As today is a travelling day, with some reorientation to Mumbai, and a meeting to discuss the next few days, there's not much to report - except for the fact that 'fog' delayed the flight from Kolkata to Mumbai for 2 hours meaning that I needn't have got up at 5.00am. Ho hum. And when I say 'fog' it's the sort that you can smell, taste and feel as it enters your respitory system.
And when we did finally take off, in this cricket loving nation, the update from the flight deck didn't mention flight time, height or wind speed but was 'Good morning Ladies and Gentleman. This is your captain speaking. You may be interested to know that India are 245 for 4 with 11 overs remaining'!
As I sat on the plane reflecting on my short time in Kolkata I was left with an overwhelming impression that the size of the task is hugely challenging both in:
- Reaching the millions of people in India, and the world, people made in God's image and loved by Him, with the gospel and
- Actually making the gospel good news that can be experienced by the poor, the violated and the oppressed in what, on the face of it, appear to be hopeless situations
And yet those impressions are matched by hope when I see the brave work of Ben and his team at 'Big Life' ('Well' says Ben, 'Why settle for a small one!?') and the equally courageous work of IJM. They won't 'big' themselves up though so I'll let Jeremiah do it for them:
Did not [they] do justice and righteousness? Then it went well with [them]. [They] defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me? declares The Lord. (22:15, 16)
Ben and I spoke for a long time last evening over the best Biriani I've ever tasted - and home made, too! We talked about partnering three ways with IJM in offering aftercare to girls rescued from forced prostitution, how we might help them recover from persistent abuse, sometimes being raped up to 20 times a day, and to somehow bring them to that point where they can have their lives back. Jesus says that 'The theif comes only to steal, kill and destroy; but I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10). In the words of the famous prayer of Teresa of Avila:
Christ has no body on earth but ours, no hands but ours, no feet but ours. Ours are the eyes through which Christ's compassion is to look out on the earth, ours are the feet by which He is to go about doing good and ours are the hands by which He is to bless people now.
And so, for your prayers, here is a picture of the Resource Centre that Ben showed me where it might be possible to offer Christ's redemptive work. This might not be the place but surely somewhere has to be - for if not us, then who? And if not now then when?