Tuesday, February 28, 2006

In The Hospital

Well, Sangart is in a hospital in our city as I write.

I walked over to visit him this AM with C. I arrived soon after our pastor Anoop and our Bible College Director, Madhu, had left. They prayed with the family and then went looking for me. But I didn't know that. I stayed and talked for a while, another believer had met up with me on the way and walked with me there and stayed for a while too.

After he left I shared the gospel with Sangart and instructed him how to pray the sinner's prayer if he was ready to do that. He wasn't able to speak and was in pretty bad shape, although the swelling had gone down considerably from the day before and he had gone to the bathroom the night before - something he had been unable to do for a while. So this was all good.

Ok, Back to Anoop and Madhu looking for me. While I was in the slums, they were running all over our city searching for me to give me a report on Sangart because they knew I was concerned. In their travels they went to our Primary school and saw an ambulance out front. They rushed over and were relieved to find that it was only the director of a Muslim Welfare Hospital in our city. They were holding some function and invited someone from our church to come.

After they talked about that Madhu asked the director if they knew anyone who would take a look at Sangart and shared the story with him. The man said, "Bring him to my hospital immediately." Madhu said, "No you don't understand, these people come from the slums, they only make (about $12) a month." The director said, "No problem, bring him over. I'll only take a consultation fee of (50 cents)."

Is that God's timing or what! So, Sangart is in the hospital. Since it is a charity hospital they are only asking whatever we can raise. They suggested at least $250, which is do-able. We'll collect donations - and blood - from everyone we meet. (You have to give your own blood here, so 2 Bible students gave today and many of us are standing by ready to give.)

It turns out that the director of the ONLY hospital* in our city with dialysis equipment just happened to come to our school today. Did you get that the first time around?

Sangart's diagnosis in the hospital today was 2 days to live without treatment. Let's see what happens with treatment - God's orchestrated it all so far. We're just going to keep on praying like that persistent widow...

*We were not informed about this hospital when Sangart was with the doctor on Saturday. It's possible that the 2 hospitals (far away) that were recommended to us give commissions for referred patients and this Muslim hospital doesn't. Sad but true.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Life And Death

A large number of people from a slum* area attend our church. They are basically squatters with no permanent place to live. As you can imagine they face many hardships.

Several years ago one woman from the community came to know the Lord. Since then several families have come to Christ and are active in church. A daughter of the women who first became a Christian attended a year of Bible College and is active in our Ladies Ministry. Vinita and I are mentoring her to be used more in leadership. We sang a duet in church yesterday. But that's all just a side point.

The Christian families in the slums minister to the other families who are Hindu. I got the news on Friday morning that there is a teenage boy named Sangart who is very sick. Both his kidneys have failed. He is from a Hindu family but he's been to church occasionally. His father left the family at some point and the mother was left to raise 4 children. She came to church for the first time yesterday with Sangart and we prayed for him as a body.

This is a pretty jumbled post. I'm not real certain where to start or what to tell. But I can tell you that since I heard about Sangart on Friday he hasn't been off my mind. I went with Christy and Vinita on Friday afternoon to visit several families in the slums and we visited Sangart's home.

It consists of a piece of plastic held up by some pieces of wood and a cot inside. It was so low I couldn't even duck, I had to squat to come in and eventually just kneeled which was fine since we were praying.

As soon as I saw Sangart I was filled with emotion. There is a picture of him on this post. He is in the left corner with a red shirt in his lap. It's a picture from October when we gave some rations and clothing that was donated for the poor. Sangart today is unrecognizable as the Sangart in that picture. His head and neck are swollen. He can barely speak or swallow. The the thing that tore out my heart was the look in his eyes. He knows he's dying.

His mother sat next to him and fanned the flies off his face with a piece of thin cardboard. She knows it too.

In church yesterday I could think of nothing else but sharing the gospel with this boy. I talked to my pastor today and he'll be there this morning. I think I'll be heading over in a little while too.

