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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!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Masala Dosas and Sikh Shooting

I don't usually do two posts in one, especially a light-hearted one, and an extremely tragic one, but my time is limited these days (with a dead computer at home, and relucantly using a library computer), thus I will proceed.  PLEASE, don't be offended by combining the two...if you know me, you know my sincere heart for anything Indian!

Masala Dosas: : )
So, I've had another LOOOONNNGG lag time in posting, but had some great stuff happen recently in connection with masala dosas.  A couple months ago I "subscribed" to a youtube video series called EatEastIndian, which I absolutely love!  So, while watching a recent posting for aloo (potato) bhaji, I was inspired to try it as the stuffing for masala dosas.  Basically, these are crepe-like savories that are stuffed with a spicy potato filling.  Something I tried in Mumbai, and really liked!  So, I decided to attempt it, and it was great!  Very tasty, although I added some sanaam chile that I ground with a mortar and pestle, which made it a tad hot for my kids, but very tasty.  I didn't have time (or gumption) to make homemade dosa batter (since it's very time-consuming with soaking lentils and rice, then grinding), so I found an "instant" recipe that simply uses rava (semolina/cream of wheat).  But, I'm getting ahead of myself, because in order to make the "filling", I needed fresh curry leaves, which meant a trip to MyIndia up in Broomfield, near hubby's work.  I was happy to find what I needed, but more ecstatic about meeting a friendly middle-age Indian couple there.  While waiting to ask the owner about prices on ghee (clarified butter), my phone began to ring.  "Haule, Haule" played on and on (as my ringtone, lol), and the gentleman remarked, "I like the music!"  I laughed, said thanks, and after finally finding my insistant cell phone answered the call.  After the very brief conversation, I returned to the cue.  The couple and the owner were talking (Hindi?), thus I didn't understand much (a word here and there), but then the owner told me that the man teaches music lessons.  I responded with a lame "oh", and smiled.  We made friendly conversation after that, and they also told me that the woman taught cooking classes.  I kindly responded that I knew how to cook a lot of Indian dishes, but could probably use more instruction.  I told them that I really wanted to learn Hindi, and the man responded that I'd learn it through cooking.  We exchanged phone numbers and went seperate ways.  Funny thing, they live about 10 minutes from me!  Looking forward to pursuing this new connection!

Sikh Shooting :'(
My heart is heavy today as well though.  Found out late last night that there was a terrible shooting in Milwaukee at a Sikh temple.  I know that all tragedies are very heart-wrenching, but with David and I, if it ever involves Indians, it breaks our hearts even more.  Kind of like how deeply saddened we were when we first heard about the Mumbai terrorist acts in November 2008.  Or when we hear about the bride burnings, honor killings, train wrecks, capsized boats, "ragging" of college students in other countries, etc.  Every tragedy is horrible, but when it comes to India (and the people from there) it probably hits us harder than most Americans.  Probably because we have a "heart for India".  We can never truly understand the senselessness of these types of acts, especially when if you have any sense as a person, you'd know the difference between Sikhs and Muslims (duh!).  Not that it would've been any better or worse if it was a Muslim.  That truth is that ALL people need Jesus Christ!  HE is the way, the truth and the light...HE is the only way to the Father...HE is the only One that can save us and forgive us of our sins...HE is the only One that has changed the hearts of many, given them new life, set them free from drugs/alcohol/etc., reconciled marriages, healed the broken hearted, and so much more, that all the books (and blogs) in the world cannot number the wonderous acts that HE has done, and will continue to do.  Argue with my all you want...I know what HE has done in my own heart and life, and I can tell you that I never could change on my own...only HE can change me.  And only HE can change the rest of the people on this Earth, provided they let HIM.  My prayers go out to the familes, friends and community that has been affected by this appauling tragedy.  Prayers of comfort in time of mourning, peace in time of fear, and salvation for their souls, to be reconciled to the Father through Jesus Christ!

