I Almost Missed It! February 6, 2023

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Guest blog by Barbara Brennan

I almost missed it! I wasn’t even considering a return to India on this year’s mission trip, and I should know better than to go to a mission trip interest meeting. It only inspired me to return to the beautiful people of India and speak a little bit more about Jesus to them.  Then in October 2022, through Pastor Ryan’s teaching that Sunday, I heard the Lord ask if I thought He was done using me to witness to others.

Here is what I almost missed:

*Speaking Jesus and praying for ladies in the rescue homes as we did crafts together!  They remember our previous visits, showing me pictures of their babies I’ve held during visits years ago. Not all of them know the Lord as their Savior yet, but we keep up our witness for this purpose.  

*Met and toured a newer business that give work and hope to women (and they’re doing it so well) in hopes we will be able to give our testimonies and encourage a relationship with Jesus on our next visit.

* Organized a retreat for the leaders of the rescue ministries to encourage and give them a bit of rest and appreciation for what they do each day and remind them in God‘s eyes we are beautiful in our brokenness!  

* Taught Bible lessons to children at Saturday School and adults on Sunday evening.  These two worship events are church plants that our hosts (who make sure everything goes well for us while here in India) have started!  Amazing, passionate for the Lord family who never stop telling others about Jesus and how God has changed their lives.  

* A visit to a home who rescues homeless children from the railroad tracks! Some of these wonderful kids are studying for their finals coming up in a few days!  The children, ages 3-15, have a future because a Christian couple answered His call to bring 4 boys home….those 4 grew to 26 they care for and teach about Jesus in their home!  

*I also learned from the ladies I serve with! Each time I go on a mission trip I learn from those who go with me and their passion for the Lord.  

So glad I didn’t miss this! Is God nudging at your heart to Go Beyond?

More Than a Walking Tour – February 4, 2023

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Guest blog by Laurie Jeansonne

In Kolkata I’ve only learned a few things. Just how close you can get to a moving vehicle without being run over for instance. But I’ve experienced many things.

On our walking tour through the largest flower market in Asia (open 24/7, 365), we continued on to cross the Howrah Bridge (the busiest cantilever bridge in the world) over to the industrial side of the Ganges River. Even though the flowers were beautiful and make for great photos, it was the abandoned frames of idols on the industrial side that will stay with me.

As Christians we believe in a living God. A God who became flesh and walked this earth, sacrificed Himself for sinners and defeated death. The photos you see of headless, straw figures are the remnants of gods here who have been dipped in the Ganges and sent on to their heaven. These are idols made of mud and straw. They are built on bamboo frames, artistically fashioned with straw and clay and painted in bright colors. There are 33 million documented gods, and I heard the phrase “as many as possible”. I’ve experienced highly intelligent women instructing on how to better lead your NGO, felt a heaviness that is palpable and seen a darkness that is unavoidable. “As many as possible”? Our world doesn’t need more gods, more darkness, more void of hope. It needs the love of a savior.

The circumstances here will not change over night by 1 woman accepting Christ. But her heart will be filled with the truest love, light and hope and she will want to share that. The same with the children. And after time and maybe a few generations, these dark areas can shine in the Light.

As I have sat side by side and at the feet of many women and children I can see how special they are. How beautiful and gifted they are. But they need to know and feel that about themselves. These women and children need to know that they are each precious in His sight.

When we read in God’s word or hear our pastors/teachers say ”the one true God” and “the living God” let that set a little deeper in your spirit. I hope I never take those words for granted again.

New Friends – February 2, 2023

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Our team does not consider what we do to be “short term missions”. We have long standing relationships with over 15 ministry partners. We are in communication all year long, not just when we travel to Kolkata in the spring. We Zoom, Skype, or WhatsApp video throughout the year. They are prayed for by our team, and updates are sent agapichay (Bengali word for back and forth). These are long term commitments that we make with our partners. Without these partnerships we would not be able to do the work that we do when we bring teams.

It takes time to build trust, and we are happy to be entering into a new partnership. This new partner makes the most beautiful leather products: belts, bags, and bracelets. They are smack-dab in the middle of bustling Kolkata, in an area called Bowbazar. Their workshop is perched on the edge of the second largest red-light area in Kolkata, where an estimated 1500-2000 women are still trapped in the sex trade.

Each item is hand-stitched by a woman fighting for her freedom. Please reach out to one of our team members if you would like more information. We all purchased a product (or four) and are happy to show them off when we return. Unfortunately we cannot share the name on our blog but we are happy to share about it in person.

Missionary Charcuterie – February 4, 2023

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We eat really well in India! We are all thankful for the poofy pants we bring and buy here because we come home a little more “filled out” than when we left. We obviously eat a lot of Indian food, but they also have really good Chinese food as well as fish. I always ask the team to bring some snacks as well, as you never know when plans may change, or we get stuck in traffic, or if you just feel like having a snack on the bus in between ministry appointments.

