I really wish I had the time to respond to all of you who write me such thoughtful replies to these emails, but please know that I really do appreciate your taking the time to respond! I love checking my email so that I can keep in contact with all of you whom I so dearly appreciate.
It has been a rough few days for us here in Kadapa. Neither the city nor the hotel has turned out to be as much of a disappointment as we previously thought, which is a blessing. The staff actually made our beds yesterday! However, we still have to put the garbage cans outside of our room so that they remember to clean those out. I don't really like thinking of where the garbage will end up.
For the last two days, we drove to the village of Allagadda to the church there, which is led by a man named Barnabas. It was about a 1.5-2 hour drive, and along the rocky roads of India, it is not very comfortable. We sometimes joke that our driver thinks he is in the "India 500," because he really does not seem to grasp the concept of moderation as he is driving. It's always a really fast acceleration followed by braking very quickly. We thank God that we do not need to make that particular drive again.
The Allagadda class was our largest yet - almost 100 children! Praise the Lord! Pastor Reim, Alison, and I taught the children how to sing "Jesus Loves Me," and Barnabas' daughter, Mercy Elizabeth, asked me yesterday to write out the words for her so that she can use it in her Sunday School class. Yesterday, we drove a short distance to the village of Suddapalli (I think that was the name) and taught class outside because the power went out in the church. This probably was a good idea, however, because there were over 100 people (David Lueck estimated almost 150) there, with about 60 or so children. When I was teaching my lesson yesterday, I said: "Now here's why this story is the most important one you'll ever hear..." and then paused for our translator, Santosh. During that pause, a goat (in Telugu, "maca") walked right in front of me and completely stole the show. Perfect timing on the goat's part!
Pastor Reim was ill Thursday night and all day yesterday, so he wasn't able to accompany us to Allagadda yesterday. We are thankful that he is feeling much better today. We have the weekend off, to a certain extent. This afternoon, we'll be going "sightseeing" with Pastor Victor, and tomorrow we'll have church. Monday and Tuesday, we'll be teaching classes here in Kadapa and the surrounding area, and then we'll be going to Tirupati on Wednesday.
Keep thinking of us and praying for us! I look forward to the time when our groups are reunited in Chennai. There is something about strength in numbers that I think we might be lacking at the moment. But "Praise the Lord" for the work He is doing over here through us and the other Christians!