Today Ryley Rush, Kingsland’s mission intern and super-hip blogger shares her thoughts on the day. Ryley’s smile, which is present at all hours of the day, is infectious and makes me want to sit by her and follow her around all day just to be sure I don’t miss the goodness she must get into!

By Ryley Rush

Day three was a full one.
Some started off with early morning mass at Mother Theresa’s main house, while others opted for a little more devotional & breakfast time before boarding our little bus.

Suitcases & supply bags in tow, we first headed to New Hope School for round two with Pastor Rudra, Mita, & their incredible family & staff. It’s always more fun for me serving at a ministry once the faces are a bit familiar & hugging on all the kids I’d gotten to know the day before filled me right up.

We set up a five-station health fair & ID document creation for students & local children to rotate through: photo, fingerprinting & de-worming medication, height & weight, wound care, & hearing checkup. The purpose of the medical aspects is obvious, of course, but creating the ID document was nearly as important. It’s terrifyingly easy for children — especially in poor areas — to be taken or separated from their families. We’re hoping that’s one small way families could guard against it — or, at the very least, find their children after the fact.

After New Hope, we ate lunch en route to Sari Bari to check in on the women there &, of course, do a little shopping.
We then headed to Grandma’s — a ministry for women “in the life” as well as at-risk children. Located in the heart of Sonagachi, one of the largest & most notorious red light districts in India, it’s an absolute light in the midst of utter darkness.
While some team members ministered to & lead a parenting breakout session, others — myself included — got to hang out with their kids. Two hours of ridiculous songs, jump-roping, & the world’s most intense game of heads-up seven up (if that’s even possible) had me laughing so hard I was crying. One of my happiest moments of the trip so far for sure.
As we left New Hope today, Heather commented that it was strange how close she felt to Pastor Rudra & Mita.
“After all, I’ve only known them for about 5 days,” she laughed.
Immediately, though, I couldn’t help thinking that maybe that was exactly how it should be.
Someone, somewhere (I wish I remembered a specific quote, though I’m sure the idea could be attributed to more than one person) once said that American Christians should be alarmed if we have more in common with non-believers in our own culture than believers in different cultures. How true — and convicting — is that?
So I loved the fact that our team felt such familiarity with Rudra & Mita, especially in the prayers we lifted together & time spent speaking life & truth over one another. After all, we are all inhabited by the same Holy Spirit — all a part of the family of God. Of course we should feel a connection — & how amazing, how comforting, how empowering is that?
In some ways, short-term mission trips can feel, well, so short-term. It’s always tough showing up to a place & people for just a handful of days & investing, then leaving abruptly once more. I’ve done it plenty, & it never gets easier.
Something about Heather pointing out that divine connection, though, was just the spoonful of sugar I needed to make the goodbye medicine go down.

The work does not stop when we leave. (Far from it, honestly — let’s be real, Rudra & Mita can accomplish plenty without ten crazy American women running around their tiny school building.) The same God that propelled us to come, though, is empowering New Hope School & every other ministry with which we worked in India all the time, every day. He is as sovereign & good in our absence as He is in our presence, & feeling the power of that unity, if only for a moment, gives me so much confidence in the work He is doing here & gratitude that we get to be a part of it. He’s so good, y’all.