In case you are wondering. He was taken to the hospital on Friday. The doctor picked up his stack of test results, took a glance at them and, from what I was told, threw them across the table and said, "We can't help him." He's that bad. There are only 2 hospitals in our state that could perform the dialysis he needs. They're far and it's all very complicated and expensive. We took an offering in church yesterday to help the family during this time and we're praying for a miraculous healing. God CAN heal those kidneys and clean all that garbage out of Sangart's blood. But God may choose not to. We're just praying for his salvation.

*Slums are what they're actually called over here.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

A Clear Conscience

Tonight was the 2 year anniversary of our ladies ministry and our Abortion talk.

After a late start – no one comes on time, fortunately we planned a game in the beginning - we got around to the meaty stuff.

I was on first and I had the Biblical portion. I chose to speak through a translator and this always adds extra time. I go back and forth on this – do I speak directly in Hindi and lose out on being able to express myself exactly as I want to, or do I speak with a translator which adds extra time but I can say what I want exactly as I want to.

So I went for freedom of expression today. We do not have a good woman Hindi translator and this is a problem, but we made do. And the best part is – every point took a little time to express so at least we hope it sunk in!

It was a long talk but I felt like I needed to cover everything I covered. I think my favorite passage on this topic is Isaiah 46:3-4 "Listen to me, O house of Jacob, all you who remain of the house of Israel, you whom I have upheld since you were conceived, and have carried since your birth. Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”

When I was studying for the talk this week, this passage just opened up before me. See how God sees our life... Conception, birth, old age/gray hairs. Conception, yes, in God’s timeline of our life, He starts with conception. I just love that.

So, I talked and I was long, but I don’t feel bad. It was all the truth and the fact is, I’m generally a short speaker – so, you know, I had a long one coming.

Vinita spoke after me on some of the more medical stuff/practical stuff. She was really good and since Hindi IS her first language, she was quicker.

We’re both glad to be able to stand before God with a clear conscience one day regarding this matter. Proverbs 24:11-12 says, “Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, ‘But we knew nothing about this,’ does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay each person according to what he has done?”

Our hope and prayer for each woman there tonight is to know the truth from God’s Word and, basically, to stop getting abortions! I hope we saved some today who were being led to death and slaughter.

Why It Was Hard

God started speaking to me about the issue of abortion among Christians in India five years ago. One of the reasons it has been so hard to address is because it’s so open.

That sounds weird but think of it this way… I know for a fact that 3* of the Christian women in the room tonight have had or have thought about having an abortion. Why, because they’ve told me or I came to know about it through some other means.

Now, when I’m talking about this topic, those people know that I know. The same situation for Vinita. Do you get the point?

I thank God for one women who spoke to me for a long time afterwards. She shared with me a couple months ago that 5 years ago she had 2 abortions. We talked about it at that time, but I was wondering how she felt in the meeting.

First we talked about the translation and some of the problems inherent in that but then she said, as we were going through God’s Word verse by verse that she couldn’t help thinking about that time 5 years ago and her own abortions. She said, “I don’t think I was alone in thinking about it.” I said – I don’t think so either.

It was somewhat difficult for me to speak about this topic in a group situation with her there but she is a woman that I know has a very humble heart and that helped. I was glad that she was willing to talk openly after the meeting. Praise God.

She also mentioned that she wished the talk had been taped so it could be shared with more people. Actually, Vinita and I hope to be able to share on this same topic in other areas. We want to make ourselves available to our pastors’ wives working in other cities and villages to come and speak to their women on this same topic. Eventually all those drops might just fill up the bucket.

*Lots more than 3 of the women in that room tonight have had abortions.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Can I Get Off The Rollercoaster. Please.

I was right in the first place. We have til March 31st. Thank the Lord.

I doubt we'll be here that long since they're turning off our water supply...

The good news is - I am most definitely mentally and emotionally - Ready To Move.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Oh, It Just Keeps On Getting Better

Not March 31st. March 1st.

That's when we have to move. 1 week.

Find a house with at least 3 bedrooms - NOT easy in India. Most homes have only 1 or 2 bedrooms.

