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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Revolution In World Missions


I cannot believe that we (husband & I) have had a heart for India for 3 years now!  Time sure does pass quickly.  I can remember back to the day he told me about this "call from God", like it was yesterday.  What an amazing adventure we've had, just in learning about this precious sub-continent.  The culture, history, people, food, and so many other things.  And to think, we actually made a trip there!  But thinking back, I remember using a lot of resources in our quest for knowledge of anything Indian.  One particular book comes to mind, that was titled Revolution in World Missions.  I think my husband signed up for the free book from www.gfa.org. This book was very influential to us, since we knew God had placed India on our hearts.  It was such a powerful book about the Gospel For Asia organization.  How it started, how it continued, the struggles and victories.  I remember just being stirred further in regards to the mission field.  How often my prayers were laced with concern for those in need and in poverty, and those who were ministering to them.  The book also showed the different opinions and attitudes that people here in America have towards missions and missionaries. Both good and bad.  I remember times of sadness for the lack of interest in supporting missionary works, compared to the exorbitant materialistic mindsets.  But there were also moments of awareness of the needs that needed to be met.  This book was very eye-opening to the needs, and challenged me to personally support overseas & missionary works, both financially and prayerfully.  Even now, we faithfully contribute to works in Africa and India.  If you want the eyes of your heart to be opened up to God's desire to see other nations & peoples being reached, I highly recommend you read this book!

I also recently received No Longer a Slumdog (also from GFA), and am in the process of reading it.  Looking forward to more of the Holy Spirit's challenging my heart for the nations!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

English and Spanish

Yesterday we had the privilege of picking up an international pastor from the airport.  He is from Panama, which is mostly Spanish speaking.  As we met up with him at the baggage claim (which took DIA a VERY LONG time to get the baggage delivered), we had quite a bit of time to try a small amount of Spanish on him, and his small amount of English on us.  Needless to say, it was quite interesting indeed.  Just standing there with a person from another country reminded me of our own adventure in another country.  I will never forget standing at the baggage claim in Mumbai International Airport.  A very nice Indian girl helped direct us a little, since she is from there, but lives in the US and knew English very well.  Later on, I regretfully realized that I wished I had gotten her name and number.  But alas, hindsight is 20/20.

So, once we finally retrieved our pastor friend's luggage, we headed home, into the sunset (literally!).  Since I knew we needed to have dinner ready for his arrival, I decided on Frito pie as the dinner of choice.  Something that can easily be made ahead of time, and thrown in the crockpot for awhile to simmer and wait for us.  Needless to say, he was very satisfied, and even asked for the recipe. You can find the recipe at my food blog: http://heathersmanyrecipes.blogspot.com/.

Now if only we can take another trip to India, and have someone waiting there for us! :)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Indian Food!

So, as many of you may know, one of my most favorite past-times is cooking Indian food!  And I must say, I've gotten pretty good at it.  I love the accomplishment of setting out to find a perfect recipe for a particular dish, and finally having the satisfaction of making it mine!  Samosas are just one of the many recipes I have tried and if you check out my other blog, you'll find a great recipe for them!  Hope you like! :)
http://heathersmanyrecipes.blogspot.com/2011/08/summer-samosas.html

Saturday, August 20, 2011

It's amazing what can happen when you get in contact with an old friend.  Recently, I got wind that a friend of mine had been sent to pastor a church in Bangkok, Thailand.  Of course, human nature stepped-in with the curiosity factor and so I emailed that friend an inquiry.  Lo-and-behold, she and her family truly were in Bangkok!  I could hardly believe it!  She responded with how fast it happened and all that was going on.  Being someone who also feels the "call of God on our lives", I began to really take this all to heart.  What am I personally doing, or not doing, to prepare for that myself?  Am I bogged down with "other stuff" that is not necessarily bad, but takes my eyes off of "a heart for India AND BEYOND"?  (The beyond part can be anywhere...including my own city of Denver/Lakewood, by the way.)  I began to realize that some of my daily pursuits (online social networking, product reviews, giveaways, etc.) were not bad at all.  But are they contributing to the overall higher calling of leading people to Jesus?  Another moment of reckoning came last night, while I was in bed reading one of my favorite book series, "Anne of Green Gables".  In this volume, Anne has come home from college, to discover that a dear school chum of hers is deathly sick.  Anne has a realization that I will type out here, hopefully with the author's acceptance:  "The little things of life, sweet and excellent in their place, must not be the things lived for; the highest must be sought and followed; the life of heaven must be begun here on earth."  I realized that the one true thing that matters in this life is to strive for a better and closer relationship with our Savior and Heavenly Father, and to develop as many relationships with people as we can.  Anne realized this and my friend Socorro is living it.  Now, it's my turn. No more product reviews or giveaways (even though I only truly did one).  No more silly social media stuff (although I'll stay "linked" for others to contact me occassionally).  It's time to live the life of heaven here on earth. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Giveaways & Product Reviews



I follow quite a few blogs!  Besides my love of anything Indian, I also follow blogs about homeschooling, cooking and other topics of (my) interest.  Two of my favorites are The Traveling Sisterhood and Meet Virginia.  Recently I participated in a giveaway on Traveling Sisterhood and won a whole box (24ct.) of PopChips!  That definitely made me a hero in my family's eyes!  Then I saw some reviews on Meet Virginia, and contacted her about it.  So, since I joined a website that provides blogger reviws, one new thing I'm going to add to future posts are product reviews, and possible giveaways!  If you're like me, you LOVE to get stuff in the mail, especially surprises!  With that said, I get to review my first item that "suprised" me from today's mail.

