My last few weeks in India were pretty busy and now I’ve been home in the UK for a week now so I feel like I should catch you up on a few things…
Let’s rewind to the 15th August- India independence day! Gnana Deepam had their sports day on independence day and my goodness, Indians do sports day well! This wasn’t just your average school sports day with sack races and three-legged races. I’m talking about various types of dances and human pyramids as well as all the traditional races! The kids practiced so hard for weeks before and the day itself was so lush!
Preparations for leaving India went well- I was wanting to hand over to the next volunteer well so that there was continuity for the kids so they continue to improve.
Also after having quite a stressful time trying to get my exit permit (due to the very slow internet and having to travel to the local and state police station) I got it all sorted but I couldn’t believe it when the man at immigration didn’t even ask me for it!!
Saying goodbye to the girls and boys at the hostel was so hard. I’d spent so much time with the girls over the past 3 months and built great friendships with them. Knowing that I will probably not see them again and not really have any way of keeping in contact with them is hard.
My journey back to the UK was a smooth but long one, with a lot of waiting around in the airport. But this was such a great time to just sit and reflect on different things. As I sat there thinking, I was so overwhelmed by God’s faithfulness, guidance and protection during my time in India and it was such a special moment as I sat there in awe of our awesome God!
The first couple of days back home were very emotional- being reunited with friends and family but also because I missed India and the kids so much.
Also, reverse culture shock is a real thing. The first moment was when I was on the plane and was flicking through the magazine- £345 for a small pot of moisturiser!! I actually made an audible sound of disgust! Another moment was when I was back home and I had to decide what to wear. In India I had a few tops and trousers- the choice of clothes that I have back home was just so overwhelming that I stood in front of my wardrobe and got a little teary because I really couldn’t decide- crazy I know! But as I’ve been home a week now it is so strange how quickly you adapt back and everything seems normal again. But India has definitely changed me. God has moulded me through so many ways whilst being in India to be more like Jesus.
Here’s a few of my lessons from India:
- I need God every single day. I depend on him for my strength. When things are difficult he is the only one that can give me strength. I didn’t realise just how much I needed God until my first days in India. I have a comfortable life in England and I don’t need to depend on God as much because I am surrounded by friends and family, I know how the culture works and I am independent. But in India, I am reliant on others, so many things are new and different and I felt the distance. In the first few days of being in India I felt God so close and he answered me every single time I asked him for strength and comfort. God is so faithful.
“My help comes for the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth”- Psalm 121:2
- In the West we’re always rushing around and always thinking about the next thing and God can easily get pushed out. I felt like I was living for the future but the truth is, God is here and now. He’s wanting to talk to me and teach me things now. He has blessings for me now. I need to pause and acknowledge that. I need to stop and listen so much more and change my perspective.
- I don’t need to struggle and try to solve my own problems. God wants me to trust him with these things. He wants to be the first port of call, not a last resort when I can’t fix things. I need to talk to God so much more and trust him so much more. He’s got a perfect track record- why am I not relying on Him 100%?
All these things I knew, but while I was in India they became a reality to me and I’m praying that I’ll continue to remember everything that God has taught me and apply it to my life.
Things I will not miss about India:
- Having to keep my jar of Nutella in a bowl of water- the only way to keep those pesky ants away!
- The chorus of frogs outside my bedroom whilst I was trying to sleep at night
- The way my body reacted to the many mosquito bites
But these things are totally tolerable but I really did love my time in India and I miss it. Yes it sounds cliché, but India really does have a piece of my heart and I can’t express how thankful I am to God for giving me this experience!
So this is the close of the FirstServe chapter in my life. Honestly I can’t tell you how awesome it is to look back over these past months and see God’s leading and love in all of it! A massive shout out to everyone I’ve met this year whilst doing FirstServe- thank you for being part of it!
I know I’ve said this before but thank you so much for reading, praying, encouraging and supporting- I’ve been so blessed by so many people during this adventure!