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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

India...and Boulder

Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Or tormented, lol. In a couple months (May), it'll be 5 years since our trip to India. Sometimes it feels like an eternity, and other times just like yesterday. All I can say is that when God puts something in your heart, calls you to a nation, a people, it's both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because you know that the God of all creation has called you to something great, something not many people would agree to, or be willing to give up so much for. A curse, because until you actually fulfill that purpose, until you see steps being made toward it, you feel often tormented. You can question a lot, you can get easily frustrated. Every single time you see a video or news clip, hear a sound byte resembling anything even close to Indian influence, your heart is both filled with joy and sadness. I happened to see the newest Coldplay video for "Hymn for the Weekend" recently in the news, which was all based in Mumbai. I know many people, especially Indians had issue with it, but for me it just reminded me, yet again, to what God has called us to. Another little video, about a South Indian ice cream seller feeding ice cream to a crow, stirred the joy/sadness emotions within me. When you hear of a couple being sent back to India (for the second time), when you hear of others planning to go, you are happy for them, and grateful that more people of that nation will hear the gospel of Jesus. But you also wonder when that "call to go" will ever happen for you. All you can do is keep having faith that He will remember what He has called you to. :)
 
The other day, however, we did get the privilege to meet a couple from our fellowship of churches, out of Austin, TX. He is in town to minister as an evangelist, and she flew in separate to celebrate their anniversary. She and I actually "met" on Instagram years ago, and after chatting at different points, came to realize we shared the "call" to India. So, we decided to finally meet in person, and what better way than at an Indian restaurant. My husband said it felt like we were going on a blind date with this other couple. But it turned out to be a great time of sharing stories and great food. And we now have a couple more friends, which everyone needs! The crazy thing about this "meeting", is that he was originally from Boulder. A place that we have in our hearts to reach with the gospel, as well. Both Boulder and India are HUGE endeavors for a couple that is currently in a tiny church. But I must remember that if God calls us to it, He'll bring us to it!

Friday, May 9, 2014

3 Years Later

Wow, can't believe it's been 3 years since we took our trip to Mumbai, India! It feels like it's been forever. I remember missing an annual Indian dance festival here in Denver, which was totally worth it to be in the real place lol! I was thinking trying to find out when it is this year, realizing I missed it now, and then. I also had on my ritualistic housecleaning Indian music, this morning, and heard broadcaster mention the haaj, of which also reminded me of when we saw a bunch of pilgrims at the airport when we were leaving Mumbai. It really feels like it's been a lifetime since. I still constantly have those moments of deep longing to return. Some trigger, a sound, a smell, a taste, will suddenly and without warning overwhelm me and I'm mentally there again. My revelation... God's little reminders of what He placed in our hearts, and has called us to. His way of helping me not forget. Like I would lol!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Sooji Ka Halwa - Semolina Halwa

Some people think I have an obsession with anything Indian.  Well, according to Webster's Online definition, they are absolutely correct! 

~ Definition of OBSESSION ~
1: a persistent disturbing preoccupation with an often unreasonable idea or feeling; broadly : compelling motivation obsession
with profits>
2: something that causes an obsession
~ Synonyms ~
Passion, enthusiasm, fascination, attraction, etc.
 
I would say that MOST people on this planet have an obsession of some kind.  Whether it's sports, cars, books, other people, fashion, religious conviction, and on, and on.  As a Christian, we believe that we are to have passion and zeal in loving and serving Jesus and people. 
 
So, yes, I have an obsession with India.  Want to know why?  Because God Himself put it there, and has verified it numerous times publicly and personally, to both my husband and I.  It goes beyond a cultural thing, even though it helps to know the many cultural aspects of the Indian subcontinent.  It's an unexplainable heart-wrenching, deep down inside, that when you see pictures of the people, when you hear of tragedies that beset them, both by default and design, or when you simply hear the speaking accent or the aroma of spices, you are instantly enraptured.  You choke up, tear up, take deep breaths so that you can gain composure, but no amount of mind-over-matter can truly cause this feeling to dissipate.  It's especially obvious, when only so many years previous, you can remember the times a relative took you to eat Indian food, of which you swore you'd never, ever eat again.  Or the times you'd call a customer service center, and demand the desperately-trying-to-speak-English Indian to connect you to someone that can speak English clearly and understandably!  And again, when you know beyond-the-shadow-of-a-doubt that you'd {previously} never give up wanting to own a happy American home, and would never leave the safety, comfort and cleanliness of American soil.  And here you have come full circle, wondering what life will be like in so many different circumstances, when you finally do go to that country, of which God has called you to (definitely NOT your original "white picket fence" plan).  Yes, I've been there once, and it definitely scared me and brought me to my knees!  But at the same time, I am still compelled to return.  I'll never forget the moment we (husband and I) were in the worship service of one of our sister churches in India, and the overwhelming voice of God telling me that these people needed someone to share His Gospel with them.  Other churches had closed down in Mumbai and Navi Mumbai, and He reminded me of that.  "Who will reach them for Me?"  I broke down and told Him, "here am I, send me."  Recently, I was questioning how it would be possible for us to reach them, and God quickened to my heart that it would not be on mine or my husband's ability, but on His.  We will merely be His instruments, and it'll all come from Him.  Not my strength, but His. 
 
