Part 3 He Leads

The church bells ring, alerting the city-dwelling tribal community that the Baptist Church is starting. We are now part of this community, and the loud bells, probably heard up to a mile away, cause me to smile as I lay there in the early morning hour.

Very different from our last rental that had the mango trees and lush fauna surrounding our quiet home; This house is on the main street in the Tribal Bazaar, and as I write this, I hear rickshaws, splashing, horns, yelling, dogs, and other sounds that start at 7:00 am and end at 9:00 pm every day. We thought to cool down the house by opening a window, but the dust and exhaust were harder to endure for me than the stifling heat. But the home is very nice in every other way with 3 bedrooms and a spiral staircase that leads to a huge rooftop terrace. We are blessed to be in this mixed community of Muslims and Christians, with some of our son’s friends even living nearby. It’s closer to our church and to one of our new ministry locations the Lord finally called us to.

When I thought of ministry here, I thought I might work with Rehabs Rope to start a ministry of life skills classes for the women newly out of sex trafficking or start a business to employ newly converted people in the Hills. I thought of many grand things that would use my higher skill set to establish something new and valuable for the community. But God had a way different path for me. Of course, in His infinite wisdom and love, He seems to desire to grow me and our family in new ways as He uses us to be his hands here in Manipur.

Let me share with you how God led us to this new ministry.

We drove around Imphal with a friend, and they showed us different areas. One of the areas was Mantripukhri, and my husband liked it immediately, and so did I.  Now, knowing the place I knew we would be, I prayed differently that night.

“Lord, thank you soo much for guiding us to Mantripukhri. Thank you for giving my husband peace and clarity with your path. Now that we know where you desire us to be, will you please direct our paths so that we do Your will there?”

The next morning, I did an internet search for…. “MantriPukhri missionaries”

Instead of finding another missionary family there or mission work needed I saw a link to Mother Teresa House. I read about it being an orphanage and how some lady donated refrigerators there. Oh, I thought… Maybe I can teach life skills to the older orphan girls as I used to. It’s so near the area we want to move to that I could walk there! Thank you, God! I will go right now and see if You need me there. So, I asked my husband if I could go alone and check it out prayerfully. He sent Sega with me, and we left right away. 

As we approached the large metal gate of the orphanage, Sega thought I was crazy when I let myself in after no one answered our knocking. I knew it would be fine because God lead me here.

I entered a large but simple green courtyard with 2 paths that lead to 2 identical but different buildings. A basic metal but aged swing set sat in front of the building to my left. Both of the buildings were 2 stories painted in fresh white and blue paint. I approached the building in front of me and, after removing my shoes, entered the immaculate, polished cement hall and called out to announce my being there. The hall was simple with a few handmade posters of bible verses on the wall and a picture of Mother Teresa with multiple doors open to rooms I couldn’t see into from my position.

Soon an Indian woman dressed just like Mother Teresa came out of a draped hallway and welcomed me with love and a huge smile, as if expecting my arrival, and had me sit at a table in an adjacent room. There were pictures everywhere in there of news articles and posters of Mother Teresa, Jesus, and Children. Some of the sayings on the posters were so inspirational and humbling that I quickly thanked God for the spiritual edification I had in reading them. After about 5 mins another Indian sister dressed like Mother Teresa and a bit older came in and welcomed me gently with double hands and a warm smile saying her name was Sister Ann Gorreti while another sister brought me cookies and water. Sisiter Ann Goretti sat with me and talked, all the while exuding so much peace. She asked me lots of questions about my family and my relationship with Christ. Then she asked a question that changed her calm and loving expression into one of enthusiasm and overflowing joy when I replied.

Sister: “So, what did you used to do in the orphanages you mentioned you worked in?”

Tauna: “We taught life skills to the older orphan girls.”

Clapping her hands together and glancing up to the ceiling with a HUGE smile on her face, she said, “I have been praying the Lord would send us a teacher! He has bought you for us! You have come to teach here, no?”

Reminisce of the movie, Lillies of the Field, she had made up her mind, and I could tell there was no way I could do anything else than what this woman had prayed for.

I nodded and said, “Sure, absolutely; I want to serve God in any way He desires.” Then I innocently asked, “How old are the children here?”

Now it was my turn to have a change of demeanor as I am quite sure I couldn’t hide my inner shock from my face. For, I was about to be tested, and about to be stretched in my faith and humbleness in a way I was NOT prepared for nor had EVER wanted to be.

