Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | January 3, 2012

The Joy of Familiar Faces

Kolkata, India

I find both joy and comfort in seeing familiar faces when I am away from home. One of the first things I did after arriving in Kolkata was to visit the folks I know along AJC Bose Road. Over the past years I have become friends with beggars, shop keepers, a waiter at a hotel restaurant, a barber, a Muslim laundryman, several nuns at Mother House (headquarters of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity), and the staff and security guards at the Baptist Missionary Society guesthouse. I have visited each of these folks over the past day and enjoyed smiles, hugs, hearty handshakes, and lots of conversations. And today, I made a new friend — a young Muslim man who runs a cell phone store next to Mother House. I was able to spend more than an hour conversing with him in his shop. We have agreed to stay in touch via email.

This morning, my old friend Don, the guy who handles the logistics for our trips here, and I went to the airport to meet Kay Smith and our Kingsland ladies. Once again, it was wonderful to see their familiar faces as they walked out of the terminal building pushing their luggage carts. Even though most of us see each other every week at church, seeing one another in Kolkata was like a mini family reunion with hugs and smiles and excited conversation. And, although tired from travel, we spent a few hours together getting oriented to life and landmarks on AJC Bose Road and the surrounding area. We visited Mother House, played with the kids at Sishu Bhavan (Mother Teresa’s home for orphans), and traveled by motor-rickshaws and trolley cars to get a quick bite to eat before going to bed. Over the coming days our ladies will work at the slum school we support, with the ladies in a vocational training sewing center we helped to finance, spend time with girls rescued from brothels, visit our justice partners in the city, and visit a ministry to kids rescued near the railroad station that handles a million passengers a day.

There is something really good about returning to the places where we have worked to build relationships and partnerships that are helping to advance God’s interests. Like me, the folks we work with and those we serve are always happy to see our familiar faces. Every time we return someone will say, “You’ve come back!” It means a lot to the folks here to know that we are committed to a long-term relationship with them and the people of Kolkata. I’m glad that they enjoy seeing our faces as much as we enjoy seeing theirs. Whether in Kolkata, India or Katy, Texas, it’s worth taking the time to get to know people and to bring a little joy into their lives. Every time we leave home we should make it a point to carry “a little balm and a little honey” (Gen. 43:11) with us in order to bring both healing and happiness to those we meet along our journey. May we live in such a way that others will smile and be filled with joy when they see our familiar faces.


  1. Let them know they are in my prayers! I know God will do great things in them and through them while they are there. I must say I am a little jealous.

    Love to you all,


    • Will do, Lisa. Thanks for your prayers.

  2. Loved reading this and am lifting all of you up to our Lord! Praise His holy name that all of you are representing His love to the people He puts in your paths and In your hearts! Be the light!!! I send love , warm wishes and know Our King and Redeemer will provide to all and bless you and all you come in contact with for He is the giver of mercy, justice, grace! God keep and bless you and your families while you are away and give you wide open eyes and hearts!!!! I thank Him in advance for all blessings and give glory to His marvelous name!!!

  3. Good to hear news from Kolkata. Praise God for ladies team. We pray they will be a blessing to the folk in Kolkata.
    Yes Kolkata is probably the friendliest place in the world. Strangers willingly help out in every way.

    God Bless

    Paul & Sarah Beniston

    • Paul and Sarah … Thanks for your prayers.

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