So, in my continual pursuit of widening my Indian cooking skills, and keeping the dream alive in our home, I have found a wonderfully tasty recipe, that just tonight I made successfully!  If you like Cream of Wheat or Malt-O-Meal, your sure to enjoy this treat!


Sooji Ka Halwa Recipe
By , About.com Guide
http://indianfood.about.com/od/sweetsanddesserts/r/Sooji-Ka-Halwa-Semolina-Halwa.htm

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 and a 1/2 cups sooji/ rawa (semolina)
  • 1/2 cup ghee (clarified butter - super easy to make at home, just google it!)
  • 3/4 cup mixture of cashews (coarsely chopped ) and whole raisins/ sultanas
  • 3 cups hot water
  • 1/2 cup whole/ full cream milk (half & half works splendidly)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 5 pods of green cardamom split open

Preparation:

  • Heat a deep pan on a medium heat and when hot add the ghee. When it melts, add the Sooji and mix well.
  • Roast the Sooji (stirring frequently) till it begins to turn a very light golden color and give off a faint aroma. The roasted Sooji will have the grainy consistency of wet sand. Now add the cashews and raisins to the Sooji and mix well.
  • While you are roasting the Sooji, in a separate pot and on medium heat, bring a mixture of the milk, water, sugar and cardamom to a boil, stirring often.
  • When the Sooji is roasted, gently add the water and milk mixture, stirring all the while to prevent lumps from forming. If any do form, make sure to break them with the back of the stirring spoon so you get a smooth paste-like consistency. Cook the mixture till it is thick and begins to come away from the sides of the pan.
  • Turn off the heat and allow the mixture to cool to a warm temperature. Serve now in individual bowls.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Dreams & Reality

The past couple nights, I've dreamt about a return trip to Mumbai.  This can be a bit of a torture, because when you wake up, you're faced with the reality that you are, indeed, still at home.  How is it that dreams feel so real, but not totally?  This reminds me of something my daughter mentioned recently.  She said that she wondered if when we die, will heaven be less real "feeling" than life now?  I told her that I bet heaven will be more real than our current lives.  Kind of like when we wake up from a dream that seems real, but contains some fuzziness, some unreality to it.  Another thought is why does it seem like past experiences feel as though they are a dream? For example, I lived in California as a young girl, then moved to Colorado when I was a teenager.  Life in Cali seems almost like a dream I had once.  Like it never really happened.  Also our trip to Mumbai back in 2010.  I KNOW we were there, have pictures of us being there, but still think back on it as a distant memory, a dream.  Sometimes I wonder if it'll feel like that when we leave our current city/state/country to start or take-over a church.  Will this current life feel like a dream?  Most likely, yes.  And I bet it'll be the same once we go to heaven.  This life will be a distant memory for us, almost like a simple dream we once had.

 

Friday, April 19, 2013

India for Jesus! :)

Just wanted to share some India-inspired sites, mostly for spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ to the nation of India! :)

The Door Christian Center, Thane (Mumbai) India
http://www.youtube.com/user/SsSsSs9898?feature=watch

FEBC.org
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=0Nid2OAKJB0

Mission India
http://www.missionindia.org/

Pray for India song
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bvm9crdi6k0

India Travel Info
http://goindia.about.com/

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Twitter, Time and Testing

It's been a while.  Quite awhile.  Although I could almost sum of most of my adult life that way.  Everything takes time...wait.  Wait to find that right, special someone to marry.  Wait to get pregnant and start a family.  Wait to get sent out to start a church, or take over a church.  Wait to go to India.  Wait to get back to India. Wait to move.  Wait on paychecks that seem to always not come on time.  Wait to buy needs for the kids or household.  Wait on dinner.  Wait on a slow computer.  Wait for online orders to arrive.  Wait, wait, wait. 

