Our first full day in Kolkata has been a myriad of emotions. We began the day worshipping at William Carey Baptist with believers from all over the world. The whole experience reminded me of worship at La Boca, growing up in Panama, where large fans kept everyone cool, and the pulpit was really high.
The church, built in 1808, still stands and is a lasting reminder that our efforts on behalf of the King are not in vain. The work that William Carey started over 100 years ago is still being carried on and many believers have come behind him. What an honor to worship the King in a place where such a faithful servant had come before.
After a special treat for lunch (KFC) we got to shop some for more ethnic clothes and see a bit of the city. Every street is filled with trash, running water, children bathing (many without any clothes), and mothers and babies laying on the side of the road, begging for money. I felt as if each baby was the same age as my little girl (1) and saw her smile in each of the children’s. Many of the small boys are the ones that approach you for money and follow you happily down the street, also the same age as my son (3).
What makes them different than my kids? Why were my kids born into the abundance they have, rather than the poverty and endless cycle these are in? We are told all those who beg are owned by someone-none of the money they receive do they get to keep. It could be my children staring back at you, wondering if they will eat tonight. The amazing thing is, all of the children and mother’s soak up the attention and pats on the back you give them-more than the money they don’t receive. You would think that us not giving them money would upset them and make them mad, but the attention alone seems to make them forget they are in the circumstance they are in altogether. When we recognize someone as a human, that has vibrancy and life, their perspective is altered, even if for a minute, because they see someone that values them despite their circumstances.
I am not sure what the answers are to why God allows some children to be born where they are, others to be born in absolute poverty. I see the eyes and smiles of my own children in the faces of those I pass and I wonder if anyone in the world realizes that they are the future of India and the potential they have. God sees them and I believe despite the circumstances He allows, He is watching every moment of their lives and hoping we are Jesus with skin so that they can know the true Hope that comes in Him.