Mavelikara, Kerala, India

Our last weekend trip for the semester has come to a close.  Kerala was unlike any other place we have been to in India thus far.  The scenery was incredibly green and the temp incredibly humid.  While in Kerala I learned more about business, economics and development.  Some of the sights I visited was the Arabian Sea, Amma’s Ashram, the place where the Apostle Thomas came to India and the backwaters.  The backwaters are a systems of rivers all connected to one another.  The Kerala backwaters are on National Geographic’s top 50 list and is a place where many tourists visit when traveling to India.

When we got to the backwaters I had a bit of a heavy spirit.  With all the information about development and oppression and challenges regarding business I was starting to lose faith in humanity.  I am a possibilities girl.  I want to think the best of people and believe that anything is possible; that the world we are living in doesn’t have to be the way it is.  But with all this information I was starting to doubt myself and along with that the rest of the world.  Not only that, but at the end of the week I have to debate, in front of my professors, whether or not Globalization is good for India…and I was placed on the Pro side…not a good place to be when you have lost all faith in humanity.  So that was one topic sucking the life out of me.

Like I mentioned before we also went to visit the Ashram of a Hugging “Saint”, Amma.  This woman is known for spiritually impacting people through her hugs.  She advocates for love and human works with her mantra being “Embrace the World”.  Those who visit her ashram are considered her devotees as she is the guru, or a spiritual teacher manifesting the powers of the gods.  We talked to one of her devotees to gain more understanding of how Amma has played into her life.  At this point I’m still processing the whole thing, but left being really annoyed at this hugging woman and the trance she seemed to have over God’s children.  This experience really weighed on me.  It made me sad, frustrated, mad, and also confused at what the heck I am supposed to do about this.

So needless to say I was in serious need of a pick-me-up.

It’s pretty amazing how I serve a God that knows all my needs and knows just how to minister to my heart.  I was sitting on the boat thinking deep thoughts and hoping that God would show me some silver lining…and then we hit a sunset.  I’m a totally sucker for sunsets.  It was big and beautiful and orange (my favorite color) and took up the entire sky.  Like a huge billboard shouting “Did you forget who I am?  I am God!  I got this!  It probably won’t look like what you think, but I’ve got a plan.  All I’m asking you to do is participate in the things I am ALREADY doing in this world.  Don’t lose faith just yet.  I got this.” 

I feel like I’ve had this conversation with God a thousand times before.  When it comes to religion and caste and gender dynamics and food and poverty and every other topic I’ve had to wrestle with since arriving in India.  My problem is that I want to see it.  God I KNOW you can handle this, but SHOW me.  I want to see temples crumbling at the sound of your name and people, whom I’ve come to love, love you.  I want to see change for the better.

And that’s all I have to say. 

That’s where I’m at.  I’m in a place where I know God is good and I can feel him stirring.  I can see him working in my life and in the little things, but in the big picture of global business and enterprise and a woman gripping the attention of thousands of people, what the heck is he doing.  I guess that’s the cru of faith…“being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see”.

Ashley Sider