O. will ask our house owner for a couple more weeks and he'll probably give it. Plus O.'s sister in another state is sick and he has to go see her. I said, please get our housing situation settled first...

Satan Knows Where To Kick

Before you read this, read the previous post.

OK, now that that's out of the way and you know all about the program on Friday I can move on.

Yesterday, during a Ministry meeting, Vinita was sitting next to me and suddenly she said she had to go. Before she reached the door she was collapsing. She said she had chest pains and within less than a minute, she passed out. She soon came to and someone went to get her husband. She said she'd been having the pain for a while and especially the last 3 days. Earlier she had gone for a check-up and had tests done, but the doctors found nothing wrong with her. She describes the pain as feeling like her chest is about to crack open.

Earlier that morning we spoke and decided to meet at 4:30 in the afternoon to discuss Friday's program. While she was being led away by her husband I thought, maybe she won't want to meet today. Even as I thought it, she turned in her husband's arms and said to me, "So today at 4:30?"

God bless her is all I can say. A cracking chest isn't going to hold her back.

We prayed harder.

Today Satan decided to pick on me. He knows the areas where we stress out. Mine is this house situation. Today (during a Church ministry meeting - what is it with the meetings?) I got a phone call that our house owner came this morning and told my sister-in-law that we have to move by March 31st (instead of April 28th like he said before) I hate moving - Oh, How. I. Hate. Moving. We just did this 13 months ago. (Once our house is built I'll never have to to it again - that's what I keep telling myself.)

Immediately, I tensed up. Satan just knows.

After our meeting was over O. came and showed me a house where we could move. It's certainly satisfactory. Nowhere near like where we live now and much more expensive, but beggars.... Thank the Lord we have a month and a 1/2 to search for another home. (Pray!)

After seeing the house, Christy, Vinita and I visited 9 homes and invited the women to come on Friday.

2 Year Anniversary

Friday February 24th will be the 2 year anniversary of the start of our Ladies Ministry. I never remember these things but my friend Vinita does and she is in charge of the Ladies Ministry. We've planned a big meeting and spent a lot of today and yesterday planning, praying and visiting people encouraging them to come.

The topic will be Abortion. We haven't advertised that tho. We know no one would come if they knew.

Abortion is common among Indian Christians - and that's the understatement of the year. I first learned about it 5 years ago from my sister-in-law who would talk about life in the villages. If a woman found she was pregnant and didn't want to be, she'd go to the doctor, he'd give her an injection and within 3 days, with some cramping, she would miscarry. Even pastor's wives were doing this.

I was horrified to say the least. It was obvious to me that these women were living in darkness. They had very little idea of what they were doing - and I'd say, they didn't want to know.

As the years have gone by, I have heard abortions talked about openly and secretly by many Christian people. A large number of the Christian women that I know personally have had multiple abortions. And they're not afraid to talk about it! They use it like birth control.

I was and continue to be overwhelmed. I know God was speaking to me to address this but I thought - How? As I was in conversations with women and the topic would come up, I would counsel on an individual basis. It wasn't enough. It would never be enough.

Earlier in the year I spoke with Vinita about this issue and she was with me. She had the same call on her heart from God to do something about it. Now together we were two. Allies - against a lie an scheme of Satan.

At this same time my sister-in-law came home from college and had with her a Christian (Gospel for Asia) book on abortion. It is was full of much useful information, especially for the Indian culture. I got that book into Vinita's hands and the date for the meeting on the 24th was set.

We've been in much prayer over this since then. This is a stronghold of Satan. Oh, how he loves to murder the innocents. Vinita and I (with our core women by our side - AND a multitude of prayer warriors) are ready to bring the women into the light. Pray for us.

* Pray for some women who will be giving personal testimonies. They're nervous, but their stories are powerful.

Monday, February 20, 2006


This is the second time around for this post since the first time I wrote it the power went out and I lost it. Eh.

