«Seeing Jesus in the eyes of the dying»
On Saturday (August 13, 2016), God gave me the opportunity to go and minister at a home for dying people. I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior when I was 15 years old. Now I am 25. Within 10 years of my Christian life a lot has happened but what I experienced on Saturday I can say it was the deepest and most important day in my life after salvation. For many years, I asked Jesus to be found within the walls of this building to look at these people through His eyes. And this moment finally came..
Before ministering, every volunteer must have a meeting with a mercy sister and explain the desire you have to minister in this home or another charity home. After you receive permission in the form of a ticket you can go where they have directed you. When I received my permission ticket I could not stay calm.. This kind of feeling is when you realize that what you have dreamed about for 10 years isn't just going to happen "someday". This dream is happening now.
From Friday night to Saturday morning I could not sleep. The excitement, the thrill and the feelings of expectation.. There was another woman who was going with me. We woke up at 5 in the morning, got ready, and by 6:30 we were already at the volunteer gathering in Mother Teresa's home. To my surprise, I saw dozens of people of all ages from all ends of the earth. We had breakfast together, prayed together and then each person from the group went to the charity house that they were assigned to earlier.
I was going to Kaligat, the very first home for the dying that Mother Teresa opened in 1952. At entry we presented our permission tickets and walked into the building. There was no fear and no feeling of death. My shift was from 8 to 12 in the morning. This whole time I prayed within and sometimes even out loud. We walked into a large room where the men resided and continued to walk through the home. We left our things in a specific room, put on aprons and were told to go wash the clothes of these people. For an hour and a half we hand washed the clothes in the room where all the men were. Many of them watched us. Some were laying on the floor and loudly shouting some kind of phrases in their language. During laundry time I met some of the volunteers. For some of them it was their first time coming to this house and for others it had been years. A man named Antonio, who came from Spain, was helping me wash the clothes. He talked about how a few days ago they picked up a few women off the streets who were in very bad conditions. Some of their bodies had worms. He talked about the fact that nobody comes out of this building and that this is their final destination. Many of the dying people don't have names because it is how they were found on the streets. Some were being eaten by rats. These people don't have any known relatives and therefore
end up in these homes. Sick, withered, abandoned, without a name. I looked at Antonio and asked: "And who is this elderly man who has been shaving the beards of the dying for the last hour?" He answered that this man was from Spain and he is 83 years old. He is a widow and every year for the last 30 years he has been coming to Calcutta for a span of 3 months to serve in this home, particularly to these dying men. As I washed clothes I saw how the young men carried the old men to the restrooms, how they clean after them, how they wash them and seat them in individual chairs. As I washed clothes I had this feeling as if in front of my eyes I am watching a whole movie. Life and death. I was told that when people here are dying they are held by the hand. Antonio said that there is a plaque hanging on the wall that writes how many patients are in the home today. 43 women and 50 men were present on Saturday. However, these numbers often change.. For some are left with only a few hours to live. Many volunteers come to this place to simply serve people, some of them don't know Jesus and yet they serve. The whole time that we were washing clothes I was sharing about Jesus and what motivates me to do this with the other volunteers that were with me. The feeling of life and death was so real in this place that all that you want to do is talk about Jesus and eternity. What will be important when, all of a sudden, our earthly lives come to an end and we will stand before Him. What will I tell God when I will be standing before Him? What report will I give of the years lived? What did I do with my time, talents and gifts? As I looked at this hall where these men sat, I asked Jesus for one thing.. To see them through His eyes and to live my life from the position of eternity. Thirsty, sick, absolutely hopeless and what can I give them? Nothing. Only Jesus is able to give them hope and I can simply show my love and care. I thought about how even the unbelievers from around the world come to this place to serve at the same time that Christians who know the truth sometimes prefer their comfortable lives where there are no sick people, deformed from this kind of life, who are hopeless and ill. The clean, well-groomed and beautiful do not touch those who are lepers, dirty and forgotten. I thought about what the church is called to. Beautiful conferences, the desire to prosper and have a good life, new cars and houses, beautiful pictures after the Sunday service. Is that all? Is there more? I thought about who is ready to go and tell these