Sister: “Oh, we don’t have any orphans left here; they relocated them a few years ago. We are a home to the unwanted, abandoned, disabled and unloved now. All of our residents are severely disabled physically or mentally, and many of them both.”

2022 Journey Begins

A small, tropical toad jumps across the uneven, crudely laid stones that mark our path through a small canopy of tropical fruit trees. We can reach up and grab a pomegranate as we walk to our temporary home in the valley of Manipur, India.

 No ac and humidity giving me curls I had forgotten in Arizona I ever had, I grab the local sweeping broom and bend over with one hand behind my back and the other diligently sweeping Ina long arcing motion across the shiny cream, marble floor. These brooms made of palm grass work better than our tall brooms but are tough on my weakened back.

 Our kitchen is tiny, with and base sink and a metal dish and pout rack on the wall above it. the Black marble counters I first thought of as lovey has proven to be difficult to keep clean. Our frig is a 4foot version of our one back home but that isn’t a problem because most of our food is not prepacked and used quickly.

 The city we are in is busy and mostly made of multiple stories of cement buildings and many of the side streets are what once may have been asphalt but now are just extremely rough dirt roads. So, the overall feeling is dusty and the color is a light grey and this matches the air as well. The only color found is on the women. In contrast to their dull backdrop, they stand out like colorful gems. From the orange stripe down the nose line of the Meitei Hindi women to the Bright red and green tribal skirts of the Kuki women, it’s a feast for the eyes. The people here are beautiful! Exotic and earthy yet refined in an Asian traditional way.

Oh, sad day, because I have been so desperately ill. I long to get to the hills. just a few kilometers outside this old-fashioned city are the most breathtakingly green mountains and views to be had on earth. We have planned a trip there next weekend to visit friends and help them out, hope I am well enough to go. (you must be able to eat what is offered to you; to refuse an offereing is a huge insult to them)

Sweet Yuna and MayLa seem to do well here. The different types of fruit trees outside our doors being a favorite of theirs. And the humidity doesn’t phase them, so the moderate climate suits them well. They are not excited about school starting Monday after having such a long break and living so unrestrained during the days here. Yuna loves it here and just wants to find a permanent home and settle down Visiting USA for a few months a year, while MayLa is not in the same boat. She thinks it was a nice visit here and can’t wait to get home as the harshness of life here is unfamiliar to her American ways. While Yuna sees many opportunities to help people here and try new things being a seasoned world traveler.

I am in between, not as young as I used to be, the harshness is harder for me, and my body made delicate over the years from health issues, is not handling this very well.  I am more introverted now and being married so long has made me less of a leader. So, I have days I want to save the world and others where I long to go back to comfy, easy America.

Bryan took a while to adjust and relax but he is doing well here now. Learning the local shops and the maps and trying to find food for his limited tastes is still a work in progress but one he continues to press on. His work is doing fine but it is hard for him to work at night when he is tired.

But, all in all we are doing well. Seeing Sega again was a highlight. He is coming again Monday night, and we are making his favorite, Mexican food.  He is a man now and my mind still remembers him as a silly teen boy. He is quiet and contemplative but laughs easily and cracks jokes if he feel comfortable with you. He is testing to get a government job right now. But, we heard it’s so corrupted that even if you pass the 2 tests required for an interview that you must bribe your way in or know someone to get the job. And even if you pay the bribe, they may never call you back, taking the bribe and hiring someone else right after you. I am not excited about this, but he is 23 years old now and must make his own way.

We met with Rahabs Rope people. They are very nice. But, they want us to go 2 hours north of here to a remote place that doesn’t have good wifi and would be far from Sega. So, I am not going to probably work with them much here.

The three goals I had were to Visit and help our friends and family here, Look into Rahabs Rope and see if that would be a good fit for me and see if God leads us to live here. So, we will finish our goals and pray for guidance, we should know soon.

We have met very nice people here so far. A couple through Rahabs Rope lives in Imphal and has a 2-year-old daughter. They are very nice and it has been a blessing to attend church with them and befriend them. And a dentist that filled MayLas cavity for 13 bucks; a Hindu woman that we got to preach the gospel to, has asked to have us do her website for her.

Even if we don’t stay here we have 2 other places we may visit on this side of the continent. We will keep you posted as the Lord leads us. Please pray for the healing of my stomach, and for the Lords, grace, power, and wisdom to lead us as we interact with the locals here. And pray for our Hindu dentist friend that she may come to know the saving love of Christ.