Speechless for the first time EVER but compelled to type.

Greetings from Kolkata (Calcutta)!

We finally made it. 

That statement deserved its own line. Seriously. It takes some time to get to the other side of the world.  Thank you, thank you, thank you for your prayers.  We have felt them and we have been in need of them. 

As our final flight descended down toward Calcutta, commonly but perhaps slightly unpersuasively called “the City of Joy”, I was shocked by the lush landscape. Calcutta has a tropical climate and is completely covered with Palm trees. Who knew? The sight was totally not what I expected. I couldn’t wait to get outside and see it up close. But, then we walked off the plane.

And. It. Was. 120. Degrees.

Suddenly tropical weather took on an entirely new connotation.

Shortly after checking into our hotel we headed off to visit Mother Teresa’s burial site, a must for anyone and everyone visiting Calcutta regardless of theological or denominational tradition. Mother Teresa’s tomb is on the grounds where the “Missionaries of Charity” order is still alive and well. I fully expected myself to be emotionally moved by this particular moment. But I wasn’t. Let’s just say that my spirit was willing but my flesh was weak. I was hunched over on a bench because I was completely and utterly spent. The twelve and a half hour time difference (ummmm…where does the half come from? anyone?) and the two days of traveling without sleep and eating only a handful of Cliff bars suddenly wasn’t working for me anymore. And wait, did I mention the 120 degree weather? Apparently Calcutta hasn’t had this kind of heat wave in nearly 30 years. Even the locals are impressed (not the good kind) by the intensity of the heat. I was afraid that I would go down in history as the obnoxious American who puked in Mother Teresa’s burial room. Luckily that nightmare did not actualize and I finally gathered myself together enough to walk around the grounds. 

I noticed that the rest of the team had climbed a narrow set of stairs and so I followed them and I could not believe my eyes. There was Mother Teresa’s tiny little bedroom that would make a college dorm room seem opulent. It was in that tiny little room that Mother Teresa had lived for about forty years and it was there where she also died. While her tomb didn’t move me like it did others, her little tiny room did. Not only because the room spoke of a life of simplicity and earthly discomfort but also because it reflected a life of unimaginable dedication in one consistent direction. An entire lifetime devoted to serving the unloved and untouched of our world.

I was struck by a quote of Mother Teresa’s that was posted in the museum area. It said, “Make us worthy, Lord, to serve our fellow-men throughout the world who live and die in poverty and hunger.” What a simple yet weighty statement. It directly contradicts our entire world system: a system that shows unabashed impartiality to the rich, famous, and the beautiful people. A system that so quickly labels off the poor and diseased as lazy, weak-willed, and unfortunate. I pondered the quote in my heart last night but I experienced the profundity of it today when we entered our first project, one of Compassion’s several child development centers in Calcutta.

I was so not prepared for what went down when we climbed out of the van. The children were lined up in a drum-line in matching uniforms and they proceeded to march us into the project grounds where we were each presented with a beautiful sunflower. My chin was quivering so fast that I could hear my own teeth clattering over all the noise. The spectacle did not end there, however. We continued to watch the children perform demonstration after demonstration for us, dancing and singing songs like:

God’s love is so wonderful
So high you can’t get over it
So deep you can’t get under it

I thought to myself something in the same vein of Mother Teresa’s statement. Just a whole lot less profound sounding. I thought, “Who am I that I would be esteemed by these precious children who have dealt with more in their few years than I probably ever will in my entire lifetime? And for whom I have done so relatively little?” But then in the middle of my self-loathing episode I realized I was giving myself way too much credit. These children weren’t performing for me or even for the ten of us. They were performing for their sponsors. For them, the ten of us are the closest thing they will ever see that resembles and embodies their sponsors. They won’t likely get the opportunity to meet their individual sponsors in this lifetime.

