Making Roti

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I have been learning how to make a lot of new recipes since we moved to Nagpur.  My friend is an excellent cook and has taught me most of the things I know so far.  Ben has had to put up with a lot of experimenting, and some instant noodles when I get tired of cooking. One of the most important Indian staples is roti, a thin flatbread served with almost every meal.  It’s made with only wheat flour, water, and a bit of oil.  You roll the dough (pronounced “dove” here…) very thin and cook it on a pan.  Then you toss it right onto the gas burner so it puffs up in the middle. You top the finished product with a little butter.
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Marinara and post-modernism

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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.
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The funny thing is…

Our mattress right now - thats tree bark
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We have been in India for five days now! So far we have gotten situated and also visited the church, where they invited Ben to preach. Everyone was very welcoming. We also had lunch with the pastor and his wife.

It took us four days to get a bed for our apartment, so we spent our first night in our new home last night. Things are starting to get real.

The first thing I have learned in India is to wait. In the US, everything happens in an instant. Not so in India. We ordered a mattress on Saturday (Day 2). After we left, the store called. They forgot to mention that they didn’t have what we purchased in stock. It would take two days to deliver it. After that, they called and said it would take four days. Finally, yesterday they delivered a “temporary” mattress made out of tree bark that we can use until they deliver the real mattress (tree bark with a few inches of foam – yay!). Apparently, this is all standard procedure around here.

I have actually found a lot of humor in this so far. I’m sure I will have my moments of frustration, but right now it is just so fascinating. Actually, I think my naturally slow pace seems to fit in just fine here! Also, it is completely acceptable to be 30 minutes late to a function (and everyone is late, except to work). That is great news for me. The Indians have a phrase that helps westerners understand their mindset in regard to time. They say Indian Standard Time (IST) really stands for “Indian Stretchable Time.” Nice!

Besides the time thing, there are a few other idiosyncrasies that I have found particularly fun. Here are a few. As you read, please picture Ben and me looking bewildered!

  1. Our landlords are strict vegetarian (many Hindus are) and have asked us to refrain from preparing meat in our apartment.
  2. There is no hot water unless you boil it on the stovetop or flip on the shower heater. Our friends were really amused when we asked why our faucet didn’t have hot water.
  3. In India, the whole bathroom is your shower.  The shower head is placed on the wall with nothing to separate it, so you just end up getting the whole bathroom soaked! Note to self: move the toilet paper to a safer location.
  4. No one in India uses or owns an oven. My friend would like me to teach her how to make lasagna. We might try an experiment with a toaster oven.
  5. When you go shopping, you have to take small bills because even in the big stores, “no one has change.”
  6. The presentation of gifts is very elaborate and taken very seriously here (Suzie, you would love it!). Everything is wrapped meticulously. My friend admitted that she was puzzled when I gave her a tissue-paper-stuffed gift bag last December! This time I didn’t even bother to wrap her gift… oops!

I hope you found as much humor as I did in these situations over the past week! Our friends have helped us so much as we learn. I’m sure we’ll have more adventures this week too!

We Leave Wednesday Early Morning!

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We leave soon. Jaimie and I are at our last two days. We have started moving and packing. This week we threw out 7-8 garbage bags of junk. We’re busy moving furniture, packing bags, selling things, accepting donations (wink*wink*).  - Just kidding.  But seriously, many many people have been helping Jaimie and I tremendously by giving us their time, inviting us to dinners and lunches, giving us small checks and saying, “Here is for air and Internet.” It’s been so humbling seeing the generosity of the people around us. Thank you so much!

What Happened Friday Night?

One of these generous moments was Friday Night. Marco was able to shoot a video for us so we all can see what went on. Our closest friends threw a little going away party and you can be a part of it by watching the video below.

*UPDATE: Video removed for security purposes.

 

One Week and Counting

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We are leaving for India in one week.

What in the world happened last week?…let’s see:

  • Go to the Dentist
  • Go to the Doctor
  • Organize parts of the garage
  • Have a farewell party
  • Call car insurance
  • Quit my job
  • Have another farewell party
  • Research oversea communication
  • Begin the living will and that stuff.
  • etc…

That’s just me. Jaimie will have to tell you her full week. This week Jaimie and I already have 6 events on the schedule and I have 3 client meetings…and I’m sure more to come. It’s been extremely busy for us! But it’s nice that we don’t just sit in the house stressing about the move. There are lots of things keeping us busy.

Services Offered

One of my most favorite accomplishments this week is re-designing my entire website. From bottom up, Skillful Antics, now has a fresh new look on everything. One of the ways Jaimie and I are trying to fund our trip is to work for ourselves. Building websites for people is something I can do anywhere. So I encourage you to check out the new website and get a flavor of what I do for a living – if you know anyone who needs a website, I’d be more than happy to help them out.

What are Jaimie and I going through mentally?

I think I speak for us both when I say we are getting excited, nervous, happy, sad, etc. all at the same time. Jaimie and I are going to an area we hardly know. I’ve been encouraged to think this way:  ”Think, here in America you write five things on a list and head out for the day and you can get all five done. In India, write five things on a list, head out for the day, and hopefully by tomorrow you will get the first one done.” Not being able to communicate, not knowing the roads, stores, prices, expectations, corrupt laws, etc. puts an unsettling feeling in our gut.