Last Sunday evening I went with E., C. and the other 4 members of my household (minus O.) to see Narnia. It was showing in a theater and hour and 45 minutes away. We made the drive because I really wanted to see it and we hadn't been out for something fun in a long while. The English version of the movie had already passed out of the theater but it was showing dubbed in Hindi.

I was a little reluctant for fear of bad/annoying dubbing but it worked out for the best since out of the 7 of us I was the only English speaker (both E. & C. prefer Hindi).

The dubbing was actually very well done and since I wasn't familiar with any of the actors' real voices it was less distracting than it otherwise might have been. (You cannot imagine how annoying it is to hear Shaggy, Velma, Fred, Daphne and Scooby speak in Hindi on the Cartoon Network over here.)

Back to the movie. I did enjoy it, maybe more for the night out and the popcorn and Pepsi than anything else... I thought the special effects were not as well done as they could have been and wished they had just toned it down instead of going for poor quality. And the story seemed really rushed to me but, then again, that is inherent in the tale.

However, the casting was superb. The children were wonderful, especially Lucy. My favorite scene was the battle when the animals and creatures came crashing together.

We all had a great time and I just wish that there were another English movie on it's way to look forward to but according to the previews the only one on its way is Dick and Jane...

Sunday, February 19, 2006

The Ladies Meeting That Wasn't

It's been so long since I've been able to put up a real post that I'm not sure where to start.

It's been a full week to say the least and I'm still backed up, but I'm waiting for some files to attach so I've got them time. Actually, we have guests over right now and I should be downstairs visiting but ... well...

Back to my post. On Thursday the ladies ministry team from our church was called to another city almost 2 hours away to conduct a ladies meeting. We have a baby church there and we hoped to go and not just conduct a meeting but help them kick off a ladies ministry.

We were a little confused then when got a call from the pastor as we were leaving for the city asking if O. was coming. I said, No. He never planned on coming. The pastor called 2 more times, begging me to bring O. At that point we started to get the idea that this wasn't going to be just a small gathering of women.

It turned out that two days earlier the pastor got the idea to do a large outdoor meeting for everyone! Unfortunately he didn't tell us. O. never came and neither did anyone else. It was just us 5 women.

So, instead of a small gathering of 20 or so women in someone's home, we were the special guests at a meeting of over a hundred men, women and children.

Thank the Lord the lesson I prepared wasn't women specific and since there was no one else, I was the special speaker. ( I spoke on what I wrote a few posts ago - What I Learned.)

We were all a little dissappointed because we never got to do our little ladies meeting but we can always try again in a few months...

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Creative Juices

The juices are flowing but I've been short on time for a few days. After tomorrow I'll be free-er. I've finished two books and saw Narnia in Hindi on Sunday and then there is the regular day to day stuff. Maybe Saturday...

Sunday, February 12, 2006

What I Took Home With Me

We spent a lot of time in 2 Corinthians 4. “We have this treasure in jars of clay.” We talked about the actual clay pot (us) a lot and how they were cracked and had holes, etc. from lots of daily use. God loves to shine His glory through those cracks and holes. As Christians and especially as leaders we tend to want to present an image of a perfectly glazed and painted undamaged clay pot than an old cracked one. But these veils and the images we present block people from seeing the true glory of God shining through our weaknesses and problems.

It was never that I purposefully tried to present a false image but God clearly showed me that I try to fix most of those cracks and holes (weaknesses and problems in my life) all by myself, rather than being patient and allowing Him to shine through them. I’m impatient and I need to let God bring His resolution in so many areas of my life rather than trying to do it myself and in the process blocking God’s glory.

Well, that was the big thing I learned. We obviously talked a lot about mentoring others and I need to be more intentional about those kinds of relationships.

The whole week was just so good and God ordained. We thank Him for it. We all just want to grow into more Christ-like leaders and reproduce others that are the same and who will continue that reproduction process.

What It Was

We walked into a really really nice hotel at 2AM and Onkar came down to the lobby and got us. He took me to our room and I said, “This is like a 2nd Honeymoon!” It was a beautiful room all to ourselves and NO children.

