Meeting up with my brothers in Mumbai was definitely a highlight of my trip, but the real miracle happened when our team left the city. After spending a few days amidst the poverty and pain of Mumbai, the lush, green haven called Ashagram washed over me. I sensed immediately what one of the former street boys confirmed only a few hours later: “This is a healing place.”
I know that it’s a healing place for those who were rescued from the darkness of the streets of Mumbai, but I also believe that each one of my team members experienced that healing in one way or another.
The term “beauty from ashes” has never meant so much to me. The hungry street boys I saw in Mumbai… I met them at Ashagram. Their eyes were aglow with the saving power of Jesus’ love. The prostitutes I saw lingering outside the brothels… I met them too. They smiled, they laughed, they praised the God who rescued them from darkness. And as I entered into a beautiful night of worship while a young man named Sunil played his guitar, I discovered the true meaning of the word redemption. How was it possible that this extravagant worshiper could be the drug addict he claimed he once was?
Just when I was wondering if the hand of God was so clearly seen in my own life, one of the boys slipped me a note that read:
Though I wished I could have stayed much longer, I’m content to leave on that note. I figure that if that was the conclusion Santosh came to after my nine-day stay at Ashagram, I did what I went there to do. And I experienced the beauty of redemption in a way I never knew that I could.