Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | July 13, 2011

A Slice of Time

Kolkata, India

Our time in Kolkata comes to an end today. We will head to the airport in a few hours to begin the long journey home. Our suitcases are stuffed with dirty laundry, muddy shoes, and a souvenir or two to remind us of our time of serving the least of these in muggy Kolkata. More importantly, we are returning home with hearts filled with precious memories. While some of these memories may get lost under the accumulated stacks of memories yet to come, they will always be a permanent part of our respective stories. And, through the years to come, we will see or hear things that will send us rushing into the attic of our personal history to rifle through faded stacks until we find that particular memory of something that we experienced here. Then, when we find what we’re looking for, we’ll blow the dust off of the yellowed pages and smile and say to ourselves or someone else, “I remember when I went to Kolkata and …”

In my case, many of my memories live here in Kolkata. Every time I return to the City of Joy I manage to bump into memories who, like old friends, come running out to embrace me and to welcome me back. I find them riding along with me in cabs and rickshaws, reminding me of good times we shared. They follow me through the crowded streets and stand beside me as I serve at familiar places like Mother Teresa’s homes. And when I try to go to bed at night, they often keep me up. In many ways I find security in their company when I am so far away from home. I know that the next time I come I will be reunited with even more memories created during my time here with our great team of students.

Last night we said our goodbyes to six of my friends who joined us here to help with our logistics. It’s always a bittersweet thing to say goodbye, knowing that we have shared a slice of time that can never again be repeated in exactly the same way. God used this combination of us — students and adults and friends — who met in this particular place at this particular time to touch the lives of people we never thought we’d meet — hurting and poor and damaged people who have been blessed by the work of our hands and who blessed us in ways we could never have imagined. We are all returning home a little different than when we arrived here last week. God has used our experiences here to shape us a little more into the image of Christ (Rom. 8:29). I am grateful to have had the privilege to share this brief slice of time with our students and chaperones and friends. And, I look forward to lots of great reunions with the many new memories we made while serving together in the City of Joy.


  1. Omar,

    Thanks for keeping the MacNeil family updated with your blog. It is amazing to hear about the vast amount of lives the group changed in Kolkata. We will pray for safe travels as everyone returns to the States. See yall soon!

    Love yall,
    The MacNeil’s

    • Molly and MacNeill’s … Loved having Katy on the trip. I have enjoyed watching her grow up over the past several years. She is a fun young lady who makes everyone feel at ease. She never met a stranger on the trip, she was absolutely at home in Kolkata, she served in a caring and compassionate way, and she brought lots of smiles and joy everywhere she served. I am glad that she was a part of our team and know that God is going to use her in great ways in the years to come.

  2. Thank you so much, Omar and all of the parents and staff, for leading this group on this life-changing trip. My family has been listening to Evan’s stories that were just bursting from him all afternoon. Sometimes we laughed, sometimes we had to work not to cry, but every time my heart was touched by what you all did and seeing how much it meant to my son at this critical point in his life. He spoke very fondly of special students at the New Hope school and of the men at Prem Dan. I know that they will be in his thoughts and prayers for years to come. Thank you again for facilitating this meaningful trip!

    The Barrios Family
    Louis, Anne Marie, Evan & Leigh

    • It was great having Evan on our team. I enjoyed getting to know him. We had several conversations along the way and many conversations initiated by Evan about things he was processing about what he had seen and experienced. Evan thinks deeply, served with compassion, treated others in a polite and kind way, and heartily embraced every new challenge. I was blessed by our time of service together in Kolkata.

  3. Welcome home, Omar! I REALLY AM GLAD that you have made another trip safely and with much success!


    • Thanks, Tammy. Great trip. Great to be home. Now, getting ready to preach all three services on Sunday morning. The adventure never ends.

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