A Music Teacher from Pennsylvania Tells Her India Story
My first trip to India was unplanned, a last minute opportunity. In 2011 our church had a summer trip planned, but I knew nothing about it. Six weeks before the trip departure, a team member dropped out, and I was asked to fill in because I was a teacher. I already owned a passport, so I quickly got my shots and jumped into training with the team.
I had been on church trips in the past, and I have traveled to many countries for leisure, but this trip was different. For some reason, God broke my heart for India. As a teacher, I saw the difference that the children’s English education would make in the trajectory of each child’s life. A multitude of jobs and opportunities would be available to them because of their education and additional English skills. In India, the parents will eventually live with their adult son, so I knew the increased job opportunities these children would have would positively affect the entire family.
In addition to seeing and understanding the educational and spiritual benefits these children receive, I simply fell in love with the students. Despite language barriers and cultural differences, I observed that children are the same around the world. In any classroom, you can pick out the class clown or the shy student. As an educator, I felt my heart connect with these students, teachers, and administrators. As I left the school for the first time, I felt like I was not saying good-bye forever, but “See you later”, knowing I would return someday.
In the summer of 2013, my husband and I brought a group of high school upperclassmen to India. We had an amazing time serving the school, doing songs, games, crafts, science experiments, and stories. During this second trip, I built a stronger relationship with the principal of the school. Because I had completed my Pennsylvania principal’s certification training, we shared a common bond. One day during the visit, I sat in her office and asked her to dream financially about what she would love to see for their school. One of the dreams was a computer lab with a Smartboard that the entire school could use. Other schools in the area had a Smartboard, but their school could not afford one. Right before we left for India, my husband’s grandfather died, and soon after we returned we received a small inheritance. We learned that the amount would exactly cover the cost of four computers and a Smartboard, just what the school needed! We also rejoiced to see the principal’s dream of a computer lab come true.
On my next trip in 2014, I provided training to the teachers and students on how to use the Smartboard. It was rewarding to use my talents as an educator to bless a school on the other side of the world.
This past summer I was able to bring my high school daughter along with me to the school. It was so rewarding to have her see for herself the many experiences I had described to her over the years. As we were winding down our days at the school, she said words that warmed my mother’s heart, “I don’t want to leave.” I was delighted that my daughter had also gained a heart for India.
When I picked out my first two children to sponsor seven years ago, I would have never guessed it would have led to this adventurous journey. I have wondered “How could God use a simple teacher to make a difference in India?” We pray for our sponsored children regularly, and now we pray very specifically because our family’s visits have allowed us to know the children, the faculty, and the exact needs of the school. I have a connection to India which I know only God could have created in my heart, and I look forward to seeing the future opportunities to assist this school with our prayers, donations, and future visits.