Thursday, December 29, 2005

Christmas Baptism

On Christmas day after church and lunch we had 12 people get baptized in a river nearby. It was a wonderful time.
5 people who chose to be baptized live in the slum areas of our city. They're basically squatters who are regularly kicked off of different plots of land. After one woman came to know the Lord from that area about 3 years ago we now have a large ministry among the Hindus there.

The fiance of our worship leader was also baptized, she came to know the Lord out of Hinduism 6 months ago. Her father is not happy about it at all.

My friend's, (Vinita's,) husband chose to be baptized, as well as Phoebe who lives with me. There were 2 other ladies from our church who are active in the Ladies ministry and 1 of our Bible students and another Bible student's brother. Ok, that completes the 12.

Here they are.
O. talking to them about baptism beforehand.
Our pastor baptizing in the river.
I couldn't get closer because we already had a crowd of people watching us and I tend to draw a crowd. I was taking pictures from under a towel on the shore.


These picture always get put up in the wackiest order.

Keziah with her gift box.
A very happy Robin.
Could C. be any more delighted?
Ah, the picture that should be first. Anyway - The mass opening...
Zarina and 2 big helpers.
More mass opening.
Lukesh, Robin, & Joshua.

Needless to say - I had a housefull of very happy children on Sunday.

The Pre-Opening

Our Children's Home kids with their Christmas gifts from the US. They were instructed NOT to open them until I took a bunch of pix. Poor kids.

Saturday, December 24, 2005


Happy Christmas from our family to yours.

E. - Angel, C. - Mary, Robin(nephew) - Joseph

Friday, December 23, 2005

December 23rd

Yay. I made it. It's December 23rd and the Christmas celebration is OVER.

It was surprisingly unstressful. Well, other than when I got there and the 3 hanging mics for our ladies drama were NOT THERE and I was told we would have to adjust with 1 clip mic and 1 cordless. For 17 people! Who had never even had to practice with mics before! You gotta be kidding me.

I yelled and screamed in my righteous anger (I had been assured for a month that we could have them by MANY MANY people.) Then I went around and apologized to everyone I had yelled and screamed at. I moved on. We adjusted and that was that.

The thing is, we do the entire program with the purpose of sharing the gospel with those who don't know Christ. Two hours worth of songs, dances, dramas, etc... are really just fluff on the outside of the Main Point.

We invited a pastor and his team from a church in Bombay and he gave a powerful, clear and concise Gospel presentation. I was praising God in my seat and praying in my heart for the 2500* or so people hearing that message last night. The presence of God was there and I know it was because of the prayers of so many.

It didn't even matter that the sound system didn't work properly for our Worship team or that E.'s dance with the kids in our children's home didn't have words to their music - twice, or that we had to stand on stage for 15 minutes during our drama and pass around a cordless mic. Oh well. It was all worth it, the months of prayer and preparation, the big cost, the stress and lack of sleep.

The way I see it, those 2500* people won't have any excuse when they stand before God in judgement. My prayer is that they won't need one.

The work is ongoing, prayer and discipleship, continual witness to those that have heard. Keep praying with us.

(Pictures coming later - I didn't take any so I'll have to wait for the photographer to get them developed.)

* Update: There were 5000 people there, we had 4000 chairs and every one was taken and the place was full back and front with people standing.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Writing Or Wrapping

I could be wrapping gifts but since I was on the computer anyway making a cheat sheet for our choir performance tomorrow, (way too many Hindi songs for me to memorize all those words) I decided to post.

Lot's going on, tomorrow is the BIG day. Our 6th Annual Christmas Celebration. We're expectng about 4000-5000 people. We've been praying and preparing for months. Part of the reason for our carol singing is to invite people and collect donations. So it's all coming together.

