JOYFUL

July 5th, 2017 Posted by Immersion Internship - 2017

Hi there!! My name’s Meghan, but I love when people call me Megh, and it’s a name not frequently heard in this side of the world so I’ve learned to respond to basically anything that starts with an M and end in an N. I’ll be finishing off my time at K-State next year, and will hopefully be headed to seminary the following year to pursue a Masters in Divinity, and to attain a prison chaplain diploma.

Living in such tight community has brought enlightenment to truths that I knew prior, but didn’t really understand. One being that each hour of the day is a gift, and gifts are truly enjoyed most lavishly when shared with others! While many here have exemplified a genuine understanding of that, there is one person in particular that comes to my mind when I attempt to put that truth into life. I am not exaggerating when I say that the woman that hosted Mercy and I on our second night here served us more closely to how I imagine Jesus serving His disciples than I have ever witnessed before. She started working three days prior to the day that we arrived on the meal that she fed us that night, and she laboriously decorated the room that we stayed in with more grandiosity than that which she had adorned her own room. She cleansed our hands with warm water prior to joyfully feeding two people that she had never met in her life, and will likely never meet again. My goodness, the more I talk about her, the more I just want to give her a great big hug. And like, I really don’t like hugs. I’ve witnessed this anticipatory willingness to serve others time and time again while being over here. It’s so stinking cool. One last thing on communal living- meals are THE BEST. We are never not in amiable fellowship when we gather around the table, and every breakfast, lunch and dinner is a celebration. It’s seriously the coolest thing.

For our ministry assignments, I have been given the pleasure of working with the individuals in the transitional housing, and I am so happy that I did. The people there are working to get their feet back under themselves as they are coming out of life altering circumstances. God is doing great things here, for it is in Him that they rest their strength, and it is Him that they look to for joy. And let me tell you- THEY ARE SO JOYFUL. With a belching laugh, the gentleman on one side of the house explained to us how God delivered him from debilitating illnesses with strength. With an injured leg, the elderly woman on the other side explained to us how she is working to build her new house from ground up, thanking the Lord for the transitional house that has been granted to her for the time being. Their passion for bringing heaven to earth in every moment inspires me so.
The children here never fail to astound me. They’re pure, and gentle, and joyous, and their presence is rejuvenating as it inspires me to rekindle my childlike faith. But in a sea of shining faces, I for some reason have a hard time diverting my eyes from the children whose tummies are caved outwardly as the child’s diet doesn’t allow for nutrition enough to even build proteins necessary for maintaining a normal figure, from their ragged clothes, and from the youngins hardly old enough to go to school, bearing their brothers or sisters on their backs. One little girl in particular stood out to me a couple of weeks ago. I could see in her eyes a longing to gather with everyone else as they danced and sang. Through broken communication, I attempted to let her know that I would be more than happy to stay back with her precious little brother. With great reluctance, she carefully laid him next to me on the dusty ground. His sullen eyes moved slowly up to meet mine as I pulled the ragged piece of material resting on his foot from the top of it. It was then that I witnessed the worst injustice that my eyes have yet to see here. It appeared as though there was a painfully infected burn consuming a large portion of skin, resulting in its withering away. It turns out that what I thought to be a burn was actually an internal infection that had caused an external wound, one that grew daily and was cleansed only by the dirty water fetched from the nearest well. This was a level of depravity that hadn’t rung true to me until that moment. Not long after, when I had handed him off to a friend of mine that noticed the tears swelling in my eyes, I attempted to exchange laughs with the children around me. It was hard for me to peel my eyes from the bones in their bodies which protruded as they were merely covered in a layer of skin. As I talked through the experience with a fellow intern, he shook his head in grave understanding. He’s witnessed before the truth that I was only beginning to uncover, and he answered my mourning with the profound wisdom. He asked that I try not to let the darkness of the day engulf all of my outlook, and like the children suffering from inadequate nourishment, that I continue to search for the silver lining as I fight for a world that isn’t filled with such corruption. Carrying his advice with me throughout the following weeks, I came to notice beautiful qualities of the people surrounding me that I hadn’t before. And let me tell you, I’m surrounded by some pretty encouraging individuals. Who, through broken stories and marred pasts, have found redemption and the courage to embody the intricately designed person that God made them to be. And in their ability to do so, they have manifested to me the fruition in living every moment with the intention of caring for others just as they themselves have been cared for by our Father above.

It feels only right to me to be ending this somewhat heavy post in the light of peace that the Gospel brings. After talking through these experiences with my boyfriend back home (if you guys can’t tell, I get so much insight from the people around me- another reason why community, whether near or far, is so so good!!!), I came to understand more clearly the injustices that I’ve witnessed here. He reiterated a verse that I’ve read time and time again, but he made me realize the depth of its convictions. John 9:3 reads, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned’ said Jesus, ‘but this happened so that the words of God may be seen in him.” I have experienced more tangibly the redemptive suffering that our Lord laid out before us here than I have ever before. It’s humbling, and it’s reassuring. And while I am hopeful for a day when the empowering words of God need not be seen through the suffering of our brothers and sisters, I am ever grateful for the opportunity to witness first hand God’s ability in shedding light on even the darkest of situations.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Meghan McClusky • 2017 International Immersion Intern