After 8 fun but grueling, long days, none of us wanted to stop anywhere for dinner. We were all ready to collapse into our beds. We decided to invent a new style of eating that we will forever call “Missionary Charcuterie”. Move over Martha Stewart, the India team is here!

Here is how you create your very own Missionary Charcuterie:

Step 1: Everyone empties their backpacks and suitcases of all their snacks. Dump it all out on the table. Tonight’s options included: kettle popcorn, Jumbo Goldfish (don’t even mess around with the regular Goldfish, this is a special night!), Pop Tarts, pickles, a few oranges from the fruit market, Kind Bars, Cheetos, beef jerky, and some M&Ms.

Step 2: Grab a paper plate you brought for one of the crafts out of that random suitcase in the corner.

Step 3: Build your own Missionary Charcuterie by filling your plate with the most random items you can find! Get creative with the design and layout.

Step 4: Enjoy! But first, post a picture and make all your friends and family back at home jealous!

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A Bittersweet Day… – February 1, 2023

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Sonagachi, the largest of Kolkata’s many red light areas, is home to over 11,000 sex workers. It is also home to a very bright light in an otherwise dark existence, a ministry that has been a friend, employer, and safe place for women who are able to make their way out of the sex trade. It has taught them how to craft beautiful products from the simplest and most readily available supply- used saris.

This particular visit was bittersweet though, and brought home the critical need for support for organizations such  this. After 17 years, their beautiful red doors and shutters will be closed for good in March. The women here have been employed, earned benefits, learned work and life skills all while healing from trauma and finding new life in Jesus. Sixty women are now trying to find new work, and the risk is there for them to return to the work they left before.  

We have loved the years we have gotten to spend with the ladies and prayed with them that God would guide their steps as they step out in faith to find what is next for them.

Sonagachi is made up of hundreds of tiny passage ways filled with multiple story dwellings. Homes are often a small room with one bed and a concrete floor. Walking through the area, even at 10 am, evidence of the sex trade lies on the street, and you will see women standing ready to work.  

So what is one to do? How does one help? There are many here who pour their lives into answering that question. Our goal, as a partner from Kingsland, is to offer support and encouragement to them as they do this seemingly impossible work.

“With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” – Matthew 19:26

Happy Reunions – January 31, 2023

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When we left Kolkata in late February 2020, we never dreamed that it would take us a full three years to return to the City of Joy. Not only did Kolkata endure the pandemic, there was also Cyclone Amphan that caused much damage and flooding during the same time period.

The Team at the Houston airport. We take this same picture in front if the Mickey Leland statue every year.

The team is 6 women strong this year, all returning members except for our newest member Laurie. Barbara, Brenda, Jan, Kay, and Stephanie are the returning members of the team. We are ready to hit the ground running, but first…our traditional chicken rolls at Nizam’s and shopping at Sunshines!

Why India? – February 16, 2020

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By Guest Blogger – Stephanie Blyth

Stephanie Blyth: I’m often asked why missions, and why India. I’m not your typical missionary, and India is certainly not an easy journey. The answer is easy. This is where God has called me to serve and if you were here, you would understand.

For years I ignored His call. Always reasons that really made sense but in my heart I knew I was simply scared and not willing to take that step. For those introverts out there, you surely can relate to the anxiety of stepping out of your comfort zone. After I lost my dad is call got loud and most certainly clear. India was the place. What I was to do there was up to His will.

Romans 12:6-10

According to the grace given to us, we have different gifts: If prophecy,use it according to the proportion of one’s[b]faith; if service, use it in service; if teaching, in teaching; if exhorting, in exhortation; giving, with generosity; leading,with diligence; showing mercy, with cheerfulness. Let love be without hypocrisy. Detest evil;cling to what is good. 10 Love one another deeply as brothers and sisters.

We all have gifts that have been given to us by God. I am a mother of four very active boys, an engineer in the oil and gas industry, and to top it off, an introvert. I do well in small groups of people and much better if it’s people I know. Anxiety is real and incredibly prevalent in my every day life. But even with these challenges my heart longs to return to this place to use my gift. My gift is to love in whatever way possible. To simply be the hands and feet of Jesus. Through God’s grace, India has a way of breaking down my walls and anxiety. I can come here with a group of women that I do not know and work side by side with them to simply do His work.

So much of this trip I just feel blessed. I am so fortunate to teach science at a slum village school ran by one of the bravest women I know, Mita Singh. The honor felt to simply wash the feet of a woman that is still involved in the trade and listen about what burdens her heart through a translator. There is no judgement. Not by me and not by her (except maybe my paint work on her nails). I crave this time every year where judgment is left behind by women as it is all too common back home. Here we simply sit and enjoy each other’s company and I do my best to show her how much she is loved and valued by such a simple act like a pedicure. The stories are heartbreaking and far too many than there ever should be. One after another I hear of the darkness that surrounds this place. But the JOY…..that is indescribable.

