Village girls heading to another day of school is
an inspiring sight in rural India.
Nandini Reddy is our very first college student in CCH.
Many, many more to attend very soon.
Here our staff member, Vijay, shares a laugh
with a boys home.
Everyone is surprised when we tell them what the biggest challenge is for us and this CCH program in India.
A: Sean vs. the heat?
B: Paige vs. the spicy food?
C: Jaya and Rayne vs. being so far away from home?
D: None of the Above
Now, admittedly, these are personal challenges as opposed to program challenges, but if we could change one thing in India, it wouldn’t be the heat, the fire-breathing food or even India’s geographical location to, say, Mexico.
The hardest part of India for us is the hopelessness and vision-less mentality of the villages in which we work.
Our biggest challenge in India is to speak life and hope into village mindsets that have never imagined one of their own attending a university, working outside of day labor or marrying in the mid-20s rather than the mid-teens (females…actually, “girls”).
When we bring in a child to one of our church-based orphan homes, we ask the pastor to immediately begin sharing the long-term vision and hope for the child with their extended family who maintain the rights to that child. The family thinks of the home as a boarding school, but doesn’t think beyond what is normal for life in the village: Labor, drinking, abuse, men carousing with men, women hiding with women.
When we speak of health, spiritual growth, University graduation, professional jobs and then, only then, marriage, often the extended family responds in fear.
Fear of the possibility.
Fear from jealousy.
Fear that their child with run off to Hyderabad, Mumbai, or worse, New York, marry a foreigner and never come home again.
We share with them the possibility their child now has the opportunity to become something more purposeful and how family can be a part of this. Family and marriage will be a part of this, but only after he or she has established herself with studies and a sense of identity as a child of God, not a child of the village or just someone else’s property (auntie or a husband or the village elder).
What you prepare to be challenged by when working in rural India is almost by definition not what you will be most challenged by. It’s always the unexpected. The surprising. The un-planned for.
We’re learning more and more that you can’t rely on your own strength in India, but on God’s faithfulness both to us as well as these kids who, despite such hardships, have been given a true second chance, but only if their families ultimately agree to this chance…
In Part 2 of this dual blog posting (next Thursday night), we will look at this challenge from a national perspective and examine a bit more closely how the biggest threats to national security may not be border vs. border anymore, but something much more difficult to determine and harder to combat!