India- Mercy Camp

 I think I mentioned this in my first India post, but I really thought that I would cry around all of the kids at VBS.  Many of them were from orphanages or poor villages, simply desperate for love and attention.  But the kids’ spirits were contagious and you couldn’t help but just have fun and smile around them.  The day after VBS however, things changed. 

On Saturday we were blessed enough to attend Harvest India’s Mercy Camp.  Every Saturday in the area of their nursing school they hand out food and give free medical care.  Kids from all over come and sit in three, perfectly straight lines that start underneath a tent where the Bishop, leaders and food are.  But then the line continues to extend after the tent, and many adults and grandparents are a part of the lines as well.  The people that attend wait in line while the group worships, they listen to a message, and then Harvest India hands out a bun (Croissant like-roll), a plantain (kind of a banana) and a hard-boiled egg. 

When it was time to pass out the food we went through the lines with partners as fast as we could.  Naturally we wanted to smile at each person but we really didn’t even have time for that.  The Indian leaders of the group were rushing us to pass the food out as fast as possible, barely catching the eye of the people we were handing it out to sometimes.  Then when our bowl was empty, one partner would stay at that part of the line while the other ran back to fill the bowl again.  We couldn’t leave the line because the look on the kid who was next before the food ran out was heart breaking . . . We also couldn’t lose our spot due to the fact that some kids were hiding food and then asking for more. 

The look on this one boy’s eyes made me aware of why the leaders were pushing us through the line.  These kids were starving.  They weren’t part of any orphanages that were financially supported; they didn’t want our attention, love or smiles.  They were hungry.  At VBS students were fighting over string, but they were also pretty well fed.  These kids were fighting for food; this was the only nutritious meal that some of them get all week, and every Saturday Harvest India faithfully provides it for them until it runs out.

After the food was handed out, naturally the lines and crowds started to clear out and kids were running off to play.  A family that was on their porch near the back of where the lines ended caught my eye.  It was a new baby, and I couldn't help but let myself go into their space to say hi.  She was a one-month old baby girl and she was beautiful.  Unlike the U.S. where we are totally worried about germs, India is SO dirty and people don’t seem to mind.  So when I asked the mom to hold her four week old she was happy to let me. 

That’s when I lost it. The mom kept asking, “Why you cry? Why you cry?” I just kept repeating through tears, “Because she’s so beautiful” over and over, until the mom understood and quit asking. Maybe I was crying because of the hungry lines of people we had just experienced . . . but looking at this baby just tore me to pieces.  All I could think of was the joy that you feel holding newborns in the States.  That feeling of hope, knowing that they have so much their future holds, so many careers they could have, what characteristics they’ll pick up from parents, hobbies and passions they might have as young kids.

I couldn’t feel any joy holding her, I tried, but it just wasn’t coming.  I was so sad for this newborn.  So sad for the country she was born into, the religion that her family was and what that would teach her growing up.  Heart broken knowing that her life would look much like the kids that were starving minutes before.  I was so sad for her, so I cried and cried and cried.  It was hard for me to recognize in that moment, but I do know that God has a plan for HER too, and I'm thankful he loves and protects ALL of His children.  

We always have to do the chicken dance!

Beautiful, right?

The Dr.s clinic

A good reminder.

A woman actually in the clinic receiving care while we were touring.

The people patiently waiting.


  1. Oh Sara. Beautiful. And heartbreaking.

  2. That baby girl is beautiful. I cherish all your pictures and words from your trip, Sara.