Come Away with Me

I’ve been waiting for just the right time to tell you that I (Melissa) am going, along with four other bloggers, with Compassion International to Kolkata (Calcutta), India. The “right” time has quickly turned into “oh my word, SERIOUSLY, we are leaving Friday!!!” And so here you have it. The five of us will be led by a handful of staunch Compassion-folk on an exciting adventure; a journey I can only guess will be filled with moments of piercing sadness but also bursts of laughter and stimulating conversation. A journey that engages and confronts all of the senses in an unexpected way and that makes an impression that lasts not just a week or two, but for a lifetime. I will be attempting to put this journey into words for you straight from Kolkata on this blog next week, April 26- May 2.

The first day I learned of this opportunity to go along with Compassion to Kolkata, I knew I was supposed to go. Period. Sometimes the Lord makes something unmistakably clear. I won’t ever forget the seriousness in Shaun Groves’ voice as he said, “Take your time making your decision, Melissa.” He said, “I’ve never been to Kolkata but from what I’ve heard, this may be one of the more difficult trips.” Now, I’ve heard the dude speak and sing and I thought he was supposed to be funny. Well, he wasn’t throwing the jokes. He actually sounded really serious. Even so, I didn’t have to take my time making the decision. It was just one of those moments. I take that back, I did have to ask Mr. Fitzpatrick what he thought first and he said, “You’ve gotta go. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.” I was actually stunned by his absolute selflessness. Well, let’s just say that the closer it gets to Friday the less I am seeing him effuse this virtue. Actually he is getting quite controlling. Every time I so much as cough he looks at me like, “And you’re going to Kolkata?” *Grin.* I guess it was easier for him to imagine it all when it was still months away.

Let me tell you, over the past month I have gotten some crazy reactions from people about my going to Kolkata. Most people look at me like I’ve lost my mind and I know exactly what they’re thinking… “Why not Paris or Amsterdam or somewhere even slightly pleasurable?” I want to say to them, “Life isn’t all about fun.” But I don’t. I just keep my mouth shut. And anyway, they obviously haven’t met any of the team I am going along with. It’s an entertaining group of people. A group that I suspect could have a little tiny bit of fun even in the darkest of places. Can’t keep the sarcasm from dripping off my computer screen when I glance over their emails. Oh, and I even had one girl tell me that India is “impossibly filthy” and that I need to watch out for the rats. The negative reactions were becoming tiresome, so I was pleased when the popular, Oscar-winning movie “Slumdog Millionaire” finally came out on DVD. The timing was totally ordained for us, don’t you think? I finally started getting some positive responses from people. You’ve gotta love pop-culture. I’ve been conveniently leaving out that we aren’t going to Mumbai and that Compassion International probably cares very little about us getting to meet the beautiful Latika in the flesh.

In spite of all the strange reactions I have gotten, there really are no words to express my excitement about going to Kolkata. I know that I am going to see poverty unlike anything I have ever seen before, but at the same time, who better to see it with than Compassion International – one of the world’s most effective Christian relief organizations? We aren’t going just to sit back and observe the poverty. We’re going with an organization that actually has the resolve to try and do something about it. I don’t know exactly what to expect and I’m trying not to assume much. My heart’s desire is just to go – to go with my heart and mind open. And by the way, I actually get to meet two of the children that Colin and I sponsor through Compassion. Like I actually get to have lunch with them.

I will tell you more about the details of our itinerary as next week unfolds, but for now I just wanted to tell you the news and ask for your thoughts and prayers as we prepare ourselves to head out this Friday. If you would be so kind and thoughtful to pray, here are my personal prayer requests:

1. Pray that my own cynicism wouldn’t rob me of a blessing. I’ve gotta be honest, I feel sort of faux for going on a trip like this. I’m not a missionary. I’m not an activist. And I’m certainly not a nun. I have the “comfort” (whatever significance that word really holds) of knowing I’m coming back to the United States in two weeks. That is the honest truth. And so I fight my own self-defeating thoughts. Thoughts like, “Melissa, you’re really nothing more than a tourist, nothing more than a weak poser wannabe missionary going over to Kolkata and acting like you’re some Mother Theresa type.” Since I have an all-or-nothing personality, I tend to feel defeated if I can’t go all out. For example, since I am not taking a vow of poverty or moving to work in Kolkata for the rest of my days, it makes me want to shrink back from doing anything at all. My own personal fear of false piety could keep me from entering into this experience and I don’t want it to. I want every fiber in my being to be impacted. Pray for me – that I’m not my own worst enemy.

