My experiences in India are moments I will carry with me forever.
A piece of my heart was left there, especially with a young little girl – an orphan currently living in one of Harvest India’s orphanages.
Before I left for India, my aunt gave me an angel doll made of straw that she had brought back from her mission trip to Africa. She told me she was praying that as I ventured across the world, God would reveal to me a special girl in India whom I could give this doll to.
Towards the end of our trip, we visited an orphanage in Peddapuram and there she was. With short black hair and wearing an oversized, colorful, floral dress, the moment I saw her, I knew God was directing me to her. One of the members in our group soon stood up to speak, explaining why we were there and how much Jesus loved each of those kids. Some of us went out into the crowd and sat with the kids. I immediately sat next to this sweet girl in the front, along with all the other girls, and she instantly grabbed my hand and began to hold it tight.
My heart melted!
She continued to look at me, seemingly mesmerized, and I held her hand and hugged her while the team was sharing their stories. I kept my gaze on her as if to assure her that I saw her!
We began some Bible teaching and fun activities, and I knew my time with her would soon be ending. The team was leaving once our activities were done, and my heart was heavy.At this point, I took the opportunity to inform Daniel (our translator) about the straw angel doll and how I wanted to give it to this young girl. He agreed he would translate for me, and I brought the little girl over.
As I pulled the angel out of my backpack and Daniel explained to her that this was a straw angel from Africa that would be hers to keep, her eyes lit up! She immediately hugged me so tight – she wouldn’t let go. I reciprocated the hug, not wanting to let her go. I knelt down and she started kissing my face and said, “Thank you!”She held the doll so close to her – all the surrounding kids wanted one too. She and I had a quick second alone and she asked me, “When are you coming back?” I told her I would hopefully return the next year. And then she responded with the most heartbreaking words: “Please don’t forget me.”
I started crying, my heart was so broken. I told her I could never forget her and that she would be in my thoughts forever. I also told her to hold her angel tight and remember I am with her in spirit.
It was in this moment that I realized that though my gift was small, it was a moment when she felt loved and she felt seen. Though our time together was brief, I found myself praying that more than anything, she would feel and know how much God loves her and sees her.
As the team was getting ready to depart, I realized I had to leave her. I gave her one last big hug and kiss on the forehead. She held my hand as I left and once I got to the stairs, she would not let me go. She leaned on the concrete wall and held my hand as I walked down the stairs until I couldn’t hold her hand anymore. Our hands broke and with tears streaming down my face, I couldn’t contain it.
My team consoled me and reminded me how much she is cared for by Harvest India. It took some time, but I realized how blessed she truly is. Suresh Kumar, the president of Harvest India, and his wife, Christina, love all these children and treat them like their own.Harvest India truly cares for the orphans in India and provides every necessity for each child. No kid is left behind. Additionally, they provide education and training to help invest in the next generation of India. They care for the sick, outcast, and destitute, and most importantly, share the Good News of Jesus through a variety of outreach opportunities.
Though I left with a heavy heart, I am comforted knowing that God is doing some amazing things through Harvest India. I continue to pray for this sweet girl, that she would continue to feel loved, and I hope to go back to see her one day.
By Rebekah Bujanowski
2019 India Team
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