SIGNS OF LIFE AMIDST THE DIN, THE DUST AND THE DECAYING
By Catherine Wootton
How do you know youíre back in Kolkata?
You look around and you see the din, the dust, the decaying buildings,
the bright saris, children playing with broken pottery, the mangiest of dogs
sleeping, the never-ending horns, vehicles demanding the right of way. Never
mind the rickshaw driver who may get you to your destination faster than your
four-wheeled transportation! You know you are back in Kolkata when you see men
squatting on the sidewalk making toast, chick peas and puri over coals.
This is the intense but beautiful culture of Kolkata. And we were
glad to be back.
Existing and thriving in this amazing land are so many marks of the
gospel at work. The original pulpit of William Carey still towers in the
sanctuary of Carey Baptist Church with its bold message of Christ as the only
way. Next door is Calcutta Bible College, where God's beautiful servants exist
on a salary that may be less than my monthly cell phone bill! Yet they voice
concern of how they can prepare students with a zeal for ministry, when
lucrative government jobs are financially more attractive.
Can you see their faces, so eager to serve, to learn, yet each with a
story? One student with wistful sad eyes served us as a son, so yearning for
the parents who disowned him, seeking to have him killed because "I canít give
up my love for Jesus." Another stopped me and said, "Ma'am, when you prayed
joy for me, you had no idea that that was the very thing my heart wrestles
with." Then there are lighter moments, for example, one student waxed
eloquently about Pilate when he was not even in the text studied. "Ok, now
let's see what the text says."
What a joy to be in both India and Nepal. We will not soon forget
the seven-hour trip from Kathmandu to the Chitwan District. Jumping, jostling,
jerking, all the while hugging the side of the mountain, sharing that two-lane
road under construction with tour buses and transport trucks, all believing
they are the kings of the road. Donít look now, but that honk ahead around the
corner means our two-lane highway is about to become three; either that or go
over the precipice. Now do you see why prayers for safety on the road are a
The Chepang people, who mainly live in the Mahabharat Mountains of
central Nepal, are a singular delight. Habil has tramped the hills on foot,
and now oversees one hundred and nineteen churches. Although we cannot
communicate verbally with the locals, there is a language beyond words when a
young mother holds up her baby for me to admire, or when one grasps my hand
and speak so earnestly a word that clearly says, "Thank you for coming."
Join with us in praying for the world, one person, one situation, one
challenge at a time. How can one walk by a beggar? Does one shove a rupee
to salve the conscience, while really not addressing the systemic evils in
that culture or our own? At such moments letís dare to pray specifically:
"Lord, open up ways for this waif to hear your good news. Open up men and
ministries that can be used by you to break the back of evil. May Your
kingdom come." Let's dare to pray, to serve, to give, and to go. You will
not be the same when you do so.
posted on June 23, 2017