Marinara and post-modernism

image (13)
Standard

It’s hard to believe we have been in India for over a month now!  Somewhere between weeks three and four, I started to feel more at home.  And, with the purchase of our little red scooter, we have entered a new and glorious era of freedom.  We can eat lunch whenever we want!  Sometimes, I can even stay home for half a day and enjoy some introvert time while Ben is at the office. It’s amazing how much three hours of alone time does for my emotional state.  I have been a much more pleasant person this past week!  Also, the apartment is actually clean.
Continue reading

These Are The Best Keys (Learn About Ganesha too)

Left to Right: Scooter, Front Gate, Appartment.
Standard

People just hand out anything over here…like a scooter to a white kid!  (Some rupees helped facilitate this deal) I don’t have an Indian drivers license, an address, credit cards, bank accounts, or a healthy grasp on road rules here… but I have a scooter!

the idol ganesha

Ganesha is the Hindu god who starts the ball rolling. Before a Hindu person would begin anything – a new work venture, for example – they would worship Ganesha for good luck. I’m sure you’ve seen a few pics on the blog. Here is another. It’s almost identical to Christmas – except I think Americans spend more on Christmas and it lasts longer…and we don’t worship the tree. Anyway, the next five or six months, there will be a lot of festivals. But the festival for Ganesha is the kick-off. The streets have Christmas-y lights, there are stands selling Ganesha statues and temples all over, and people are busy shopping and full of stress.

Here is how this 10 day festival of Ganesha works.

photo 1Day One

You purchase a stand (temple) and a god (Ganesha – made out of clay) and keep him covered until you or a priest comes to your house and uncovers Ganesha. When he is covered you decorate his stand, much like a Christmas Tree. There are lights, colors, stands, etc. Once he is uncovered you give him offerings of incense, burning oils, foods, money, etc. (Not like a Christmas tree).

During the Festival

One would usually have a feast or party called Ganpati, dedicated as an offering to Ganesha. The day doesn’t matter. Jaimie and I were invited to one of these feasts the other night – we were unknowing that the whole buffet was an offering to the Hindu god Ganesha.  Once we arrived, we soon learned this – and, didn’t stay too long after.

Day 3, 5, or 10

Now depending on your culture, heritage, religious sect… I’m not too clear on these details… you would take Ganesha and put him in the lake. Because he is clay, he usually goes down easily and dissolves – but if he floats, it’s considered very bad. So you can pay a local boy rs.50 (about 1USD) and he will swim Ganesha out into the lake and sink him for you.

What else Happened This Weekend?

Jaimie and I went to a roller blade competition, watched a little TV, went to church, and…  Visited an Orphanage! The owners were very curious about us and we were excited to ask some of our questions on how to get one started. We got a quick tour of the facility and enjoyed our time. We also got a lot of intel on how to get a Christian orphanage up and running successfully. We will continue to move ahead and keep you guys informed!

Some Highlights This Week

no fan in india
Standard

I’m not going to sugarcoat this – it’s tough to adjust living in another country. I’m sure everyone would like to hear a ramble of the list of complaints that Jaimie and I have been annoying each other with, but I’m going to skip a few of those and stay positive today! I’ll share some highlights. At the end of a hard day, it’s getting easier for Jaimie and I to count the good things that happened, especially when I read scriptures like this:

I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. – 2 Cor 11:23b-27

I think the most difficult thing Jaimie and I had to endure so far is that our ceiling fan is broken + we don’t have air conditioning in the living room.

Focusing on what we do have

colored cows1. Colored Cows

I was so lucky last week that on one of my 100-degree walks home, I was accompanied by these colorful cows. Not only that, I heard a story yesterday that one of my co-workers here was hit by a cow while driving a scooter (the cow hit him).  And our driver nicked one once. There are cows everywhere. Most of them look a little dingy, but beautiful cows like these almost outshine that rooster with earrings we saw three weeks ago. That’s right! A rooster with earrings.

toilet paper in an indian bathroom2. Toilet Paper in a Random Bathroom

We went to a place that serves Dosa (look it up). They had 100′s of choices, even an American style. (I didn’t want to break their hearts and let them know there are no American Dosas.) Anyway, after dinner, we went to wash our hand (because silverware is hard to come by here), and we found toilet paper in the bathroom!  We’re halfway through our fourth week and this is the first time I’ve seen it in a public facility.

color

cookies3. Color & Cookies in the Apartment

Jaimie did it! She made chocolate chip cookies and added some color to our living room. It took 2 weeks to find chocolate chips.  Don’t think now they came in a packaged bag; these mini chocolate chips came in very small ziplock bag (we’re still wondering where they really came from). And we bought a bed sheet and hung it up by tape.  Any better ideas out there?

