Thursday, May 28, 2015

Road Trip!

Hi Everyone! This is Carson this time. I thought I'd add my two cents about the recent little trip we took to the state just north of where Rising Star Outreach is. We went to Andhra Pradesh, just over the border to Tirupati, where we stayed for two days. You can see it on this map.

... india packages east india packages west india packages south india
RSO is near Chennai, in the state Tamil Nadu.

Anyway, we left early Tuesday morning, drove about four hours, then got settled into our hotel and had lunch. Then we drove another hour to a village that RSO only visits once a year. We set up our mobile medical clinic outside a Christian church. Everyone seemed especially grateful that we had come, perhaps because no one gets out there very often, since it's such a far distance from anything else. Definitely the most remote location we've been to.

We treated 67 patients that day. Besides medical treatment and giving them bandages and medications, Rising Star also gave some of them these nifty hand bands that have a pocket for a spoon or fork to go in, so that people without fingers can eat more easily, and on their own. We also gave a few people crutches and walking sticks who have trouble walking. We saw some of the most advanced cases of leprosy there--many had lost all their fingers and toes. One guy had lost his entire leg up until his knee. It was very humbling to see how grateful they were for such simple gifts.

My beautiful wife and I both did bandage removal and washing. We saw some very intense leprosy ulcers. I had to fight down my gag reflex many times. Just when you think you're becoming desensitized to the blood, oozing sores, and bug-infested craters in someone's foot, you see another that is worse than the last. For one ulcer, I had to do battle with the flies and tiny bugs that had decided to make their residence there. As the sweat poured down my back, I wondered why I was choosing to spend my summer in this god-forsaken jungle colony of India.

This thought only lasted a short while, because right then I looked up at the patient I was helping. Her eyes were directed up, with what was left of her hands held together as if she were praying. I saw years of hurt, sadness, and despair etched into her wrinkled features. Then I remembered why I was there, why I am here. I am in a leprosy colony in India because it is in fact not forsaken by God. He remembers these children, even though most on this planet don't even know they exist. He hears even their prayers. He knows their tears, their needs, and their dreams. He still loves them. I hope and pray that I may come to see and love these people as God does.

With each new day, and each new colony we visit, I think I'm starting to see, bit by bit, the immense love God has for the forgotten, the unknown, the untouchable.

Another favorite experience with this colony was with our new friend Raja (pictured below).

After Raja received his treatment, he voluntarily began to help Faith and I with cleaning the water bins after each patient. This allowed us to get to more patients much faster. I was amazed at his cheerful attitude, and willingness to help. We learned that the name "Raja" actually means "king" in Hindi. The service of this "king" reminded me of the service of another king that I look up to greatly. King Benjamin once said "Behold, ye have called me your king; and if I, whom ye call your king, do labor to serve you, then ought not ye to labor to serve one another?" (Mosiah 2:18) Raja used what he had left of his fingers to grip and carry heavy water bins, empty them, and wash them for us. His beard couldn't hide his nearly-toothless smile as he served us. He taught us that no matter our limitations, circumstances, or situation, we can always serve others. I thought that I'd learned this lesson many times before, but this humble, sincere, smiley leprosy patient taught me a lesson on service that I'll never forget. 

On our way home, we stopped to get some famous Indian mangoes. No diversity here, tons of vendors all line up in the same place and sell the same thing for the same price. I hope that I'll have the opportunity to do some business consulting here, because I might be able to help them out!

I'd like to thank Faith 'Gorgeous' Ralphs for the opportunity to be a Guest Writer on her famous blog, and I look forward to reading her future posts! This is Carson, signing off. Nos vemos amigos!


  1. I loved your comment about Raja the "King" reminding you of another king who also served. What a great post! I read it tearfully to the children. You're learning lessons that will affect you for life. Sounds like the business strategy in India is identical to the one in Tanzania. When Faith was there, she told us that the vendors would line up selling the same thing (bowls of beans) for the same price. I suggested she teach one of them to use different spices or something to make himself stand out.

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