Several of you commented on my last post that you are already sponsors of a Compassion child. Sponsors, let me speak to you in particular for a moment. I want you each to know that today was as much for you as it was for me. I may have gotten to witness it, but those kids weren’t clapping, singing, and celebrating that ten random and goofy looking Americans came to visit them. They identified with us because we represented to them their individual sponsors. Let me tell you, no let me assure you- your sponsor child knows your name. Not just your first name. Your last name, too. They lined up with drums to usher you into the place you’ve financially provided for them. A place of hope. A place where that abstract verb “to dream” becomes something that just might be tangible. A place where they hear for the first time that they have dignity and worth before the Most High God. They treasure the letters that you write to them. They don’t toss them in the trash. No, they store them in a safe place. And this will really get you. If you sponsor a child in India, you’re probably the only one who has ever told your child, “I love you.” Our Compassion India specialist told us that in the Indian culture, particularly among the poor, parents do not express love to their children. She said, “Even though the parents really do love their children, they don’t show it. Rarely does a parent actually come out and express their love for their child.” Can you imagine? Let it sink in. You, even though you might think you’re just a little sponsor person who hastily filled out a form during a concert, are most likely the only adult who has blatantly expressed love for this child. A real living and breathing child.

One of the children presenting us with a sunflower:

The Compassion kids in a drum-line ushering us into the project. Unbelievable. 

All 295 of the children in the project we visited today.  225 have been sponsored.  70 are still waiting for sponsors:

The kids and me playing with bubbles. They LOVE them: 

A family I fell in love with.  The little girl named Susmita is 13 years old and her Father died in an accident and then her Mother walked out on her.  Her uncle and grand-mother, sickly and frail, currently take care of her.  Susmita followed us out of the neighborhood as far as she could because she didn’t want to say good-bye.  It broke my heart. And it made my day:

This picture speaks for itself. Period. The end. 



163 Responses to “Speechless for the first time EVER but compelled to type.”

If you'd like your own pic by your comment, go to Gravatar.com. Click the first button "Get your gravatar today ->", and it will walk you through a simple process to select a picture.


  1. 1
    Jill Foley says:

    Thank you for your note to sponsors…I’ve been sponsoring for 16 years and what you wrote touched me so much.

    I have several children in India and I’m going to write them today and tell them again that I love them.

    Keep up the good work! Thank you for speaking up on behalf of these children and Compassion.

  2. 2
    Shelli Littleton says:

    Beautiful, Melissa! We’ll be praying for you.
    Love, your Siesta, Shelli Littleton in Fort Worth, Texas

  3. 3
    MandieGirl says:

    What a beautiful photo! Thanks so much for sharing while you’re away!

  4. 4
    Lina says:

    Beautiful! My heart is swelling with emotion and my eyes are filled with tears. I am not yet a Compassion sponsor…my husband and I will be signing up now. Thank you Melissa.

  5. 5
    Heather says:

    We’ve all been waiting for your post and it did not disappoint! I am specifically praying against migraines for you (I have them so badly and know there is nothing worse than to be away from home with a migraine) and am so thankful to hear about your trip!

  6. 6
    Holly says:

    Reminds me of Ray Boltz’ song…

    Oh Lord, You’re beautiful
    Your face is all I seek.
    For when Your eyes are on this child.
    Your grace abounds to me.

    I want to take Your Word and shine it all around;
    First, help me just to live it, Lord.
    And when I’m doing well
    Help me to never seek a crown;
    For my reward is giving glory to You.

    Oh Lord, please light the fire
    that once burned bright and clear
    Replace the lamp of my first
    love that burns with holy fear.

    Love you Melissa! You Moore’s certainly have some beautiful sunflower stories!! Praying for each one those stories represent.

  7. 7
    petrii says:

    Melissa and the Compassion Team,
    I have goosebumps as I read this and looked at these precious children’s. Thank you for posting these pictures and telling their story.

    I’m praying for you,
    Petrii in MO

  8. 8
    Deanna Gott says:

    Very well written! Pulled me in with the passion that you have!Thank you for going and BEING Christ to someone!

