From a Short Term Volunteer

In June, I spent two weeks in Goa. I had never flown without my family. I had never met
any of these team members. I had never even been out of the country, so this was a major
jump, but it was so rewarding. I met some amazing people. I could not have asked for a better
team. I felt like I had known them for years. We laughed, cried, and stepped in cow poop
together, and with an experience like that, how could you not be close? We really connected
and had a phenomenal time with each other, but I met some amazing people with such strong
testimonies of faith. One teenage boy in particular literally hid from his Hindu father so that he
could go to a believer church on Sunday. That was so convicting. How often do we think,
“Maybe I’ll just sleep in and miss Sunday school, but I’ll try to make it to church.”? But this kid
was hungry for the word of God and the fellowship of other believers. That was so encouraging
but also caused me to take a look at myself and what I was putting first.
One thing that was so evident to me on this trip is that your joy should not come from
your circumstances. India is so different from America. There’s trash everywhere and wild
animals wandering in the streets. These kids don’t have the luxuries we do—the luxuries that
we don’t consider luxuries—but these kids are joyful. They are so happy, and love overflows
from their souls. I suddenly felt so guilty about every complaint I’ve ever uttered. I live in the
best country in the world. I serve the only true, living God. I live in a place where I have literally
every opportunity in the world. I have true freedom. I will not be forcibly married off to
someone I do not love. I am not stuck in a caste system. I have so many things to be thankful
for, but sometimes it’s so easy to make a tiny problem a big deal. It’s easy to get bent out of
shape about nothing, but these people reminded me what joy looks like.
I absolutely fell in love with this country and these people, and I can’t wait to go back. It
didn’t take me long to realize that two weeks was nowhere near long enough.
If you’re thinking about going to India, I highly recommend it. It was amazing. You’ll go
there thinking you’re going to change the lives of some women and children, but I promise you that you’ll come home changed, too.

K- Short Term Volunteer