Thank God for Normal ProblemsRich Stigall
Two days ago, a United Airlines agent in Kansas City welcomed Jake Barreth and me to the airport with, “Hi, are you all on the cancelled flight to New Jersey?”
Seemed like a trick question, or at least a tricky question. Either way, it’s not how we hoped to start our trip to India. Close to 40 hours later, we landed in Hyderabad, home base of brothers and sisters at GO India.
As we get older, we learn to be thankful for “normal problems” like cancelled flights or a mild case of the flu. In some parts if the world, children aren’t given the gift of time to deal with problems, significant ones. This reality confronted us as we sat last night with 15 teenage girls and their house parents at Amberpet’s House of Champions.
House of Champions in the slum of Amberpet is a two-year-old ministry of our pilot church partner, Bethel Gospel Church. Under the leadership of Sarah Sudakhar, Amberpet helps fifteen teenage girls transition from life in the orphan care community to college.
These girls share everything from clothes to closets to cooking duties.
A seamstress and fashion design major, Sarah teaches them to sew beautiful, beaded wedding dresses that they sell below market rate to help pay for college tuition.
Our time with them was precious. One girl, Megalana, really touched us when sharing about her struggles at school. She was the top student in 10th grade, but in 12th grade, to everyone’s surprise, she bombed a class. Tears of a soft-hearted 17-year-old formed as she shared with us how disappointed she was, but she felt that Jesus was with her in the valley.
Seems pretty common. A teenage girl dealing with disappointment and emotion from school, but making it with the support of her family. The normality is the beauty.
You see, Megalana hasn’t had the luxury of a normal life. She is a double orphan. Both of her parents died from AIDS. She shares one bedroom with 14 sisters, but she is loved. She is a daughter of the King, a valued member of her family! And within those BIG truths, Megalana can be a teenage girl, struggling with a bad-grade at school, rather than struggling to survive on the streets.
Thank God for normal problems!
Sarah Sudakhar and Megalana’s house parents, Kristu Das and Aruna, are giving their lives to redefine these girls’ normal. It is an amazing ministry of the church. In all honesty, a few hours with them, watching God’s family at work, would have been worth the trip.
Instead, just because He can, God is throwing in more. As the sun rises on another beautiful day in India, Jake and I consider it a privilege to share more of what God is doing here to care for His kids…because of you!