by Uma Shankardas Posted on Thursday, March 27, 2014
The Westport team had plans for Day 1 - study, crafts, etc. but God had other plans for the day. The team did not even make it to the home today as per the plan they had. God (and Lucy) had a whole different plan for them today.They found themselves sitting on a panel across the room from a large group of post graduate students in the Mizoram University (psychology department) along with the kids from Gansabra. The faculty and students had heard of the teams coming and wanted to know from them 'why they had come so far to be with these kids' and 'what was your motivation for coming'. This allowed the team to share freely about God's love, the calling of their church and how Westport was a family to the kids at Gansabra. All this sharing led to the final question from the students at the university - 'please tell us what can we do to contribute to this effort'. This sums up how relevant and beneficial the teams time on this panel and also gave Lucy the platform to challenge the students and faculty to get involved and as we left the premises the lead faculty member said to Renae (Westport Team Leader) that they realize that they have fallen short and have been inspired to get involved and be committed to meeting the needs of the community around them, especially the HIV field. What a Blessing!!!The other half of the day saw the team go with the Gansabra kids to attend the closing function of a 'State level Advocacy and Consultation for Children living with HIV'. This was the inaugural effort to bring together NGO's in Aizawl to focus on how they can get more involved and create a 'Support Group for Children living with HIV'. They had a number of kids from around the State that had come to this forum to share their stories. These kids later shared their stories with team as well. It was such a blessing that the team could be such a visible support to this effort by showing up with the Gansabra kids as their family that cared for them. What a day!! The team had plans to connect with 21 kids at Gansabra, but God had other plans for the day that led them to meet so many more students, faculty, kids and other NGO staff and be presented as a successful model of how to actually be the 'Hands and Feet of God to these kids'. More than once today I heard the statement 'if they can come all this way and make such a difference, then why cannot we do the same in our own community'We ended this wonderful day by going as a team to meet with little baby Grace at the hospital where she is recovering well. It was priceless to see the joy and disbelief on Grace's face as the team of 12 Americans walked across the ward to her bedside and engage with her and pray over her. I saw in that moment the truth of what the team had shared all day, and that is that 'Westport is truly a family to the kids at Gansabra and the kids both know and enjoy that to the fullest'.