Thursday, November 30, 2006

Adventures in India

Isn't modern technology great? Here I am on the other side of the world and I can keep people updated on what is going on while we are here in India.

I think I finished yesterday's post by promising to talk about our trip to Hong Kong Market. It was quite an adventure. Let's just say that when my dad told his driver that we wanted to go there he chuckled and had a look on his face that said "silly Americans". Thus began our adventure. I do want to point out that I think Indian drivers are the craziest drivers in the world but they are also probably the best. I now know why my dad has hired a driver. If my dad won't even drive here there's no way I ever would. It's scary at first but I'm starting to get used to it. Enoss, my dad's driver, is a very good driver and more patient than most. Anyway, back to the market adventure. After we found a place to park we joined the throng of people in the chaos of the market. One shop after another lined every street you looked down. We went down there to do some salwar shopping. Luckily, we had Sonja, a woman from the LTC, with us to guide us where to go. We went to one shop where I saw some that I liked but I still wanted to look around some more. At the next shop I found some fabric that I liked but it was not sewn yet. The man quoted me a price of Rs 630 (which works out to be less than $15) and I agreed. Next, I picked out the style I liked and my measurements were taken. In the meantime, my mom picked out the same fabric but in a different color and decided to get the same style as me so that we would match. We were told that they would be ready today. Now, we were done with the Hong Kong Market.

Our next stop was the Sunflower Market. This is actually not really a market but more like a shopping mall. I guess this is where the wealthier class of Indians shop. It was nice to get out of the noise and pollution but it was not much of an adventure. After we finished up there we took Sonja back to the LTC and then went and had dinner at the Khana Kazana. By the time we returned home we were all very tired.

Today was the first day of our door-to-door evangelism. This is the real reason we came to India. It wasn't for the shopping, although that is fun. We separated into 4 teams and went through a tea garden village. My team consisted of myself, my brother Josh, Chandan, my translator, and our guide. We visited 2 houses and saw 10 people accept Christ as their Savior. After lunch my sister Kelly came with me instead of my brother. We were blessed to be able to lead 6 more people to Christ. I was so excited to be out in the field again. It had been too long. Of course I was nervous to start but I don't think that ever really goes away. Even my dad says that he still gets nervous and he's been on over 20 trips. The entire team led 27 people to the Lord. I am so thankful that God has given Stephen and I the opportunity to be here to share Christ with these people. We have 2 more days of evangelism if everything goes according to plan. I know I'll be nervous again in the morning but I am also excited.

This evening we went back down to Hong Kong Market to pick up our salwars. We had to wait about a half an hour because they weren't quite ready yet but we just drank chai and had fun with the shopowners. Afterwards, we went to a local hotel and had some dinner. Now, I'm getting tired and will be heading to bed soon. I'll post more as time allows and maybe I'll be able to get Stephen to post some pictures on here for me. Please remember to keep us in your prayers.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

We Made It

We're finally here! We arrived in Bagdogra yesterday afternoon around 1:00 and got to my parent's house a little after 2:00. My family lives on the 2nd floor of a soon-to-be 3 story building. They have a very nice house, or I guess apartment would be a better word. It is a lot nicer than I expected it to be and very comfortable. Except for the cold marble floor. I think I should have packed more socks. And another sweatshirt. Stephen and I didn't expect to come to India and be cold. The house was pretty cool last night. The outside temperature is getting down to the low 50s at night. That gets pretty cold in a house with all marble floors. Stephen and my dad went out last night and bought a little portable heater. I slept with flannel pants, a long sleeve shirt and socks. Today the temperature is comfortable in the low 70s. I expected it to be a lot hotter so I'm not complaining about the cooler winter temps.

