Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Himalayas or This?


Hey, Friends!!!

Happy New Year from India!!!

So, I've been here for a few days and finally feel more accustomed to the time change. Now that I'm not a walking zombie, I basically spend my days laughing and completely captivated by the world around me.

India has to be one of the most beautiful places on earth. Physically, Delhi is dirty, polluted, and crowded, full of animals and people. It has a very interesting smell--sulfur mixed with spices--that I can only imagine explands as the heat comes ands trash and b.o. to that. But, the colors! This place is a feast for the senses. The colors the women wear, the decorations on the vehicles and the adornments on the buildings are stunning. As someone who is entranced by color, India is paradise, albeit quite a polluted one. :0)

These last few days have been so much fun. We've spent time at Asha House, playing with the children and holding them. They are so sweet, even to each other. After my experience in the DR, it's wonderful to see!

Monday night, I got to help Paru make chicken curry. Oh my word, it was so good! And to my American taste buds, it was HOT! But as we were making it, she told me that for us, she was only using half a scoop of some "fire" spice.... she uses 2.5 scoops when it's her and her husband! Looks like I have something to aspire too! Have I mentioned that I LOVE Indian food? :0) YUM!

On Tuesday, we went to a leper colony that I have never been to before. It was more open and cleaner than the others I've visited in the past, with fewer residents. Those with the disease weren't as far along as those in the ther colonies. But what sets this colony apart is how open and welcoming the people are to us. They love having relationships with us! It was so cool to go and see the fruit of others' months of ministry.

We spent the entire day with them, cooking lunch that was still cooking (and still had hours to go) by the time we left at 4:30pm. That's India for you. Please go to my blog (ktsummer.blogspot.com) and read the story about that-- "A Feast Fit for a King." But the story I will tell here is about a woman named Patima.

Patima is elderly, and so far she only has leprosy in her left hand, although she still has all fo her fingers. When I first saw her, she was sitting on the edge of the Hindu temple, a thick gray blanket wrapped around her shoulders. She looked at me, pointed up, nodded, and pointed to her heart with a sincere expression in her eyes. When you don't share a common languge, that is the kind of conversation you only dream about having in India. She believes! Later, she let me pr-- for her and her hand. It was incredibly progound to hold her hand in mine and see the beauty that she doesn't know is there.

On the property of this colony is a Hindu temple and a separate ch----. My friend, Kim, told me that in the past, there were Hindu gods mixed in with J in the ch----. But when she went into the chu--- this time, only a picture of J remained. That is a HUGE step! Praise Him!!

On Wednesday we drove out to the slums to visit a pas--- of an underground chu---. It was the same place we visited 2 years ago when I got to meet my Hindi mother, Raka. We had such a strong connection after only a few hours that I knew I would never forget her. Or vice versa. Even though she didn't speak English and I speak no Hindi, we were able to communicate. I still remember her waiting for us to drive away, pointing to heaven, and making the "pr-----" motion with her hands. She called me "Daughter." That was 2 years ago.

The first thing I saw as I walked through the slums was a crowd of children sitting in a giant square, on mats that had been laid in the mud road. Houses pressed on every side; sewage ran in the streets. Adults stood on the outskirts, wtching the pa---- speak. And then, there was a glimpse of a face.... (what's that line in the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe? "A dream of a dream?") Familiar, yet from a long time ago. I called her name, said the Hindi word for "Mother," and she smiled. It was the coolest thing, something I never expected. And she did remember me!

Our team put on a small program for the kids, singing songs and then I shared the gospel. That was a last minute request--that someone speak to the children--and I hope the L spoke through me! It was so cool to proclaim the name of J in the slums of India, a place where persecution has happened in the past... as place where I've seen tension bc of J here.

After, we got to pr-- for children who were sick. The girl I pr---- for ended up being Raka's daughter. Then we were invited into their small home, where we got to sit on the floor and hear her testimony. Raka came to C while she was sick in the hospital 4 years go. A M came, gave her the Word, and led her to C. She then led her husband to C. Y'all, this woman just glows! And if she hadn't been sick, she would have been at work (she works for World Vision). I wouldn't have seen her. How's that for timing!

When we left, it was the same. She pointed at her children and pointed at me, saying "sister." And then she pointed to heaven and nodded. I made the pr----- symbol with my hands and she smiled.

We stopped at McDonalds on the way home, then drove through the crowded streets of Delhi. After dinner (indians eat late), we went to a neighbor's house for New Year's Eve. It was a lot of fun, though. many people there spoke excellent English and we had a great conversation.

We left well before midnight, admist laughter. Indians know how to have fun! They had to leave becuse they were going to a dance party. We just wanted to go bed. But as I went to bed, I was thinking.... Originally, part of the plan was for the five of us to travel north to the Himalayas. It would have been a time of ministry, but also of play, to enjoy the beauty of the country away from the city and see a different way of life in India. But it turned out the only time we could have gone would have been Mon-Wed of this week. Because of the holiday, it was 2x as expensive and plans just fell through. I was a bit disappointed but also excited at more time at these ministry sites, time to build relationships. If we'd gone to the Himalayas, none of this would have happened. Raka wouldn't have been at the slums because she would have been well and at work. We would have missed the NYEve party. And the leper colony would have been different as well.

It was so worth it. I wouldn't have traded this for anything, not even the Himalayas. :0)

I hope everyone is doing well and had a great new year's! It's a lot colder here now and our tiny house--1 toilet, one shower--will soon hve 20 ppl in it! I guess all that African training will come in handy! Please pr-- that no one will get "delhi belly,' bc that would make bathroom logistics a nightmare!!!!

Love ya! Have a great day!

-K

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