2. Pray for Colin’s peace of mind. It is his responsibility to care for me; so naturally, he is a little concerned about my safety and whatnot. Please pray the Lord would have something unique in this experience for him as well, even though he will be in the States. He is, after all, as involved as I am with Compassion. He was actually the one who suggested that we sponsor our first Compassion child, Aimar, who lives in Colombia. It wasn’t even my idea. In that moment, I was actually more concerned about hiding our cash under the hardwood planks of our apartment. Right next to the one hundred pound bag of rice and ginormous jar of peanut butter. Kidding. Sort of.

3. Pray for my health. Please pray that my own physical weaknesses would not be a hindrance to me or to the team. I’ve had a series of intense migraines for the past few months, and while I plan to stuff Excedrin Migraine in every crevice of my suitcase, please pray for a supernatural release from these migraines. Even if it is only for this two week period. (Praise Him – He has given me a release in the past week, but I do pray that they will not return during the trip).

Oh, and I almost forgot, I need your advice. I am taking little care packages for both of our Compassion children in Kolkata. As you know, Colin and I don’t have our own kids, so I need your help. I have no idea what kids like. I consider myself an adult person and buying for kids does not come naturally to me. We have a nine-year-old boy named Manot and a twelve-year-old girl named Pramila. What do nine-year-old boys like? And what do twelve-year-old girls like? Now, I don’t want to rush over to India in a naïve Santa-Claus costume with a bagful of toys. I’m not going to put on a red superwoman cape and presume I could save their day. I can’t save their day. But at the same time, I want to make their day. I want to make their day special without making them feel overwhelmed or intimidated by too many gifts. In your opinion, where is the line? Do you have any thoughts? Ideas?



201 Responses to “Come Away with Me”

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  1. 151
    Anonymous says:

    Melissa, I love your honesty about your very human very real fears about your mission trip. This was my experience with my 1st and only-to-date mission trip to the other side of the world: the moment I signed-on with God in my heart is the moment He partnered with me to erase every tee-tiny fear & protect me from them; from travel sickness to almost getting stuck in Dubai to spiritual inadequacy to food sickness to our physical safety…God's got you girlfriend!
    Whatever (fear) you can dish out, He's already got you.
    Heather G.
    Charlotte NC

  2. 152
    Jenn says:

    I just had to comment on this post. First of all,why don’t you swing on over to kathmandu nepal and visit here while you are at it (right next to india).. that’s where I have lived for the past 2 years as a m*ss*ionary and I would love to get to hang out and host you guys even for a night! 🙂
    I have been a “real m” here for the past two years.. I am also about your age. I can honestly say that we LOVE to have people come no matter how short the time. And anytime those people come they leave a mark for Christ on the people here. We need people to come and sow so more seed on this hard ground.. so don’t let satan tell you are useless or should not be there.. no you are CALLED, SENT and will impact.

    I have been to Kalkutta and India many times. You will be overwhelmed by the smells and sights, you will at times be so overwhelmed by the poverty, but you will also be overwhelmed by our God of love as He allows you to love on those there! And you will IMPACT!
    As for the gifts: I help run an oprhanage and I can testify that Indian and nepalee kids LOVE soccer.. so that would be a winner.. then pens, papers (cute ones) because the ones here are always boring and plain. For the girl they love sparkly hair bands, school supplies ect and dolls. Really kids here seriously get excited about the smallest things.. it’s so cute.
    Just know this girl just a country away will be praying hard for your trip and know you should not apologize for coming for such a short time. We mP*issP*ionaries love when people come.. especially when they get to hug us also and remind us of a taste of home
    Many blessings
    Jenn in nepal

  3. 153
    Becky says:

    I just got on the blog, my daugher has been writing an english paper for 2 days…boy look what I missed.
    Melissa—– you take care sweetie, I have already prayerd for you, as far a care packages go, I love to give those. Take small things so you can take several. I suggest
    Shoes, personal items like a hairbrush, comb, maybe cothes like jeans, shirt and blouses….match box cars, of corse candy, books. something special from where you live …from you heart.
    Of course you will let us know when you return, and how it went.
    Colin- keep busy buddy, I pray for you too……oh yeah, Mom and Dad as well.


