As a collective group of impassioned hearts, ready and eager to serve the children of India, we were elated to connect with young missionary to India, Chelsea Bell. Getting to know Chelsea has been such a joy and we're hopeful that as you hear bits of her heart, you'll be encouraged and inspired to move forward in fulfilling God's call to minister to orphaned and abandoned children. And maybe, just maybe, her testimony will compel you to join ACT in Delhi this October. When we asked Chelsea about her purpose in India, why it mattered to her, and why it should matter to others, this was her response:
Often when I tell people that God has called me to India, they look at me with pain in their eyes. “India is the last place I’d ever want to go.” True as it might be that India is a hard place, it is also a place where God is alive and moving. Contrary to the narrow picture of overwhelming poverty, brokenness and danger that most see, India is also brimming with hope for life and a hunger for freedom.
More than I could ever give to India, India has given so much to me. When initially called to this nation, I thought India needed me. I couldn’t have been more wrong. We are all called to live intentionally wherever God sends us, be it in your small hometown, a village in Peru or a city like Delhi. Wherever God sends us, he knows we need it. It’s part of the sanctification of our soul. Apparently I need loads more sanctification than the average person, as India has proved a most testing place to live. I wouldn't have it any other way though. God has shown me more of his heart here... his heart for the world, his heart for orphans, and his heart for me.
India is the largest orphan bearing country. The estimates vary, but we’re looking at over 33 million orphans. Scattered across the country are institutions, orphanages, children’s hostels and small homes that are filled with confused, hurt, broken children who will likely never have a family and end up on the streets, in brothels or countless other hopeless situations.
I had thought God would send me here to start another orphanage. During my first tour of India, God broke my heart and sent me home confused. Children don’t belong in orphanages, children belong in families. I couldn’t shake this conviction as I flew home. Over the next two years, God revealed to me his father heart and the confusion cleared. God’s heart is for family, God’s plan is family. If we are to live in a way that imitates Christ, than adoption should be a vital role of the church. As messy, painful and challenging as it can be, God calls us to take up our cross that others may truly live... that a child would have a home, a future and a relationship with him. My role now is connecting local families to local orphans and raising funds to make their family one of permanence.
That being said, I’ve found that not everyone is called to adopt. When I was 16 I heard someone at a conference say that if 1 in 7 believers adopted, we would live in a world without orphans. That means that the other 6 of us get to fill other roles, as there are numerous ways to take part in God’s adoptive heart. One of those ways is visiting orphans, show them love, and sharing God’s heart for them with other.
As we know, pure and lasting worship in the sight of God our father is the care and love of orphans and widows in their distress...so I trust that your heart will be moved nearer to that of our Abba Father’s by taking any step in the direction of an orphan.
As for India stealing your heart... I’ve never heard of someone who was unable to fall for this country. India is indeed a very impoverished nation... but it is not a hopeless poverty and that hope is spilling out from the cracks in walls and the wrinkles of auntie's smiles. India will tie itself around your heart and will show you something about God's heart that you can't learn anywhere else.
For more information on joining us in Delhi this fall, visit us at www.awaa.org/ACT. You DON'T want to miss out on this life-changing trip!