Funky Monkey T-Shirt
So, I was a little hesitant about selecting this review item, because although I think monkeys are cute, I wasn't sure if there was some "hidden meaning" with this monkey themed shirt.  But, it's actually quite a cute logo!  It's bascilly a screenprint of a fuschia monkey head, colored yellow on the face, with a aqua outline.  The quality appears to be very well both of the screenprint and even the material used for this shirt.  GILDAN Heavy Cotton (90% cotton/10% polyester) was used, and even though the name wouldn't sound familiar, the actual tag is.  I selected a size Large, which is probably a man's size, since this would actually be considered a XL for women.  Oh and the color of the shirt I received was a heathered gray.  Overall, I would be willing to pay $15-$30 for this shirt, probably depending on what logo (or famous band name) was on it. The cute and playful Funky Monkey logo may actually become a conversation starter. 
You can purchase one for yourself at http://www.tshirtprinting.net/printed-t-shirts/

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Morning Musings

Some things stay with you forever.  Even places you have been to that seem as though they were only a dream!  But then something happens, which triggers your rememberance of that destination...a smell, a sound, etc.  A couple weeks ago, I was out running errands and happened upon a cawing crow, which reminded me of the myriad of crows in Mumbai.  After Sunday morning church service, we passed by the smoke shop next to our church, and I smelled incense.  Immediately I was reminded of our hotel in India, where every morning, the owner would light inscense in the reception area and say a quick prayer to his Ganesh shrine.  This morning, as I drove my husband to work, we were sitting at a traffic signal, and a couple blocks away I heard a car honking that induced another trip down the Mumbai-memory-lane!  After he got out of the car, I decided to pop-in one of our Bollywood soundtracks in the tape-player (yes, you heard that right, lol), and proceeded home, escorted by a longing in my heart for the country that only God could place there.  And to top it all off, I received an email this morning with new "mini-episodes" of Chris from Mission India, having gone back to India at the same time we were there!  To see the videos just got my silly heart-strings being plucked again!  I guess I was foolish and naive to think that one trip to India would "get it out of my system".  Yes, it was a trip of mixed feelings and experiences, but now just battle the "I'm a little exerienced now, and would love to try to do it better the next time" mentality.  But for now, I will just have to keep on savoring these little reminders as a reminder from God, that He has given me "a heart for India and beyond"! :)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Review & Realization

Book Review: Last night I finished a really good book called Secret Daughter, by Shilpi Somaya Gowda.  First of all, I enjoyed it being a clean book (no sexually explicit situations or swearing).  But it was a great read about two mothers and a daughter, and the things they face separately but together.  It was based in San Francisco, CA and Mumbai, India.  And if you know me, you know I'm interested in almost anything Indian!  It also includes a glossary of Hindi terms in the back, in case you are unsure of what those words mean.  I won't say much else, other than it was very well written, had a great ending, and I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a good story to enjoy!
http://shilpigowda.com/

Realization: So, this book has led me to a great realization.  Both joyful and sad.  The joyful part is that once I found the Hindi glossary in Secret Daughter, I skimmed through it, and realized that I didn't need it.  I knew almost all of the Hindi words that were used in the story.  Which led me to see that I have truly learned a lot of Hindi, more than I previously thought.  Then I started to cry.  Why you ask?  Because I spent a lot of money and time going to Mumbai, India last month, and didn't even get to put any of it to use. I fell into an insecure American tourist mindset, and forgot that God has helped me learn so much more than I realized.  So, before we take another trip there, I plan to make some serious contacts (friends/families) in Mumbai, and to learn Hindi better.  I have even contacted an Indian lady here in Denver who teaches Hindi, so I look forward to that when she returns from India.

