By Jon & Shelley George: Here we are already on Day 5 of our trip but we’ll start with a recap. Our entire trip started out with a bang on Day 1, when we were not allowed to board our flight to Mumbai from Newark with the team because we did not have the additional documentation necessary–we did not realize the need for the blue OCI book due to our “unlimited entry” Indian visas that were already stamped in our passports. So day one ended with us back in Philadelphia. But God was gracious in granting the last two seats on the plane without a change fee the very next evening. Thankfully we did not miss the first day of the medical camp in Navi Mumbai (New Bombay).
BTC team on the bus ride to the medical camp in the red light district in New Bombay
The 130 patients that were triaged, examined, and treated in the heart of this new red light district made evident the tremendous work being carried out by Bombay Teen Challenge (BTC), that we were fortunate to be a part of. Not only was this an opportunity to meet the physical needs of the patients but it was a chance to form new relationships in the hopes of something greater.
Outside the tent of the medical camp
Inside the medical tent with the exam rooms to the left and the waiting area on the right
Day 3 was adventurous with near-death experiences for Shelley as she was trying to cross the overcrowded roads riddled with motorcycles, rickshaws, taxis, and buses. As she tried to run away from the cars they seemed to speed up. If that alone didn’t involve enough modes of transportation, we then experimented with the Indian railway system trying to jump into an overcrowded moving train. Just as soon as we were boasting about finding seats on the train, we were evicted for being in a compartment reserved for the handicapped and cancer patients! However the highlight of our day was the opportunity we had to visit Jeevan Jyoti and spend time with the extraordinary children living in this orphanage sitting in the middle of the red light district.
The children at Jeevan Jyoti
The expectation prior to leaving for India on the medical missions trip was that we would be sacrificing our comforts for service to others. That image was reflected in an entirely new light when we spent Days 4 and 5 among children with absolute contentment despite the turmoil of broken homes, parental prostitution, economic hardship, inherited illnesses, and emotional abandonment before being rescued by BTC.
The children at Jubilee 4
It becomes difficult to justify our petty complaints and frustrations when these children, despite their harsh experiences, are still overflowing with love and affection rather than resentment. If only we could be like these children, content in everything! No wonder Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them, for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 19:14).
On these days, we were able to run medical clinics for the children at Ashagram, Jubilee 1,2, and 4, which were satellite locations and safe houses for those rescued by BTC.
Aerial view of the Ashagram safehouse from a nearby tower
As we went through each day, we heard time and time again of the Lord’s providence and sovereignty in pulling these young women and children out of their environments and giving them a bright hope for the future. Furthermore, we were also able to have devotions with the young women and men’s groups individually and what a delightful time it was to sing, pray, and read from God’s word together.
Devotions with the young men at Ashagram
While we embarked on a medical mission trip, the overarching theme has been that of love: Our Lord worked through Uncle Devraj in such an awe-inspiring way that there are really no words to describe the outreach and mission work that is going on here through BTC. Surely this is an earthly depiction of how vast our Lord’s love is for us all.