Jaimie and Ben at the lake4. Went to the Lake & Watched the Sunset

A couple of co-workers took us out to the lake, got us ice cream, took us for a drink, and then dinner one evening last week. We had a great great time. Until then, Jaimie and I have been busy with lots of other things, and spending time with our hosts (which is such a life saver and great blessing!). But last Saturday we had the chance to enjoy the company of some new folks and make some new friends and see some new things. Even a giant rat joined us at the lake. …ahhh, memories.

5. Last, but not Least, I Got to Driveben driving in india

I had no idea how much I missed driving until I tricked someone into letting me.  Just kidding – one of my friends from work graciously let me drive his car. The steering wheel is on the right side and all the traffic is backwards to me, but I didn’t care (which may have been a problem). You can see the joy in my eyes from the photo Jaimie took.

Last Words

Oh! I almost forgot. The best moment last week was when I was asked what the spots on my skin are (freckles) and if there was a solution for them. We all had a great laugh.

The little things

Standard

For the past few months, our lives have been filled with excitement and activity as we prepared to leave for India. Our friends and family surrounded us. We prayed and dreamed of the things we want to do in Nagpur. We want to help orphans and adopt them; we want to tell people about Jesus; we want to train and encourage evangelists; we want God to use us to change the world. These are lofty goals.

But on the ground here, we knew we would come face to face with the reality that some of these goals will be long-term; they will require perseverance, patience, and suffering. Accomplishing them will be nothing short of a miracle. It will be God’s doing, in His timing. By ourselves, we are very incapable here.  We started experiencing this reality almost immediately upon arrival!

Even in daily life, it has been painfully humbling for me to be so dependent on God and others for (literally) everything. At this point, we cannot eat a real meal, get around town, shop, hold a conversation with most people, or even go to church without someone else’s help. This level of incapacity is so frustrating to me. I know God is using it to teach me to lay down my pride and depend on Him in each moment! I read Proverbs 3:5-6 Sunday and it really encouraged me in this area. I cannot even try to lean on my own understanding here, so I am learning to put my trust in the Lord and submit to Him.

I know that we will continue to pursue our long-term goals here as God leads us, and we are in this ministry for the long haul. I also think God is calling me to have faith that the small, daily things we do are meaningful too. Sometimes, I have a very limited view of what meaningful work looks like: Bible studies, counseling sessions, children’s services… Hopefully we will eventually have the opportunity to participate in these kinds of ministry here, but for now, what should we do? I am missing the activities I got to be part of in the US, and I’m dying to do something big and “meaningful” here.

This weekend I read what Jesus told his disciples about the kingdom of God. He uses three similar parables (the parable of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost/prodigal son) to demonstrate a principle in Luke 15:10, “In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” In all of the parables, Jesus is talking about one individual. One sheep… one coin… one sinner who repents. Although this is not the only point of the lesson, I noticed that Jesus puts value on the individual… on the small things. One sheep out of 99 doesn’t seem like a “big” deal, but it is very meaningful in the Kingdom. Even if we see one person’s life changed, it will be meaningful and important. Angels will rejoice.

I started thinking more about the little things in life. What resources do I have? Our friend and mentor wrote a book about biblical principles that I just finished copy-editing. One of the principles is use what you have; don’t worry about what you don’t have (2 Corinthians 8:12). I remembered this for my life and decided that I would try to use the gifts that I do have in order to impact people’s lives.  I will strive to be faithful in the little things. If that means all I can do is smile and greet the boy who takes out our trash, I will do it. If it means I can say a word of encouragement to a friend, I will do it. If I can be uplifting to my husband, I will do it. I can be righteous and practice the fruits of the Spirit, and I will do it. I will look for any way I can show love to others. These things are really not what I would consider “ministry” – but they are the only things I have right now.

For now, I have faith that God is in control and will accomplish His will. I have faith that the little things are also important.

Galatians 6:9 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”