We were honored this weekend to take a group of ladies on a retreat. These ladies are at the forefront of the battle against human trafficking. They are the social workers, the caregivers, the orphanage workers, the teachers, and a variety of other positions that are here giving it their everything to stop modern day slavery and abuse in God’s name. We spent the time with devotions, crafts, and just time together to share our stories and the pain but also the good. There is so much good in such darkness and such beauty in these warriors.

As we ended these two days, we were surrounded by these women to just pray. The feeling of the Holy Spirit that swept over this group and the love felt absolutely filled my tired soul and I hope theirs. While I certainly miss my family, to leave such a place is so incredibly difficult. There is so much need in this City of Joy and so many beautiful people I will miss. I ask that as we close this trip and this blog that your prayers for this place and these people continue. The need is great and I know overwhelming at times for those here for the duration. I also ask for prayers for safe travel and for this team. The mental toll of what and who we leave behind until next year will weigh heavily until our return.

Eat, Pray, Love – February 15, 2020

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My name is DeAnna Parsell and I am today’s blogger. This is my first trip to India as well as my first mission trip. I’m truly blessed to have had the opportunity to visit Kolkata with these special KBC women. Each one has moved me with their testimonies, personal life struggles, and experiences/relationships with the ministries we have visited. I think we have worked well together as we all have contributed differently with a common goal to spread love, prayer, peace and fun to those who endear so much pain, uncertainty, fear and sadness all too often.

mukti team

Today was an amazing day at the Mukti Network Retreat. The retreat was held at Vedic Village. The goal of this retreat is for KBC to host a fun and relaxing two days for the phenomenal women who provide services in freedom ministries for so many women and children in need. Words cannot explain what these women have heard, seen and experienced first hand, yet their faith and love for God our Father and their desire to serve our Lord keeps them strong.

mukti group

Our day started around noon with introductions, opening prayer, and lunch. After lunch the ladies painted picture cubes. This was followed by a beautiful bible story with Sterling followed by her emotional and touching testimony. Our next craft was earrings which the ladies seemed to enjoy. Walking around the room I saw some very cool creations. After tea and snacks we followed with a beautiful and wise teaching with Reagan. The women then had the opportunity to leave and relax for a bit or stay and play games. The day finished with free time, dinner and bowling.  There was also dancing and a lot of laughter!

mukti painting

I’ve learned so much from this trip. It truly was life changing for me. I’ve realized that although personal struggles seem hopeless and dark, there is always light if you keep Jesus close. I want to embrace the good in my life and let go of bad…the anger that has consumed me. As our trip is closing, I feel so much joy from this experience. These women and children blessed me beyond what I can write in words, and I am so honored to have been able to serve and love them.

Crossing Paths – February 14, 2020

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Today’s guest blogger is Reagan Sinclair, Kingsland Missions Intern.

Today we returned to New Hope School. Although it’s a one room classroom, they have multiple teachers that each take a subject and rotate between the different age groups. There are multiple white boards around the room so that each teacher can have space for their lesson. While we were there, Stephanie taught on circuits. We all agreed that she should’ve been our physics teacher in school. We split up into different age groups, and each student made their own flashlight using a popsicle stick, copper tape, LED light, and a battery.

After school, we were invited to Rudra’s house to enjoy that Eastern hospitality and have a meal prepared by his wife, Mita. Mita is the headteacher at the school and Rudra pastors several churches. As we ate, he shared his passion to go out to the rural villages to work with the unreached people group. He is making the most of every opportunity to share God’s redemption with others, and together they bring light into a dark place.

In the late afternoon, we went back to one of the red light districts and visited a second location of a ministry we saw earlier in the week. The women made tassel earrings and rotated to receive pedicures. The Indian people have very strong bodies, because after many days sitting “Indian style” on the concrete floor painting nails, I’m really feeling it. And I’m only 28.

We were walking back to the bus when a woman ran up to our group. Remember this is a red light area, so we are very much on guard. However, as it turns out, we knew this woman. If you read Tuesday’s blog, you will learn about a woman that Sterling spent much time with that day. She shared hard things in her life, and Sterling prayed with her. This is a very large area, so it’s rare that our paths would cross again. But God has His ways. She and Sterling embraced many times and were thrilled to see each other. The woman walked us to our bus and waited until we drove away. I wouldn’t be surprised if they find each other next year.