So, finally my thoughts about our trip to Mumbai.  First of all, we attended one of our fellowship churches in Thane, where we met a very nice Pastor & his wife. Their church was technically sent out of one of our US churches, and then eventually handed over to him, since he's Indian.  That was truly our highlight in our trip.  The rest had its ups and downs.  Nothing could truly prepare a person for Mumbai.  Although I was probably more prepared than most, you can't do much about sickness.  I was stomach sick for a good portion of our time there, which made it miserable at times, and just the sheer MASS of people unnerved me at times.  I couldn't imagine so many people coming and going, but more than that was the people that either had shops or living quarters set up on the sidewalks.  And even more, the people loitering!  I kept thinking, how can so many people just be hanging out on the sidewalks, streets & alleys.  I'm used to Americans that just go. LOL.  We ended up staying at Hotel Traveller's Inn, in Ballard Estate, right behind Cafe Universal, and about ten min. walk from CST/VT, on Shabat Singh Road.  It was like staying in an American Super 8/Motel 6.  Definitely not the greatest, but it was clean, quiet and safe, so that was good. Only saw 2 bugs, one roach (we were right next to kitchen) and something else that bit David in the hall lobby computer area.  He's fine :).  A lot of backpackers stay there.  Probably not the greatest place for a longer stay like ours, but the staff were decent, and so it worked for us.  It was also a bit unnerving to arrive at night, where it seemed as though Mumbai doesn't believe in too many street lights, because I just remember it being so very dark, but LOTS of people out.  Then we pulled into Ballard Estate (driver not exactly knowing where our hotel was) and it was like a ghost-town!  Thankfully one friendly soul was hanging out and directed our driver, and we got there safe.  Next day we decided to go out and find something for breakfast, but that was a bit futile, because we had not thought about breakfast food restaurants.  We walked to VT and that was what unnerved me the most. SO MANY PEOPLE!!!  We were probably there around 7-8am.  Probably not the smartest time to go, lol.  I couldn't take it well, and so we went back to hotel and just ordered something in.  I had a break-down, lol.  We stayed in most of the rest of the day, until we decided to venture down to Cafe Universal for an early dinner/late lunch.  I calmed down a bit.  Next day, we tried to go to Colaba Causeway, but I said Market instead, and we ended up somewhere else, nearby, but we didn't really realized that till later.  I think we also hit up the McD's for lunch at some point, and checked out VT while we were at it.  Still a little unnerving.  We also checked out Gateway & Taj Hotel, but then I got a little freaked out by all the haggling from camera guys and such (where we ended up getting some pics by one of them).  Finally on Saturday we were gonna head to Chowpatty & Juhu areas, but I got major stomach cramps again, and that day was wasted, sadly because of me. :(  Sunday was great though, because we took the cab ride to Thane West for church, and then had lunch at a very nice hotel buffet with the Pastor, his wife and a brother from their church.  We had a rickshaw ride in Thane, and David was thrilled.  Then we took cab back to hotel and just hung around there.  Monday we took the same Mehru cabbie for a day-trip, and he showed us Gateway, Nariman Point, Chowpatty, Bandra/Worli Seaface bridge, Juhu, etc.  We saw SRK & Salman Khan's house (at least that's what he said, on the seafront), saw Hanging Gardens and the one across street with animal bushes, then up to Bandra and had biryani at Lucky's.  We had him come in too, I think he liked it. :)  Then I really wanted to shop and he took us to a mall in Bandra, but didn't find anything cheap, so back to our room where we got directions online for Colaba Causeway, which we finally found!  Here is where I realized your recommendation for more money came in.  Yes, things could be cheap, but it was easy to blow money quick here. Got some nice souvenirs and such.  That was also a nice day, although I just felt drained by the end of it.  So much to see.  So many people.  Such mixed conditions.  It was definitely an adventure.  I can agree with people who say you can hate it at times and love it at times.  And, despite the hard times I did face, I think I've decompressed enough, and am ready to go back.  This time I'll know what to expect, at least a little bit, lol!  Oh, and we did also go to Marine Drive at night, although I got freaked out again (LOL) because there was a cricket game going on, and I just imagined it letting out, and ALL THOSE PEOPLE filling into where we were.  I realized my insecurities a lot.  But, I'm a bit stronger from it now, I think.  I definitely realize why Indians love to come to America.  But as for me, I will go where God leads.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

I cannot believe it's already been 3 weeks today since we returned from India.  Many people, including family, friends and David's co-workers, have asked us about it since.  I had a hard time answering most questions, because I think I really needed the time to "decompress" and analyze what we experienced and how it affected me personally.  I think there are a lot of things like that in life.  But why are so so apt to think that everything should be an instantaneous response?   Maybe because we live in America, where everything is instant gratification.  Our whole mind-set is NOW.  "Buy now, pay later."  Instant message.  Instant oatmeal. 3-minute pasta.  Fast food.  Do we ever really take the time to "smell the roses"?  Do we rush through life, instead of live life?  Do we allow ourselves the opportunity to enjoy things, or just plan them, rush through them, and then move on to the next pursuit? 
One person who I think has done pretty well with this is my pastor.  He is very good at taking the time to develop his thoughts and responding more slowly.  Sometimes it even seems a tad awkward to get a response, because there may be a pause.  But it's worth the wait, because you always get a quality response that is full of wisdom and depth.  You may occasionally get a quick response, when he's feeling witty, and then in that case, you may get a sarcastic response.  LOL :)  But even then, it's all in fun and love.
So, on that note, I will just sit and ponder my thoughts on India some more, and share them in future posts. :)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

