25 July 2007

From Pastor Ohlmann

Things are busy here. It seems that there hasn't been much down time this trip other than traveling from place to place which almost qualifies as work itself. We are staying out in a town near many of the districts of the BELC so that we don't have to make that long drive through and from Chennai each day. We are staying in one of the "holiest" cities of Hinduism and the hotel is very nice but we don't spend much time here because it is still a 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hour drive each day to where Gui and I are teaching pastoral in the mornings. In the afternoons we travel to village congregations for the Children's evangelism programs. Yesterday we left at 8:30 am and got home at 9:30 pm. Today wasn't be quite as bad since we are a little closer to Sri Kalahasti where we will be teaching.

The hotel where we are staying here in Tirupati is a first class hotel but we are paying about $23 a night, which is very, very expensive here. They gave us a discount because the lady that checked us in remembered me from previous visits. Most of the hotels we stay in are about $12 to $15 a night. While this hotel is very nice, this is still an India hotel, so things are a bit dirty and not as comfortable like we expect in the US. I feel guilty staying here when we sit in the homes of our pastors over here and see the humble dwellings that they call home. What our group will spend in one week on hotel bills could pay the salary of one pastor for 6-8 months. I wonder to myself what the pastors think when we stay here. But they are the ones who find these hotels for us. I think that they view us as weak Americans who need these kind of amenities.
The routine has been the same as usual for me from the other times I have been here, except that we are driving from Tirupati instead of Chennai each day. We will stay here for 7 nights, so it is nice not to pack up and move every couple of days. We can hit four districts from here and the new BELC Bible College in Nagalapuram. We taught there the past two days. Today we went to Sri Kalahasti and again tomorrow and then Chittoor for two days. On Sunday we will go to church in the morning followed by VBS for the children. Then we will go see the big Tirumala Hindu temple complex at the top of the mountain after church and then off to Chennai for a couple of days of sight seeing and then HOME!!!

In Christ,
Pastor Ohlmann