“I want to go home…but, I don’t want to leave.”

(This is the final update I emailed out. I haven’t blogged in awhile, so, thought I’d post it as a blog…will blog more when I get a chance/formulate a way to put something into words on a page)

I glanced over a November calendar and I braced myself for the end. Each month had flown by so quickly, I knew November would be no different. I would choke back tears contemplating the end; therefore I often tried my best to block it from my thoughts. But, alas, time slipped away from the clutches of my hands, and now I am left writing you this final update. I am, with both sadness and joy, writing to you… the end.

Let’s see…November…I will cover the “main things”. In November, my partner and I had a plan. I’m not sure why. One day I wrote the following in my journal:

“Today I made a plan. Nothing happened according to that plan.”

More often than not, that seems to be the theme here in South Asia. Nevertheless, contrary to every natural instinct I possess, I have learned to roll with the punches.

After a bit of “miscommunication” (Grrr…also a theme here in SA) two days before our long anticipated Anti-Trafficking Drama Workshop, my partner and I found ourselves devoid of a workshop and devoid of a plan. Thankfully we work alongside a team possessing of people who are far from quitters. My “desperately-need-a-planned-out-organized-overly-prepared-schedule-for-all-events” self has much to learn from them. A schedule, PowerPoints, videos, nametags, phone calls, and two freaked out “leaders” later, voila; we had our very own “Human Trafficking Drama Workshop”. Over 20 participants joined us to learn about trafficking in the world, India, and, more specifically, in the Northeast; the trafficking that is happening all around them. They also gathered to learn what they can do about it. We exposed them to the “street drama” awareness tool that is being used in India. We had them share stories that they knew, showed them some tools for turning those stories into dramas, then had them work on doing just that. God is faithful. He is sovereign over cancellations and miscommunication. Nothing catches Him off guard.

Thankful for that.

My song-writing MBBs (Mus.lim Background Believers) travelled back over to my city, and we spent a day recording the ten songs that they had written. I’m not much of an audio engineer, BUT, I do have a college degree in theatre, so I acted like I knew what I was doing, ha ;). This entire time didn’t go as expected, and was quite a mess at most parts, but, again, the Lord is so good and so faithful. The recordings turned out wonderfully, and many CDs have been distributed. Also, booklets containing the lyrics to the songs are being made for use in house churches. I have some Mus.lim friends I am excited to give copies of the songs to. As a quick reminder, the songs were crafted from a Bible story set that has been specifically contextualized for Mus.lims. For example, they use “Allah” for God and “Isa” for Jesus. The MBBs worked to put the stories into a popular musical style called “Zikir” music, which is a very popular form of music amongst the Mus.lim community. Mus.lims will hear Truth in the form of familiar tunes they already know and love. Awesome.

Next up was the women’s conference. The women of the “A Team” planned a weekend retreat for national women who were in some way, shape, or form involved with our NGO. The theme was “Masterpiece: Created by God”, stemming from Psalm 139. Some examples of the sessions were studying Scripture (Psalm 139/1 Corinthians 12), learning about prayer, bracelet making, Zumba dancing (AKA the funniest thing…ever), playing games, discussing what the Word says about marriage/singleness/and mentoring, etc. I led a henna storying session, teaching the women a story from the Word, leading them in a discussion about the story, helping them learn the story by telling it to others, and ending with practicing the henna design for the story on each other.

The weekend was so much fun. National women never do anything like this. They don’t get to leave their husbands and children for a weekend to “hang out with the girls”. They don’t get to play silly games, be creative, or win prizes. They never get a chance to be goofy or dance around like a fool. The women were like giddy school girls, sneaking out of their rooms late at night in their pajamas begging us to teach them more dances. I am now a professional teacher of the “Macarena”, the “Hokey Pokey”, and the “Electric Slide”.

I pray the believers were encouraged and spurred on, and I pray that the unbelievers would be awakened to the Truth.

We ended the month with a very special treat. We traveled to Kaziranga to go on an “Elephant Safari”. I slept in a bed with fluffy pillows, had my first hot shower in over four months, ordered room service (for the first time in my life…and totally ate it up because it’ll probably be the last time I ever get to do that, haha), and watched…TV! Not to mention, waking up at 4AM in the morning and riding elephants! We spotted many of the “one-horned rhinos” which are indigenous to Assam. It.was.awesome.

I have four days left in this city. I’m not sure how that happened. I leave for Delhi on the 8th for debrief, then I’ll be back in the States on the 13th.

I’m learning to rest in the fact that before the beginning of time, the Lord ordained for me to be here for this specific time for His glory. I know that I don’t know and may never know the exact reason why He chose me…but, I know it wasn’t by accident. I’m learning not to measure “success” on my terms or human terms. I’m learning to trust Him and His wisdom every day, knowing that He is my Father and His plan for me is much better than anything I could dream up (why is that so hard??) I’m learning every day and I’m excited to discover along the way all the different things I have learned during my time here that I’m not yet aware of.

I’ve struggled with the thought of going home; mostly, because I am afraid. But, I cling to grace and His promises in the Word.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

            One year ago I graduated from college.  In the time since, I didn’t get a great job, make lots of money, and become wildly successful. I didn’t become a famous actress, or beautiful, or popular. I didn’t marry some handsome fellow or even get asked on a date. I’m not sure I did anything you’re supposed to do…but, I do know one thing. I know Jesus more than I did last year… and I wouldn’t trade that for the world.

Thanks so much for reading/keeping up with me/praying for me over these few months. So thankful.

I will miss India every single day.

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.”

Blessings,

shara.

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