  4. 154
    jglenn says:

    My husband has worked for Compassion for the past five years–they’re such an awesome ministry!

    The things that work best for gifts really are quite simple. Compassion sells a kit that includes a back pack,soccer ball and a hand pump(allows you to pack the ball deflated so it doesn’t take up too much room). Bubbles are always a hit–though tricky for packing w/ the new TSA rules. Simple toys–stuffed animals, dolls, etc.. are also popular.

    One unique item, if you can get your hands on one, is a polaroid camera–it allows you to take pics of you with the kids and give them to them. They LOVE having their picture taken!

    You are really going to enjoy your trip–it will be life changing! I’ve never had the opportunity to go with my husband to the Compassion development centers, but just from the photos and stories he brings back–I feel like I have. Have a great trip!

  5. 155
    Melissa says:

    Jenn in Nepal- your comment touched my heart and honestly I just love knowing that you are just a short distance away, even if we don’t get to meet. Thank you.

    Anonymous who has family in Kolkata, you did not leave your email address or contact info but I would have loved to have it.

    Much love to all of you and thank you for all your sweet prayers and recommendations. You are all precious to me.

  6. 156
    grandmaoftwo says:

    I’ve carried backpacks filled to children in Mexico as well as a local Jr. High that we support each and every year. I would suggest a pair of p.j.’s, some crayons, drawing paper, hair ribbons, toiletries.

    I’m always amazed when I hear someone who is willing to leaver her comfort zone for trips such as this. Your heart will be transformed, your mind as well.

    I’ll remember to hold you up in prayer and Colin as well.

    Be safe….

  7. 157
    kathy pink bicycle arkansas says:


    I have already prayed for your migranes. I suffer from them too.

    IF not too bad I can take Excedrin Tylenol with Caffeine no Aspirin …allergic. Please talk to your doctor about Relpax. I promise it works if you take it within about 1/2 hour of an onset and you know when Excedrin will not work.

    I don’t have to take them often. I took one last week after my car was totaled by an uninsured driver. That was the first one since Christmas.

    Praying that your trip will be successful and that you will touch lives and that you will be touched and that you will find some fun moments in the midst.

  8. 158
    Paige from Alabama says:

    I teach 12 year old girls all day every day – they crave bags!! Every few days someone will receive a new, cute bag. We all have to look and investigate and make over. Right now they are all into the Kavu keeper bags – a “just right” for young girls. Do a google on it – they’re easy to get.

    I live with boys – anything baseball or football for my sporty guy. A cool art set with lots of fresh paper for my artistic one.

    Hope this helps. Have the time of your life, girl.

  9. 159
    Anonymous says:

    Dear Melissa,
    PTL for your willingness to “Go” and for your husband to be behind you all the way! We Siesta’s will be praying for your whole group of lay-missionaries that you all will have your eyes opened to see the benefits and blessings we take for granted here in our God Blessed America. No murmuring or complaining will come out of mouths who see those mouths that are starving for a morsel of food or taste of something good. May you all walk as innocent and blameless children of God, above reproach, and may you shine forth in the love of Jesus in a dark place that is calling forth many son’s to glory.

    Praying that your gift choices will be perfect and bring much joy to the children. I can just see their joy-filled faces. So little can mean so much. I am thrilled you are up for the journey by faith and going to a land of many contrasts. Shine, Jesus shine!

    Please keep us “hooked up” with pic’s for LPM blog. I agree with the one siesta who said she was visual and wanted a pic of your missions team to pray over. “Yes, and Amen!” What a wonderful God ordained opportunity for you! Can’t wait to hear the glorious and I’m sure very real and raw reports.
    Pam H.
    Buena Park, CA.

  10. 160
    Anonymous says:

    Melissa, I just got the chills from reading your blog. I will be leaving for Zambia on June 16th and will be there for two weeks. I am praying for you as I pray for myself. That God will ordain our trip and direct our everyday in a way that you and I and all other will be impacted with the love of Christ. God bless you, Nuvia

    OH, I may just borrow some of your thoughts (ideas) to add to my support letter if that is OK with you. Thanks.