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Drunkard's Son

A couple years ago, I happened upon a website that offered a week of "culture" through a video series about Children's Bible Clubs in India.  The organization was Mission India.  After watching the videos and reading up on all that they do for the precious souls of India, we decided to support it.  We still occasionally get emails from them.  Today I received another email from Mission India, which had the following video link:
http://vimeo.com/28123957
Please watch it, and allow Jesus to touch your heart as well for the lost souls of India! : ) ~ Heather

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

One Year Later

Lunch w/Pastor Sandeep &
Margaret Kamble in Thane, India
 I can hardly believe it!  It's been one year ago this week that we went to India.  It was the day after mother's day that we began our maiden voyage, which I MUST say was the longest trip EVER! Lol!  The days leading up to it were a bit hectic, and a bit nerve wracking.  Having never been away from my kids so long, or out of the country, was a tad sad and scary.  We barely got any sleep the night before, with a thousand thoughts and feelings.  I remember how it took all day (and then some) to get from Colorado, then to New Jersey, then off to Mumbai, India.  Such anticipation.  So many unknowns.  Lots of airline movies, times of sleeping, trips to the teeny-tiny restroom...and then, the arrival!  Funny enough, everyone started clapping and "woohoo"ing when the plain finally touched-down.  As with most inbound international flights to Mumbai, it was night, so we couldn't see much.  Once we finally got out of the plain (which seemed to take forever), I remember 2 things that "hit me"...the humidity and the smell of the sea.  We just followed the group of people through to customs, which was a bit intimidating to say the least.  After no issues, we continued to follow the masses to baggage claim.  A nice girl came up and offered assistance, so we knew what to do.  I have to stop here and say that I WISHED I would've gotten her contact info.  She would've been a good source of Mumbai knowledge and such.  But alas, hindsight is 20/20.  After the baggage claim, we went through a final security check, and then headed over to the money exchange and taxi counters.  What comes next is where the real adventure began.  Or should I say "culture shock".  As soon as we stepped out of the safety of the airport, we saw a huge mass of people standing behind a gate on the left, with signs of people they were picking up or meeting.  We took an immediate right, and started walking when another nice Indian lady steered us in the correct direction of the prepaid taxis.  Suddenly 2 men walked up to us and were trying to take our bags, which we were extremely hesitant to do, but they were simply trying to help us over to the taxi.  We got in (still leary), and gave the taxiwallah our prepaid taxi ticket.  We began to drive away from airport, and then out taxi stopped at a little office (the size of a shack!).  The driver went in for a couple minutes.  As we were waiting, an intimidating beggar man was asking for money.  I tried to use a little hindi on him (nahi - no, kuchne - nothing, ruko - stop), with lots of hand gestures to go away, but he persisted.  Of course, we were in a taxi with no A/C, and so it was too hot to roll up windows.  Finally our taxiwallah reappeared and threatened the beggar away, and off we drove into the city of Mumbai.  All I really remember from that ride is that it was long, very dark most of the way, and TONS of people EVERYWHERE!  By this time it was about 1:30-2am, and yet there were throngs of people still out on the streets!  I kept looking out for street signs that gave me an indication that we were indeed heading in the right direction to our hotel.  You never know with the few horror stories of tourist kidnappings and such.  After about a 45 min. drive, we did arrive to a part of town that was very dark, but eerily, no people!  The taxiwallah confirmed that we were in Ballard Estate, but was completely clueless about our hotel location.  We saw a stranger standing in an alley, and the driver stopped to ask directions.  We were quite leery, but knew that we desperately needed help finding the hotel.  After a couple minutes, the directions came clear, and it was really only about a block or two away until we finally found it.  Relief washed over us, since we were exhausted from all of the travelling and such.  The place was not 5-star, but when have we ever stayed in one of those? Lol!  It was however clean, and so after several minutes of checking-in (old fashioned way using a ledger, not computer), we finally went to our room and just sat there dazed and tired.  We finally fell asleep.
  Now since our internal time-clocks were all haywire, we woke up quite early, probably only a couple hours later.  We decided to shower, and then venture out for food.  We found our way to Chatrapati-Shivaji Terminus (Victoria Terminus, train station).  I couldn't believe the throngs of people that were there!  As we walked inside, a HUGE rat was dead on the ground, right in front of us!  Indians would probably call it "bad karma", but after our shock, just chalked it up to "only in India."  We found a little stand that sold newspapers, chips (crisps), cookies, etc., so we opted for some little cookies, to tide us over.  We found another stand that sold maps, and purchased one, but then were being approached by beggars and people trying to give us tours (to where, who knows!).  At that point, I'd had it and needed to retreat back into the hotel.  My stomach was acting up, and I needed "the lav".  We decided to just order something from the hotel kitchen.  After that, it's all a blur, with bits and pieces of different events, incidents and memories.  Some of it's mentioned (or explained in detail) in previous posts, and some of it is just distant memories.  We had our good moments, and our not so good moments.  Unfortunately, I was sick most of the time, and experiencing "culture shock".  But, I'm a glutton for punishment, and maybe a bit idealistic.  I think we definitely both learned a lot from that first trip, and hope to go back better prepared the next time.  Know more hindi, have more contacts, stay in a better hotel and part of town, have a list of decent restaurants with different types of foods (including plain stuff for a sick tummy), take lots of probiotics and immodium, have a prepaid phonecard or special cell phone, etc.  Kind of like when you have another baby, and you feel more like a pro the second-time around.  I guess when the time comes, we'll see.  So, to India, "Phirmilenge!"  Hindi: फिर मिलेंगे, Urdu: پھر ملیں گے, English: We'll Meet Again!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Rain