I will be SOOOO happy when we hit December 23rd, let me tell you. I look forward to this program but it is just overwhelming in so many ways. I also look forward to it being all over! I haven't even mentioned that we have a team of 17 people coming from Bombay staying at my house tomorrow... arg! Clean, clean, clean. While at the same time I Practice, practice, practice. You see, this is the first year where I am actually involved in two programs. I've run the show from behind the scenes, taught kids dances and songs, but this is the first year I'll be on stage. My shoulders are hunching up in stress at the thought of it all.

Yet, God is so good. It's so easy to forget that it's all about Him. Then a dear friend sent me this email that I just opened moments ago:
"God is who He says He is
God can do what He says He can do
You are who God says you are
You can do all things through Christ
God's word is alive and active in YOU!!!!"
(from Beth Moore, Believing God)

We just want to see the increase of the Kingdom of heaven and Glorify God, that's what its all about.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Christmas Caroling In India

Since Wednesday, we've been Christmas caroling every night. There are 3 teams and we've been to 5 different cities to sing.

Here's the format:
Come to a house and sing "We wish You a Merry Christmas."
Then attempt to sing a Hindi Christmas carol louder than the drummers drum while people dance like crazy and Santa throws candy.
After that we shout and praise God - LOUDLY. Lots and lots of Jai Jai Jai.
Our pastor wishes the families "Happy Christmas", etc. and then one of our team members prays for them.
Shout some more.

(When we draw big crowds we also share the gospel.)

Sometimes they feed us. It's really feast or famine. (On Thursday we went from 3PM to 3AM singing and shouting and got 3 cookies and 3 chais. - we were starving to say the least, same last night. BUT the other night I went I had an entire plastic bag filled with food I couldn't eat...)

Walking to our first house last night.
We sang at over 50 houses last night alone. (No wonder I'm taking a break today.)

Santa's Workshop

At least that's what it feels like in here. I wonder if they have mosquitoes in the north pole? After a long hiatus due to my internet connection being down for 3 (yes - 3) days, I am here with good news on the boxes.

We got 'em. Whew! As soon as I got the word that they were on their way (sometime Friday AM EST) I wrote a nice long post. And that's exactly when the internet cut out and decided to stay that way.

Oh well, if you kept on praying, I'm sure God had a good purpose for it. We do Praise Him for getting the boxes of Christmas stuff and for finally bringing my hubby home. yay yay! O. said, 'Because of your prayer, everything got done." Ain't it the truth.

I've got 31 boxes prepared and ready to wrap and more in waiting. It's gonna be one happy day for lots of kids on Christmas.

I already gave our Children's Home kids their jackets and they are gorgeous! I have pictures. I'll work on getting them up tonight.

Thanks to all who prayed!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Kids In Jackets

We gave our Children's Home kids their jackets early. Here are some pix from yesterday. Aren't they cute!

One little munchkin refused to remove her's.
One of these things just doesn't fit in here... (see back - middle - the mustache give it away?)

The jackets are so great and so beautiful. thank you so much to everyone who reads this who also took part in getting these to the kids. We cannot thank you enough!

(The men kept trying to squish themselves into the jackets. They are a big hit - lots of disappointment that the largest size is a children's large - fits up to about a 13 year old.)

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Kids And Gifts

Some pictures of the kids and their gifts from last year.

What's Happening Now

What Happened Last Year comes before this one of you want to read that first.

Right now O. is in Bombay trying to pick up the boxes of Christmas gifts that were lovingly purchased, boxed and sent for our Children's Home kids and pastors' kids and various other people. The boxes were supposed to go to the same city they went to last year where we know all the people, built relationships, know the directions, the "ins and outs', etc...

No. They got sent to Bombay and there they stopped (for some reason - nobody knows) and there's nothin' we can do about it but go get 'em. So, off O. went last night with 3 other guys to drive the 7 hours to Bombay and forge their way. I think O. said he went to 3 offices today and finally spent most of the day out front of a DHL office waiting. The Bombay DHL people are not nearly as nice as the one's in the other city. Actually, they're not nice at all.

