Thursday, September 27, 2012

Letters Home: Sunday

This is the second in a series on my trip to India. Read the first letter here.

Dear friend,
After a long exhausting trip we arrived in Hyderabad at 7:30 yesterday morning. We were so tired it felt like it was night. I took a nap in the morning and afternoon and we all just relaxed all day.

We had so much fun giving the Gunti's our suitcases full of groceries and things for Good Life! They were so delighted, and barely had room for it all!

After going to bed around 10 last night I woke up at 6 when the power went off and the fan and ac stopped covering the sounds of mosquitoes and people talking and horns blowing and that pet dove who's neck I'm gonna wring one of these days.
     Church started at 11, so we sat around the Gunti's living room singing till noon and got there at 1. Oh, and we were on  time. We drove on red dirt back roads to a little village where a group of 30 or 40 men and women plus children sat on a rug under a fabric canopy singing. There were chickens and cows right outside and children running all over barefooted and by themselves. The people loved Jesus so much. The children jumped and sang and the parents bowed on their faces and prayed. Sam gave one of the guys on our team about 15 minutes notice before we left that he wanted him to teach Sunday School with one of the flannel graph stories we brought over. He did great and it was great fun watching the kids interact with the story. Around the adge of the church fabric was tied to make walls. Near where I was sitting in the back there was a hole torn in the fabric and a crack between two sticks. Some children kept peeking in the hole and listening and giggling. I watched them through my hole and just about burst out laughing when one of them reached in to poke my arm and then ran off giggling with his little friends. White people are kind of a novelty. We ate lunch in the village(around 3=) and then headed home.

Jess, Rachel, and I in our Sunday punjabis.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Letters Home:The Beginning

Sometimes it's hard for me to tell about things that happened(I know, you people that know me well are raising your eyebrows, but I promise it's true!), so I thought the easiest way to tell about my time in India would be to write as if I was writing a letter, since that's kind of how I journaled while I was there. I just might make it a habit when I go back. =)
Dear friend,
I made it the first part of the way! Landed in Ohio just fine and after spending the afternoon with a local family I met with my group at United Bethel. We had supper together and then settled down for our orientation. Richard Swartzentruber helped us to think in our first session about where we are going and why, with a close look at some of the things that make India unique. Our second session dealt with cultural contextualization--understanding that how things are done in other cultures is not necessarily wrong, just different. After we ended for the evening Rachel Horst and I went to my Uncle Lester and Aunt Janet's for the night. After a bit of a slow start in the morning we all met again at UB for worship. Richard challenged us with Deuteronomy 8:1-5 and some thoughts on 1 Timothy 2:8. He encouraged us to go before God with our hands up--an act of surrender. After some singing and prayer time, Clyde Byler gave us a challenge on going with a servant's heart from Matthew 25:14-30.  Rebecca Joy, the secretary for Good Life Ministries who is on furlough right now, gave us some tips on the culture and language. Then we brought all our luggage together and tried to fit more items into our already full suitcases. We stuffed and crammed and unpacked and repacked and weighed and emptied again till we were as close as we dared to our limits. When we finally arrived at the airport 2 hours later we had a hard time juggling all our extra luggage. We had a little mix up with an extra suitcase getting checked in, but we finally made it through with plenty of time to spare.

Even our carry-ons made a huge pile!
We finally set off on our first leg of the journey! I sat beside a sweet Indian couple with a little girl but didn't sleep much during the eight hour flight. When we reached Paris the next morning I was ready to crash. And that's where I'll leave off for now. More later!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

2nd day home

I know the question is coming. People are already asking me. "How was India?" they say. How am I supposed to answer a question like that? It was heartbreaking, but it gave me great joy. It was crushing, but it gave me reason to hope. It was tragic, and it was triumphant. I went to teach, but they taught me instead. I wanted to give, but they gave to me. It's left me reeling and angry, but grasping to Jesus. "How was India?" they'll ask. And I'll just smile and say, "It was amazing," because that's all most people really want to hear and maybe all I can say right now.
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