It's not been an easy road.  Especially with an impatient person like me.  I learned long ago to not pray for patience, because the only way it'll come is with waiting, and learning to be patient! Ugh.  I'm slightly embarrassed to admit, but it can bring out the worst in me.  But ultimately, it all comes to surrendering my will for my Heavenly Father's Will.  That, and trusting that He really does love me unconditionally, and wants the best for me, wants to bless me, wants to prepare me to be able to handle any situation that this life brings me.  Including a crazy place like India! 

As in previously mentioned posts, my husband and I are called to India.  And since 2008, we've done almost everything we can to learn as much as we can about this nation that God has called us to.  But the one thing we cannot just learn instantly from watching a video and reading books or blogs, is the precious gift of waiting.  In a fast-paced, get it now, westernized society, we expect everything NOW!  We have instant/fast foods, instant message, instant live streaming, instant video & music downloads, etc.  So the one thing God's been preparing us for and testing us in, in these numerous times of wait, is how to....wait. 

So, while scanning through my Twitter feed today, I found a tweet by someone in India, with a link, which eventually took me to this blog of an Australian expat who became an Indian housewife.  Of course I was immediately (see fast again) interested and started from the beginning of her adventures.  Then, I happened upon this one:

http://www.whiteindianhousewife.com/2008/01/readjusting-to-life-in-india/comment-page-1/#comment-66269

While reading this particular post, realization and revelation began to dawn on me!  All my years of waiting, surrendering my will (my plans, expectations), trusting Him is in preparation for our call and eventually being missionaries in India. 

This is the part that really got me:
"Again the dreaded western mentality was lurking — I was wanting everything and wanting it immediately. In a country such as India, it’s extremely difficult to control the outcome of anything, and everything takes time! The easiest way forward is acceptance and surrender, as well as appreciation of the concept of impermanence. Given this, these troubled feelings wouldn’t last forever, and neither would I remain in this exact situation.
So, I decided just to trust the universe (I replaced universe with "God") with my dream and the outcome of what’s in store for me. It was also apparent that the more I sat around thinking about what needed to be done, the longer the cloud would hang over my head and continue to overwhelm me. Not only would this affect me, but it would also worry the people around me as well."

Once I read this, I began to cry.  The mental light bulb turned "on".  And in my heart and mind, God spoke to me.  "This is what I've been preparing you for.  The years of waiting have been readying you for the country I've called you to.  Keep trusting Me daughter."  How (obviously) smart our God is!  He knows that nothing happens quickly or on-time in India.  And if I can learn that here, then I'll be able to handle living in India, at least a little better, lol!  ;)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Hindi & Byki

Wow, 2 posts in a month?!  I'm really gonna try better, but sometimes it's kind of out of my control.  This blog is mostly about our heart for India (and beyond, meaning the rest of this great big Earth), and since I don't always have pertinent experiences, I can't always justify blogging. But, I do have a nice little incident that involves a semi-local Indian store and Hindi.  Long story short, I was buying some necessary items (jaggery, dosa mix, curry leaves, sooji) today.  While I approached the checkout counter, I realized I needed the sooji (semolina/cream of wheat), and without thinking about it immediately responded with, "Ek minute," to the owner.  Basically I was saying "one minute", as in I needed to grab one more thing.  Now this may not be a big thing for you, but it was a great moment for me, because I naturally, without thinking, responded to him in Hindi!  My brain has actually surprised me like this a couple of times in the past, but it just really made my day!  So, once I got back home, I decided to re-download a former language program on our new computer that I had on a previous "dead dinosaur" computer.  So, no, I'm not getting paid for endorsing this, but if you are interested in learning another language, I recommend trying Byki (no relation to daughter's babydoll, lol) language learning.  There is a free downloadable program for many languages, and you can eventually upgrade to the paid deluxe version.  Here's a link, http://www.transparent.com/language-resources/free-software.html.  This really helped me a couple years ago when I was teaching the kids Hindi in our homeschooling, and will continue to.  So, go ahead, enjoy the journey of learning a new language...you may thank yourself one day!