15 July 2007

From Heidi Maas ~

Friday, July 13th, 2007

Good morning to you all!~

Wow, wow, wow- these people sure know how to throw a party! Last night we went to Nidobrulu (note- I said it was Gunthur before, but it's Nidobrulu where the orphanage is) for the welcoming ceremony. The whole place was decked out in lights and color. I started tearing up before the ceremony even began; all the effort they put forth was overwhelming. The music and the kids were what really got to me. They were singing their hearts out to the Lord and dancing in rhythm with the beautiful gifts the Lord has given them. They had a four-man band- two drums, keyboard, and guitar/vocalist. It was authentic worship, not just a show. And the whole thing was on loudspeaker so the entire neighborhood got to hear it. They served us all soda pop and had a banner for each of us with our name on it. They gave us seats of honor in the front row. Pastor V.S. Benjamin came to each of us and blessed us by marking our foreheads with his thumb with the sign of the cross. People sometimes call him the godfather of the CLCI; he has a presence that is very holy and very impressive, yet extremely humble. They called us individually to the stage after the ceremony began and adorned each of us with garlands made of real flowers. Mine was primarily jasmine and smelled almost intoxicatingly good (it was very very fragrant :]). They also gave us gifts of Bible college Bible covers and a small trophy-like memento with the country of India on it and our name. Sometimes I think we hesitate to show such honor to each other because we are fearful of it going to our heads. But I found out that it's just the opposite. It was extremely humbling because we deserved none of it, yet they gave and served us as if we were kings and queens. And the amazing thing is that is who we ARE in Christ; I think sometimes we get bogged down by the law and forget that Christ has given us ! a brand new hope and future in His overwhelming (almost intoxicating :]) Love and grace gospel. No, we don't deserve it, which is why it is so shocking and stunning. We had a feast afterward and then they came around with a wash bucket. (note: we don't use silverware- just hands). They come to you and wash your hands right there at the table. And the pastors were the ones who served the food. It was truly incredible. The feast we experienced and enjoyed last night was not the food primarily, but the fellowship and Love which was so filling spiritually. I am so glad I get to go back for the next three weeks; it felt like the home I'd always been dreaming of but never found. -Heidi

Saturday, July 14th, 2007
~Apparently every congregation we visit adorns us each time with flower garlands and banners. And other special acts of service are unique from congregation to congregation. for instance, at our first church, the power went out while i was teaching. The people started singing until the lights came back on. the fans however did not. So the pastors took up the task of fanning us. One cannot refuse their service; that would offend them deeply. I feel deeply indebted to these people for their incredible services of love to us. How can I possibly thank them enough? I think it's similar to how we show thanks to God: receive the gifts that are offered with a thankful heart. 'How can I thank the Lord for all His goodness towards me? I will take the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord. These are such a special honors that is a continual reminder of the whole idea of being loved deeply even though it is undeserved. And can never really be repaid in full.~Last night we left the dry season (mid-May to mid-july)( Ps- feb to may is the HOT season). :] It was raring to rain like a wild horse at the starting line of the race while we were teaching on the rooftop, but it waited kindly until the door was closed on our car to burst forth and pour and pour and pour. God is so awesome.