  11. 161
    Kathleen Cantwell says:

    Melissa, I can’t speak as one who has been to India, but one of my bff has been to either India, Columbia, Thailand, Guatelmala, Ecuador every full summer for the past 19 year. She is a Peace and Social Justice Activist who uses her training as a therapist to bring voice to the voiceless. We are so different, activist and Women’s Ministry leader/teacher. I spent many years feeling bad for not doing all the amazing work that my friend has done, and yet her continual message to me, no matter what I am privileged to experience, is to ask “what is mine to do with this?” She swears she could never ever teach the bible, too scary….The first years in India, my friend worked up close and personal with Mother Teresa, and this is where the message was born. Simply be an instrument in the had of God, no matter where He has placed you! I have not a doubt the experience will be a slice of life. Blessings dear sister…I so enjoy your deep thinking and how you share that with us. How wonderful that Colin allows you the freedom to operate in answering the call. I have one like that too.


  12. 162
    Anonymous says:

    I have been to Guinea West Africa twice, for dental missions. One of the most fun things I took was jacks. The kind you play with the bouncy ball and play with the kids. They seemed to get it, like they had played before, but we spent a long time playing, and a bunch of kids can play at one time, and they all cheered each other on, which was cool. Take tooth brushes, but floss is probably overkill. A digital camera was my ticket to photo taking. Even in the public market, where they don’t like us to take pictures, if you take a picture of something benign, (like a bunch of chickens bound together by there legs so they won’t get away until their legs are cut off so they can be sold) and then show it to the local people, then they will pose for you and help you get some great photos. They just don’t want you to take pictures home of their poverty and ridicule them, which we know we won’t, but they have been told we do. Play with the kids. Kiss the babies. Give a bottle of water to a mom. Sit with the women. Shake hands with your left hand (they wipe with the right so it is understood to be unclean) If you are sensitive to MSG, don’t eat the sauce, just the rice, cuz all the sauce has a bouillon base which has an MSG base. I wondered why I kept getting headaches. Soccer is big, a ball would be good. Money to the parents or guardians is best, then they can get what they need, if they are trustworthy, sorry, it’s just how it is. The kids wear flip flops, t-shirts,shorts, skirts, and the girls love hair doo-daas. Clips, pony tail holders, ribbons. Have a great time. Take some sleep aids if you allow yourself this type of thing. Smile alot. Pray for the leaders. Try to see each person, not just the sceene.
    Love You! Pam

  13. 163
    Anonymous says:

    this might be too late, but have you tried Imitrex for your migraines. It changed my life!

  14. 164
    Teresa says:

    Having a nine year old boy of my own, and a husband that has been deployed twice to Iraq – they took sports things to give to the kids. Baseballs, footballs, soccer balls, kick balls, frisbees and things like that. They also took candy and lots of it. The kids loved candy like suckers and penny candy we take for granted. They also took them pencils, pens & papers to draw with. Also i would imagine jacks, marbles, checkers, and dominoes and simple card games like old maid and go fish would be great. I know my boys love these games.
    I will pray for you on your trip.

  15. 165
    Juli Jarvis says:

    I’m so thrilled you’re going with Compassion — you’re going to be blessed in so many ways that you cannot even imagine! I suggest you give them each a small photo album and explain that later you’ll send photos of this time together with your next letter to them. It’s a nice keepsake! You could also put a few photos of your own family, pets or community in it for starters. It also gives you something to talk about when you meet them.

    Remember, above all, that YOU are the greatest gift they will receive — for you are coming in Christ with sincere interest, friendship and love. Nothing you can buy will trump the gift you have of knowing one another and getting better acquainted through this special visit.

    I’ll be praying — and reading your posts!

  16. 166
    bigdogmom says:

    You have no idea how excited I am for you to be going on this trip. I do pray for the Lord to just bless your socks off and at the same time plant a seed of deep compassion within you.
    My 12 year old daugther is still Barbie crazy. She loves to color and “doodle” Of course, she loves stuffed animals, too. She loves books too. Not sure this helps at all. I will be praying for you.