These people charged nearly 3x as much money as the other DHL office did last year and then they did nothing except threaten O. They are part of the militant Hindu party and felt the need to bring that up and the fact that we are Christian. They don't believe that the gifts are for free distribution, they harassed O. all day. It's not even their business what's in the boxes.

Nothing got done. O. hasn't even made it to the customs people yet. We're just praying. Last year was horrible too (see below) and God gave a victory. Let's see what He'll do this time. I'm sure I'll have a post about it in the next few days. That's something to look forward to...

In the mean while, O. is twiddling his thumbs in Bombay while we have so much to do here. We have 15 guests coming on the 21st for the program on the 22nd. That program is just huge, I mean HUGE. We also have programs on the 24th, 25th, 31st and Jan 1 (which includes the MARRIAGE of the couple recently engaged.)

So, O. has way better things to be doing with his time. It's frustrating. Our worship leader is also in Bombay with O. since he's a driver as well as a musician. Of course, all music practice for the upcoming programs has stopped dead. Praveen who is on my carol singing team is also with O. and I'm annoyed since he won't be with us tomorrow. (I'm sure he has work he should be doing as well.)

We all know it's not about the gifts or the who hash or the roast beast. I just wish the whole process were a whole lot simpler.

Pray with us. We'll celebrate the victory together.

Now I'm going to turn off the lights and watch my Christmas tree blink.

What Happened Last Year

Christmas Boxes, that's what this post is about. Last year we had 4 big boxes of Christmas gifts sent to us from the US to distribute to our pastors, our Children's Home children and our pastors' children. Wonderful wonderful gifts were bought and lovingly packed and sent. Then. They. Hit. Indian. Customs.

W got a notice on December 22nd to go pick them up, so I drove the 3 1/2 hours to collect them. After fumbling around we found the DHL office and the people there were so very helpful. One man actually stayed with us and helped me go Christmas shopping for E. and C. because I was looking for a slide for them for Christmas and I found one.

However, once we got to the Custom's official everything stopped. He told us it would cost 70,000 rupees ($1666.66) to get them released from customs.

I cried, I stood in the parking lot and bawled and embarrased everyone who was near me.

Then I went home and O. took over. We prayed, lots of people prayed. Lot's of you prayed. Two days later we were back - it was Christmas Eve and Onkar walked into the Custom Official's office alone, spoke for five minutes, came out and said - they're charging us 9000 rupees. That's it. Everything got released that day.

It was a Christmas miracle - really. All the little kids got their gifts on Christmas day. It was - well - just wonderful.

Monday, December 12, 2005

A Little Something Before Christmas

"But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart." Luke 2:19

O Christmas Tree

I love pictures of Christmas trees. Here's ours.

C.'s 1st Day Of School

C. and E. on C.'s 1st day of school ever. She's in her white uniform here. The red one is even cuter. She's 2 1/2 and in Playgroup. She's been going for 2 weeks and cried most of the time. Mainly because she was bored. I'll keep her out til after New Year's. We need to do some major changes in our Playgroup - More Fun!


Since I am also a co-worker and pastor's wife, I figured I was entitled to a saree for Christmas too, so I picked out my favorites and had O. choose from them.

Here are the winners. the one in the middle is O.'s choice. You may notice it wasn't even up on the top list. He pulled it from the "non-chosen" pile. He says it's "official." I say it's boring. He says the sarees I like are "village sarees," I say they're pretty. The 2 sarees on the sides are 2nd choices. The one on the right was O.'s choice and the other mine. We have so many weddings, etc. coming up I couldn't resist. Now I have to buy 2 more sarees to replace them, oh well. At $6 a piece, it's not a real big problem.

Sunday, December 11, 2005


Satan has been having more victories over me than usual these the last few months. Discouragement has been his main tactic, among others.

He was having a victory over me yesterday. I really needed a word from the Lord, have you felt that way? When you're really down and you think, I just need you to speak to me, Lord. And He did. I've been reading thru the Bible, I'm in Isaiah and when I opened the Word I had lost my place where I had stopped the day before. I remembered reading Isaiah 40 so I started from there again.