Travelling here seemed to take forever. The flight from LA to Tokyo took around 12 hours and then another 6 hours or so to Singapore. We spent close to 18 hours in Singapore. Our hotel wasn't very nice so we stayed long enough to get about 6 hours of sleep and shower and then we checked out. Singapore is a beautiful city. The first thing we did was go down to Clark Quay and took a boat tour of part of the city. It was neat. After that we hopped on a bus and went to another part of town for lunch. We ate at the Hard Rock Cafe and then decided to hang out there for awhile because it started to rain while we were having lunch. And it kept raining. After it stopped we left and decided to walk around and look in the stores. It started to rain and rain and it rained some more. It must have been a monsoon. We decided to make our way to Starbucks to get out of the rain. We ordered frappucinos and the girl asked us if it wasn't cold enough for us. We told her where we are from and explained that there is snow right now and that this wasn't cold at all for us. She understood. Finally it stopped raining and we decided to catch a taxi to the airport so that we wouldn't get wet anymore. The Singapore airport has a big mall in it but we did get a little bored because we spent so much time there.

All of our flights were uneventful but I couldn't sleep very much. I just don't sleep very well on planes. Needless to say, I am still trying to catch up on my sleep. We went to bed a little before 9:00 last night. That is early for Stephen and I.

This morning we visited the school. We went to each of the classes and talked a little bit about ourselves and where we are from. The kids here are so cute but very shy. They loved Stephen though because he had the camera. After we got back to my parents' house my dad joined us and we went to the Leadership Training Center and met the workers there. We got a tour and we got to see my dad's office. They are working on building a new sanctuary and it should be ready for the Sunday morning service.

7:20 p.m.

We just arrived home from dinner. This afternoon we went salwar shopping at the Hong Kong Market. That was quite an adventure! I will post more about that later since I am tired and I'm going to sign off soon.

Please continue to pray for us. Tomorrow is the first day that we will go out to do evangelism. We will also go out on Friday and Saturday. I'm getting nervous. This will be my first time going out alone.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

The Countdown is On

We're now counting down the days and soon the hours until our trip to India. We leave on Saturday the 25th at o'dark thirty. My brother, Jeff, is the lucky one to drive us to the airport at such an awful early hour. Our plane leaves at 6:30 so that means I will be up by about 3:30 and we will leave probably around 4:30. Yuck!

I spent some time packing yesterday. We're taking 2 suitcases with stuff for my parents and 2 suitcases with our stuff. The suitcases for my parents are pretty full already. I'm sure the security people at the airports are going to be scratching their heads when they see those suitcases. We're taking along a stick vac, wire baskets with suction cups (for their bathrooms), food and various odd things that most people probably don't normally travel with. Stephen and I will pack our suitcases when departure day draws nearer as I will have to do a lot of laundry before then. I will also have to pack for the kids because they will be staying with Stephen's parents the entire time we will be gone.

Part of me just wants Saturday to get here so that we can leave and I won't have to worry any more about preparations for the trip. I also won't have any more sleepless nights (thanks Mom for the insomniac gene) worrying about the upcoming trip. The other part of me doesn't want Saturday to arrive because I don't want to leave the kids. That will be the hardest part of the whole trip for me. Don't get me wrong--going door-to-door sharing the Gospel with people I don't know is hard enough. But, leaving my kids behind is the hardest part for me. We are going to take them to my in-laws' house on Friday night since we are leaving so early on Saturday morning. Leaving their house that night without the kids is going to be so hard. Not being able to tuck them into their own beds that night will be hard. Not seeing them in the morning before we leave will be harder. I get kind of emotional every time I think about it. I've left them twice before when we went to Cuba but I know this will be a little different because we will be gone 2 weeks this time (the longest we were away before was 9 days) and India is on the other side of the world. Not exactly a quick trip home if something were to happen. I can't think like that though. I have to remember that they are in God's hands.

I am very excited about the trip though. I have wanted to go to India for almost 6 years. This has been my first opportunity to go though because I have always either been pregnant or nursing a baby when my dad has led teams there. I'm excited to see what God has in store for us there. I'm curious to see what my family's living arrangements are like. I really want to meet all of the people that I have heard so many things about over the years. I'm sure it will be an awesome experience.

I will try to post more this week about the preparations if I have time and we are taking our laptop with us so I might even post from India. I know Stephen plans on posting to his blog while we are gone, so even if I don't you can keep up to date with our adventures from his perspective.