Friday, October 31, 2014

Lacking

I've been bad. I'll admit.

I've gotten lazy. Tired. And distracted.

Blogposts and updates haven't been coming, which I apologize for. We have been on holiday for the last 2 weeks, and it's been far too long since I've shared with you all what is happening here in India. It has been over 3 weeks since I've shared and so much has happened. Though it is still holiday time in India, we see so much and fight against tiredness or sickness or discouragement, and when the time comes to want to share, I can't think of the words. I have been journaling the last 8 weeks that we've been here though, and I have been reminded of all that has been done so far--sharing the Gospel with different groups of people, being encouraged in unexpected ways, being stretched in unwanted, but welcomed ways, and leading people that we dearly love to Christ. We only have 3 weeks left, and I want to finish our time well. We have had to fight against being weary in doing good, but the Lord has been giving us strength and the words to say, each and every time. I feel the Lord pulling me to really share Christ with these people that we minister to every week. I know that in the last few weeks we have left, He will continue to be working through us, and soon enough, I will share some of these stories with you all that have been praying for us and supporting us. 



Here's a little of what has happened the last 3 weeks, where I hope to share some of these memories in detail soon: 
October 7th - 9th - We attended a Youth Conference in the state of Karnataka with our Rahab's Rope staff. It was a bit difficult for us spiritually and we had to work through a lot of discouragements to get the focus back on Christ. In the end, I was reminded that the Lord hears and Christ will be glorified!
October 10th-15th - We hosted our first team almost entirely composed of people a generation older than us! So it was challenging, but rewarding. Regardless of the challenges, the Lord's will was done and we were able to witness and be a part of the Lord's blessing to the people we minister to everyday. 
October 18th-20th - Caleb and I celebrated our 2 year anniversary in India! We had a little "staycation" retreat at a resort nearby (with a/c and a pool!!). On the day of our anniversary, we shared lessons we've learned from 2 years of marriage and cake with a group of women from the slums. 
October 24th - In a small cramped room in the slum, we led a group of girls through the Gospel message and they accepted Jesus into their hearts. Tears well up in my eyes still as I think about it. 
October 30th until now - We have been visiting a YWAM kid's camp where some of our kids from our programs are attending. Some of our girls from the class that accepted Christ last week are in the camp and already we have seen a change in them and their faith. 

More to come soon...Please keep praying!


Monday, October 6, 2014

I am Not Here To Be Comfortable

Honesty time.

India is uncomfortable.

It's hot. It's humid. You have no personal space. Very little people speak your language. So you are often jumping around playing charades and just trying to get the right amount of change. Or even the right amount of snacks. Do you know how many times we have come home with like 20 deep fried chilies when Caleb has attempted to ask for 4? Apparently however many fingers you hold up mean that's how many rupees worth you want times 10. 40 rupees worth of deep fried chillies? Really???

Don't get me wrong. I love India. For most people that come here, it is very much a love-hate relationship with all the craziness that it holds. Because as crazy as it is, it is always an adventure. Getting on the morning bus and buying deep fried chillies is always an adventure. So I am not at all complaining. But this has been our life for the last month. 1 month. All this crazy is just..normal now. Which just BLOWS my mind. But with normality, those feelings of being uncomfortable often creep in and you just start missing the joys of America...

Sleeping in a nice cushy bed.  Donuts. $5 pizzas. Fast food. Homemade chocolate chip cookies. Dare I say ---GROUND BEEF. Back home, we gloried in the days we could save enough money every week to buy Costco chicken. And now here we are. The chicken capital of the world.

And so, often in the midst of ministry, I just want to hop back on a plane to my cushy bed, eating donuts and pizza with ground beef all over it and indulge in shows like Once Upon a Time and Law and Order: SVU. Not because I desperately miss those things (even though I do), but because I want to be comfortable. And let's face it. I am not comfortable. I am unsure of myself. I often am tripping over my own words. I am figuring out the different dynamics of the groups of people we are ministering to, trying to find topics and activities that are engaging. And I find myself failing miserably. Or so I feel like I am.

There are 5 different life skills classes that I lead here in India. What is a life skills class you ask? Well, it's a class where you teach skills for life....?? I didn't really know when coming here either and then after looking at our schedule, I came to find I basically taught at least one class a day for 45 minutes at a time. To say the least, I felt unprepared, unqualified, and uncomfortable.Who was I to be able to teach about life? I am still trying to figure life out!

And so how did I cope with these feelings of inadequacy and uncertainty??? Well, I cried of course. I tried to take control and I couldn't, so I would cry and become discouraged and just question my whole reason of being here and just felt like going home, where it's comfortable. Where I could cry and have my pizza too. (I don't think that's a saying, but I just made it one.)

But God. He is so gracious to me. And so gracious to give me a husband that just keeps pointing me back to Christ. And through Caleb, God spoke to me. He said,
"You are not here to be comfortable."
The reason I am here is to share Christ. He is what I know. He is what I am sure of. He is the one in control and the one who brings comfort to my soul. And here, I am bound to be uncomfortable because the Lord is stretching me. He is using me. And He is the one that is equipping me to do the work I cannot do on my own. That is where I find comfort. It is not I who does this work, but Him who called me and whose Spirit lives in me.

So I have been doing something that is very much against my nature.
I have been letting go.
I haven't been over planning. I haven't been obsessing and staying up into late hours of the night, stressing and crying and trying to maintain some form of control or comfort. I have just been going into my days, trusting that the words God has given me is enough. Because He is. He is enough. And the Lord has given me a wonderful thing --peace. More honesty time. I am 5 weeks into this ministry and I still don't know what I'm doing. I still am all jumbled with my words. I still feel uncertain. But I have peace that the Lord's will is being done and that He is using us to fulfill that will.

So though I miss these comforts of home, I have been scared, and felt incompetent, I have not wished my days away because I am uncomfortable here. We have already been here for one month. Exactly. And before we know it, we will be home (we only have 6 weeks left, which is crazy). Until then, we will endure the heat and pizza-less days coupled with the days we feel inadequate and discouraged and take in everyday of discomfort we have left here to share Christ with these beautiful people.



Bringing the comforts of America to us every once in a while doesn't hurt either.  


Blessings from the Sharps





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