  9. 9
    Kellye says:

    Melissa, So glad you made it safe. I am praying for you. Is the name of Jesus preached to these children? By C.I. or their caregivers?

  10. 10
    Anonymous says:

    Thank you for going to India, and sharing this story with us. I am moved to tears. You have never been more beautiful, your words more profound, and your message so inspiring than in this post.

    I will continue to pray for you,your team, and most of all those sweet, precious children.

    In Christ,
    Jill S

  11. 11
    Living day by day for Jesus says:

    OH girl! PRICELESS…I watched a video of the drumline and performance on Pete Wilson’s blog…anyone else can see it by following the link…

    PRECIOUS…and I praise the Lord for your time there!

    May God shower His blessings continually upon your health and strength during this trip!

  12. 12
    Warm in Alaska says:

    Look at those eyes of the darling child in that last photo – so full of hope and life and longing. I hope you get to see lots of eyes while on your journey, Melissa. You get to be the voice for those eyes. What an honor and a responsibility. I’m glad you’re willing to be a scribe for all of us.

    Praying for you,

    Warm in Alaska.

  13. 13
    Melissa says:

    Kellye, Absolutely. Compassion International partners with the local church where of course the name of Jesus Christ is preached.

  14. 14
    Melinda says:

    We interact with a large Indian population in my husband’s business. I was told once that there was little to no expression of love from parent to child. I guess they weren’t kidding. It puts a whole new light on sponsorship.

    Thanks for giving us this window into that part of the world. Blessings on you and all those with whom you come in contact this day.


  15. 15
    debra says:

    Love this!

  16. 16
    Jennifer says:

    Thank you Melissa for sharing-my family sponsors 2 children from World Vision in Africa. This compells me to pray for them more. Thanks for representing for us here the hugs and smiles that we will never be able to give those kidos!!!
    Blessings and praying for you.

  17. 17
    michellemabell says:


    Thank you so much for sharing…I was so incredibly moved with your description of Mother Theresa’s bedroom and quote on her wall. Such a wonderful and heart wrenching reminder of what is important.

    I signed up to be to be a Compassion sponsor for two children; I let each of my girls help select the children we would we would be helping as I wanted them to be a part of it from the beginning. They were already so moved in that process of how to decide who would get our help, going through all the children one by one.
    I can’t wait for them to get home from school and read your post.

    You are in my prayers.

    Love and Blessings,

    Michelle in VT

  18. 18
    Sara Re-nae says:

    So good to hear from you guys! I’ve been checking each of your posts to see who would go first (Pete wins!). We do give ourselves too much credit, you hit that on the head. I had to really dwell on Romans 7 today, because sometimes I would rather live under a rock than battle my flesh for one more second. But “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord” who sets us free from the body of this death! Praying for you guys, and praying that each of you come back transformed in a unique way that spreads here.

  19. 19
    Joan says:


    Glad to know you got there okay! I will continue to pray for you and the whole group. Praying also that the migraines stay away. Thank you for sharing with us.The pictures are beautiful!

  20. 20
    drea says:

    Melissa, you are right where the Lord wants you. What you are doing is my passion. It is so hard to capture poverty with a picture or words, it is far more to see with Gods eyes.

    I LOVE adoption. We are adopted sons and daughter of the King, and he cares for these children and their families.

    I have one child that we sponcer in India, but I have 2 children that my husband and I adopted at home, one from China and one from Russia. We have 3 on the way from Ethiopia (a sibling group), and we have 4 biological children as well. That is a total of 9 children.

    The Lord has struck such a passion in me for the nations, and I see that he is doing the same for you. I can’t wait to see your next update.

    Blessings to you sweet sister.

  21. 21
    Tales From My Empty Nest says:

    Beautiful children!!! My youngest daughter wants to go to India on a mission trip one day. She has a heart for children and also for missions. Have an awesome trip! Praying for you. Love & blessings from NC!

