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. 1
    screamofcontinuousness says:

    praying that you never lose the joy, pain and God-granted perspective of this trip.

    bless you Melissa, and all your fellow travelers.

  2. 2
    Luv2Praise says:

    I would have been terrified. I am so afraid of those Gondola rides and to think that it would be stuck would have sent me over the edge!

    I can’t wait to hear about the rest of the day! It sounds like you had a lot of fun!

    Praying for a safe return trip for you all!


  3. 3
    Anonymous says:

    That was awesome!! Thanks again!
    Praying this morning for God to keep changing y’all because y’all are changing us.

    Shawn, Georgia

  4. 4
    jennyhope says:

    I would have had to take some medicine before I could get on that thing. I mean why risk your life on a ride. I don’t do theme parks much less a gondola on a string. Bless.

  5. 5
    Kiki@Seagulls in the Parking Lot says:

    I can’t wait to hear the rest of the story.

    Thanks for the video.

    And thanks for your posts over the last few days. They’ve left me mulling and praying.

  6. 6
    Anonymous says:

    Dumber….I don’t think so! I can hear some nervousness in the sponsors’ voices, but I hear true elation in the voices of children. Sometimes we are asked to step out of our comfort zones….where we are not comfortable….but oh the amazing rewards for doing so! Dumber….I don’t think so!!

    I looked at the other sponsors’ websites. There is a true story of poverty illustrated throughout….but the true story of God is the vibrant colors and the sparkle in all of the eyes! WOW! I wish I saw that sparkle in eyes here in the states. We, Americans, think we have it all…these pictures tell another story. I can’t get over the true grace and faith I see in the eyes. I truly have not seen this kind of sparkle in a long time….whether in church, community or business. It is eye-opening to see how beautiful the people of Calcutta really are.

    Thanks so much for sharing your uncomfortable moment….it was amazing to see the bright smile of the kids with you!!

  7. 7
    Kelly @ Love Well says:

    OH MY WORD! I’m laughing so hard, I almost woke the napping baby.

    I love how Pete tries to wash his hands of your untimely demise, Melissa. “This wasn’t my idea. In fact, I tried to WARN her about getting on. But no, she wouldn’t listen to wise words from her elder.”

    But the kids obviously loved it. That’s what matters, right?

    And truthfully, there are worse ways to bite it than a gondola full of happy Indian children.

    (There weren’t any swine in the area, were there?)

    Still praying. (And laughing, a little.)

  8. 8
    Sharon says:

    WOW! Love the video… Praying for a safe trip home and cannot wait to hear the rest of the story..

    Much love,
    Sharon, NC

  9. 9
    Anonymous says:

    I feel your pain. I don’t like to ride in anything that has me suspended in mid air! I even hate the tram up Stone Mountain. The blog from India was awesome. I have a lot more to pray about, and I am ready to sponsor a child. Peace and a wonderful flight home.

  10. 10
    Sharon says:

    Oh Melissa,

    That is so sweet… to Colin!! 🙂

  11. 11
    Larsen Family says:

    Well, Fear NOT. I would have freaked out too. Don’t know if that is any consolation, since you don’t know me. But you should be proud of your bravery.

    However, the children looked ecstatic. Isn’t what you were there for in the first place? Can’t wait to hear the rest of the story.

  12. 12
    UL Cards Fan says:

    Evidently I was already DUMB before I watched the video. I envisioned a gondola as something on the water ( think Venice)and I didn’t understand why you would be afraid Melissa. Then I watched the video. You should have been terrified! Have really loved your posts about India. Praying for your safe return.
    Love, Linda

  13. 13
    Inksstillwet says:

    Their smiling faces are adorable! And squeals of laughter! Melts my heart.

  14. 14
    HisTreasuredPossession says:

    WOAH! like really WHOA!!!!

    ya’ll get super props for that.

  15. 15
    Leslie Young says:

    I just watched this on Pete’s blog and commented that I was so tickled to see and hear you, since I feel like I know you after 13 Beth Moore studies! (Kind of like you’re one of the neighbor kids we moms talk about over coffee, you know?) Anyway, I laughed out loud, and simultaneously had real sympathy for you! I couldn’t help but think how happy and safe the kids obviously felt – being in your presence and sensing God’s spirit in you! SO loving sharing this journey! Thank you!

  16. 16
    Michelle V says:

    Love the video! Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us! Praying for you all!


  17. 17
    Melissa says:

    Your trip and documentation of it on this outlet has probably changed more lives than you will ever know. Thank you for being the “guinea pig” to go and thank you for your honesty in the posts. I can say for myself I can truly feel like I have been there with you.

    Our church is planning a trip to India with e3 in the fall and I had not planned on going because I really didn’t feel the Lord telling me to go, but now I am wondering if He is.

