This was taken right when we landed in India after almost 48 hours of travel)

So I am just going to be honest with you. This trip was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. Nothing about it was easy. So many things went wrong, the trip was not well organized or planned and the communication was extremely lacking. Even the state of Manipur had some local issues that they called strikes which meant we could not move because the streets were being blocked. 

BUT

I know for a fact that God was working. Behind the scenes, within every situation we faced, in every conversation, God was there and He was using us in ways we couldn't imagine. I never once regretted committing to serve God there in India and here is the Scripture I held onto especially when discouragement set in.

2 Corinthians 4:18 
"So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."


The main forms of ministry we served in while there were going from church to church sharing testimonies, singing songs and preaching. During the day we went to a few schools as well and we also prayed in many homes. We were mainly in Christian communities being used to encourage the people.


There was one thing I was absolutely certain of before signing up for this trip. God was going to push me to face one of my biggest fears, public speaking. So as soon as we got there we were told we needed to prepare seminars and testimonies to share with the people and even though I was expecting it, I didn't realize it would happen that fast or that it would be our main focus of the entire trip so, as you would expect, this challenged me in many ways. 


By the time Jae and I returned to America we had gone to almost 30 churches and shared with them. We stood on stages with microphones and translators not knowing how well we were actually being translated or even if they understood us, but it was just another area that we had to trust that God was at work constantly. You don't understand the importance of communication until you don't share the same language. 



Something I really admired about the people was their faith in God and their belief that He truly answers prayer. We don't realize how much we don't pray for because we have easy access to medicine and resources. We had the opportunity to enter into many homes and pray with the families for health, God's guidance and direction and His provision.

One of my main prayers before this trip was that I would experience what long term mission work is like. One of the first things I realized was that there are many many different forms of mission work and this was just one of them. I will continue to pray about future opportunities of missions, both inside and outside of the US.

The people there had such large hearts. They never once hesitated to give us anything we needed and went above and beyond to try and make us as comfortable as possible. Its humbling to see God's love poured out without hesitation.



I have many stories to tell but I am only going to share one right now and it is one of my favorite experiences of the entire trip. The last week of our trip, Jae and I traveled to different VBS locations to see how they were doing and to speak with each class about America and to share our personal testimonies. The last place we stayed was for four days and I got the opportunity to teach the Senior class (which was ages 14-18). I did not have a translator so I did my best to keep communication simple and keep it interactive. When I was done sharing, I helped the normal teachers teach the song and dance moves for that day's competition and stayed with them during the large assembly. I loved being with them and hearing their questions and teaching them things I have learned about life and my relationship with Christ.

Later in the week a few instructors took the time to have one on ones with any students who were interested. I sat in Lungsim's room where boys from the ages of 10-18 came and shared their personal struggles and Lungsim gave advice to them then he would share the key prayer points with me and we would pray over them. I got the chance to experience this with most of the senior boys I had taught in my class. I loved sitting in silence not understanding anything they were saying but I talked with God and prayed over every conversation. They could not understand me, but I was honored to go to God through the Spirit on their behalf.

I want to thank everyone who has been praying for me and supporting me on this trip from beginning to end. God was constantly blessing me with messages and encouragement throughout the entire trip and I know it was from the consistent prayers from my prayer warriors.

Thanks for reading and I would love to share more so ask any questions you have!

1 comment:

Lollie said...

Thanks for sharing about your summer, Ashley! It's excited to see how God has used you, even if the circumstances were not ideal. Love you, Girl! Aunt Lollie