[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #9b9b9b;”] I [/dropcap] am always so grateful to be one who has been able to travel around the world. My dad has traveled quite a bit on missions trips, and his travels started just as I was learning to tie my shoelaces. His first trip was to India, and he has passed the travel bug on to both his girls. My first overseas trip was to Costa Rica when I was around 7 years of age to visit my aunt and her family who were missionaries there. Two years later, our family moved to Jamaica where my dad taught at a Bible school. And the trips continued from there . . . India, Papua New Guinea, Thailand, Europe, Great Britain, the Caribbean, Central America, and finally, a big move to England to spend the first year and a half of marriage.
Really, when I look back at my life, it’s no surprise that God matched me with a man of a different country. My heart was already there; I just needed to find the right guy. The guy who is my travel partner, my friend who listens when I talk about France and my dreams of living there, my companion who hears all of my travel stories over and over, and my husband who has uprooted and left his home and his country, just as I did, in order to be with his spouse. We share a very strong bond of knowing what it’s like to leave all that is home and family to be with the one we love. We know what it’s like to raise bi-cultural kids as that’s what we’re in the midst of, and we know what it’s like to always miss our home away from home. Yet we also know that this earthly home is not our final destination . . . and we know that no matter where we live, we may move somewhere else as that travel bug is firmly implanted.
To say that I love traveling would be an understatement. But I don’t love the long airplane rides or the packing or the long lines of getting through customs or the exhaustion of it all. I could leave all of that behind. I love getting off a plane and experiencing the sights, sounds, smells of a new place. I love seeing the history, the differences, the colors, and the foods of a new place. Those are the things that get me through all the hassle of the getting to the new place. Yet the more I’ve traveled, the more I’ve learned that traveling is not easy in any way. Culture shock is real and it’s rough. The beauty of the people of every country is awe inspiring, but the amount of suffering that exists in most countries is heart wrenching. For me, no other place has such stark contrasts of beauty and suffering like India does. It is the most unique place I’ve ever been to, and the thing that really hit my heart about it was the beauty of the people. They are so lovely; it blew me away as I did not expect to meet such loveliness in such a giant country that is filled with issues. Yet it was also the most emotionally and physically exhausting place I’ve experienced. Nothing is comfortable or to the level of cleanliness that I would like. Nothing is like it is at home; yet that’s what’s needed to get us out of our own cultural rut. Discomfort is good when it pushes us to get out of our own cultural, one way, our way is the best mindset.
I’m a firm believer that our own cultural mindset can sometimes be our worst enemy. If you never see the world, you never see how other people live. If you never see how other people live, you never realize what you have. If you’re from a first world country, you need to see a third world country. You need to realize how the rest of the world lives.
And if you are a Kingdom, on your way to Heaven, person, you need to travel to get a heart for the world. Jesus had a heart for this world. He said to GO!! Go and make disciples of all nations! Go to India and let God give you a new heart of compassion. Cry your way through that country as I did and let God show you why He is our Healer, our Help, our Savior. The Word says that Jesus Himself had compassion –
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Matthew 9:36
Let Him show you what the enemy of our souls does when he is let loose and allowed to bring so many kinds of sickness, bondage, and possession. Go and see what God will do and in through you. If you can’t get to India or to any other 3rd world country, find the poor in your city. Find the heartbroken, the helpless, the hurting ones, and let God use you. You’ll never be sorry that you did . . .
Lastly, I’m attaching a short video about the food in India. This video gives the best glimpse of the country that I’ve seen, and it gets me fired up to get my suitcases out and ready . . .