Tuesday, February 28, 2012

"there is such freedom in commitment"

Well it is Tuesday morning here and I am just now writing the blog post for our day Monday for 2 reasons: 1. So much happens in one day spent here that I was so exhausted last night to write it and 2. We are forced to stay in our hotel for the day (I will get to that in a minute) that I knew I would essentially have the day to write as much as I wanted with a clear head and a full nights rest under my belt.  So back to the first thing...because we are here for such a short amount of time we have to fit a lot into everyday and I love that on the one hand but at the same time it is just so much to process!  Back to the 2nd reason...there is a strike (bandh) here today that is nation wide and we were instructed to stay in our hotel. While I heard it is very unlikely that anything will happen, it is just best that we don't go out.  That being said, we have a lot of time on our hands today.  We got to sleep in (to 9am) and we had some breakfast and devotion time before coming back to our perspective rooms to do different things.  Julia is working on a paper, I am writing a blog/reading, and everyone else is either watching some TV/reading/writing or something of that sort.  We plan to meet at lunch in the hotel and then work on getting stuff ready to go to the aftercare homes for the rest of the week.  Preparation is key!

Back to the devotional thing, I had been wanting to write about this for a few days.  Kelly had these devotions made for us everyday with a scripture reading and some questions, and it is just great.  We have started the day after breakfast with reading our scripture and then taking time to pray for one person at a time and anything else that may be on our heart to pray for.  I will say that I usually am not a lover of 'corporate prayer', however, I have really enjoyed that time and getting to speak truth about the group and thank God for the things each of us bring to the group.  It has turned into a great time to process what we have experienced through the lens of God's word and our knowledge of His desire for justice.



We started the day off by going to the IJM office and doing quiet time and devotional with them in the office.  I love that every morning they take time to reflect and do devotion and prayer.  It just goes to show how vital it is to stay in constant contact with God and that they know where their strength, courage, and help comes from.  Nothing that IJM or any other organization here that is working with trafficking and injustice would be possible without God empowering it.  Anyone who has been to Kolkata can tell you (and even everyone who lives here would tell you) that everything here is just so hard, never mind the fact that virtually all sides are working against the freedom of these girls and women.   I think the resistance to discouragement is only made possible by a constant faith and trust in God to rescue and redeem things in this city.

After we had our time in the office it was time to go to Sari Bari and do a tour and spend some time there.  Julia and I had been there, just the two of us, last year but I was so excited to go back.  We went back to the same unit and we weren't supposed to be given the tour by the same woman (we'll call her "amy") but it turned out that last minute something had come up with the other woman and so we did get to spend some time with "amy" from last year.  I keep up with her blog and prayer letters and so I was really excited to get to be with her again.  Just a bit of background...Sari Bari was started by 2 women who about 6 years ago were here and living in Kolkata and saw a need for an organization to assist in giving a job to a woman who wanted out of the sex trade, but did not really have any options in doing so.  That was born this amazing company which is under the umbrella of another organization called word made flesh  that has offices all over the world doing different work but essentially providing restoration, community, and jobs to the 'least of these' in areas of the world that need it the most.  I can't say enough great things about both of these companies.

I thoroughly enjoyed the time that we had at Sari Bari.  Its in a red light district of Kolkata and literally I would never be able to find it again.  If someone were giving directions it would say something like take a left after the 8th stall (selling all the same things the other stalls are selling so there is no distinction), take a left, a right, another right, and keep going.  The unit is so peaceful though, and you would never know how much was going on outside because it is so quiet back in there.  It is 3 small rooms where women sit on the floor and stitch most of the day.  They talk to each other and laugh and just go about their day as we were sitting in the "hall".  The 5 of us plus our 'tour guide' sat legs crossed on the ground talking for almost 2 hours about the company, God, and what He was doing in this city.

Honestly my favorite part of the whole thing was hearing amy talking about her job and what she loves about work and everything that comes along with it.  I think there are 3 kinds of people in regards to work 1. those that don't like what they do 2. those that are apathetic to what they do (it's just a job) and 3. those that love what they do and it emanates from every word they speak.  Amy is number 3 on that list.  When the group was discussing later in the day about our trip to Sari Bari, we all had a comment about how it was just so obvious that she loved what she does and that she has totally found her 'sweet spot' for working with survivors of this awful issue.  It literally just comes out of everything that she has to say about it, the company, and the women.  Moreover, it makes me want to be a part of it because it activates my heart and mind for the mission.  It is a beautiful thing to have found your passion and be truly living that out every day, and even when the days are rough and you are living so far away from family you love, that you know you are in the exact place that God wants you.

In addition to that, I just love Sari Bari and their model of doing community and living life with the people they are working with on a daily basis.  Amy was saying that one of their 'problems' is that they cannot make enough to keep up with demand (a great problem to have, but a problem nonetheless) and that they are in need of prayers with regard to that problem.  Because of how they want to do the business, it is difficult to make enough to keep up with the demand for the product.  I know that's true first hand because every time I get an email saying they have a new shipment in, I will get online and everything is already sold out!  They are looking at ways to expand while keeping the original goal and mindset the same within the organization.  They really do life with the women in who work there and it is not just a "work" environment.  They take the women on vacations with their entire families and do rest and relaxation time with them.

I could go on and on about how much of a great experience it was to be there, but I will stop because this has been forever long!  We did get to buy some bags from there though and I love being able to literally support sari bari while we are here, but also that I can carry something around that is a conversation starter in so many ways.  From there we went back to the IJM office but I will leave that for another post!  

1 comment:

  1. "it makes me want to be a part of it because it activates my heart and mind for the mission"

    -activates- #BOOM