Dear Friends and Family-
A few days ago, I was in the midst of saying goodbye to my dear beloved friends and sisters at Sari Bari, my community and my life in Kolkata. I was flooded with emotions, broken heartedness, fear of the unknown future, doubt if taking Sabbatical was the right choice. Now sitting at my dear friend Daphne’s home, having spent a couple of days getting loved on by Jared and Julie Landreth, the feelings have lessened but still linger and I wonder what I am supposed to do with all these feelings.
I have spent a good part of the last 10 years in Kolkata where if I am honest, everyday has been a battle. A fight for justice, a fight to love, a fight to give mercy when I have been hurt, a fight for a seat on a crowded metro or even a fight simply not be cheated or taken for a ride by a local taxi driver. As a fighter or at least one who has had to fight to survive life in Kolkata, I have been very well equipped with weapons of war. I have a clenched jaw and a hard face that appears without my permission and a struggle to trust, a healthy fear of men who stand too close and some sweet evasive moves to ward off potential harm both physical and emotional.
As I was getting ready to depart, I reflected to Beth that I think this may have been the hardest year of my life. It began more than a year ago when I transitioned out of the field director position and the strain of the transition was hard on relationships. And then almost exactly a year ago our friend Pornima was murdered and her loss was followed by many other losses. Our community has engaged one trauma after another in the last year. I think we are all ready for something new. Ready for a little more life, a little more hope and a little more space to be renewed by the presence of Jesus.
So my hope is to be an intercessor for my community even as I Hope to receive the gift of sabbatical.
When I departed Kolkata, I told the ladies, when I departed the USA ten years ago, there were many hard goodbyes and since then my mind and heart remember with joy all the people, family and friends, whose presence I miss in my day to life. And now, so many years later, it is the women of Sari Bari, my community in Kolkata, my dear friends Upendra and Radha, the names of the women at Sari Bari and Kate and Emma whose names will be coming to mind and whose lack of presence will be felt deeply over the next 8 months. I find this turn around in perspective to be a gift. I am thankful to built such beautiful relationships in India. And just as I have been drawn to return to the states to soak up the love of family, in the same way I will be drawn to return to India because that is where my heart has planted itself and grown new roots.
A week before my departure, I was able to covenant with the Upendra and Beth and with the community for the next two years. And I am thankful to have been sent out with promise and to be able to return renewed and re-visioned and maybe even made new myself.
I have new email for sabbatical and I would love to hear from you about your life and what God is speaking. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org and my cell is 541-530-3116.
Thanks for giving me the gift of this time and many thanks to all of you who sent cards and gifts to help me get off to a good start!
With love, Sarah