The last week has not gone according to the original plan. Initially, the plan was to spend a week in Korea with my friend Adam doing ministry. Then I was going solo to India to spend time with a family I’ve grown close to over the last 5 years, engaging in various ministry opportunities, and, most importantly, exploring the possibility of starting an orphanage.
Unfortunately when I attempted to board my plane to Kolkata, I wasn’t able to because of issues with my Indian visa. Long story short I had to travel to Seoul and work with the Indian embassy here. My visa will be re-issued tomorrow at 4:30. I leave the next day to Kolkata (Calcutta) at noon.
The good news: Our ministry partners in Calcutta have been able to start some of the leg work to help streamline the process of working with the West Bengal government. India’s government is very similar to the U.S. (they intentionally mimicked aspects of our government, as I remember). The difference is the states have more power than U.S. states currently do. In this case, that translates to West Bengal having much stricter requirements for starting a children’s home or orphanage – as I’m told from other Indian contacts. So we’re already sorting out much of that process and, via Skype, starting to formulate.
The bad news: There are still things that should be worked on the ground. Plus I want to get a feel for how our partners’ ministry has developed since I visited in 2008. The Lord is leading us to work closer together and it’s going to help immensely if I have firsthand knowledge of their main ministry operations. Unfortunately, my return ticket home is still set for the 31st. I’m asking my travel agent to look into having my ticket pushed back a few days. John, the main leader of the Calcutta ministry we’re working with, leaves on an outreach trip on the 2nd, but 2 extra days could prove valuable.
In the end, two weeks wasn’t likely necessary to accomplish our main goals for my trip. I was hoping to just spend relational time with Jesus’ body in Calcutta and visit lots of cell churches to encourage them. These thing in addition to the main goal of scouting out a potential children’s home. This trip will just have to focus on that main goal. Though, 6 days would definitely help the visit not be as rushed as it would be in 4. John and I are skyping in the next handful of hours to lay out a tight itinerary, just in case my travel agent can’t push back my non-refundable ticket. Generally, you can’t, but they were nice enough to do it on my Seoul – Kolkata flight, so who knows. Plus God knows a thing or two about making these things work out – especially when it’s for his glory and the love of the marginalized.
Pray that God sets up divine appointment after divine appointment for my time in Calcutta. And for much glory to come to him through this process.
For fun, you can check out this random collection of videos and photos that I’ve catalogued as I’ve tried to keep myself occupied this last week. Most days I’ve tried to spend time reading scripture and praying and then getting out of the hostel to explore Seoul. Though, admittedly I haven’t explored nearly as much as a tourist would since my mind has been occupied with getting to India.