David's India Posts

Well, despite the stomach illness I've had for almost 2 weeks, I'm finally posting about our trip to Mumbai. It was definitely an adventure! Both good and bad moments, and lots of in-between. But before I post my own thoughts, I thought it would be insightful to post David's daily emails while we were there. So, here they are, for your reading pleasure!
~ May 11, 2011 ~ Good Morning from India
Good morning. In our second day here in India and I think the thing that is most overwhelming is the level of Poverty here. Its deafening, it so much part of the way they live. People constantly asking for money or grabbing for you, putting their hands to their mouth and rubbing their belly to let you know they are hungry. The thing is, you can tell some of them are not faking. This is the real deal man. Went out yesterday to walk the neighborhood and quickly realized were not in Kansas anymore toto. Feces and dead rats lying about. People lying in the street and in every crevice you could find. Imagine your the center of peoples attention. As were walking the street, it became evident very quickly that we are the outsiders, the minority so to speak. For those of you who have lived or gone to a third world nation, you know what i am talking about. For those of you who have never gone to another country....well there is no way to describe the desperateness of peoples lives here. We are in a dump of a hotel and yet we are living like kings compared to these people. Its mass chaos here to :) honking and noise like you would not believe. But its the poverty, as an American you have to steel yourself and keep walking. Give on dime to someone and you will be surrounded in moments. People are grabbing you, it can be unsettling at times. This is how the rest of the world lives I keep telling myself. I thought I saw poverty in America..HA!!! that poverty is like disneyland compared to what i am seeing here. The smells are overwhelming. Poop mixed with Urine mixed with the smell of cooking food mixed with sweat and body odor. The nasal senses are on overlaod while your ears are on overload while the colors and cars are coming after you like crazy. Oh and every tried to cross a street in America.....PIECE of cake. We crossed the road yesterday and it was like playing dodge ball except with cars and motorcycles and people zooming across you at speeds that should be illegal. LOL!!! This my Friends is India in a small nutshell. Crazy, loud and expressive. Like nothing I have ever experienced. Yet the people are so nice and so curios to talk to you. I feel safe.
~ May 12, 2011 ~ Black Market Steak
You guessed it. Got me a black market steak. Steak in India. LOL this place never ceases to amaze. Now I know what your thinking...steak in India. What does that taste like? Well not to great to be honest....Have you ever seen some of the cows here...Yeah, exactly. Not to pretty to look at. Meals are cheap here. Me and Heather are eating for about 9-12 dollars a day. And we are eating big meals and getting full. The 1.5 hour taxi ride from the airport cost 9 bucks. We have a cafe right outside the hotel. Real nice and real cheap. The heat here is unbelievable. The humidity even worse. Your wet the moment you walk out the door. Today we are going to try to get out to the other parts of the city. It has taken us this long to acclimate to the time difference. 12 hours does not sound like a lot but believe me, your body knows. As I said, people are very friendly and curious about us. We have had no problems so far.
~ May 13, 2011 ~ Calm...Whats That?
So we ventured out yesterday to Colaba Market, the Gateway of India and the Oberi Hotel.

