That's so fun to say. I greeted the VBS class last night with that and they giggled and responded with their own greetings.
Yesterday (Sunday) we went to the worship service at the BELC church. Moses ran the service, but Pastor Reim preached the sermon on Matthew 9:9-13. The service was difficult to follow since it was, again, virtually all in Telegu, but it was once again uplifting to know that people were worshiping the Lord. After church, we ran through the craft that we'll be doing in our evening VBS sessions with the kids that were at church. They will be making wall hangings that have English words on one side, and then they'll write in Telegu (or Tamil, depending on which province we are in) the same thing on the back. There are also some pieces of fabric glued onto the cards that remind the children of various aspects of Jesus' life and our Christian lives.
I accidentally deleted all of my pictures on Saturday night, which was pretty heartbreaking as I had taken some great shots of the kids in the CLCI orphanage. I'm hoping that the others who were there that night were able to get some nice pictures that I can have, too. I've already made up for the lost pictures, however, as my camera has been out very frequently since then!
Last night, we taught our first "official" VBS class in the village of Downthali. For the rest of the trip, my group will be traveling in an SUV-type vehicle to all of our upcoming cities and villages. It took us a while on a bumpy road to get out to the village, and when we arrived, I was startled to see that the church was pretty much a shack. It had partial concrete walls, and the roof was made of branches and twine, basically. The floor was, I was later told, packed cow poop. Woo-hoo! I told Alison on our way back that by the end of this trip, I will be as tough as nails. No more complaining here! When we entered the church, the congregation was singing and clapping along to a drum beat. The children stared and stared at us as we entered and sat. We tried to wrap up the lessons quickly, especially as it began to rain (and the rain could easily come through the roof since it wasn't a complete roof), but the rain stopped and we turned on a light in the church. When we administered the craft, Sanjay, our interpreter, told us that many of the people probably would not be able to write, even in Telegu, because they probably weren't able to get a very good education in the village. So sad! I guess that thought never even crossed my mind.
Today, Alison and I are sitting around as "the Daves," as we call them, teach the pastors. We'll be going to the village of Krista Patanam tonight to teach another VBS class. In the meantime, Moses was kind enough to offer his computer so that we would not have to venture out to one of the Internet shops. I love being able to connect with all of you back in the US!
Something I've been thinking recently is that's going to be a little strange at first coming back to the US and seeing streets that are wide and cars that stay on their own side of the street. No shops everywhere, very few "interesting" smells, and people that don't stare at us wherever we go. I guess I've already gotten used to this a bit. Not that I would say that it's comfortable, but it's not as startling as it was at first.
Thank you for all of your thoughts and prayers. Keep them coming! :-)