"Those who hope in the Lord, will renew their strength." Yep, that was for me.

Amen for that. Thank you, Lord. Help me to hope in you.

Friday, December 09, 2005

One Down

Christy, Praveen and I went to a city known for it's textiles this morning to buy 40 sarees for our pastors' and co-workers' wives for Christmas. There was a huge market with literally hundreds of shops and, probably, millions of sarees. We were a little overwhelmed but we beat our way through the "Hello, hello," "One minute, please," "Sister, O sister, you want saree?" and other nonsensical sayings til we found some stalls we liked. Then we sat on cushions and looked at LOTS and LOTS of sarees. We got 40. It was rough. I'm exhausted. By the end we were looking for a saree for me for Christmas and there was nothing I liked and I was totally in a bad mood. I finally said, "Let's go home, I'll just buy a saree in our own city." So home we went.

We had fun. Most of the time.

And hey, that's one BIG job crossed off the list.

Another Engagement

Last night we had another engagement ceremony. This time it was a girl in our church and a boy who works in one of our schools. They're both poor and I was kind of annoyed because O. was asking for money to pay for everything. I had that grumbling in my heart feeling.

Then the girl walked into the room last night and she was wearing a borrowed saree. I recognized it as belonging to another woman in our church. My heart just melted. She didn't even have a new saree to wear to her engagement ceremony (which is a big deal.)

Her father died about 8 months ago in an accident and the family has nothing. She also cried through the whole ending of the ceremony last night - probably because her dad wasn't there. Christy and I were trying to calm her and her mother down. I spent most of the time popping pieces of cake into her niece's mouth to keep her from screaming at the top of her lungs.

I don't have pictures of them because I forgot my camera. BUT, there should be some pictures up on the site of various other things very very soon!

The Test

I gave the students their test results yesterday. I was fairly pleased with them. One student got a perfect 100. (50 oral, 50 written) It's always the students you don't expect, too. Five others got grades in the 90s, 4 in the 80s, 2 in the 70s, one 69 and a 54.

I started teaching "When do you ___________?" and "I __________ at __________." and also in the 3rd person, yesterday. I gave them homework to write sentences with the questions and answers. I checked them in class today and about half the students did really poorly and not only that but they had obviously copied from one another!

I gave everyone a lecture about copying from one another and then I told them that if they were going to copy, at least copy from someone who has decent English. For crying outloud.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Christmas Season

You know, I feel it over here too. The busy-ness, the "not enough time," that frazzled feeling of the Christmas Season. I'm up to 2 practices a day - every day til the 22nd. One for our worship team and one for the ladies drama extravaganza (it's not really called that - but that's what it is.) Fun? Oh yes. Cutting into my blogging time? Yes yes.

I'm trying to get up our tree and clean my house (that's not a real high priority on my list but it is on my husband's), grade my English class's first test (more on that later), get to practices and do all the regular stuff we do everyday. Sleep - forget about it.

Oh and guests - did I forget to mention the stream of family members (not ours, our co-workers') who are coming and going til Christmas?

Ok, ok, I love it all ('cept the cleaning) - I just miss those quiet times of sitting down at my computer and filling you in on my daily nonsense, etc.

Thursday, December 01, 2005


Sick, sick sick sick sick. Very sick. Mucho sickness. Bad bad bad. Not good. Sick.

Hence, why I haven't been around. Fever, chills, lot o' body pain, 30 hour headache...

It was the first time I've ever been really sick. It was so strange that no one even came to see me on Monday when I was deathly ill because everyone just thought I had a case of diarrhea (which is about all I ever come down with over here.) When word finally got out that I was truly ill I had a packed household.

I was thinking about it tonight, at least one good thing about having been pretty darn sick is that I now have a better appreciation for others who are sick. I was so lovingly served by so many people over the last 3 days that I hope I picked up a few things on how to better serve others in their illnesses. That would be nice.