We are certainly not allowing that fear to cripple us. Moving forward towards God is the active command he gave all of us – but sometimes it’s a little uneasy. It reminds me of Abraham. God called Abraham to leave his hometown and trek across the land to an unknown area. It’s so scary for me to do something like this without receiving any type of “divine revelation,” and I’ve been there twice. Not only that, I’ve traveled to tons of places inside and outside the US. If anything, I think I would be considered an experienced traveler who already has connections on the ground. Abraham had nothing. Back in those days you never left your home. No wonder the faith he had was credited to him as righteousness.

Oh yes, and one more thing – about the “divine revelation” bit. I think you should know Jaimie and I haven’t been “called” or blinded on the road to Minneola. We’re going to India because we want to teach people about Jesus who haven’t heard about him. There are many places to do this, but we had connections in India and it seems like a good place to start learning how to go into foreign land. For everyone else waiting for a “mountain top moment,” you should know we’ve already been commanded to go out and teach people about Jesus (Matt 18:19-20). You can do that anywhere – it doesn’t have to be in India. But if you want to come and visit and fumble around with Jaimie and I, we have room!

 

3 Weeks and Jehovah Witnesses

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We are 3 weeks away and counting

What does one do before moving for a year?  Last week I:

  • Canceled health insurance
  • Re-worked life insurance
  • Added Jaimie to a bank account
  • Had her cancel two bank accounts
  • Trimmed the hedges
  • Had some meetings
  • Got new traveling credit cards
  • Canceled old credit cards
  • Got to the beach
  • …and I’m sure I’m missing a dozen more things.

This week is already scheduled full of events as well! On top of all that, some Jehovah Witnesses came to the door a while ago.

Jehovah Witness

What was I to do? I’ve never had this experience happen to me. For so long, I’ve had friends joke and spread gossip about what it was like. But I wanted to know the truth about Jehovah Witnesses, and I invited them in. After a puzzled look and a few moments of excuses, I welcomed them into my home – a husband, wife, and two adult children.

We sat and spoke for an hour. I’ve learned so much about the Jehovah Witnesses. To my surprise, there were many things they believed that Jaimie and I believe, that a lot of denominations around here don’t. Like when Jesus comes back, there will not be a “rapture.” He’ll come back and that will be that. And that baptism is part of salvation, and there is penalty for sins, etc. But there were some big inconsistencies as well. Like Jesus is the highest angel and there is no hell.

The great thing about talking to someone who believes differently than you do is how much you’ll learn if you’re prepared. I don’t consider myself to be wise. And I knew ahead of time if I want going to speak to them, I may get a little confused and have to research things later. And one thing that did puzzle me the most is that they believed that God created Jesus.

Cor 1:15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.

With that scripture alone, with no context (which is what they explained to me) meant that God created Jesus. He was the “first born.” (There was a few loosely linked other scriptures). And I’ll be honest, that was tripping me up. Until a friend of mine recommend I do a word study on “firstborn.” That was the best piece of advice I got all week and really helped bring it into perspective.

Psalm 89:27 And I will appoint him to be my firstborn, the most exalted of the kings of the earth.

That scripture is talking about David, the youngest of all his brothers, and God is appointing him to be firstborn. As in a position of rank. Just like Jesus is the first position of rank over all creation. I’d suggest you do a word study of firstborn as well to get a better idea. Over the last week, I studied this and I come to find out that there is one God – the Trinity, made up of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who has always been there.

One thing I walked away with is if you’re going to have a conversation with a false religion, do not believe in ignorance. Examine the scriptures, be very cautious, and seek wise counsel.

Acts 17:11 Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.

 

I Quit & Looking for an Apartment

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I quit!

It was actually one of the best exits I have had at a company. I think everyone there looks at me through a “I don’t understand that” lens. But can you blame them? I look at myself through that lens daily. One person told me that they admire that I am doing something that I believe in. Never thought of it like that. I’m turning my life upside down, moving my wife and I to a foreign country, putting everything on hold – perhaps never to be picked up again, and all because I believe 2,000 years ago a man named Jesus was telling the truth.

Sneaky Sneaky Pride

When you put it like that, I’m doing pretty good. Easy to get that “look at me” attitude. But the mistake that I could easily make is assuming I’m turning my life upside down.

The last time I checked, I was bought with a price. (1 Cor 7:23).

We are six weeks away. The things that are important are becoming quick priorities, and the things I thought were important are being left by the wayside. And I am still struggling with pride. I am trying to watch myself, and watch my life at a distance to see where I am being attacked.

One thing that is really helping any pride issues I have is the pressing thought that now, I don’t have a job. Not easy to build up that sense of pride when you’re worried about not working. My company graciously asked if I could stay on a couple days a week and train my replacement. But at the end of the day, we are six weeks away.

Apartment Hunt

Living RoomSo what is the first thing one does when he quits his job? Looks for an apartment in another country, of course. I have a friend in India who is the most helpful anyone has ever been to me. He and I are hunting them down. We are looking at one closely, and it is $4,000 – for the year. It’s not quite like the one above, it’s more like the one to the left. Coincidentally, that’s how much our plane tickets cost. We can live in India for a year on what it takes to get there and back once.

It’s a 2 bedroom, so we have space for someone to come and visit. If anyone is interested, we got this! You can read our earlier post on tips for first time India travelers, and we’ll help you out along the way!

Also, if you need a website built, I’ll hook you up. (I’m out of work now – I’m pretty good).

Ben

 

P.S. The main image was acquired from IREO.