After the long flight from Houston to Dubai followed by a long layover, our team finally arrived in Kolkata at 8:30 this morning. We were all a bit tired but refreshed by the realization that we are finally in India. As we stood in cramped aisles waiting to exit our plane, I struck up a conversation with two young ladies from Spain. They have also come to Kolkata to serve at Mother Teresa’s homes and will be here for five weeks. This is just one more indication of how Mother Teresa’s legacy continues to live on and inspires others to serve the least of these.
The trip from the airport to our guesthouse was an eye-opening experience for our students. Kolkata’s noisy streets are congested with traffic that creeps along at a snail’s pace as pedestrians and motorcycles and auto-rickshaws compete for space to maneuver between the larger vehicles. A downpour of rain made the experience all the more interesting. When our two large busses arrived at the guesthouse, we had the usual audience of passers-by that stood and watched as our students off-loaded our piles of luggage and supplies. We are finally here!
The most important part of this day was attending orientation, a requirement for serving in Mother Teresa’s homes. The Missionaries of Charity assign each volunteer to the homes where they will respectively serve. The orientation session today was packed with well over one-hundred new volunteers. I just love listening to all of the languages spoken at orientation. The nations are here to serve. This year, the guys and half of the girls on our team will serve at Prem Dan, the home for the destitute and dying. The remainder of our girls will serve at Shanti Dan, the home for mentally disabled women. I am more than excited about our assignments and the opportunity to serve that awaits us.
Serving the least of these at Mother Teresa’s homes and seeing the extreme poverty on the streets of Kolkata can feel a bit overwhelming. It doesn’t take long to realize how much need there is in a place like this. Mother Teresa learned to keep things in perspective as she lived and served among the people of Kolkata. She said, “We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.” It’s so easy for us to look at great need and to do nothing, especially when what we can do appears so small. But if each of us will do just one small thing, then all of those drops put together can become an ocean of blessing. I do not want to be “that missing drop.”