    Another Melissa

  18. 18
    Siesta OC says:





  19. 19
    bigdogmom says:

    I’m sorry but I am laughing. Not at you, sweets, but with you. Not at your reaction either. I would have reacted that way too. The fact that the kids show NO fear and the sponsers well look abit on the pale, scared I’m gonna die side! Who said we will be able to ban prayer, huh? As long as there are situations like the going up in a rickety gondola, prayer will never cease? Right?
    Can’t wait to hear about the union with your kids was like. I can only imagine.
    How sweet of you to send a message to Colin. I’ll bet he has missed you like crazy over these past few days.
    Love ya girl!

  20. 20
    Sun says:

    Love the video…Love the blog.
    Inspires me to go to India and sponsor more children!

  21. 21
    Lauri W. says:

    I notice that as I post your mother, Bethmoore, has not chimed in here…

    Either, she has not checked in and is still blissfully ignorant, or

    she’s on her knees thanking Our Lord that you are safe, or

    she is on her way to India!!!!

    Oh my. I’d say you were asked to be way outside your comfort zone. But I notice that those beautiful children are having a great time, no fear, pure joy!

    I’m so enjoying your blogger diary and look forward to hearing all about the rest of this day!


  22. 22
    Elizabeth says:

    Weeping for the children, your experience and undying romance.
    Until the conclusion…

  23. 23
    Rachel says:

    That was priceless! Sometimes dumb is amusing. 🙂 But I’ll say, I’m glad it was you and not me on that thing!

    Can’t wait to hear your upcoming stories!

  24. 24
    Holly says:

    At first I pictured gondola being a boat…not the ski lift kind.

    So glad you made it down safely–you are so pretty, Melissa! So very.

    Come to Colorado and we’ll be sp happy to take you on the safe and fun gondola in Keystone!

    Praying for safe travels home and a lifetime of walking with these memories held close to your hearts.

  25. 25
    Holly says:

    PS Ask your Mom if this would be a good example of “going beyond your freak out point.”

  26. 26
    HIS Child says:

    You are brave!!! Great job sharing the hardest parts of this trip so beautifully. I am joyful to say that our family has just started our sponsorship of a beautiful 10 year old young lady. I thank you for a heart that is brave and open to feel and communicate to all of us state side how beautiful Jesus is displayed in the eyes of those precious children. God bless your trip, keep sharing your heart.
    Love to all

  27. 27
    Kimberly and Grace says:

    OK…about to bawl my eyes out. The last line to your husband just put me over the edge!

    Praying for a safe journey home. Bless you all for your willingness to be taken to the edge.


  28. 28
    Fran says:

    The kids are dancing and y’all are praying! 🙂

    Steady praying for y’all.
    So much love…you have changed us all!

  29. 29
    Jackie says:

    Sweet Melissa,

    I loved seeing this and hearing your voice! Wow! You are one brave (or crazy) girl to get on a gondola in India! LOL! Can’t wait to hear more about this amazing day.

    FYI – Just sponsored two children in India. God is moving dry bones!

    Love U much,

    Jax in Alaska

  30. 30
    Tara G. says:

    We took some old Soviet plane from Kyiv to Odessa once and smoke began coming out of the front of the cabin. My husband is a pilot in the AF. He’s been deployed and shot at and stuff that I don’t want to know about because it’s just better to remain ignorant on the home front sometimes. Anyway, it made him nervous enough to inquire about it. Glad you returned to solid ground in one piece! And speaking from experience, reunions with your husband after an overseas type of separation are wonderful. Blessings.

  31. 31
    Jennifer says:

    Sounds like you had some fun with the kids-what a way to end the week getting to meet who you sponsor. I would love to do that!!
    Be praying for all of you coming home-Melissa so crazy for your man-I love it!!!!
    Be blessed-I am!!!

  32. 32
    Carol says:

    I checked into the blog today for scripture memory not realizing that you are in India. I have spent the day reading and looking at the pictures and taking in God’s message which is beautifully intertwined through out your stories. It is overwhelming. Thank you for opening my eyes. I’m praying for all of you to have a safe trip home.

  33. 33
    Christine says:

    OK…when you said “gondola” my first thought was “boat with pole in shallow water”. Yes, I know you’re in India, not Venice. It wasn’t until I saw the video of the car thing ready to take you on a terrifying flight over the city on a cable that I truly understood what you meant. Perhaps it’s because I have blocked all memory of such experiences at “amusement” parks out of my memory. I’m the woman who screamed on the big ferris wheel at Disneyland. Angie may have needed chemical assistance to get on the airplane… I’d have needed to be knocked out cold to be dragged onto a gondola in Calcutta India! You are one brave girl! Can’t wait to hear more about it when you get home!

  34. 34
    Marilyn in Mississippi says:

    You are so brave! I had tears in my eyes when you breathlessly said, “I just have no words!” As a mother of a daughter not much older than you I could just imagine how Beth is feeling. Proud! Excited! Maybe just a bit anxious! Glad you went but glad to see you headed home soon!

    Thank you so much for letting us share so much of your trip to India!

    May God bless you with a smooth trip home!

    Marilyn… Mississippi

  35. 35
    twinkle says:

    Bond. Melissa Bond.

