Our final day with our partner church in Sumuktola, India, was a very emotional one from start to finish.  We started by chasing down a flower shop near our hotel in Alipurduar to buy boquets to present to the female staff at the project.  Praise the Lord we brough Samata, our Compassion India staff member, with us.  A florist in West Bengal is not like a florist in Stevens Point!  Samata negotiated and worked out the details of 20 beautiful boquets - for the equivalence of $2 US each.

We then drove to the church, and had a "debriefing" with Pastors Rajiv, Pravir, and three other local pastors.  We exchanged blessings and thanks for a week well spent.  And then we engaged in an amazingly powerful time of prayer.  In the US, we always pray one at a time - but why?  Then we worry about if what we are saying will sound good, and the prayers are really for God, not for us.  So all the Indians prayed for all the Americans for a time, in Bengali.  Despite us not understanding a word they were saying, we understood in our spirits the love and care that they have for us.  And then we were able to do the same for them.  It was an amazing time, and there wasn't a dry eye in the whole place.

Next, Rajiv treated us to Chicken shish-ka-bob - Indian style!  No propane grills here - just charcoal in some bricks.  It was amazing!

The children began arriving, and we got a chance to play with them in the playground again, while they cleaned up from lunch.

Then, the children were ushered in and seated, so the farewell program could begin.  We were seated as guests of honor, and presented with gifts of beautiful handmade Indian blankets and shawls!  We presented their workers with flowers and T-shirts.

And then Brian presented Pastors Rajiv and Pravir with Packers World Champion t-shirts!

And then began the program, prepared by the children.  Each group of children sang and danced several traditional dances from their heritages.  The children were nervous, but were so proud to be able to perform for us! 

We then were pulled into an amazing dance of fellowship and worship to the Lord.  Dance is a whole worship experience that our American culture has completely missed out on.  The entire day was amazing, but the 15 minutes of ten Americans struggling to keep up with the dance led by our Indian brothers and sisters, and the children, was the absolute height of the day.  For those few minutes, it felt like heaven.  When people from every race, people, tribe, and nation can worship and praise the Lord Jesus Christ in one voice, one love, and one heart.

It was so difficult to say goodbye, but we had to get back to our hotel.  Through many tears, we wished our brothers and sisters a farewell.  The tears we shed were bittersweet - sweet because of the new friendships we had made, but sad because we knew that we might never see some of these wonderful people this side of heaven again.  We left a little piece of all of us at the Duars center, and a little piece of the Duars center will come home with us.  Brian said it best:

"The dust of India has settled on our hearts."

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