Why go to India? Why travel by plane for 22 hours to a small town in Central India called Padhar?
The short answer is: home is where the heart is. My heart is in the third world. (I don't like that phrase, maybe I should say the 2/3's world - two-thirds of the world lives in poverty.) Anyway, part of my heart lives there.
In 2003, I went to Nigeria with a delegation from the Cal Pac Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church and I faced it in person for the first time. I felt God and God's people hanging on to me, encouraging me to stay. In fact, the leader of our group later told me, "I didn't think we were going to get you on the plane home..." If I didn't have obligations, responsibilities and loved ones back home, I may have stayed. I certainly wanted to.
I cried on the plane ride home, knowing it would be a long time before I returned. This conviction is in my core - to be with the people of the 2/3 world in their joy and in their struggles.
So what should I do when the 2/3 world is calling? The only response is to go to where my heart is. Each time I return to Padhar, I feel like I am home: the people seemed familiar, the cities exciting and breath-taking and the village of Padhar is a refuge from the craziness of the Western World. This year, again as director of Friends of Padhar Schools, I am able to stay for a while, and determine how our organization can help the students in the village. For that I am truly grateful.
धन्यवाद (Thank you.)
Director, Friends of Padhar Schools