people that they have a name. They are daughters and sons of the living God, they have a heavenly Father and even though their lives are coming to an end on this earth there is the One who is waiting for them on the other side of reality. He is waiting for them in heaven with open arms and with these words: "Welcome home". After I finished washing clothes I went to the rooftop to hang them on the line. I saw a cross and on it was written: "I thirst". And only one thing sounded within me. That Jesus still thirsts.. He desires in the faces of these people. Who is ready to go and fulfill His desire? Who is ready to go and feed Him? Clothe Him? Wash Him without being afraid of getting dirty and hold Him by the hand when the time to die comes? I went downstairs where all the women were sitting. One of them was sitting on the floor and screaming very loudly because her body was covered in boils. I walked up closer to her. She hugged me and looked at me and cried. I looked her in the eye and repeated: "I speak peace to you, the shalom of God, don't be afraid. Jesus is with you." This moment was amazing because I spoke in my own language and I felt that her spirit understood me and she calmed down. At the same time there was another women staring at me and to my surprise she began to speak to me in English. She was thirsty and weak but very beautiful. I rubbed her head with children's oil and massaged her hands with cream. They do this everyday for all of these people. In this moment we introduced ourselves to each other. She told me about her life, her daughters and family. She told me about her illness. I sat before her on my knees as she sat on a chair. I looked her in the eyes and continuously repeated how beautiful she is and how much Jesus loves her. Her name was Triptrimistra. We started to cry as we continued to look each other in the eyes and we felt that Jesus was near and that His love covered us. She told me that she knows that Jesus loves her and gave me permission to pray for her. As I hugged her I told her that she is not alone and that her heavenly Father is waiting for her at home. We continued to look at each other and with her dry hands she began to wipe away my tears. After lunch all of the volunteers were to walk the people to their beds for the night. I helped one woman to the restroom and into her bed. Her face was distorted from pain but she continued to look at me. At the same time another woman called me over to help her lie down in the bed. These people are completely helpless. I sat near her on the bed and she looked at me with a smile as she held my hand. She just wanted to hold my hand. I continued to look her in the eyes and tell her that Jesus is with her and I knew she understood every word. It was obvious that she did not have long to live.. Time was passing by quickly and towards the end of my shift I came up to Triptrimistra. Her bed was #7. I hugged her very hard and understood that this was probably the last time I would ever see her. As I left the building my heart was crushed. My prayer was that I wanted my heart to break for what broke God's heart. As I lay on the floor with my face towards the floor, I asked for one thing: "Jesus I don't want to return and make it seem like I didn't see anything. I don't want to live in comfort knowing that someone is groaning in pain and simply waiting for someone to hold them by the hand. I want to go deeper, head-on, and even at times not feel the floor beneath my feet, completely dependent on You. I want to know the depths of Your heart." I want to look into people's eyes more often, this is a completely different reality when you look into another's eyes.. The eyes speak of so much. To this day I see the eyes of these women and something within me has changed. They have hope. the Bible tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:1. "For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." How far we want to go with Jesus is dependent on us. Some are content when they are found in the water up to their ankles. Some are willing to immerse themselves completely. A few days ago God spoke into my heart that He loves every single person and that I shouldn't be upset when I want to go deeper and others don't. I don't have the strength to take someone deeper and this is not my responsibility. Jesus is the one who does this. But man has an option to choose whether he wants it or not. When you are standing in ankle-deep water you can control everything. You can feel the ground but the deeper you go the less you feel the floor beneath your feet and the moment comes when the floor no longer exists and you are in the water and in that same moment you give up all control of your life, your future, your desires, into the hands of your Creator. I don't want to come to a place where my heart says: "Enough already. Enough. I have already seen, I already know." I want more because our God is limitless and in Him there is always more, there is always depth and width and as you say: "I desire more", He will show you more because He promised to pour out on those that are hungry and thirsty. My desire is to go deeper. Deeper into His heart, deeper into His will, deeper into the needs of His people, deeper into His love. I desire to not only carry His love but be His love because God is love and we were created in His likeness and the more we gaze upon Him the more we are transformed into His image.