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“This feels like home to me.”

I barely finished that thought when one of the young home girls barreled down the path from the road to the church, giving me the type of hug that both knocks the air out of you and fills you up with love. I peered down at the smiley face connected to the small frame that embraced me and instantly knew we’d be close friends.

“This is going to be a good week,” I whispered out loud as my little sister ushered me down the dirt trail to our home for the following five days. My bright blue hiking backpack overshadowed her as she carried it upstairs to our “bedroom,” which for the time being, served as a church.

And it was a beautiful week .. So beautiful that it pained me to leave and brought tears to my eyes. I connected with the family and nine sweet girls there, looking for any opportunity to be by their side. I woke up early to watch them do their chores (since they refused my assistance); I positioned a lawn chair at their bus stop so the children saw me waiting when they returned from school; I stayed up late to talk with the big kids who were allowed to go to bed after all the little ones got tucked in.

I wanted to make the most of every moment.

photo4We ministered too, such as praying for villagers and preaching the gospel to a room full of village children who families worship other gods. But what I remember most about my experience in that village came through the relationships God established.

It was the laughter from us Americans attempting to speak Telugu, their native language. It was the joy that overwhelmed me when I pronounced the girls’s names correctly and they encouraged me by replying, “yesssssssssss!”or exclaiming “SUPAAAAA!” with an agreeable hand signal to correspond. It was the love I felt from receiving honor everywhere we went, knowing the villagers and families were storing up treasures in heaven for giving freely of themselves. It was the intimacy I experienced in listening to their testimonies and sharing mine with them also. It was the affection I enjoyed from getting pummeled with hundreds of hugs daily.

Jesus reminded me that his rich and extravagant love comes through relationship with him. This family and their nine home children demonstrated Abba’s affection and joy in everything they did. It’s simple yet powerful love that transforms. It’s the feeling of our eternal home invading our earthly dwelling place.

It’s the feeling of home.

Colleen

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