    Girl, you are AMAZING! 007 couldn’t have had more drama in India!

    And Colin, all of us love YOU madly for your unselfish gift of Melissa’s trip to us.

    Thank you. Melissa, I will be anxiously awaiting your stories AND praying hard for you on your journey home.

    Father in heaven, thank You for calling us into this place of poverty and allowing us to FEEL Your compassion for each and every soul. I don’t ask for mercy. I don’t ask for blessings. I ask for us to be sensitive to Your Spirit calling us into this holy place.

    A place where our feet are so filthy with the dust of the world.
    A place where we enter into Your Secret holy of holies.
    A place where the pull of sin is so overwhelmingly strong.
    A place where we can actually FEEL the presence of death.
    A place where the MOMENT means life…or death.

    Father, we feel Your holiness in this place. It is ALIVE AND FULL OF HOPE! Your compassion is like a huge hand from heaven reaching down into the PIT, rescuing Your beloved ones. We feel Your love poured out on these souls.

    Please set us all apart, vessels purified by Your Spirit, imparted with wisdom, and hearts on fire with burning passion for those You send us to rescue in the name of Jesus.

    We thank You for Your Heart, Lord, for this mission. We entrust the next few days into Your loving Hands. In Jesus Name. Amen.

  36. 36
    Vicki Sandifer says:

    Oh My Word – I am laughing so hard. I am glad you are ok!! (I would me crying if you were hurt – but you are not so I am laughing!!) That was a great video! The things we will do to get a child to smile and laugh! GOOD JOB!! YOU DONE GOOD MELISSA! Well done, you are a good and faithful servant. Love ya from AL, Vicki

  37. 37
    michellemabell says:

    Thank you for sharing so much!
    This post made me smile at the children and pray for you when I saw the look on your face when you tried to wave off the camera.

    It looks like an amazing day with the children!!!

    Praying for you,

    Michelle in VT

  38. 38
    Mary Watkins says:

    Praying for you!

    Loved the video.

    Praying that you all will have a safe journey home.


  39. 39
    katiegfromtennessee says:

    I love the video, Melissa! You are facing some fears, girl! Don’t you love not knowing what’s going to happen next??! Mission trips are made for spontaneity! Love it:):)

    You are precious:):)Double smiles for you:):)


  40. 40
    becky says:

    wow dudesee :~0

    that’s all I got!

  41. 41
    KR says:

    Melissa..YOU are a trooper! Praying for your processing…your journey home…and your future writing about it all. Thanks for going.

  42. 42
    brandiandboys says:

    oh, Melissa…

    friendship with pete should come with a disclosure that states “this man will video true life as it happens and turn it into blog-worthy material.”

    his quick video skills even caught me right after my water broke with our 3rd child… it’s now on youtube… not sure how i feel about him capturing that “burst of emotion.”

    your posts have all been wonderful and i’ve been blessed experiencing your journey via technology at home. thank you for taking me along on this journey!

    and next time you’re in nashville… look me up!

  43. 43
    Amanda says:

    I can’t believe you got on that thing! Mom and I would have been crying!

  44. 44
    Melody says:

    You poor thing- that would have been torture! LOL I’m glad you made it down!

  45. 45
    Sharon says:

    Reading the blog about your trip to India has made me feel every emotion possible. Thank you for a glimpse of India through your eyes. I live in a small West Texas town and get to witness (via you Melissa) the sights, sounds, and needs of these precious children in India. I waiting for …the rest of the story!

  46. 46
    kittyhox says:

    Waaaay braver than I would have been! I only trust Disney-operated rides! 🙂 You held it together pretty well, smiling through the panic!

    I surely did enjoy the smiles of those beautiful children! Kids are the most amazing people, aren’t they? No matter where or what the circumstances, they are just joy, personified.

  47. 47
    Anonymous says:

    I can totally identify with your feelings of fear on the gondola! My husband and I went on one in the Lutsen Mountains when we lived in Minnesota. I am afraid of heights, and you could literally see through the wood slates of the floor. We also got stuck midway up the mountain when my husband thought it would be funny to shake the gondola. Long story short, we arrived to the top, and I insisted on hiking back down the mountain. You will look back on it and laugh someday. Maybe!

    Thank you so much for taking me to India with you this week. You have opened my eyes and my heart. May the Lord richly bless you as you have blessed us.

    Kristi, Alabama

  48. 48
    ashley e says:

    oh my! At first I was thinking you ere talking about a BOAT thinking, “how could that be so bad?” you brave one….

  49. 49
    Emmy says:

    Oh I get you Melissa! I so understand! I don’t like Gondola rides on a good day at Disney… my heart was racing just watching the video!

    Beautiful children! Precious… Praying for you all over here!


  50. 50
    Jill_in_AL says:

    That’s funny (not really but you know, funny). I like my feet on the ground as well so I feel you. It was cool to hear your voice….since hearing about Amanda and Melissa for like 10 Bible studies it’s cool to put a name, face, blog, voice, etc.

    Take care in the 3rd world!

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