There is no such thing as calm here. Everything is at a frenetic and frantic pace. We have had the adventure of riding several cabs yesterday. Lets just say, getting close in America while driving is nothing! These Indians have getting close down to a science. Never ever put your hand out the window it it might be taken off by a car going in the opposite direction. Thats how close they get and in high speed. The lights in the road mean nothing. Running red lights...no problem, dodging massive amounts of pedestrians who do not use sidewalks....no problem, dodging cows and chickens and dogs and goats....no problem. All done at high speed and plenty of horn honking. Horn honking here is an art form as well. All you hear, 24-7 is horns honking. Not sure what it really means as they honk just to honk. In America honking is for letting that driver know your not to happy or to get someones attention. Yet here, they just honk. No rhyme or reason that they do it. I watched one of the taxi drivers yesterday just honk...even when we were stopped in traffic. LOL and he was smiling the whole time. Excited to have an actual American in his cab. In fact we went to a restaurant yesterday and the guard wanted to shake my hand. People want to take pictures with you. Your the center of attention. Colaba Market was an experience. Basically a ton of stands comprising several blocks of little markets, fruit stands etc. I don't know how to describe it other than something you would see on National Geographic. Smoke filling the air, massive amounts of people. Animals everywhere and smells and sounds that just overwhelm you. Just an open vegetable market. I sat and watched a live chicken butchered. Whack and the head was gone and the chickens body going the opposite direction........ Funny the guy offered me the chicken for like 40 rupees. I thought...cool where am I gonna cook a dead chicken bought in Colaba. I didn't take the chicken obviously but they had live ones everywhere and that was tempting. LOL!!!! The Gateway of India and Oberi Hotel were amazing. Just simply amazing. I have pictures. Will share when I get back and can post..
~ May 15, 2011 ~ Fun in the Sun In India
The last two days have been amazing. Two nights ago we went to the Queens Necklace, Marine Drive. Basically you can see the whole city skyline. It was amazing. We have video and pictures. I got some real Chicken Tandoori. Wow, HOT!!!!! Burn in and burn out. Oh and real Mango Lassi. Yummy Yummy Yummy. That was fun but church was the most amazing experience yet. Yesterday we had the privelage of going to The Door Christian Center in Thane West. This is about 2 hours away from us in a Taxi. The cab ride was eye opening. The driver told us to lock our doors because we were going to be going through some real rough areas. Again abject poverty like you could not imagine. Tears came to my eyes. I can't describe it. Poverty like I have never seen before. I thought it was bad where I am staying but nothing compared to this.
After Arriving in a very interesting part of town, Pastor Sandheep met us before service and we had breakfast at Mcdonalds. This Pastor was very genuine and you could hear in his voice and mannerisms his desire to see the Nation of India won for Christ. He explained the deep need for investment in money and in people to see this harvest field won. Again this is the roughest neighborhood I have ever been in. He explained how he was discipled and became the Pastor of the church. We took a rickshaw to the church and a couple of his disciples automatically took interest in the "white guy from America" I did not want to be the center of attention but it became apparent really quickly that my wish was not going to be granted. Indians are very personal and ask very personal questions. Me and Heather have no problem with that and answered a host of questions. Everything from what we did for a living, to our church, our family and even about our children. What people were like in America etc. Everyone wanted to shack our hands and talk to us. I mean EVERYONE!!!! We prayed and it was the most amazing thing to hear the boom of prayer in Hindi and us in English. After prayer, more and more people came and more and more people wanted to talk to us. Remember, were in India so there is no Air Conditioning. Its extremely hot and very very humid. They did have fans but it was like being in an oven. Yet people, including us, were happy to be in Gods presence. We were all sweated out by the time song service began. Whoooo we what a song service we had. I had no Idea what was being sung other than when they did songs in English but boy we had us a time in Gods presence. Right before Pastor Sandheeps sermon, he asked me to give a testimony. I said yes. I gave a testimony and then off Pastor Sandheep went to peach. He translated my testimony to Hindi. It was a very amazing moment as I realized I better come to the pulpit was something good to say. By the way, I will never complain about wearing a tie in America. After you have worn one here, no amount of hottness or humidity will every bother you again. LOL. When I was testifying you could tell these people were listening. They leaned forward smiled and made lots of eye contact. These people were HAPPY to be in church. When I realized how far some of them walked or took a rickshaw taxi I realized we are whiners in America. These people gladly will walk miles in scorching heat and humidity just to come to church or go to outreach. And all dressed up to!!!!! They wanted to be in church people.... they wanted to be in Gods presence and were not embarrased to make some NOISE in song service. I have some video. It should be required watching to see how these people outdo us with so much less than us. Thats another thing. A dollar for these people is like a windfall. Now not all of India is poor, but I can tell you than looking around the church, I realized I was not in middle class America. A dollar was a lot for these people. The neighborhood was shacks and trash strewn about all over the place. The smell was nothing I can explain. Yet the presence of God was there. When offering time came as it was coming to me I could see people throwing in 5-10 rupees. Here were POOR shack dwelling apartment dwelling people giving in the offering!!!! All of them!!!!! Not one person did not give. I will not say how much I gave, but it was signifigant. I made sure both me and Heather outgave everyone combined. Were the Americans, were the ones suppose to be giving, were the ones with the resources. Why are we so stingy. Why are we so flipping arrogant? Why are we so selfish when you see these poor people giving, America, Church, we should feel the sting of shame. This is basically a self supported church in a poor nation. Anyway I digress..... I will make it a point to have something to give in EVERY offering. Pastor Sandheep preached in Hindi so I basically nodded my head and said amen when other people did. Oh by the way. Women sit on one side men on the other. So Heather sat on the right side of the church with the women and I sat on the left with men. After service we gave gifts both to the pastor and his wife. They both seemed intrigued by our Gifts. A tie for him and a pair of Gold earrings for her. Pastor Sandheep gave me a bible in Hind/English. Wow, I was humbled. What an amazing gift of kindness. He told me I might need it one day. Heather was gifted a chocolate candy bar. That is big time here. Chocolate gift is very prized here. I was invited to stay the day with a family but felt in my heart to decline. I was the one with money, so I took Pastor Sandheep and his wife Margaret and a disciple named moses to eat. I told them ANYWHERE they wanted to go. Well no joke they took me to a 4 star restaurant. Pastor Sandheep pulled me aside and said we could go to Mcdonalds instead. He told me the price per person and you could see a bit of worry in his face. I smiled and said no, were were going to eat at this restaurant, since he picked it and price was not an issue. The price... for a four star restaurant... 9 bucks a person. If that does not humble you...wow your pretty cold. If you could have seen the look on the face of this pastor and his wife and disciple, man it was priceless. The amazing thing is every time it came to pay for anything, you literally had to fight people to pay the bill first. Everyone wanted to pay, but I would not let them. I doubt any of them could have afforded such a high extravagent price. Now what pastor case tells me when we go out to eat makes sense. These people have NOTHING and yet they want to pay because your the guest. Wow I am ashamed at how we act in the states. Bill comes and we all dash for the bathroom. Funny, that happens during the offering to. Anyway I digress again. Walking in Rural India with women dressed in Saris and men in dress clothes was an experience. Taking a rickshaw was a crazy experience. Dodging traffic, going head on with traffic. It was a crazy crazy experience. We were the outsiders yet accepted in the the church. It was like being in a fellowship church in the states. Nothing different except the language. Again. Walking in rural India will make you realize, we have more than enough in the states. In fact I would go so far to say we have to much. We need to start giving till it hurts people. When you see small children eating off of of the dirt and people cooking in open dirt pits...yeah we have it good Americans. One last thought. The people here are so poor and yet they sacrifice everything to serve God in a country that is primarily Hindu / Muslim. They are not ashamed to be saved and are proud to be the Church of Christ. We could learn something from their sacrifice in giving and going into all the world.
