The World on a String

Is that green stuff tape? Um. If not, what is it?

May 1, 2009.

A day filled with an endless number of paradoxical emotions and expressions.

Glory and sadness.

Joy and grief.

Laughter and tears.

This morning everyone was full of great excitement, for the day had finally arrived.

The climactic moment of our trip.

The day for which we’d all been waiting.

But I’m not ready to tell the whole story yet.

I don’t have the time to do it justice.

For now I will say this, after the kids arrived the whole crew of us set out to a place called “Science City” which reminded me a whole lot of a museum in the 80’s. Just a whole lot less advanced. We did all kinds of fun things. We went to a planetarium to see a movie on Mt. Everest. We walked through all kinds of trippy mazes. We listened to them giggle and scream in a 3-D movie.

Then we did something completely disturbing.

We rode on a gondola ride in the third world. I was completely and utterly against this idea but Shaun Groves and Spence Smith, our quasi-evil Compassion trip leaders, apparently wanted to send me over the edge of whatever sanity I have left at this point in my life and insisted upon on seeing the world of Calcutta from a string since this was “the plan” that the Compassion India leaders had already made.  As if I am not already in need of a lobotomy.  I was like, “Since when can plans not change in third world?” But my perspective was not taken into consideration and so we boarded the Gondola. A gondola ride which looked like it had been built in the 1800’s, I’ll have you know.  The kids you see in this video are my sponsor children and you’ll hear a lot more about them in two days when I get back to the States.

For now I leave you with this video that documents a serious Melissa meltdown. I promise, you’ll be “dumber”.

To be continued…

And P.S. In all honesty, Shaun Groves and Spence Smith are the best Compassion trip leaders. Ever. And as of about seven minutes ago, it’s Spence Smith’s birthday.  So if you have a minute go and visit him and wish him a Happy Birthday in Calcutta.  
And Mr. Fitzpatrick, if you’re reading. I’m coming home soon and I love you madly.

126 Responses to “The World on a String”

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  1. 101
    Miranda says:

    What a fruitful trip!

  2. 102
    Anonymous says:


    I cannot wait to hear the rest of the story! Thanks for sharing it with all of us.

    I’m praying for you to have a safe trip home

    Many, many blessings,
    Anne in MO

  3. 103
    Kristib says:

    You are one brave woman!

    The kids are adorable!

    I have enjoyed being part of your trip.

    Can’t wait to hear more!

    Have a safe trip home.

    Much love!

  4. 104
    Lisa @ The Preacher's Wife says:

    I would have lost my everlovin’ mind if I’d gotten stuck on that thing.

  5. 105
    Anonymous says:

    Help us understand more about the caste system in India. Even with education, will these children still be doomed to live in the slums for the rest of their lives, in poverty, sickness and despair?

  6. 106
    Anonymous says:

    Last Friday…we met some nice staff people at Six Flags GA when they WALKED UP to where our car was stopped on top of the Great American Scream Machine.

    I’m proud to say no one screamed while we sat still for 10, long, hot, slightly nervous minutes. I was chaperoning a school band trip and 3 of “my” girls were also up there.

    Melissa, sometimes being a little “closer to God” inspires some extra prayers, doesn’t it??

  7. 107
    Shellie Paparazzo says:

    You are amazingly brave! I’ve been on gondola’s in america and been scared out of my mind! They would have had to put me under some serious anesthesia to get me on that thing!

  8. 108
    Christy says:

    Loved the video Melissa.

    It looked like the kids were having a wonderful time.

    Praying for your safe return home.

  9. 109
    Anonymous says:

    I love love love how he says into the camera, Beth Moore i had nothing to do with this…. thats awesome

  10. 110
    Cyndi says:

    I’ll got all choked up – no, not watching the video – it was the last line where you spoke to “Mr. Fitzpatrick”. God love you both.

  11. 111
    Anonymous says:

    Checked out Voices of the Faithful:Inspiring Stories of Courage from Christians Serving Around the World with Beth Moore and friends who put their lives on the line for God Complied by Kim P. Davis from our church media center. Listening to Cece Winans “We Thirst for You” off the “Throne Room CD”. Thank you Compassion Bloggers for documenting your experience.

  12. 112
    Chelle' says:

    Melissa- I have long felt this way about your mother and sister… but with this video- I now add you to the group of people I apply this statement to. IF WE ACTUALLY KNEW ONE ANOTHER… WE’D BE GREAAAT FRIENDS!!!

    I LOVED that video! You’re hilarious. As is Shaun. And it’s so obvious that your hearts are greater than your fears!!! Oh that we could all live the same way!

    AND… a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY to you SPENCE!

