On November 2, a team from St. Andrew’s left for India to work alongside girls rescued from sex trafficking. We’ll post journal entries over the next few days so you can follow their journey…
India is a place rich in culture, customs, and vibrant colors. Despite it being 4:00 a.m. when we finally loaded our weary bodies and plentiful luggage into the airport cars, this place never seems to sleep and greeted us with a cacophony of its busy streets.
Day 1 was a day to sleep in, begin adjusting to the time change and shop for Indian-appropriate clothing. On day 2, we were invited to join our friends here for their church service. Despite the language barrier, there was a beautiful spirit in the room and it was a delightful way to begin our time with friends. Following the service, many of the orphan children who live nearby welcomed our team with a one-hour program packed with beautifully choreographed dances, laughs and time spent together. After all the planned activities, we got to meet many of the children with handshakes and lots of hugs. Our hearts were full as we headed to lunch with our hosts.On Monday, our team began the day spending time with the staff and students of the organization we are visiting. Team members, Hannah Robinson, and Julie Wood were able to share some inspirational thoughts with everyone while Tyra Fisher shared her life story. Tyra shared later that, “there is a lot of power in sharing some of the vulnerable parts in our life with others. Being able to share how I identify with some of the same brokenness and pain of these kids, and yet live a life where I experience hope in the midst of it, was a joy.”
Following the staff gathering, our team was able to tour the many programs run by the organization. They are well known around India for their skills training program which provides job training for some of India’s most impoverished individuals. There is a basic and advanced training for tailors, beauticians, spoken English, computers, welding, plumbing and electrical. Once the students finish their courses and graduate, it is a huge step in breaking the cycle of generational poverty, as nearly 90% of program graduates are hired by local businesses. To see the faces of the students in class was a delight. They were so eager to learn and feel value in what they can accomplish for their futures.
After touring the skills training programs, we got to visit some of the homes of the girls rescued from sex trafficking and temple prostitution. Most of our team will spend the rest of the week working with the more than 80 of these girls in various programs. From there, we visit a few of the children’s homes which exists to care for orphans. Each home creates a place of safety and provides a family environment for the girls and boys. In the afternoon, our team got to put on a fun skit for all the kiddos in the children’s home. The sound of laughter filled the room and we were overwhelmed with hugs and smiles from these precious little ones.
During our drive back to the hotel, Tyra reflected on her experience thus far. “I have never seen a country as vibrant as India. Every sense is heightened all at once. The whole country seems to be screaming attention at the beauty it has to offer. And they are right. This country is special and the people here have touched a part of me that has been dormant for too long.”
Stay tuned for more updates from our team throughout their trip!