~ May 16, 2011 ~ It finally Happened....
It finally happened... some big hairy crawly thing bit me on my left leg yesterday and drew blood. Could not tell you what it was, but the hotel owner assured me not to be concerned to much. I thought yeah right...some hairy looking thing just bit me and I have no idea what it was. Heather saw the blood and was some what concerned. I found it funny that I have avoided dogs, cows, chickens, mosquitos and spiders and crazy cab drivers and yet the first blood drawn is by some creepy crawly I cant even describe to you. Funny enough, I had seen the stupid thing the day before crawl by, but he didn't seem concerned with me nor I with him. Should have known the little sucker was gonna nail me in the leg. My leg where the wound is, is scabbed over and itchy but nothing of alarm. So that is how my day started yesterday.  Initially all we wanted to do was go to Colaba Causeway, a sort of 16th street mall, except much more packed and much bigger length wise. We had met a driver a couple of days ago who had taken us to Thane West for church. We liked him so we called him and he picked us up. Because of a translation error the driver thought we were hiring him for the day. LOL!!! So it turned out we had a driver for the entire day to take us anywhere and everywhere. So off we went to all the sights of Mumbai. The funny thing is that he took us to all the Bollywood actors houses. We had no idea who most of these people are, just smiled and nodded as if we knew. He even drove us by the Prime Ministers house and the Police Chiefs house. On Recomendation of Pastor Dodds wife, we went to a place called Luckys in an area called Bandra. Since we had the cab driver all day, it is customary to take the cab driver to lunch and pay for his meal. It was an interesting thing to watch this guy eat. He was very helpful getting us a table and asking for the things we needed. I was still trying to figure out how to eat with just my right hand. No easy feat for a guy who has eaten with both hands all his life. The driver was laughing at me, people were watching this American fumble around trying to figure out stuff. What an adventure. At Colaba Causeway we bought some gifts and learned the art of haggle. Everything for the most part is able to be haggled here.  We got some great footage of even more traffic than you can imagine. Crazy crazy crazy traffic. Other than my furry little friend who decided to take a taste of me, it was a rather interesting day. Before I close, I wanted to clarify my statements yesterday. I did not want to come off as judgemental and condescending. I guess it might have come off that way. A Pastor who I respect very much and have a great deal of admiration for pointed out to me that the United States is in fact the biggest giver to the Missionary in history. And he is right. America has given a lot for Pastors to go overseas and do the work that they do. As he also pointed out, Stinginess is everywhere, even in India and again I could not agree more. My words did not exactly come out as I had hoped. So if I offended or came off as rude I apologize. I think the thing I was trying to say is we can never outgive God and in a way I was projecting my own shortcomings in giving. So really it was a call to my heart to sacrifice and give more to the local church and World Missions.  Below is a note from Heather since someone asked why you had not heard from Heather. I promise, I did not lock her up with key and I am giving her freedom to say whatever she wishes...........
Well, hello there all, hope you are all doing well back in our beloved USA! Let's just say, I finally realized how blessed I truly am to have been born in "Umrica" lol! I can finally say that I have faced culture shock! All the preparations a person could make in 3 years (books, movies, news, online blogs and such) cannot ever truly prepare a person for coming to India! And Mumbai has a lot of western influence even. It all started with the extremely LONG plane ride from Newark, NJ to Mumbai! We lost all track of time during that 15 hours. When we finally arrived here, it was near 11pm I think, and then we had to go through immigration, wait for our bags at baggage check, go through customs, then on to exchange our money and get the prepaid taxi. And this was just all in Mumbai airport! So, I thought, "ok, I can handle this India thing..." LOL!!!! Major misconception! As soon as we walked out the doors of the airport, it hit me! There was a huge crowd of people waiting for arrivals, and a whole host of taxiwallahs wanting our business. With the help of one nice Indian lady, we got to where the prepaid taxis were, but were still a bit skeptical. We got in our cab, and then proceeded through the city to our hotel. Remember, it's around midnight now, so it's pitch black, and Indian are very energy conservationist, and thus not too many street lights...actually, I don't think I've seen many at all! So we are basically in another country, with an unknown taxi driver, and it's pitch black!!! After a drive, we made it to the neighborhood, but the taxidriver didn't know where our hotel was, so in the dark of night, he had to pull over and ask a stranger to direct us. But you know, it seems that most of the people here in India are very happy and willing to give directions to places. We finally made it to the hotel, which was decent enough thankfully. I was worried about the various negative reviews of most of the cheaper/budget hotels. But we have been in a safe, mostly clean place. Anyway, we slept pretty good I think that first night. The rest of the week have just been a series of ups and downs, especially for me. David is easy-going, and I'm the cautious one. So, I think this trip was harder on me than I could have imagined, but all in all, it has been a very good experience for both of us. Despite lots of tummy issues (me) and bug bites (David), we are well, and have gotten a bit more comfortable with things. I still have my moments of worry, but not as much as the beginning. My favorite part of this whole trip was going to the Thane church, which was about an hour away. It doesn't matter where on this earth you are, our fellowship churches all have the same wonderful spirit! Even though this church is located in a very rural area, I felt more at peace and welcome than anywhere else. As soon as I saw the fellowship "globe on fire", I just broke down inside, and thanked God for this fellowship! Praise God for Indian brothers and sisters as well. They were so friendly and happy, despite their poverty. I knew these people loved Jesus. They even sing most of their songs in Hindi and English both. That was great for us! But the sad thing is....they are the only church in this area now. So my heart was thouroughly touched by the need here. How many others could know Jesus if only given the opportunity? Despite my original feelings of fear and hate for being here on arrival, God touched my heart again. I immediately thought of the Las Vegas, NM church, and how everyone says that the church is the only thing there. That's how I felt about the Thane church. Nothing else to live for but Jesus and church.  Well, I guess I better close my novel for now...I'll have more thoughts that will surface from my heart and mind when I get back, and plan to put them on my blog. God bless you all, and please keep us, and the Thane church in your prayers! We'll see most of you soon.
~ May 17, 2011 ~ Final Day in India
Well its finally here. The last day in India. We are broke, tired and ready to come home. Our flight leaves real late tonight so we have to either hang out at the airport all day or find something to do since we have to check out of the hotel at noon. Its been an experience. One that I am glad to have experienced. So many images are burnt in my mind of things here. So many experiences and thoughts and things that will stay with me forever.To be honest, the highlight was being in church. That experience alone was worth coming. In leaving, in one sense I am very very sad because this is a great place to be, and in another I am glad to leave to come back to my church and my people and the things that are familiar to me. LOl I have gotten use to no wash cloths, weird toilets and no sense of personal space or hygeine. I have almost gotten used to massive amounts of people and chaos in the streets. I think I might have actually figured out the whole honking scheme. Constant honking but there is a method to the madness. It will be nice to come back to America where I am not the center of peoples attention. I am not use to being photographed so much. Random people wanting photos with the Americans. Random Handshakes and constant stares :) We went to Mcdonalds yesterday and saw all the youth hanging out. We were stirred by the massive need here. Yes we traveled 10,297 miles to go to a Mcdonalds. Definately different. No Beef but hey, Chicken is cool. Mostly went to Mcdonalds because were stinking broke. Yes even in India, you can chow down on a cheap meal. Not cheap by their standards but about 7 bucks for two full meals for us. Today the meal was egg omeletes and chai. I want to thank you all for your prayers. We have felt them. We are excited to get back to life and to ministry and work etc. For those of you in the Denver Area, at my house a coffee fellowship at 7 PM on Friday. Bring games if you wish and lets have a party!!!!!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Little Fear & A Lot of Excitement