I didn’t really have much of a clue what the conference was about til I got there. During the first meeting on Wednesday I got my workbook and saw that the conference was sponsored by MentorLink* and there were 2 teachers there from the US and 3 Indian teachers. There were about 45 people in attendance. Indian leaders from our state and the surrounding states.

The material was fabulous. So great for our team.

We all had a similar experience of initially coming at the material and teaching as if this is good for somebody else –eventually we all came to the realization that – this is for me.

We were blessed to spend 5 (or 3) days sitting under wonderful scriptural teaching. We met many brothers and sisters in Christ with whom we desire to continue a relationship.


Getting There

In January our team was invited to a 5 day conference in a large city in our state. I really wanted to go and so I signed up O. and myself and 3 co-workers immediately. We paid our small fee on the spot.

As the date neared I started having 2nd thoughts. I couldn’t bring E. & C. with me and I couldn’t leave them home! I had never ever left my children – even for a night. (other than the 1 night in the hospital after giving birth to C. and technically she was with me and E. was with O.)

This was a BIG deal for me and at last I said, sorry, send somebody else in my place. I was disappointed but I really didn’t know what I was missing.

O. went and took 3 co-workers. By Monday night they were calling and saying – Come!


I resisted. Our vehicle was there with them but was returning Tuesday night and could take me. O. continued to tell me to come.

3 hours there, 3 hours back, all that diesel would be wasted – I’m very frugal. Nah Nah Nah.

On Tuesday he continued to encourage me to come. I wasn’t responding. I said “Lord, if you want me to come, have O. Tell me I Have to come.”

Tuesday evening O. called and said that the conference coordinators were asking for our worship leader to come and since Shalom was coming anyway then I Had to Come.

Ok, Got it Lord.

So we left Tuesday night and arrived at 2AM.

I had missed the first 2 days of the conference.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Back To Wiping Noses

I got back moments ago from a wonderful 3 days at a conference in another city. I'll have to write more about it later, but it was the first time in my life that I'd ever spent a night away from my girls. I said to O., this is like a 2nd Honeymoon. 3 days with no kids. Wow!

I actually survived AND so did they!

Thank the Lord for my sister-in-law. (She took care of them and our home.)

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The Drama

So much drama. Archana’s father and brother in law showed up today. They were incensed - and who can blame them. If it were my daughter or my sister-in-law…

Anyway, she went back with her father and they will arrange to have a ceremony there in her home place some time in the near future.

Why in the world the bride and groom didn’t talk to her father in the first place – I’ll never understand.

The Church Wedding

If you need a wedding put together in under 24 hours call me and Vinita.

We were sent to get Archana ready for the 5PM wedding. She brought nothing with her but the clothes on her back. We needed a white saree (hard to find!). Once we got that we had to get a tailor to agree to stitch a blouse for it in under 4 hours. I went to my own tailor (who takes usually a week or more to stitch my stuff) and she agreed to do it.

Once that was out of the way we needed a veil, underwear (she literally came in only what she had on), a petticoat for under the saree, bangles for her wrists, earrings, pins and hairclips, sandals.

It all came to about $25. (How many fathers are considering sending their daughters to India to get married now!)

Vinita had the bouquet and a circlet for the veil.

The cake and garlands were taken care of by the menfolk. Vinita and I got Archana ready and that’s that.

(Please ignore the sidewase picture, I didn't have time to fix it.)
Vinita getting Archana ready.

Pastor Anoop presenting the marriage certificate.

Wedding In My Living Room

I never imagined when I woke up on Friday morning that we’d have a wedding in our living room that night. But we did. Our newest co-worker, Suresh, went to his home state to collect his mother, sister and 2 nephews who live with him and brought a girl back with him. O. knew it might happen.
I had no idea.

The girl was the daughter of a pastor that Suresh was friends with in that state. Her father engaged her to her 1st cousin and she didn’t want to marry him. (yeah, ewww). Anyway, the girl, Archana, told Suresh last week that she had been praying for him for 6 months and that she wanted to marry him and she would also love and care for his family. (Which is a big thing, I know, they’ve lived with me in the past.)