I taught in a rural African village for five years but have recently moved back to the US. On this trip, I was hoping to figure out how to apply what I learned doing long term missions in a short term setting. If I’m honest, I was a little hesitant about all this. During my time overseas, I saw people with good intentions be harmful, and I was worried about unknowingly participating in that. In our first few days, I watched how the women lit up in excitement to see the returning members of our team. By coming to the same places each year, Kingsland has been able to build relationships and build a reputation of being trustworthy. One of the workers of a certain ministry told me that she really appreciated that we didn’t come with our agenda of how to end human trafficking or how to make their lives better. We simply came to love and to have fun. It’s for this same reason that another ministry said that Kingsland is the only group of foreigners that they allow. We’re not coming to start something and leave it; we are supporting the nationals who are already working here. This city is full of amazing people that want to fight evil in their city. We’re just here to visit our friends, support them, and give them a short rest from the emotions that ministry brings. On Tuesday, the coffee shop was full of ladies who just wanted to have a good time, and as it quieted down, hardships were shared and ministry happened. I believe a good work is happening here.

Shine a Light – February 13, 2020

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Hello! My name is Kalie, and today I have the privilege of sharing a snapshot of our day. I want to start by saying that today, February 13, is Shine a Light on Slavery Day!  How fitting for the End It Movement’s special day that we are in India on one of the many days we are surrounded by women who have been rescued from human trafficking or are still victims in human trafficking. I can’t help but thank God for allowing our trip to fall on this day.

Today was a good day. Long, but oh so sweet. It all started at 4:50AM when my alarm went off for the service at Mother House (former home of Mother Teresa), which starts every morning at 6:00AM on the dot. After the service and during their prayer time, we quietly exited the room because our schedule was very tight today and could not be late to board the bus for our next destination. However, when we left, the front gate doors were locked, leaving our team stunned and puzzled. Suddenly, a nun approached us with the keys and long story short, we were yelled at by a nun in a whisper voice. It was something we will never forget. We quickly walked back to the BMS and of course, had to stop for a 2 minute chai tea stop!


After a bus ride to another part of the city, we walked about six minutes down a road in the Udayan Pally village where New Hope School is located. New Hope is a school that allows the poorest children in the village to attend school and receive an education. There were children as young as 3 ½ years old all the way to 14 years old.


new hope

We had a science lesson about electrical engineering by our very own electrical engineer on the team, Stephanie! She taught the kids wonderful things about static and electric energy, and then the kids participated in the coolest experiment! They each received a balloon and rubbed it vigorously in their hair, hovered it over a plate full of salt and pepper, and watched the pepper quickly rise to the balloon. The kids were overjoyed and wide eyed at the experiment! Then, they made butterflies as seen in the pictures and used the energy from the balloon to flap the wings! One child in my group asked “Gum?” and pointed to the paper for the butterfly to be placed on, so I asked him why he needed gum. He replied by showing me a gesture to show he needed gum to glue the paper down. This really tugged on my heart strings. We take so much for granted in America, even the simplicity of a glue stick.


Next, Stephanie taught the kids about circuits and each group built circuits by using a snap kit. They were able to see how the electricity flowed through the circuit to make the lightbulb turn on and the fan blow. Each time these happened, they would cheer loudly and clap with happiness. Stephanie really did an outstanding job planning the school lessons! Stay tuned for the description of the experiment tomorrow!


At the end of the school day, the children all lined up in 5 single file lines for chapel. Deanna gave a devotional about how we are lights for Jesus and a life without Jesus is darkness. The kids all prayed together and it was a sweet moment seeing them praying to Jesus.

Next, we hopped on the bus to travel to Mahima Ashaloy! This is a community center for women who live in Sonagachi, one of (if not THE) largest red light districts in south Asia. They have weekly medical checks, counseling, dance therapy, music therapy, just to name a few. Here, Danae and I spoke about anger and stress management and healthy ways to cope when feeling angry. This really resonated with the women and about half of them opened up with personal stories from their friends and families. They asked good questions asking for advice and I believe they took away important coping mechanisms. After this, the women made tassle earrings and had a blast. Our dear friends and translators, Zeenat and Anita, were a huge help today helping us communicate with about 30 women on the terrace. Of course, they blessed us with chai and samosas which were delicious.


To wrap up a very good but long day, our team had dinner at an American owned coffee shop and café named 8th Day which was delicious. On the way from Ashaloy to dinner, my mind circled thoughts about the day. I’m amazed at several of the women’s faith after all they have been through, they’re still trusting that God has great plans for them, which He promises in Jeremiah 29:11. As for me, I’m having difficulty believing God has great plans because of recent events in my personal life, even though I know it to be true. It’s amazing how some of these ladies and all of the staff are so strong. It truly blows my mind.  Our God is doing great things here in Kolkata, the city of Joy. Please keep praying for the people here who are living in darkness away from Jesus!



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