joani1.jpgI decided to title this newsletter Be Bold. Be Brave. Be Hope, because for the past months this is what India has been teaching me to be.

The first weeks were the hardest. I don’t think I have ever felt so many different emotions in my life all at once. Coming to India has by far been the toughest decision I have ever made, but at the same time I knew I had to do this, and it felt right. Knowing this journey would have its ups and downs I decided to take a leap of faith. One day I was feeling very down and I wanted to go home. As I was walking to my room and praying, telling God that I am not cut out for this, that all I wanted was to go home, I looked up and passed an office with a closed door. There was a sticker on the door with these words – BE BOLD. BE BRAVE. BE HOPE(ful)-this spoke to my heart. I felt God telling me to be brave, to be bold and to be hope. That I can do this and that I have a lot to learn.

Being bold.

Being bold is showing willingness to take risks, being confident and courageous.

I never thought this journey would teach me about boldness.

It is something we all ought to be, especially when it comes to our faith and when it comes to justice. We need to be bold and stand up for those who seem to not have a voice and for what we believe in.

The Diocese of Durgapur is BOLD.

Let me give you an example of how the Diocese is bold. The staff of the Anti-Human Trafficking program (which is a bold initiative undertaken by the Diocese) risk their lives when going out to the India- Bangladesh border to rescue people who are at risk of being trafficked; they take risks when they go out to the marginalized communities and offer kids, with the consent of the parents, an opportunity to grow and learn for a better future. They are being BOLD, stepping out of their comfort zones and going out there to reach their community. Their boldness can be seen in the work they do and the growth in the child centers.

The anti-secular national Government is really cracking down on minority institutions who are trying to make a difference in the face of these difficult circumstances; the Diocese has the courage to step out of their “four walls” and reach out to the community.  They inspire ME to be BOLD and to willingly step out further in my faith even when it seems like we are swimming against the current.

Being Brave.

Being brave means being ready to face pain and or danger, showing courage.

Being brave is hard.

When I embarked on this journey I never thought about being brave, I just thought I was going to come to India to learn and to serve. It never really crossed my mind what I will be facing. I actually didn’t even know what to expect.

Lately, I’ve had people tell me that I am brave. I never thought I was brave for making this journey. But, having lived here for three months I feel that indeed it was a brave decision. Coming to a new country, where I did not know the language or the customs, where I did not have any family or friends, took a lot of courage and I really had nothing but God when I made the decision. Now when friends and family, tell me that I am brave, I say that I could have never done something like this without God giving me the courage to make it through each day without my family and the comforts of my life that I was so used to. I am learning how to be brave by really learning and leaning in.

Being HOPE.

Hope is the feeling of desire and expectation for something to happen.

The Diocese of Durgapur is a harbinger of hope. It brings hope to the families and their surrounding community. Surrounding the Diocese there are slums, and here they have taken in many children whose futures most likely involved laboring as construction workers or poor farmers and/or ran the risk of being trafficked. They have taken in many children who could not have imagined a different style of life. They get to attend school, they take music classes, learn taekwondo, sewing, dance and so much more.

The Diocese also has an eye clinic where renowned eye-surgeons perform surgeries for those who cannot afford to get the help needed. Also, for the past five years, a doctor from North Carolina has come to perform free surgeries for the surrounding community and for the kids at the hostel as part of their Healing Ministry mission.

Being here is teaching me how to be BOLD and to stand up for justice, for those who are oppressed. This place and this mission is also teaching me that it’s not all about me, that there is a whole world out here that needs just a glimpse of hope.

It is teaching me how to be BOLD and BRAVE, to fearlessly to go out there and to help those in need. Lastly it’s teaching me to be HOPE[ful].

Joanines Adorno-Diaz serves as a Global Mission Intern with the Diocese of Durgapur, Church of North India. Her appointment is supported by Week of Compassion, Our Church’s Wider Mission, Disciples Mission Fund and your special gifts.