Well, Ben and I enjoyed our first Diwali! This holiday is huge – kind of like Christmas for India. There are colorful lights on houses, candles, artwork, music, sweets everywhere, and people going from house to house “calling on” family and friends (people still do that here and it is really cool!) People light fireworks in the streets… literally, right in the middle of the street. We were told this was a five-day holiday, but celebrations lasted from October 30th until yesterday… I guess people celebrate it on different days here. I got hit by firework shrapnel twice during this holiday, once while riding on the back of the scooter – but we didn’t witness any house fires or injuries!
Last Sunday we were invited to our friends’ parents’ house for fireworks and dinner. I got to wear a traditional sari dress, and Ben wore a kurta (long shirt with a manly scarf). I had to take stitches out of one of the sari blouses to get it to fit over my shoulders After I got over my vanity, I enjoyed getting dressed up and fancy. And Ben looked terrific in a kurta!
We also got invited to two Diwali dinners, one at our landlord’s house and one at a large outdoor event last night. Our friend said that if we could digest the food we ate there, we are officially “in.” Neither of us have had any problems – sweet! We have street cred now. And, the food was delicious.
So, we are learning, praying for our friends, and enjoying every new experience we are privileged to have here!
I have to say that despite all the fun, I could never make it here without depending heavily on God in a way that I never have before. Some days it’s all fun and adventure, but other days I get lonely. Some days I get frustrated when things don’t happen the way I would like, or when the language barrier prevents me from communicating with the people I pray for every day. On those days when Satan pushes me to give up my joy, God always offers a way out. Not in a magic genie sort of way where I get everything I want, but in a subtle, reassuring way that gives me the strength to move on to the next day with a smile on my face. When I talk to God in prayer and read His Word, I am strengthened and encouraged. I am thankful that He is sustaining me here! He also uses my husband, friends and family to encourage me and remind me of what’s important.
“The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your love, O Lord, endures forever – do not abandon the works of your hands.” Psalm 138:8