Rain. One of the greatest smells on this Earth.  Well, okay, actually it's the smell of the rain adding moisture to the dirt and plant-life.  I LOVE rain!  Of course not in excess, when there is flooding and severe damage caused by it.  Rain reminds me of summertime, since here in Colorado, that's when we experience it the most.  Strangely, it's only April, but since the weather has been warmer here, we got some rain for the first time last night. Supposedly there was even some hail, and possible tornado sighting.  But yes, the very pleasant and welcome rain blessed us with it's presence yesterday.  And we have already had a little sprinkling today, with a chance for more severe weather this afternoon.  But I welcome it.  MUCH better than snow!  I've lived in Colorado for over 20 years now, and still do not have much appreciation for the white stuff.  It's cold, it's messy, it's not welcome in my mind.  I always tell people that when the day comes for us to move to a place without snow, I will not miss it one bit!  "But we need the moisture," people will retort.  My immediate response is, "That's what rain is for!"  


Rain brings a smile to my face, and joy to my heart.  Although, once in awhile I may also have a little fear, because of those severe weather happenings that accompany rain (thunder, lightening, tornadoes, hail, flooding).  I will always remember being in Mumbai, and worrying about the monsoons.  Now you must understand that most Indians wholeheartedly welcome the monsoons!  Heck, even I was thrilled to have some cool rain sprinkle the city with a smidgen of relief from the May heat!  But I was also not naive enough to forget that sudden downpours also flood the dry earth and inadequate drainage systems of the ancient "Bombay".  But even that does not dishearten the grateful people of India.  And so for now, neither will it to me! 

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Women in Asia

The greatest challenge for women in Asia today is to simply survive through a normal lifespan.  From birth -- and even before birth -- to death, a burden of oppression follows her through all the stages of her life, threatening her very existence.

·         Young girls throughout Asia are ravenously abducted and forced into a life of prostitution with every agonizing day one step closer to an early death from AIDS.
·         Widows in India bear the blame for their husband’s death. They’re shunned by their communities, rejected by their families and forced into an inhumane lifestyle. Tens of thousands take their own life just to end the pain.
·         Every year in India more than 7,000 women are doused with kerosene and burned to death—by their husbands. The wife’s crime: an insufficient dowry.
It is no surprise that the suicide rate among young women in India is ten times higher than the world’s average.

GFA Resources:

Websites:
http://www.thp.org/reports/indiawom.htm  the Hunger Project Chronic Hunger and the Status of Women in India.

Please pray for the women of Asia, and that the gospel of Jesus can be spread, to open their eyes to see the worth of women and girls.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A Reality We May Never Face


~ From Cari @ Gospel For Asia :)
January 2012 Mission: Persecution

Happy New Year Friends!Let’s kick off the new-year off featuring persecution.

Persecution is a part of life for many Christians around the world. Our GFA-supported missionaries are no different.

Jesus promised His followers that the world would hate and persecute them. Many GFA-supported missionaries have come to know the harsh reality of Jesus' words.

Beatings, death threats and imprisonment are a few of the things they encounter on the mission field. But despite great hostility, they continue to press onward as they proclaim the Good News of Christ to the unsaved souls of Asia.

The Persecution section of the GFA website is full of stories and videos of missionaries and pastors who have suffered for their ministry. Please check out the links below and pray about how you can help.

GFA Resources: http://www.gfa.org/persecution/

Websites: http://vimeo.com/9607938 - Francis Chan speaking on Persecution
http://www.persecution.com/public/newsroom.asp - Voice of the Martyrshttp://blogforasia.org. (A work in progress!) On this website you can find links to each month’s missions, there are resources, and a blogroll so you can get to know other bloggers for India. There will be more additions in the coming weeks and months.

Cari Poweziak
Blog for Asia Coordinator
www.gfa.org
800.WIN.ASIA (800.946.2742)