My First Glimpses of Kolkata

I just returned from a six day trip to India to the city of Calcutta, now called Kolkata.  What follows here are some initial impressions.  While there, I spent time with Calcutta Mercy Ministries.  You can learn more about them by looking at this link.  I look forward to blogging a bit more in the coming days about the things I saw and experienced.

JANUARY 24:  Last night, I arrived in Calcutta around midnight and got to my hotel room at 1AM. Even as I rode along in the night, I could tell this teaming city of 18 million, that swells to 25 million during the workday, is subject to extreme decay, disorder and poverty.

Everywhere sidewalks, streets, buildings, and people are broken. Though we were in the heart of a wealthy area, everything seems to be falling apart.

In the midst of this dilapidation, one of the megacities India, I saw such indelible and rich signs of God's grace.  The work that Mark and Huldah Buntain started in a tent in 1954 (they were only supposed to stay a year and preach throughout the country) has grown to a congregation of 5000 in eight languages, 32,000 students from the first school that had 200 students when it started, a hospital, 950 congregations, the FIRST sponsored children organization in the world, a blind school, a theological college, a boys home, a nursing school, and the list goes on and on.  Six days a week, Mercy Ministries feeds, educates, and medically assists 25,000 people!

They do this feeding, educating and medical assistance for just $10,000 a week or $1650 a day!

The people involved in the ministry here are amazing signs of God's grace.  Today, I had the privilege of dining with Huldah Buntain and meeting pastors, doctors, and workers throughout the organization!  My heart is full today with God's wondrous work in the midst of calamity and trouble.

As I passed the Mercy Hospital on the walk back to my hotel.  I saw a man ringing a bell in a seeming trance while incense burned.  He appeared to be praying.  I was rocked inside when I looked in the shrine that was lit with florescent bulbs and saw a strange white stone idol.   God has so much more to do in this city, but I'm praising him for what he has done thus far!

Labels: , , , ,