Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.2 Corinthians 9:7
When I had the chance to go on a two week missions trip to India and Nepal two years ago my heart was filled with such a mixture of excitement and fear. I truly had no idea what it would be like though I did all I could to prepare for whatever opportunities and difficulties lay ahead. In all my planning though I could never have imagined the depth of emotions and love that would be given to me by the people who I would meet on the other side of the world.
After flying 14 hours into Delhi we stayed the night in a small Indian hotel (The taxi ride the wrong way on a one way street was exciting!) then we flew into Bagdogra the following day. From there it was another 4 hour ride by taxi to our final destination in Jaegon city in West Bengal. My pastor had many invitations to speak at while we stayed at the mother church of Emmanuel ministries and my role was to lead a few songs. India was simply an ocean of humanity in which we floated like two small pieces of driftwood.
How could we even begin to do anything meaningful in the little time we had? Then we went one day to a Tea Garden. Now there is nothing at all garden like about a tea garden. It is more of a plantation with a small village at the center. The entrance of the “Garden” has a beautiful sign and a nicely paved wide road. That soon gives way to a narrow and not at all paved dirt track which winds between tiny houses, palm trees and many- many children. Then we stopped by a slightly larger tin building that was their church.
We had come to do a dental clinic and to see the feeding program in action. So to start off the festivities of that day we were introduced and then the children sang several songs. They were not just going through the motions but were really worshiping, with eyes closed and hands lifted to God. Pastor began with a brief greeting and message which was then translated into their language. The children all sat listening intently to the things that were said and then just before we were ready to close they had a surprise for us.
A young girl came to the front and began to speak in English to us. She said how happy they were that we had come. No one from the outside world had ever come to their village. She said how glad they were that we had helped them to receive the message about God’s salvation through Jesus. As she continued tears began to stream down her face and she told us they were so thankful that we had brought the light of God to them.
I sat stunned and feeling very small. I had done so little in fact and the reality of what God had done and was doing in that place began to dawn on me for the first time. Then they seated us in the only two chairs in the church and two other children came with basins of water and began to wash our feet. The emotions that stirred in me were so strong I had no idea of anything I could say. We were witnessing such a pure and genuine love that our own faith paled in comparison.
There in that little Tea Garden with not even a screen on their windows or a car for anyone to drive. Without a steeple on the church or an office for the Pastor. There Jesus was delighting in the joy of their faith and the cheerfulness of their worship. Two years have passed by and the stunning power and beauty of the light of Christ shining in their hearts is still living in my heart. How I wish many times I could ride out to their village and listen again to them singing : “Cusi.Cusi Maya” (Happy Happy Love!) Yes God loves a cheerful giver. God loves a cheerful worshiper. When Jesus is touched by our worship He breathes life on that moment and preserves it forever in His treasure house!