Many people ask me what a typical day looks like for me. I snicker a bit. My life feels far from typical. I guess everyone feels that way. Today was a full day. Like most moms, I drug myself out of bed, wishing the night didn’t seem so short. I hugged my sweet boys and thanked them for playing so quietly with their while “mama” slept a bit more. I threw breakfast together – sometimes we just have cereal and milk, other days I make crepes with yogurt and nutella or this morning, I opted to scramble a few eggs, pour some milk in it and asked David to make some of his wonderful french toast. Rikki spent the night, so we enjoyed french toast and a strong cup of coffee. She slapped some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches together while I managed to throw a few more items in the boys’ lunch and send them off to school. Each morning I have the privilege of walking down our main Rajpur road to our women’s center. I love walking Rajpur. You should try it sometime. I get to smile and greet my grocery shop owner, my chicken guy, my egg guy, the sweet lady who sells vegetables on the corner, the wonderfully wrinkly old Tibetan men and women that sit outside spinning their prayer wheels and staring at me every morning. Each morning I notice new things. Some odd to me. Some normal. Some that used to be odd and are now normal. This morning I noticed a huge hog feeding 6 babies and I thought how exhausting that must be. I laughed at the man brushing his teeth on the curb – some Indians make the loudest noises while brushing their teeth in the morning. I enjoy recognizing more than half of this town now, greeting them and knowing that they know who I am. JOYN work is unpredictable. Today it was ALL about the people and very little about the actual work (though I’m so excited to show you the new button clutches in a beautiful aqua dot print with yellow lining that we made today – you’re gonna love them).
We have 2 new women that have begun training in stitching. They both come from horribly abusive marriages. They are running from their husbands, literally running. One of the women walked by foot over the mountains of Nepal cause she’d heard that there was a training center for women that could help her. I can’t imagine being fearful of my husband…and fearful enough to grab my kids and flee by foot for days and days over the Himalayas. I spoke with one of these women today. My Hindi gets me about 15 minutes into a conversation with long gaps of staring and smiling, but I know that she asked for work. I know that she just needed help. I know that she just needed me to say “yes”. Yes. We can help. We will somehow help.
Today I got a call that one of our street youth was beaten by her father last night. She’s hurt. She’s too scared to go back to her dump of a home. We’ll somehow get her out of there. Today, I cried with a friend whose son has flunked out of school at 5th grade and since he is the eldest son in India, this is going to cause some major family problems. We’ll somehow find a solution. Today, I laughed and jumped and cried because one of my good friends was able to purchase her first piece of land for her family. We are able to offer her a loan that she’ll pay back working with JOYN over the next few years. She has 5 children and currently lives in a very small house with no kitchen, no bathroom and no running water. That’s all about to change. She hugged me till I almost popped. I can’t wait to help her build a house. Today, I was mom. I love being a mom. I snapped peas while the boys played on the tire swing. I scared the monkeys away from them and felt like a hero. I taught them some subtraction and reading and then we played ipad games with Anu, the little boy we get to tutor each day. I made chai for my neighbor. I love making chai. And now its 5pm.
What is so wonderfully atypical about a JOYN day is that here in India, we have the privilege of spreading JOY at every turn…an abused woman, a young boy, a neighbor, a beggar child, a crippled woman, my own sweet children. Once JOY begins to flow, everyone wants to come and partake. I happen to believe that my JOY comes from the Jesus I follow. It has very little to do with me. If it had much to do with me, I’d have gone home by now and fled all the problems, the heartache, the broken lives. But He gives me everything I need. He fills me with JOY unspeakable. He gives it to me and I get to give it to someone else. Some days I feel tired and utterly exhausted, but quite honestly, I’ve never been so alive. Mel Murray, JOYNer
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