When I think of India the first things that pop into my mind are:
Bright colors. Beautiful people. Nose rings. The Taj Mahal. Auto rickshaws. Heat – ridiculous heat! Hindu temples. Sikh temples. Bahai temples. Mosques. Head coverings. Trash. Slums. Beggars, mostly children. Beautiful children.
Then I think about how when I was there I got pretty sick and had a lot of really uncomfortable sleepless nights but that it really didn’t matter that I was sick and miserable because I was also falling in love. Falling in love with a people, broken and lost, and falling in love with their Creator – our Creator, perfect and wonderful!
It’s a place that changed me forever. It’s where I saw more clearly than ever before what damage it does to worship gods in place of the Most High God. It’s where I was devastated by the realities of the pit of nothingness the world lives in when He is rejected. It’s where I saw the beauty of redemption, grace, and mercy as I observed those who had experienced being pulled out of that pit of nothingness and covered by the blood of Jesus.
This week I’ve been thinking a lot about India and about India’s women and little girls, in their beautiful bright colors and nose rings. I’ve been thinking about the victims of sex-trafficking. I’ve been thinking of all the little girls who have no opportunity to go to school. I’ve been reading statistics and picturing faces of the beautiful people I once met. Faces I will never forget. Faces that could easily be a part of those statistics.
One day I sat in a living room in New Delhi and a man told me about little girls. He told me how so many people do not see their beauty and do not understand their value. He told me that when a baby boy is born all the men in the area will come visit the father and bring gifts and sing a song of celebration… but when a little girl is born, there is no song and no gift. When a baby girl is born,what the men come visit the father to offer is their condolences. Little girls are often abandoned, left to die, and sometimes they are sold. Sold.
There are 1.2 billion people in India but today I’m celebrating ONE little girl. Her name is Babitha and today is her birthday! She’s 7. She has 4 brothers and sisters, a mom, and a dad. She has a teacher. And she has me, because through Compassion International, I have the joy of being a part of her life, from a distance. Today I will write her a letter and tell her that I think she is beautiful and valuable, and so does Jesus. And maybe I’ll ask her if she has a nose ring… and tell her about the day I got mine, in India. (I kinda miss it sometimes – the nose ring, and the country.)
There are so many parts of the world where girls and women are not seen as the precious creations our Father made them to be. We should all probably think about how we can love them well, following the example of Jesus.