When I was a teenager I watched a movie called "City of Joy."
It sucked me in.
It was based in India, and I was mesmerized by the crowded streets, the colors, the people, and tough-guy Patrick Swayze's change of heart. (Be forewarned before you go rent it that I had my family re-watch it with me a couple years ago and it was a tiny bit on the cheese-ball-ish side, but still pretty good.)
I don't remember who I watched the movie with, or where I was exactly, but I remember how it made me feel: full of the love of service, and how it can change lives. Certainly the lives of the people it is given to, but what hit me the most is how much it can change the lives of those giving that service.
I also remember making a quiet vow in the dark when the credits started rolling: I would get to India some day. And I would do something to serve those people I had fallen in love with.
Years have passed and I have never forgotten the spell that movie put me under. I got married before I could get there. I started having babies. But I never forgot about India. As time passed half of my family made it there at different times and in different ways. I ooohed and aaaaahed over their experiences and their pictures, and we decided to sponsor our own little boy over there (read about him back here).
I knew some day I'd still get there.
So finally a couple years ago Dave and I put it on the agenda. We decided it was time to make a plan and that we'd work toward saving up and making it happen in the summer of 2012. And here we are. It's this summer. And we leave in a couple weeks with Max and Elle to change our hearts and open our minds...and serve as much as we can.
I cannot wait.
It's been quite a process getting to this point I will tell you. The passports, the Visas, the flight arrangements with all kinds of crazy connections. But we are finally set. And I am giddy.
I know India is no cake-walk. When I tell people we're going with a sparkle in my eye many raise their eyebrow in surprise. "Have you ever been there before?" they ask with that warning tone in their voice that they know it'll be rough. I know it'll be hard. I know we will probably cry at the things we see. But man alive we are going to learn so much. A whole new world will be opened up to these two teenagers who live in the middle of desert suburbia (and Dave and me too).
Of course, there are ways to serve and get out of our comfort zone right around the corner, anywhere we may live. Service doesn't need to be on the other side of the world. But how grateful I am for "The City of Joy" and that hankering for India it gave me all those years ago because it's going to be quite a ride.
Watch this video and see if you want to work India and this amazing school into your future plans too :)
Also, check out this blog...specifically this post. Allyson makes me SO excited to go to India, especially with kids.
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