Thursday, January 31, 2013

Feet washing

I am so thankful to arrive when I did.  It just so happened that two teams were in town, one from the states and one from the UK.  That also meant I really had no direction for the first week but it was ok because I was able to go to aftercare homes for 3 days in the week.  On Tuesday I went to one home I had been to before with one of the teams.  I love getting to see the girls and even just see more of the city in the process.  So initially I was just going to observe and see what they were doing and spend time with the girls.  However, there was a slight change in plans and because one of the team members wasn't there I was asked if I would help out with one of their projects.  The project happened to be was feet washing, followed by doing a pedicure.  I definitely love the imagery of Jesus washing his disciples feet and think it carries along with it some powerful lessons.  It was a very interesting thing to be a part of cross culturally though, and many of the girls were very uncomfortable with it and did not want to take part in it.  I definitely don't blame them and if they didn't want their feet done then we would wash their hands and paint their nails.  I have to think that in some ways the girls were feeling some of the same things that the disciples were when Jesus said he wanted to wash their feet.  It is such a tangible way of serving someone that makes much more of an impact than just speaking things.  There were certainly some awkward parts, but those happen all the time in India.  During the process, as I am continuing to try and be as present as possible in what I do, I kept thinking how grateful I was to be in India and being able to serve a population of girls that I love so much.  As much as I have gone back and forth about the implications and repercussions of the feet washing, I am left with the thought that it did no harm, and there is great potential for good out of it.  The experience was enriching for me and I was thankfully able to process it with my boss on the way back to the office.  For better or worse, I appreciate experiences to learn, be aware, and discern from.

1 comment:

  1. Footwashing/communion is a very big part of my denomination's worship. We do it about once a quarter, or four times a year. I remember having my feet washed when I was in India as a 15-year-old. My feet were the dirtiest they had ever been and I really understood the implications of the very first footwashing by Jesus to the disciples so much better than I had before! The church members all picked someone from our group and washed our feet after our trip to their jungle church. Then we went into church and worshipped together. Such a special memory!

    I also remember the first footwashing I experienced in Tanzania at the university church not too far from Usa. I had neglected to shave my legs (for quite awhile) before church, and hoped that nobody would notice. Well, a very posh and well-put-together lady asked to be my partner and she ended up washing not only my feet, but also halfway up my legs!! I was so shocked and embarrassed, but it was a good lesson for me to be humble. For her part, the lady was extremely kind and didn't mention my unshaved legs at all.

    Thanks for sharing this story of washing the girls' feet. I'm sure much good will come out of it.