  22. 22
    Traci@TotalMomsense says:

    Oh Melissa- it is a beautiful post- well done. Stay strong and sleep when you can. We’re praying the headaches stay in Georgia and the heat subsides a little. Thank you for what you’re doing. And the children are just precious. Tell them we are praying for them.

  23. 23
    Amanda May says:

    Thank you for enduring SO MUCH to give a face to those of us who will never get to meet these PRECIOUS children…but love them so much!

    I love that through this ministry, these children come to know the only true hope they will ever have…the only true hope ANY of us will ever have!! JESUS.

    Praying for you and the whole Compassion team…

  24. 24
    Ashton says:


  25. 25
    Transparent Mama says:

    Amazing! Love is a basic need of all humans. Thanks for showing us how we can love others from thousands of miles away.

  26. 26
    Magic Brush says:

    Ahhhhh bless your heart… and those children too. I love the last picture. Did you take her lipstick? Beautiful…

  27. 27
    Lori says:

    Thank you for the beautiful photos and the great words. Made me tear up and Thank God from my sponsor child.

  28. 28
    Inksstillwet says:

    Melissa, beautiful words and beautiful faces. Thank you for sharing with words what you are seeing with your eyes and heart. May He continue to move you to impact these lives for His kingdom purpose!

  29. 29
    Anonymous says:

    Melissa, thank you for this insightful report! I, too, have been a sponsor for more than 30 yrs.; my kiddos have always been from the continent of Africa, however. Bless you for your heart for God! Have a safe and edifying trip and come back to us safe & sound 'cause we love you, just like your Mama.
    Hilda in Houston

  30. 30
    Heather says:

    I am filled with so much emotion from one post! My eyes are filled with tears and I am not even there. We have always wanted to sponsor a child, and after reading I can feel God speaking to me to do it. Thank you for sharing , I can’t wait to read more! Prayers still going up for your team and blessings to all!

  31. 31
    Fran says:

    I sponsor a precious girl named Sofia in Uganda. Thank you so much for your words to the sponsors. I can’t stop crying. And, then, to see these BEAUTIFUL faces…my breath is taken away. I can’t imagine the emotions that come over you.

    I’m so happy for you. I’m so proud of you. And, I’m praying non-stop for you and the entire team!

    So much love,

  32. 32
    Nichole's Mom says:

    Thank you!! It really touched my heart to hear you talk about the sponsors. You can send your check but still feel so disconnected. Hearing you describe things really filled that gap! Praying the rest of your trip is beyond words!


    ps. Amazing pictures!

  33. 33
    Anonymous says:

    Your words and pictures say so much more than I anticipated. After some tears and chills and a lump in my throat, I say thank you for sharing this awesome experience!

    The differences in the cultures of our world never cease to amaze me. And yet, always send me back to the same place…..we are all God’s children….we are all sisters and brothers in Christ….we are all connected….we are all humans living and surviving on this earth until we are called home!!

    Thanks again Melissa for your journaling efforts on the other side of the world.

  34. 34
    boomama says:

    Well, I’m sitting here in carpool line fighting the ugly cry. So glad you’re feeling better, and praying that your rest is multiplied tonight. Love y’all.

  35. 35
    valerie says:

    Thank you for this amazing post Melissa.
    I had chill bumps & tears reading it.
    These children are absolutely beautiful!
    You all continue to be in my prayers….all the way from Oklahoma.

  36. 36
    Leslie Lauren says:

    My eyes teared up reading about the children’s song and welcome. Absolutely beautiful. Thank you so much for being so graphic in your description! I felt like I was right there with you.

    We’re all still praying!!!

