We have had two full days with the young women and girls at Light of Hope Center in Bangladesh. The team has come together with all of our different giftings and desires to serve God and these girls. It has been a beautiful thing.
As I was preparing for the morning, I sat on a screened in porch in the place that we are staying. I took a moment to close my eyes and listen around me. It has been said that India is an assault on the senses with all of its rich colors, smells, sights, noises, tastes, and especially the emotions you feel in your heart. I would say that Bangladesh is very much the same. As I sat on the porch in the early morning and listened, I heard Bangladesh. The birds were singing different songs, one the caw-caw of the crow, a tweet from a bird in the tree, and a faint whistle in the distance. There were the sounds of some men having a morning conversation not too far away. The rumble of an engine rolled past accompanied by the rhythm of someone sweeping off their porch. I heard the trickle of water running nearby and then added to the symphony was the ding-ding of someone’s bicycle bell. It was a clear contrast to the quietness and stillness that is Stavanger, Norway.
I love experiencing different places, and I have been blessed to have been able to do a lot of that recently. However, there is nothing better than knowing the people of these places. I am often in awe that these people live on the same planet at the same time as me. Over the years, as I have met people from many different cultures, I have learned that we are all so similar in our deepest needs. The desire to be loved and wanted is still the fundamental need in every person’s heart. I am so thankful that there is a person that loves us all. This is the message that we came to bring to these young ladies.
These girls live in decrepitate poverty. Most of them have a tiny little room made of corrugated metal in a slum off of the railroad tracks. Some of them have families that love them, but almost all of them have family issues of some kind or another. The Light of Hope Center gives them a stable and safe place to be. They are loved dearly and cared for. They study and learn job skills. And, they hear about the Savior who loves them dearly.
As we have spent the last two days with them, we have heard joy. These beautiful girls dressed in bright colors, with bracelets dangling and click-clacking together have joined in the beautiful symphony of Bangladesh, and we were able to add our voices in as well. Together, we have sung songs to Jesus, both in English and Bangla. We have laughed together, sometimes so much that tears fell. We have shared with each other our stories and struggles, and we have spoken tender, life words over them.
I am so thankful for this opportunity to have loved these girls. It has been like balm to my soul. I hope and pray that it has been the same for them.