So, today is the day before we leave for India. I cannot believe it's finally here! Bags are getting packed, and tickets are confirmed and check-in is complete.  Kids are at family's house.  Fish has a sitter.  Immodium & Benadryl, sandals & snacks are purchased.  Ride to airport...ready and waiting.  Laundry & dishes are nearly done. All that's left is to go. Wow.  It's still partially surreal, but partially not.  It's truly crazy to think that in less than 24 hours we will be sitting in Newark, on a layover, waiting to board our Mumbai plane! In less than 48 hours, we'll be in India!  Please remember to keep us in your prayers.  Will post pictures and comments on return. :)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Travel Alerts & Persistence

With the recent announcement of Osama bin Laden's death came a worldwide travel alert. And, of course we have received many worried comments, mostly, "Are you still going to India?!" Our answer....Yes! Of course we are still going! :) I don't think people realize that Americans have always been targets of terrorism & hate. Yes, now that hate may be more saturated and stronger with this new development, but can we truly live our lives in fear, and never venture out? Remember the old saying, "there's nothing to fear, but fear itself"? Do you think the Israelis and Palestinians all stay home because of hate for each other, and fear of retaliation? Nope. They are more at risk than we are, and yet they go on about their lives, despite the horrible attrocities that happen quite often. Did people stop going to Mexico when violence became rampant? Well, many people stopped going, but not all. Our pastor for one, was brave enough to go preach a revival for one of our churches in Mexico! And guess what? He came back! Some may argue with, "but what about the other pastor that went months previous and was murdered?!"  All I can say is that nothing takes God by surprise! Can we honestly imagine God up in heaven saying to one of His angels, "oh no! I didn't know that would happen!"  I seriously doubt it.  Neither does it surprise Him when any other death or tragedy takes place. I totally believe that all things are in His loving and gracious control, and if something were to happen to us, then by all means, it seriously must have been our time to go "home".  As stated before, God's ways are not our ways. And really, we would not have had any desire to go to India if it wasn't for Him. So, with that said, we still continue our countdown, with a bit of persistence...6 days remaining! :)

