Submitted by Mandy Zimmerman, a member of our U.S. team from August, 2015 trip:
The first few days in India, I found myself often asking God, “What am I doing here?” It wasn’t until I was home for several days that God began to weave pieces together in my heart.
Having four children myself and having been involved in Children’s Church, school activities and child care, I naturally lean toward children. While conducting conferences in Kullu, I noticed I got very little attention from the children. As they would walk by me, I would stare longingly at them with a smile, waiting on one glance my way.
When we got to Palampur, we were greeted by children who were alive and spurred by the love of Christ. I was in awe that they seemed to be the center of the ministry. The church would often go to children for prayer. Then at a tea plantation, we were met by children who stared longingly but showed little emotion when reached out to. I scooped up a little girl and planted her on my lap during our visit. She sat, singing songs and listening but neither offering nor receiving affection.
I began to learn that children have little worth in India. They are often seen more as a social obligation than a person to be valued. You see very little misbehavior, but also very little interaction. I learned even in churches, this is a struggle some are working to overcome. Do you see the enemy at work?
In Solan, I had the opportunity to speak over the children and pray for them at the conference. It was an inspiring and humbling opportunity for me. God has a plan and a purpose for the children of India. I understood it that day, but not like I came to understand it.
Our last day in India, we were riding to the airport in Dehli, I was sitting in the backseat thinking about how amazing God is and the many, many ways we saw Him move. I was gloating about the awesome report I would have to share when I got home. God had even finished the trip with bang. Then right outside the airport, we stopped at a stoplight. I watched a beggar, carrying a child, walk up to the window of a car ahead of us. He turned and came across the front of our vehicle and straight to my window. I watched his every move and examined the child in his arms. I never looked at him directly, but as he tapped on my window, I looked at that precious little girl. In his arms, he carried a girl probably about 5 years old (the same age as my daughter). She was lifeless, probably drugged as is typical for trafficked children, part of her head was shaved and bloodied and a bad attempt at a bandage was made to wrap around her head. She was his tool to get more money. She had no value and no worth of her own.
By the time I reached the airport, I was feeling physically ill. I have since spent much time weeping and in prayer. The bright, shining, amazing experience turned dark quickly for me. I spent days before God asking Him why He had to show me that – why was that my last image of India? I spent all of my time in North India, where human trafficking is not common. He could have easily spared me that scene or saved it for another trip. Why this trip? Why right before I boarded my plane for home?
Days later, He weaved those pieces together for me.
My burden for India is great. It now pales in comparison to my burden for the children of India. Our world is beginning to turn our eyes toward the issue of trafficking, but I feel, at least in India, it is more than trafficking. The future of Christ in India can be ushered in by the children. As they begin to understand how much God loves them and values them, they will share His love.
God loves them deeply and His burden is great. He has now given me that burden also.