  17. 167 says:

    Oh how I wish I was going with you!The next best thing is that I will be praying for you. I have been to South Africa 3 times and leave again in 3 weeks.(my 18 yr old is a missionary there serving her second year) My first trip to the townships ,in which the poverty was overwhelming, marked me forever.The Lord kept me up one night and through scripture instructed me to view the people living in poverty through His eyes instead of mine.This helped me deal with the reality of their situation.For 45$ we bought a propane stove for the women to cook for the children on.We are now known as the people of the stove and they make a big deal about us whenever we return.My two most well received gifts were little pocket mirrors with a scripture on the back I had printed at a promo company saying that they were God’s special treasure.The other gift is a poloroid picture that I took with them.I wanted them to know GOD LOVED them so much HE sent me across the world to assure them of that fact.(the picture was a reminder of His great love) A simple bracelette of braided yarn might be cool also with extra that they would probably sell.Candy is always exciting for kids.I cannot wait to hear your stories.

  18. 168
    Anonymous says:

    Melissa, you are amazing! Your realness and humility warms my heart- Thank you for your honesty…and guts! God is up to something major in your life right now:) As for the kids…I don’t have any, so no adivce there:( Peace be with you.

  19. 169
    Anonymous says:

    None of what I am saying is meant to discourage you in anyway. If you can have some knowledge before hand, then maybe the shock can wear off just a little before you arrive. My husband went to India recently on a business trip. He was seen as an American businessman, so his experience is probably totally different from what yours will be. Children would run up to his taxi to beg, then run back to their moms and apparantly were living on the streets(diapers are a luxury item). There is a stark contrast between the rich and the poor. People do not try to find the nearest bathroom. The smells there are strong. As a Christian he had a difficult time seeing people worship at their altars (he visited some temples while sightseeing during his down time). And the man in him was frustrated because he couldn’t “fix it” and his heart sort of shut down. He was bombarded by people trying to make money from him. He would go to a store, someone would open the door for him and then expect to be given a tip. By the end of the trip he would get in the taxi, roll up the window and slump down in his seat – so he wouldn’t have to face the children begging (he was running out of money). Like I said, as a American businessman, he was targeted in a different way. On a positive note, God is in charge of your trip and His calling is quite different than my husband’s company! My husband did not catch any kind of bug. He was able to buy cappachinno’s and they sold corn there like you can sometimes buy those candied nuts at the kiosk’s in the mall. You can get the corn mixed with diffent spices. He felt safe and never threatened.
    Gifts, flip flops. Husband said wet wipes, bandaids (maybe those cute ones with hello kitty and spiderman), toothbrush and toothpaste.

  20. 170
    Kristy says:

    Praying for you and for the whole team. I related to so many things you said – as if I would feel the same way.
    About the migraines – I suffer also, especially when there is something different going on in my life, i.e. – stress!
    I pray God has access to every part of your heart and mind – and you have an amazing experience – and that Colin will be blessed and comforted by God almighty!

  21. 171
    melleb says:

    Will be praying for you and your team as you leave for this amazing journey . Things for the kids — i have a 10 yr. old son– baseball and glove or leggos– i have 2 girls and i have to go with nail polish !!! May you be blessed beyond measure and have an unforgettable time with God.

  22. 172
    katiegfromtennessee says:

    Melissa, God is going to do something that will bless you, I know it! Colin is right, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity! I will pray for you, for all your requests:) No cynicism, no worry, and healthiness of body. I have a 12-yr old little sis, so I guess I could help there…since they live in India, and bible study materials are prob hard to find, maybe a small Bible in a good translation or a Bible study focused on living out faith in tough circumstances? One that offers promises of God as Him being the Source of perseverance of faith amidst hardship and poverty…

    Praying for you, it is exciting!


  23. 173
    Brittnie says:

    I am so excited for you! I will certainly be praying for you and Shawn and the other team members.

    My heart as been in India for several years now and just recently I found out why! We are adopting a baby girl (Bella)from India. We hope to be in India very soon so we can bring her home.

    Can’t wait to hear how your trip goes and to see what all God does through your team for His Kingdom and His glory!


  24. 174
    Kristib says:

    Hello Melissa

    It will be my pleasure to pray for you while you are away! My husband has been to India to work with Hopegivers International, so I have some ideas on how to pray for you.

    Enjoy this exciting experience!

    Much love!

  25. 175
    Anonymous says:

    I agree with the others balls for boys and dolls for girls. I will be praying for you Have a wonderful and safe trip.

  26. 176
    Anonymous says:

    take a polaroid camera and leave them with a picture that will hold memories for a lifetime.

