I listened to a sermon the other day in which a minister said we should share our personal experiences of mighty acts (things that happen to us that we believe are the work or Hand of God). A few days ago, I ran across this photo and it reminded me of an experience I had on a business trip to India. One that I think was a Hand-of-God experience. But first let me take you back a few years into my past.
Like so many others, from the time I left high school throughout my working career, I put the Faith I was taught as a child pretty much on hold. A kind way of saying my life was busy with things I thought were more important. But God, ever patient, never abandoned or gave up on me.
I was blessed with the opportunity to travel overseas with my work–to Europe, India, and multiple trips to China. Whenever I traveled to third world countries, I always took gifts for the children. This was true of the trip to India with two of my working colleagues. We arrived in India with stuffed animals, coloring books, watches, toy cars, books, etc.
When we had finished all of our business, we hired a driver to take us to an orphanage where we could leave our gifts. We arrived at a compound inside the walls of a New Delhi inner city location. Unbeknownst to us, there had been a communication glitch, or maybe the driver just got lost, but we never made it to the orphanage like we expected.
Instead, we stopped at a Missionary Home full of people terminally ill with tuberculosis and other diseases. We walked through the open-air buildings with men, women, and children all sick in their beds and volunteers hard at work watching over them.
Not quite sure of where we were or what we had just experienced, we thanked the sister who walked us through the facility, left the toys for the children, and donated the small amount of money we could find on the three of us. We had also brought along little bars of soap, shampoo, plastic combs, toothpaste and toothbrushes that we had collected from the hotels we stayed in along our journey. And we left those, too. We never saw the sign posted at the gate (pictured) until our departure.
The next day we left the country.
For years, I felt the trip to India had been a mistake and a disaster. But then five years ago something happened in my life that returned me to my Faith. I’m a new and totally different person. Now I look back and view this trip to India and the stop at the Home for Dying Destitutes as a blessing–a Hand-of-God experience. Of course, at the time of our journey, I didn’t see it.
Even though I was, at that time, out of fellowship, somewhere in the middle of New Delhi, God planted a tiny seed in my heart that began to slowly germinate and grow. For years, I’ve felt the nudge to help children and the elderly–those who are most vulnerable. Well, three weeks ago, I finally listened to the voice of the Holy Spirit and began volunteering inside a nursing home for hospice.
Yesterday was my first 11th Hour experience sitting with an elderly woman alone in this world as she passes on to the next one. What a privilege and blessing it was to spend that hallowed time with her.
A tiny seed starting to grow? I truly believe so.