~The typical fare we enjoy at our host's compound is chicken or mutton with rice, along with soup, a side thing, and a fruit bowl. Also juice and water and then tea in the afternoon. But the last few days we've had new things, and they've caught on to give us smaller portions. One day we had various vegetables (beets, carrots, etc) mixed into the rice with shrimp. Also had scrambled eggs and garbanzo beans mixed in with a whole hard boiled egg on top. One day we had mystery meat which was pretty good taste wise but had the consistency of a hotdog....in India. We've also had deep fried tortilla with sugar inside, bread sandwich stuffed with garbanzo and egg, "French toast," and French fries. And they made us homemade poori yesterday- a real treat!
~One of the pastors wives asked me to French braid her hair. She really liked it. Then one of the Sunday school teachers wanted to do my hair in Indian braids. I liked it! It is so much fun to get to know these people on a day to day level.
~We got pulled over (random search?). Well, they were lucky because we didn't have the title papers in the SUV. But it was nothing crazier than a long wait of not knowing what all was going on while a mob of men talked with our driver outside the car. I love India! A new thrill, a new adventure, a new challenge every day.
~You know what else I really love? Every church is decked out in decorations like they're having a party every Sunday. Some have shiny sparkly streamers and others have tissue paper cut in decorative shapes. But they all have something up all year round.
~We were invited to sit in and listen to the sem classes the other day. It was pretty neat!
~Last night was incredible. It was at a super huge and beautiful church (like med. US size!). Well, it started out normal enough, except the kids were more excited than usual and that made for an interesting case to control. But we had great help from the seminary students and pastors. Still, nothing stood out the entire night incredibly out of the ordinary. These last few nights we've been able to hang around and talk with the people instead of rushing back to the hotel. We usually wait for Pastor Baker to pray over the adults while we visit and take pictures of everybody else. Well, last night while Pastor was praying, Whitney sat on the floor with the kids and started talking with them. Soon she suggested they pray. So she had a mob of little kids all bowed in prayer around her. I was thinking how so incredibly priceless that was when the older children started lining up in front of Kate and I. And one by one they removed their caps (boys) or covered their heads (girls) for prayer. I panicked. Ugh I panicked!!? There I had been admiring Whitney and now I was faced with the same opportunity...and I panick! Why? Why when I've been given a spirit of power and not timidity? I called Kate to my rescue and 10 seconds later I was clay in the Potter's hand again instead of a rock on His wheel. But it wasn't like I mustered myself up to it and then went ahead with it. I felt like a mouthpiece simply being spoken through because even though this was something new, it came without effort. Granted, I fumbled and mumbled over my words (it was nice that they couldn't understand my blumbled speech this time), but that didn't matter. The Holy Spirit was interceding to God the Father with groans and sighings (Please teach this girl to pray, Father!!). I'm sure He was also interceding in the children's hearts to! make a connection in spite of the language barrier. After praying for each of them, they'd look up and the expressions on their faces were priceless. Oh the faith of children! It was...I can't even describe it yet (rain check on this). But in simplistic words it was the bond of Christian Love that is so strong and surpasses everything. There were some 20 plus kids that each of us prayed over. I was so thankful for the opportunity to stay, esp. after such a roudy start. It ended most amazingly.
~One church we visited had a little drummer boy. He wasn't much older than 7 probably but man! Could he drum it! He played with every ounce of energy he had and he was so good! He played both the indian drum and american drum. He even had the serious "rocker expression" while he played. Also at that church a gecko ran through the crowd and caused quite the interruption (since people sit on the floor). But that was normal; as was the lightbulb stick falling to the ground and burning a hole in someone's shirt and then the carpet and later the power going out...they take it all in stride and maintain a very respectful and orderly atmosphere though. It's so terrific and oddly enough- refreshing to see.
~At another church, it was pouring rain after we finished teaching. And the SUV had to park a distance away because of the condition of the road. So we walked in the rain and mud! And it was so exhilarating! So refreshing! And it was so great cuz everyone along the road was smiling as we tromped through the mud (maybe they thought we were crazy, but I like to pretend they were smiling with us). :] And we had a great laugh about being wet...yes! - Just about being wet! - when we got back in the car.
~A new unique thing: as part of honoring us at one church, the children put flowers in our hair. Indian flowers smell sooooo good!!!
All for today.....Heidi Spring