  37. 37
    Marilyn in Mississippi says:

    This post breaks my heart and makes my day….all at the same time! I feel so self-centered and spoiled when I see these pictures and the ones my good friend who is a missionary to India send to me. We have so much here and still complain of not having enough! God forgive me! God help me! Help me to be worthy to help the needy even here around me. Melissa, I have prayed for you. I have been so blessed by your post today! Thank you for the sacrifice you are making to go to the other side of the world for Jesus!
    And as for the weather….I well remember the time my husband and I left our Mississippi home with frozen mud puddles on the ground that morning and got off the plane that afternoon in southern Mexico to a stifling, gasping-for-breath 100 degree airport! That was my first mission trip. Much poverty down there.

    God bless you is my prayer!!


  38. 38
    Warrior in Training says:

    Thank you for sharing….it really sheds light beyond our little area of ministry.

  39. 39
    village sister says:

    Thank you, Melissa….for bringing me to tears that are clearing my vision.

  40. 40
    HIS Daughter says:

    I’m praying for you, Liss…I really am.

    Your post shows your spirit and heart for these little ones..

    Mother Teresa…a saint if there ever was one or ever will be!

    She is proof that when you really know our LORD intimately..it’s not an invitation to “your best life now”….but an invitation to take up your cross and follow HIM..

    I love you, Dear Girl…you are a jewel.
    Father strengthened Melissa so she may endure through things her body is unaccustomed to. Show yourself to her in a million places…through the smiles of your little ones…
    in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit..Amen

  41. 41
    Lauren Kelly says:

    Melissa, I pray that God is all over this trip and that your life and their lives will never be the same!

  42. 42
    jill says:

    Melissa , I feel like we are friends. I sponsor a child also. Daniella is 8 years old in Peru, she is great and I love her.

  43. 43
    Mary R Snyder says:

    Melissa — I hope you can feel the hugs that are wrapping our prayers to you and the whole team! I’m just blown away by the emotions you must be experiencing.

    We’ve sponsored a child for 10 years — he’s now a young man. We are prayerfully considering our next child to sponsor. My heart wants to take all 70 of those that aren’t sponsored.

    Thank you for stepping out of your comfort zone!

  44. 44
    Amy in MN says:

    Melissa- thanks for your beautiful words! Praying for you all over in India and praying that there would be so many sponsors that Compassion would have to put sponsors on a waiting list! Wouldn’t that be something?? Wrote to my compassion children right after watching/listening to Pete and you all live from India- how cool was that? Thanks for allowing Him to work through all of you. AmyinMN

  45. 45
    Kim says:

    How beautiful they are!

    Thank you for being beautiful to them.

    Kim . . . who is
    Grafted by Grace

  46. 46
    Tara G. says:

    I read Pete’s post last night and just cried thinking that a baby doesn’t even get a name. So I’m crying now and all I can say is God Bless- praying for you.

  47. 47
    Kara says:

    I’m glad you made it. Thanks for sharing what’s going on and the pictures. You’re in my prayers. God bless.

  48. 48
    Cheryl Barker says:

    Melissa, thanks for sharing — and for being our representative! Continue pouring out our love — His love — to all you encounter!!

    By the way, the photos of the little guy with the sunflower and the close-up of the 13-yr. old girl are amazing. What big beautiful eyes they have!

  49. 49
    Joel and Dominique Rempel says:

    Three years ago I went to India and had the opportunity to serve along side some of the most beautiful young girls I have even been blessed to know. As one of the leaders I asked the group what they expected from this trip. At the end I asked if what they expected came to be and the mutual feeling was that although we had come to share the love of God with these children, they had taught us far more about our creator then we ever knew. We were able to share an human love, a hug or and “I love you” with them that they had seldom experienced, but they showed us the love of a creator in a way we had never seen or experienced and they made is so obvious as to why our God is so big and so great. The Lord is working in India and I’ll pray for the time you spend there.

    And those so songs and dances that make your chin quiver, they’ll stay with you forever 🙂

  50. 50
    gena says:

    Thank you for the beautiful post. All of you are in my thoughts and prayers!


Leave a Reply

To receive a daily digest of comments on this post, enter your email address below: