Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | January 26, 2009

Selfless Servants

   Kolkata, India

   Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity are an amazing group of people. Serving the least of these all over the world, they continue the labor of love inspired by Mother Teresa. They do more than care for the obvious physical needs of the people they serve, they care for their spiritual and emotional needs as well. Mother Teresa said, “If our work were just to wash and feed and give medicines to the sick, the centers would have closed a long time ago. The most important thing in our centers is the opportunity we are offered to reach souls.” Here are some quick observations about these selfless servants for whom I have the deepest respect and admiration.

Selfless | I don’t know that I have met a more selfless group of individuals than the Missionaries of Charity nuns. They are an amazing group of women from all nations who are committed to serving the least of these while living with the least of things! It was Mother Teresa’s intention from the beginning that this order of nuns would live like the poor in order to better identify with them. While headed for our afternoon assignment at Nirmal Hriday, we stopped to buy soft drinks for the nuns there. They were touched by our thoughtfulness but said, “We will drink water and save these as a special treat for the residents.” As I have observed these women over the past few days, they have consistently modeled the attitude that Paul said Christ-followers should cultivate: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4).

Helpless | The Missionaries of Charity nuns understand that they are helpless to do anything apart from prayer and dependence on Christ. As prescribed by Mother Teresa, they begin each day with prayer and then pause to pray throughout the day. This is important because of the overwhelming needs that they face every day. A casual stroll through the streets of Kolkata could easily lead one to conclude that when Jesus said “the poor you will always have with you” (Mark 14:7) He was speaking about Kolkata. The work of continually caring for the thousands of poor, sick, and dying individuals cannot be done in dependence upon human strength. It takes people of prayer who ask God for the divine strength to accomplish His divine tasks.

Fearless | After all I have seen the past several days, I have concluded that the Missionaries of Charity nuns are fearless. Working in Prem Dan and Nirmal Hriday is definitely not for the squeamish. These sweet sisters of charity don’t have time to stop to put on rubber gloves every time someone vomits or does something worse. They handle the situation cheerfully, as they have hundreds of times before, and then move on to the next thing.

I am less squeamish today than when I started several days ago. Today, the man in bed number 46 motioned for me to help him. His clothes and bed were soaked with urine and covered with diarrhea. Holloway was massaging cream into another man’s calloused feet. So, Jon helped me carry the man to the bathroom to clean and change him. When we took him back to his bed he took my hand in is and placed it over his heart, a simple and beautiful gesture of gratitude. Sister Anila from Albania told us that the man’s wife and children had left him at the door of Nirmal Hriday. “He is suffering from the worst kind of sickness,” she said, “the sickness of being abandoned and unwanted.” Jon and I leaned over and told him that we loved him. We told him with our eyes and hands. He understood.

Tireless | I have done a lot of really tough travel to some really nasty and filthy places over the years. But, at the end of two weeks I get to return home to my comfortable home. Not so for the sisters who work in Mother Teresa’s homes in Kolkata and the hundreds of other homes around the world. You don’t get voted off of this island. These are the true survivors who labor hour after hour and day after day showing God’s love to the endless flow of hurting humanity who pass through Mother Teresa’s homes. Another man died at Prem Dan. He was carried out in a wooden coffin. Later, a frail, skeletal man was carried in to take his place. This is the cycle of life and death in Mother Teresa’s homes. Thank God that there is always a selfless servant waiting to welcome every new arrival and ready to work tirelessly to restore the dignity that every human being deserves.


  1. Remind me again that the ministry I am doing here in my home is amazing please? Because Pastor Omar, I really want to come and help in India now!

    Thank you for helping me see beyond my comfortable walls and showing me the beauty of service in Jesus name. I continue to pray for you three.

    Please tell Holloway that Aaron turned two today and is waiting to share his cake with his favorite church Grampa.

  2. Hi Tracey,

    God bless you for being a great Mom with a compassionate heart. Thanks for your continued prayers. Holloway sends his greetings.


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