  27. 177
    Anonymous says:

    For the girl, I’d get her something like a journal and some special colored pens for writing. For the boy – get him some sort of nerf ball or a set of walkie talkies. I hope the Lord continues to bring you to mind so I can pray about your headaches.

  28. 178
    Anonymous says:

    Hey, Melissa!

    Wow, I read your post today and felt SO jealous!(as someone else said, TOTALLY with a godly jealousy, of course! ;o) My husband and I have been blessed to adopt 3 children from India, and our first adoption was from Kolkata…..My trip there changed my life forever! I’d walk down the street and almost stumble on a leper with no fingers hidden behind a van, and my heart would pound to see toddlers hanging on window bars at an orphanage, like monkeys at a zoo. Every time I’m in India, I can’t stop thinking “Why, God? Why them and not me?” He broke my heart with His grace to me and reminds me over and over, “That to whom much is given, much will be required…” Going to India is one of the most humbling experiences of my life.

    Check out my friend Sarah’s blog about her life caring for special needs orphans in India:

    I’ll pray for your trip and can’t wait to read of all the Lord does!

    Lisa H.

  29. 179
    Emmy says:

    I love your honesty… beautiful… I will be praying!

  30. 180
    Sheila says:

    I think you are very brave Melissa and I look forward to reading your posts. I’ll believe they’ll help me overcome my own timidity and perhaps I’ll do something like this too someday. You are attempting a great thing for God and expecting a great thing from God. You may count on my prayers.

  31. 181
    Jackie says:

    Sweet Melissa, You are a treasure. You are not a poser. You are God’s girl on this assignment. He made it quickly evident to you that you are to go. I will pray that you don’t second guess that. I have been to India on a short term mission and it definitely changed my life. And I believe God used me to encourage “the saints.” (We went for that purpose.) Me. In my weakness. Amazing. He will use you too. Our pastor said something this last weekend that goes somthing like this. We are here to do the will of God until He decides it is time for us to leave, until then we are bullet proof. Tell Colin. 🙂 Our pastor left two days after that sermon (yesterday) for Sudan. One last thing. While I was in India I had the privelege of being at an orphan house dedication. This was their second house and newly constructed so they were dedicating it to the Lord. At that time I gave them some children’s books. One of them was your sweet Mama’s book about the princess. So you see, your heritage is all over India (I know Siesta Mama has been) and they are ready for you.

    My prayers are with you. And I can’t wait to hear (and see) all about it when you get back.

    Much love,

    Jax in Alaska

  32. 182
    Anonymous says:

    I “just” heard about your blog from your mom…well not really! I’m doing the Believing God study and she might have mentioned it on the video!! 🙂 I totally am loving the study!!!! LOVE, love, love your mom and my wish would be to meet her in person one day!

    As for traveling with Angie..don’t know her neither BUT read her blog pretty regularily! LOVE her as well! 🙂 Be prepared…..IF you sit by her she may NEED to hold your hand! It’s well-known she pretty much hates to fly!

    I’m with you! If I were going to India, it would be a “God-Thing” for sure! I’m a product of my American culture and being “uncomfortable” in any sense is an understatement. I will pray for your trip!!!

    Blessings to you and all your traveling companions!!!
    E. from Wisconsin

  33. 183
    Laura Smith says:

    Hi Melissa-
    I am so happy for you and the opportunity you have approaching. I, like you, do not consider myself as a missionary, however, I have been blessed with two life-changing mission trips to Honduras and Romania. I am sorry for any negatives you have heard. With both of my trips, I found that as I sought to “bless” those in the poverty-stricken places I visited, it was ME who received the belssing! I do not have enough words to describe the feelings!

    To your question:
    Although we took lots of small toys and gifts to the children (they loved chewing gum), the thing they seemed to enjoy almost more that gifts was the opportunity to give to their families and neighbors. We took small care packages (soap, toothpaste, shampoo…)and let the children help give them away. It was just amazing to see how proud and happy they were to have the chance to give something to someone. It seemed like some of them had never been able to do that. It was so special. So my advice would be to bring something that your children could give to their families.

    I hope your trip is great!!!

