Meet Sudipriya

14 Jul

One of my favorite things that we have had the opportunity to do since being here in India is to visit the girls’ orphanage run by our amazing ministry contact, Pastor Daniel, and his wife, Joyce. The orphanage is two stories above the church, just around the corner from our home. Our team of twelve showed up around 5:30 PM on Friday night, very excited to meet these wonderful girls. They were shy at first, so we performed our recently-learned Hawaiian dance, the pate pate. Ripples of laughter cursed through the crowd of girls as we publicly humiliated ourselves. Anything to make the kids laugh, right? We played a few rounds of “Red Light, Green Light” and “Simon Says” before busting out our trusty cameras. Photos are quite the hit in India. The kids love posing and looking at the LCD screen to see their picture. I hit it off instantly with 13-year-old Sudipriya. I could tell by the way she walked across the room that she was a dancer. She just had an extra swing in her step. So I asked her to dance for me. Embarrassed, she covered her face, giggled, and said, “No, no. Not a dancer.” I could tell she was just being modest, so I smiled and begged her to dance for me. Eventually she relented.

As she danced, the atmosphere changed. The drab orphanage was transformed into a royal ballroom and the air was full of life. As she breathed it in, the most beautiful smile spread across her face, dimpling her young, round cheeks. Her orange skirt ballooned as I twirled her around and around. With each twirl more and more cares were cast off her young shoulders, leaving her free to embrace her youth. She showed me several different traditional Indian dances, performed with the ease of an expert. She’s definitely a natural. My body awkwardly tried to copy hers, bobbing my head and moving my hands in tiny circles. She laughed as I tripped over my feet. I was so entranced with her smile that I barely noticed my own.

Though I’m sure I brought immeasurable joy to her young heart, my youth was being restored as well. I laughed, not a care in the world hindering me. I danced, unashamed and unafraid. Eventually our time there came to a close. I was dripping with sweat from all my dancing and the clock showed half past eleven. I hugged my new friend goodbye and she clung to my body. I promised her I would come back soon. I honestly couldn’t wait to see her again.

As I walked home I reflected on the father heart of God. What a generous Daddy to give both of His daughters such an incredible night. Whoever said being a Christian is boring needs to get out and serve more. I’ve never had so much fun in my life!

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6 Responses to “Meet Sudipriya”

  1. Mike Bennett July 14, 2010 at 3:26 am #

    Beautiful story, heart-warming photo, great work of service. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Deborah July 14, 2010 at 3:30 am #

    Erika you are so right about having immense joy from serving!!! There is no sweeter place to be than to be sharing Jesus’ love with others. Keep up the good work baby girl!
    Love you and many blessings to you.

    • erikaearl July 17, 2010 at 4:00 am #

      Thanks Deborah, you are such an amazing woman of God. Your encouragement really feeds my soul. Can’t wait to spend some time with you in person one of these days. šŸ™‚

  3. jordanhickman July 19, 2010 at 5:47 am #

    I’ve been following your blog since you showed up on Freshly Pressed. God is doing great work in you. I did mission work in Japan for a total of 12 weeks, and one of my favorite memories was going to an orphanage and just spending time with these beautiful children. Just showing up and paying some attention to them was all they wanted. It was a truly humbling experience, and I thank God daily for the chance to preach the gospel. Keep it up, Erika. You’re a living, breathing testament to our God. Keep the faith, and keep doing what you’re doing.

    In Him,
    Jordan

  4. Lauren Burris July 20, 2010 at 3:27 am #

    my friend tana told me about your blogs, because I have recently been called to go to japan on a mission trip! It’s really cool how you keep everyone informed of what’s going on, and I’m gonna be keeping you in my prayers and I hope God does amazingly incredible things while you are over there! Also, I totally hands down agree with being a Christian is sooooooo NOT boring =][=
    All my prayers
    Lauren

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