Recently, our daughter traveled to Punjab, India for a week-long mission trip. While there, she stayed with the host family in a village home. Her days were filled with traveling from village to village and from house- to- house, mostly praying for the people who welcomed her with warm hearts and open arms. She will never forget the love and hospitality she received from these beautiful people. One lady washed her feet. In addition to praying, she also shared Bible stories because many of the people in the house churches there, could not read, and depended on story telling. Her evenings were filled with visiting families who “slaved” at the brick kilns. There, her team hosted Compassion Kit Parties with gifts of hygiene items and small necessities for the workers. More Bible stories and testimonies were shared as well as some singing and music. At the end of the week, her 5 member team, had reached almost 1,000 people!
Because she stayed in a village home, I did not hear from her for four long days. Finally, I received a Face Time call from her as she returned to the motel. I will never forget the emotions I had when I saw her on my phone. It was all I could do not to cry! I asked her to describe to me her experiences by choosing one word. Her answer was “prayer“.
She explained to me that the Christ followers in India have a great need for prayer. They don’t have access to medicine or doctors, as we do here. Many of the women asked her to pray for them to have a child or for their alcoholic husbands. One mother asked for prayer for her son with a dairy allergy. Because of the large number of people her team visited, she shared, “mom I have never prayed as much as I prayed this week in India“.
While she was away in India, thousands of miles away from the safety of her family and home, I could also say, “I have never prayed as much as I have this week“. Sarah was sitting on our bed the night before she left for India. Her dad and I were about to pray with her for her trip. I asked her in a concerned mama voice, “Is there any fears you would like to share that we can pray with you about”? She looked at me, let out a small chuckle, and said “No, I worry about you both worrying about me”! So I told her I would try not to worry. It worked for about the first two days she was gone. She had traveled to four different countries in the past four years, and that wasn’t so much my worry, but when she finally arrived in the village host home, my anxiety levels started to rise. Thoughts kept racing through my mind. I feared her being abducted while out and about. I feared the small village home wasn’t secure enough. I feared the 105 F plus tempeartures with no AC. I feared her getting sick and what does India know about medicine? I feared she wouldn’t be able to find a bathroom, aka “squatty potty”, when she had the urge to go. At one point, out of nowhere, I had an image flash in my mind of her being beaten. The mind can play tricks on us, but I decided not to dwell in that mind game.
The past nine months, after Sarah flew the coop to Liberty University, ten hours away, I had been proud of myself for ” releasing her “to God’s care. There were a few times, when I saw the photos on Face Book, of her sitting dangerously close to the edge of a huge rock she was perched upon, smiling ear-to-ear, hundreds of feet in the air, I wanted to let out a scream. Other than those times, I had peace. But this India trip tested my fears and my faith in God for her protection. This is when I finally decided to pray like I have never prayed before, so that my daughter would return safely. I couldn’t protect my daughter. I couldn’t run to her if she needed me. I had to rely on God, my Father, to watch over her. She was out of my reach, but not His. When I prayed, peace came to me, because I was able to release her to His care. Since then, I have had a daily fresh awareness of God’s presence and His peace in my life. I would have never thought that Sarah’s trip to India, not only changed her, but could change her fearful mama. Prayer, it changes things and it changes me.