26 July 2007

From Laura Hulke

Hello, everyone!Yesterday, we left Kadapa and arrived in Tirupati in the early afternoon. Victor had bought Alison and I punjabis on Tuesday, so we wore them all day. They're actually quite comfortable! Punjabis are a whole outfit that consists of very loose pants, a long dress-like shirt, and a shawl that is worn over the shoulders. My punjabi is black and white, and Alison's is red, gold, and white. Buying punjabis and saris is an interesting experience. The men keep throwing out more and more colors and patterns for you to choose from and expect you to decide very quickly. Women do not always shop that way!

We were very excited yesterday to meet up with the other BELC group, who is staying at the same hotel we are in Tirupati, the Hotel Bliss. This hotel is nice. When we arrived yesterday, we were told that there weren't any standard rooms available, so we will be in deluxe rooms for these first few nights. What a trial! Alison and I were delighted to find that our hotel room has a king-sized bed, a loveseat, a mini fridge, a full set of sheets on the bed, a table and chairs, a bathroom with a shower and curtain, and...my favorite part...toilet paper in the bathroom. What delicacies! It was wonderful to take a shower (rather than just dumping water on my head) for the first time in over two weeks.

It was also so encouraging to reconnect with the other BELC group. Alison and I talked with Dani and Danielle for a few hours last night, just swapping stories (they have a story about a bull who charged their VBS class) and showing off our saris and such. We think of the CLCI group often and wonder how everything is going for them. We'll be with the other BELC group until the end now. We also are back with Moses and Sonjay, and we met D. Paul this morning. We are looking forward to teaching three more classes and reaching more people here, especially since we've had a relatively light week so far.

Here's the plan for the rest of our time here: Today and tomorrow - The other group is off for classes and VBS, and we'll be going to Renigunta for our VBS class in the afternoon. Saturday - I think we're going to see the famous Hindu temple near Tirupati (people seriously make pilgrimages here), and then our group will be teaching VBS. Sunday - Church with D. Paul, and then the other group is teaching VBS. Then both of the groups will go to Chennai.
Monday and Tuesday - in Chennai, Wednesday - in London, Thursday - back to Chicago!

Blessings to all of you! Laura