  34. 184
    Jodi says:

    Dear Melissa–
    A few years ago I was in your very shoes…married without children and presented with the opportunity to meet my Compassion kids…I just KNEW I had to go. My husband also grew apprehensive as the time drew nearer 🙂 Compassion takes SUCH excellent care of its groups–safety is primary concern…I would travel with them again in a heartbeat. For me, the heart of the trip was meeting Alex and Telma face to face…that we could hug and talk and ask questions and laugh…and treasure those memories for a lifetime. That was enough “purpose” for me–precious to them, and PRECIOUS to me! Among other things like toothbrushes and toothpaste, soap, towels and sheets for their families, I brought a soccer ball for my boy–he was elated and played with it for some time while we hung out, and a long jump rope for my girl–that way the three of us could play together too. Alex did ask me for a bike 🙂 so if you have any way to pull that off for your child, you’ll be a star! Now I have a 1 1/2 year old with another babe on the way…I’m so thankful God allowed me to travel with Compassion when He did. Blessings on you Melissa!
    p.s. I exercised the utmost caution with food and water but got hit with the bug anyway…thankfully someone on the trip had antibiotics along just in case, which saved me for being down too long. I recommend.

  35. 185
    cheryl says:

    I understand all your prayer concerns and ask that you also pray for me and my family, We leave for India in 4 weeks. we are going to some remote villages outside of Rajahmundry. We have no idea what to expect. We are not going with a group, just us. Me , my husband, my daughter and her husband and one other man. We will be helping in an orphanage and going in to the villages with a young local pastor ” to see what the Lord would have us do”. It is not a big well organized mmission trip, just 5 people who heard God say GO. Please pray for our saftly, our health and for us to be open and available to whatever the Lord says do. We leave May 39th and return on June 10th.

  36. 186
    Siesta OC says:



  37. 187
    Anonymous says:

    I would suggest a photo of you and Colin that is laminated and not too big. Plus maybe something they can share with their friends and family, like some postcards of Texas all the same so no one will fight Maybe the bluebonnets or longhorns
    will pray for you all
    Maybe your job in this is to bring light and attention through places like this, not necessarily to devote your time there but your firsthand knowledge of there here both now and when you return.

  38. 188
    Texas says:

    I have just returned from a compassion trip in Bolivia. I also got to meet my sponsored child. It was a trip of a lifetime and somrthing I will never forget and I will never be the same. The children will love anything that you bring them. They are more excited to see your smiling face and great big hugs. The girls liked make-up, nail polish, anything for there hair or games. The boys were into any sports stuff, games, things to build. Bubbles were a big hit with all the kids. They went crazy over stickers. I pray that you have a incredible trip and that you are blessed more than you can ever imagine. May God use you and this group to do great and mighty things and I can’t wait to hear about it.

  39. 189
    Melissa says:


    I hope it’s not too late to suggest something for your sweet kids. Legos are a great gift for boys that age. I also thought that some kind of hat for either of the kids would be good. Nail polish, lip gloss and jewelry are great for preteen girls. They will love anything that you bring to them.

    I’ll be praying for you.
    Melissa in New Mexico

  40. 190
    Anonymous says:

    What a wonderful blessing and opportunity. We sponsor 3 girls from Compassion so we know what a privilege it is to partner with them. You get to meet your children. That will be a gift! If there is a way to take a photo with them and leave it with them that would be a wonderful gift to them. I know God’s grace will be on you and I pray you will embrace it. I will pray for Colin also. A few years ago I went on a medical mission to Honduras. Our preacher joked that my husband was the “picture of tranquility” while I was gone.(NOT!) May God’s grace be on all your flights and connections, luggage and transportation. Can’t wait to hear from you. In Jesus’ Love Kathy Knoblock

  41. 191
    Shellie Paparazzo says:

    I have no idea about 12 year old girls. I don’t have one yet. My oldest daughter is 8. But I have a 10 year old son, so I know lots about 9 year old boys. They are very easy to please. All he needs is some kind of ball. They love sports.

  42. 192
    Jackie says:

    Melissa — Just a word on controlling your migraines, as I suffer from them, too.

    Watch your sugar intake. It gives me incredible migraines.

    Bandera, TX

  43. 193
    Cheri-Beri says:

    God bless you, Melissa. I’m sure this will be a difficult trip, but for some reason, I feel it’s the right thing to do.

    I can’t wait to read everything you share with us!

  44. 194
    puzzlepiecesista says:


    Your on my heart tonight in a BIG way and I have just been having a little prayer time with our Father about you and this trip to Calcutta.