  13. 113
    Anonymous says:

    I am so afraid of heights!!!!! Bless you dear girl, that is one part of your trip I feel no envy over! Love you for what you have done and shared and who we got to see that you are. Oh the video showed the wonder of the faith of a little child. Come home safe and soon. Shalom

  14. 114
    Anonymous says:

    Thank you for sharing!! My church just hosted a Compassion Sunday and your stories inspired me to sponsor my 2nd compassion child!

    Cathy, Florida

  15. 115
    Lindsee says:

    This was just too funny. I would have been just as freaked out! I hate high things hanging on a string. It’s just not my thing, and I’m okay with that!

    Hope y’all are all back and safe and resting.

    Also, I finally got my child. A little six year old boy who’s been waiting for over six months for a sponsor! It was so serious he had a little heart by his name because he needed a sponsor, and quick! And as a huge bonus, he has my birthday! So exciting.

    Much love to you, sweet Melissa.

  16. 116
    Jackie Sue says:

    loved the video…love all that you are sharing about your trip..every word

  17. 117
    Rachel says:

    I just heard the Daniel video on Thursday when your mom shared the “I am dumber” thing!!! Made your blog even funnier.

    I am glad you survived.

  18. 118
    Farmgirl Paints says:

    Wow. Your new blog design looks great!

  19. 119
    Anonymous says:

    Just curious–have you ever read the book “Mimosa” by Amy Carmichael?

    When you talked about the baby being left alone all day, it reminded me of that book. BEAUTIFUL story and an easy read. . . well, easy in the sense it doesn’t take long. Life-changing in the sense it has stayed with me so long!


  20. 120
    Angie says:

    I was feeling your pain on that rickety gondola. I hate those things! Isn’t it crazy how those kids were just having a ball, not worried about a thing??

    I have loved reading about your trip. I pray that you are home safe and sound with Mr. Fitzpatrick. Thank you for honesty. I am looking forward to reading the rest of what you have to share with us.

  21. 121
    Xena says:

    God must have done something wild and wonderful AFTER you got off that gondola ride!!! Some ‘heavenly’ preparation was going on up there!! Bless your obedience on this adventure God has you on!!!

  22. 122
    Sarah West says:

    Dear Melissa, I am so glad that you are on this trip and that God is opening your eyes to the truth of poverty and the people who live poverty everyday. We in the states have no idea!!! I stood in a shack last summer, in Nicaragua on a Compassion trip, and the father of some sponsored children asked our group, “is it a sacrifice for you to help our children?” I wanted to crawl into the ground. I hung my head in shame realizing that my sponsorhip is not a sacrifice, but maybe it should be. Even now, as I read your blog I am reminded of that moment and how easy it is to forget these real places that seem so far away and unreal in a sense.
    I am so glad your family is supporting this ministry. My husband has worked for the organization for 8 years and I can honestly say that is a ministry that highly values integrity! Wes Stafford, its CEO, is such an honorable man and truly allows Jesus to work through him. He is such a gentle, compassionate soul.
    Last May I saw your mom in The Springs and I, along with another Compassion wife, wanted so much to share with your her about Compassion so that she could speak of it on her tours. Your family has such a unique ability to reach thousands of people and tell them about how their sponsership can directly impact the life of another human being.

    Sarah, Greensboro

  23. 123
    Melissa says:

    Sarah West,

    Your comment touched me on a number of levels. And how amazing that you have had the privilege to see Compassion so up close and personally.

    Blessings to you and yours…


  24. 124
    abraham's daughter says:

    It is so difficult to put all the emotions that I have shared with you and your loved ones and your siestas into words. Thank you for your willingness and obedience to follow Christ to India, even on a gondola. And I keep checking the blog to know when you are home–it is a “Mom thing.”

  25. 125
    Little Steps Of Faith says:

    Yes, I would have not handled it all so well:) How far up was it?

    BTW, don’t know if anyone has ever mentioned this, but I totally expected a ” girl from the south” sort of voice. I was surprised you don’t sound like your sweet mama:)

    I don’t sound like my momma either, somehow she has still embraced the south jersey accent, and me well…I’m told I sound like a valley girl:)

    Hope you are able to get rest, and take this all in bits…I don’t think I could even begin to imagine!

    Be Blessed:)


  26. 126
    Sandy says:

    Melissa I loved hearing your voice! Even slightly panicked. Thank you for making our little Emanuel in Tanzania more real than ever to us. He has been our Compassion Intl. child for 4 years. His letters never fail to bring us tears of joy and much needed humility in our circumstances. Thanks for following your heart and God’s lead to India. You’ve touched our hearts in many, many ways. Happy rest and many blessings.

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