One year ago on this day I felt completely broken and even totally lost. I had chosen to head a new direction but I wasn't armed with a map or a guide or anything of the sort. I felt my heart was open though it was raw with the pain of a lost love, the uncertainty of leaving behind the life I had known for 25 years, worrying about family fallen with illness and simply the act of moving half way around the world... Never did I imagine what wonderful things were in store....
I remember when I finally announced that I would be making this move in order to work full time at the cleft care center. A decision that had been heavy in my heart since before I left from my short term mission to Guwahati. Oh little did I know just how long I would be here!
Just a few weeks later my heart was crushed by an unexpected break up which in retrospect I am so thankful for as it allowed me to completely give my life to service here.
Soon after moving I realized that my patients would fill me with a lot of questions, what would it feel like to be born and live with an unrepaired cleft lip? How does surgery change you? I weeped for the first time over the humbling realization that nothing I had faced in my life compared to what our many patients endure on a daily basis.
I got to visit Sri Lanka in May.
In September I realized that my life is no longer mine and that is when things really started to change. Sitting at my kitchen table in that moment is absolutely when I decided to give of myself in every way possible... not knowing what would come of it.
I continued to relfect on how my patients at the surgical center felt about receiving life changing surgery. And my heart just kept growing for them.
I visited Hong Kong at the start of October. My friend Katy really encouraged me to listen to what was weighing heavily in my heart so...
I came back from Hong Kong and decided to start making food for the street kids... by myself! I asked God for help and he sent me Chetri. Thus the project Asha Guwahati was born.
I learned to live openly and that life is best lived on your feet. Friends and coworkers like Kelly, Deborah and Rosie became consistent help and supported the project from its very beginnings.
In November the kids we had been feeding on the street disappeared so I went back to where Chetri had led me that first week. The train track slums of Lakhtokia.
I experienced agape love for the first time in December. A constant stream of volunteers at the surgical center also generated help, ideas and donations for the children of Lakhtokia. From one side of the world to the other, that agape love stretched.
I became close friends with a little girl named Sima in January.
Asha Guwahati made the local news in March.
Patients and their families continued to push me emotionally and remind me of one of the biggest reasons I decided to stay in India for another six months.
We realized that every single act here, big or small matters to these children. We saw their hearts start growing with ours.
Honestly, today I ache with different pains because there is this brokeness that comes with the humility I have learned to submit myself fully to here. April is coming to a close and I continue on with my work at the surgical center. Over 5,000 patients have received free surgery in Guwahati. Twenty five local nurses have expanded and challenged their careers. Eighty children receive free meals every Sunday in the slums of Lakhtokia and more importantly, they have become some of our best friends. The change in them is the most real form of love I have experienced in my life. Three hundred and sixty five days later I realize that, in fact, many small acts have already led to tangible difference in North East India. Here is to another three hundred and sixty five days full of love, brokenesss, service, humbleness and full hearts...