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Dream vs. Reality

Almost 3 years ago, we were given a dream. Not of our own, but from our Heavenly Father. That dream was to reach a people in a far distant land. A land of heathens and multiple gods. A land of strange tongues and cuisines. A land that is literally on the other side of the planet Earth. That land was and is India. Whether or not we ever really become missionaries there is purely up to God. He may have just placed this in our hearts to steer us onto a path leading there, or elsewhere. That happened to Abraham in the Bible. Many times, God led His people somewhere, and occasionally, He diverted them. Either because of their own human issues, or purely out of His perfect will and plan. Remember, God's ways are not our ways. But He has definitely given us a direction, a goal, a purpose. It has brought David and I closer than ever. Even the kids are on the bandwagon. And so, after long adue, we are on the final countdown....to India. I almost never thought I would say that, although there goes my human doubts again! Good thing God doesn't base anything on us and our feelings. I began this blog, in the hopes that some day, I would be able to tell about our experiences in India. And although I thought it would be missionary experiences, I am grateful to even be allowed to take this trip. Our hope is to finally "experience" India. No, Mumbai is not entirely a replica of all India has to offer, since it's more a melting pot of the varied peoples, but it's a good start. Oh, and did I mention that we will actually be taking a day-trip to Pune, by train? Yes, in order to get a fuller experience, we knew we must take a train ride. See the land, travel as one of them. And who knows? Maybe this will all just set our feet upon another fork in the road of God's plan for our lives!  

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

13 Days and counting....

So, not much to say on this posting, only that we have 13 days left 'til we leave for Mumbai....super excited!!! Not much else to say at this point.  :)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Dream Becoming Reality

Countdown has begun...50...49...48 days. Once we get closer, we'll start counting hours and minutes. That's how most of us work. When we've been awaiting the arrival of something impending, we start countdowns. Like a Christmas advent or summer vacation. But this is not just another annual countdown. This is the great countdown, to the much-anticipated trip of our lives. This is our countdown to India! Yes, we finally have our airfare, which means we have actual dates now. It's been over 2 years of dreaming and researching. Planning and pining. Budgeting, scrimping, saving, and often, needing to sacrifice that savings for life's unexpected and unplanned necessities and emergencies. But...the time has finally come! I can almost imagine hearing the great countdown of American space shuttles' impending departures...."T-10 seconds and counting..." I can hardly imagine that we are finally going! It's almost like how a bride or mom-to-be feels like when they are expecting that big day. You can only do so much "learning" about what it will be like. Eventually, it will be the "living" that you finally realize the fullness of what you have committed to. Yes, we are aware of the poverty, the dirt, the possibility of sickness, even disease. We realize that we will face serious culture-shock. But again, how does this differ from marriage and motherhood? Those also come in an un-tidy little package of frustrations and disappointments. But, oh, the blessings and wonderful times and memories that are gained! My husband often uses the very good and wise saying, "Nothing ventured, nothing gained." Another that comes to mind is, "Better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all." So, in 48 days, we will begin our venture and love every minute of it!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Indian Visa & Birthday Sari


Well, again, it's been a very long time since posting. But, things are beginning to accelerate regarding our "used-to-be-hopeful" trip to Mumbai, India! Status has changed to..."we are going!!!" We finally received our much-anticipated Indian visas!!! In my humble opinion, they are pretty, lol. Of course, we are still saving for airfare, but we do have some of it in a travel savings account. And, my "oh so smart" husband advance paid many of our basic bills, so the next couple paychecks will go toward our trip. All in all, we are getting more excited about finally going to India! Oh, Bharat/Hindustan!!! (Other names for India)

Another tidbit is that David took us out to our favorite Indian/Nepalese restaurant for my birthday last night! Yes... I know... shocker... right?! But, the catch? Well, here's the story. Seema is a very sweet Nepalese lady that has served us there many times. We talk about all sorts of things and ask each other many questions. A couple times ago, the subject of saris came up, and I had to confess that I had some and knew how to wrap them. So, she challenged me to wear a sari the next time we came. Well, what better occassion than my birthday! So, Tabitha and I got all fancy-shmancy'd up! I almost felt like Cinderella walking in. Most of the restaurant staff (and owner), and even a couple of patrons were quite suprised. Some of the staff have seen me wear one of my salwar suits, but never a sari. Seema was super excited to see me dressed up so. She even hugged me twice! It really was just so much fun, and even reassuring. Reassuring, because now I will be able to confidently wrap myself in a sari when we go to India. With our pretty Indian visas, of course!