Long story short, she came with Suresh and his family on Friday, without informing her parents of what she was doing. They were married by the courts in our living room on that same night and married in the church the next day.

If I hadn’t known Suresh very well for the last 8 years I’d think he was crazy. None of us were real happy that the girl’s family hadn’t been consulted at all, but we were stuck between a rock and a hard place by that point. Once again, we were trusting in Suresh’s character.

Here are some picture of the service Friday night.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Fall

I have just a whole bunch of entries in mind to post today but since I can’t find O’s computer (I think it’s in his office) and because of a sore thumb I’m not sure I’ll get to them all tonight.

I had such a wild weekend. I can’t wait to post about it, but pictures are a must and without O’s laptop I’m stuck.

Then there is my thumb.

O. and our main ministry guys were at my house all morning and afternoon watching the one day cricket match between India and Pakistan. Actually, everybody in India and Pakistan were watching I think, not all at my house tho. Anyway, they were supposed to leave at 11AM for a 5 day conference on Leadership but the match slowed them up a bit.

So, it came that it was almost 3 PM and since I teach my class at 3:30, I was really hoping to catch a ride to school so I wouldn’t have to walk. It’s gotten really hot in the afternoon and 15 minutes in the 3PM Indian sun didn’t sound fun.

So, I changed into a saree and started walking down our large marble staircase to get a drink of water from the kitchen. Everybody was there. O. and 4 main guys who work with us.

Halfway down the steps my beloved Reef flip flops that my mom gave me and I wear ALWAYS - except to bed, while taking a bath and into other people’s houses or church - slip. (I think I’ve worn the bottom totally smooth).

So, there, in the middle of the staircase in full view of EVERYONE, not only do I slip, but I fall on my behind and bounce down about 3 (maybe it was 4) steps until coming to a full stop spread-eagle.

At this point everyone is on their feet coming to my rescue. I immediately proclaimed that I was Uninjured and then ran into the kitchen where I proceeded to laugh hysterically with Phoebe for a good 10 minutes before composing myself enough to enter the living room again.

It didn’t last, the composure that it, I walked into the room, tried to talk to O. and burst out laughing. Of course, the one time I’ve ever slipped on those stairs would be in front of a room full of people. I couldn’t have been Alone.

Anyway, if I were going to slip and make a HUGE fool of myself, these are people I could do it in front of. We’re closer than family over here. As soon as they ascertained that I was fine, they laughed right along with me – or at me – or, you know.

I did slightly skin my elbow, bruise my right butt cheek (fortunately I am VERY well padded) but mostly I wrenched my thumb, probably while wildly attempting to halt my decent.

However, the loss of my left thumb has not seemed to shorten my wordy entries in the least. Huh.

*See the pictures in the next post "Wedding In My Living Room" for a view of the offending staircase in the background.

April 28th

April 28th. Our house owner has extended our lease until April 28th. 2 months longer than originally, so that's good. I really would like to stay here until we move into our own home, whenever that may be, but at least in the next 3 months our builder should finished building his own home and he's already offered us the 2nd floor apt til we have our own home. It means an extra move that I didn't want to have to make but I keep telling myself... it's almost the last one.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Land Pictures

A view of the land we put a down payment on a couple weeks ago. The entire cleared area to the boy in the back is ours.
Another view. The house in the background is being built by our school builder for his family. He'll build our house as well.
Another view - E. in the background.
Closer on E. In back of the low gray building in the back center is a main road.
This is interesting. The yellow house in the back right is the house we lived in for many years. I stood on that roof more times than I can remember praying for this land that E. now stands on. At that time there was nothing there and it was covered in bushes and brambles. I had no idea what God had in store... Anyway, we love our old neighbors and the area and we also get the best drinking water in our city!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Phoebe's Baptism

Here are some pictures from Phoebe's* baptism on Christmas Day. (I posted some pictures right after the baptism but they were taken from far away.) I just got my hands on these today.

* Phoebe has lived with me since Sept. Remember she didn't talk... Still talking!