    1) I have prayed that your own cynicism will not hinder this trip and any “faux” feelings you have for going would be eliminated from your sweet mind. I am such an all or nothing personality too, so I completley get you on this one. “Our Sweet Melissa” Go with God and allow Him to break your heart with the things that break His. I am so proud of you, you just really have no idea!!

    2) I will be praying for your peace as well as Colin’s peace and that God does include him in this in a very unique and tangible way. I pray this becomes his personal experience with you as well.

    3) In the MIGHTY POWERFUL NAME OF JESUS I rebuke every lying headache that would try to attach itself to Melissa on this trip. God do what only YOU can do as our GREAT PHYSCIAN, and healer. Do not allow Melissa to have any physical limitations that would hinder from fully experiencing all that you have for her on this trip.
    Put a mighty hedge of protection around her and give your angels charge over this one Lord, In Jesus Name.

    This is a gift Melissa, go and let yourself experience this thing to the full. I pray everyone you touch, you leave a god-print behind on them and because of that, they will never be the same again. I’m so proud of you girl!!!

    Boys love balls (tennis balls they can stick in there pockets)
    Girls love stickers, colored pencils, glitter pens. And always, don’t forget some sweets!!

    I am on my knees for you right now in Redmond, WA at about 11:30pm. God’s got some great plans for you….this is BIG and I can feel it.

    Much love to you and please keep us posted.

    Angela – Redmond, WA

  45. 195
    Vicki Sandifer says:

    I have been praying for you this week. I am so excited for you – for your mission trip. I LOVE mission trips and I KNOW you are a missionary! That is how God sees you, so I have no problem seeing you like that as well. I know the Lord has gone before you and I know He has your back – the word says He is your rear guard. I know He is in you and beside you – Girl you are closed in and in Jesus!! You go and spread that smile of yours to the nations. Do it in the very Name of Jesus. WE do all go with you – you will be covered in prayer you mighty child of God.
    Love you,
    P.S. Can not wait to hear all that God is going to do in you this week!! And of course for those you serve!

  46. 196
    Sandra says:

    Wish I had read this earlier in the week and I would have given some suggestions. However, I would like to say that you will have an experience like no other. While I have not been to India, I have been with Compassion International to the Philippines. I went two years ago and had the honor of meeting my sponsored child. What an awesome feeling for me and (believe it or not) Melissa my sponsored child. We have always written each other often but the personal touch is so much there now that we have met. I hope to go see her graduate high school in a few years.
    I also sponsored another child that I met there. His name is Alvin and he is precious. I got to meet his mother and baby sister.
    Compassion is an awesome organization and I beg anyone who reads this to sponsor a child. You truly make a life changing difference for them in innumerable ways.

  47. 197
    Anonymous says:

    Migraines… Have you tried taking CoQ 10 and 4 vit b 110 mg every morning My specialist also gave me a beta blocker ( blood pressure) because they have found out that bp beta blockers stop the pain
    Oh my heart goes out to you Migraines …. what can you say… incapacitated…I will pray
    deb in El Dorado, AR

  48. 198
    Veronica says:


    I’ve been to India several times and it changed my life forever. I pray that you will be impacted for the rest of your life.

    I had the pleasure of meeting the child we sponsor through Compassion from Ethiopia last summer. It was incredible.

    I brought her a backpack filled with all kinds of girly things (lip gloss, perfume, etc). They are just like any other child. I also gave her a bible engraved with her name (she absolutely loved it!!) along with a sterling silver bracelet. I wanted to give her gifts that would last a lifetime.

    I’ll be returning to India this fall. Once India captures your heart you’ll never be the same.

    May the Lord richly bless you.

  49. 199
    Anonymous says:

    Anything that you bring in love to these children will be welcomed by them. Maybe some kind of simple game, jump rope, or hair brush. I will be praying for your headaches. Have a wonderful time.
    God Bless,
    Julie Wilkes

  50. 200
    Anonymous says:

    I was plagued with migraines right when I got married too. Turns out they are directly related to my hormones and monthly cycle…praying you find help. Progesterone cream finally helped me.

    I’m just catching up on this blog now and today is when you’re coming home. But, my friend named Melissa C. was in Calcutta at the same time!! So I prayed for you anyway! Blessings, Sarah in Missouri

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