Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | January 19, 2010

From Katy to Kolkata

   En Route to Kolkata via Dubai, UAE

   I am, headed to Kolkata once again, this time leading a team of eight to serve at Mother Teresa’s homes for the destitute and dying. This is my third visit to Mother Teresa’s homes and I can hardly wait to arrive at the city she called home. It’s a long way from the beautiful suburban boulevards of Katy, Texas to the bustling urban streets of Kolkata. I seldom watch movies on these long flights, often read two or three books, usually reflect on the things I have learned on previous trips, and always pray. Here are a few of the things I have gleaned on my previous trips to Mother Teresa’s homes in Kolkata.

Nothing for Something | We tend to do things because we expect to receive something in return, or at least hope we will. From the time we are small we learn to expect something for something. The phrase quid pro quo is written across the crest of our motivation. Mother Teresa loved people unconditionally, the way Jesus said we should. She unselfishly gave her all and expected nothing in return. And, as a result, she received more from those who had nothing to give than she could have imagined. I too, have come away far richer because of spending time with those who own nothing.

Stop and Listen | One look at our calendars reveals how busy, perhaps overcommitted, we are. We tend to move so fast from one point to another that we don’t have time to consider the folks who live in our peripheral world, much less slow down long enough to notice the color of their eyes. One of the things I love about serving at Mother Teresa’s homes is that I am forced to slow down, sit at the bedside of broken human beings, look into their eyes, and listen to them breathe. When was the last time you actually slowed down long enough to hear a suffering human being breathe in and out? Doing so will cause you to take a deep breath or perhaps to sigh with compassion.

Affirm and Value | Before we throw stones at India’s caste system, we are often guilty of assigning greater value to certain slices of the human family. Honestly, we often look at those who live closer to the bottom as being less than. We wonder what they did or failed to do that caused them to end up in such sad states. Mother Teresa did not ask questions of the poor. She merely affirmed them as people of great worth because they are made in God’s image. She embraced the hordes of broken and despised outcastes and regarded them as valuable. We must do the same.

Look and See | We often look but fail to see. Looking is not the same as seeing. Mother Teresa saw people clearly. When she looked at the poor on Kolkata’s streets, she saw what others overlooked. She saw Jesus in the distressing disguises of the poor and the broken and the vulnerable. And then she did for those individuals what Jesus would do. Serving at Mother Teresa’s homes has sharpened my vision and strengthened my resolve to act compassionately and intentionally on behalf of the hurting. I am not there yet, but I am making progress.

Please pray for our team as the Lord brings us to mind. The things we learn and experience here will have an impact on how we do life when we return home. Pray that the poorest of the poor will feel God’s embrace through our compassionate service over the coming days.


  1. Pastor Omar,
    I am not with your team this trip in body, but you are all heavy in my heart many times a day as I know your schedule and your mission. I am praying for you each time the Spirit gives me a tug and glimpse into your generous outreach for His glory. Please know I am on my knees in prayer for your ability to persevere and grow and become more like our Lord as you serve.
    Your sister in Christ,
    Tonya LaTorre

  2. Tonya…

    Thanks so much for your prayers. We already see God at work in so many ways. We are encouraged and blessed to be on mission with Him.


  3. Omar, Trisha (Omar, please specifically encourage her; and I will specifically encourage Jordan) and Team:
    On bless HIS name! We are praying for you guys. God continues to simmer the slow cooking revival at Kingsland. I am so grateful for the commitment to service each one of you have made for this trip. I hope and will pray whether I should follow in your steps (literally) so I can follow in HIS steps…maybe in July with our high school seniors. We will continue to pray for each of you as I know this trip has not been easy in many ways.
    Your brother for here and eternity.
    Jeff Work

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