Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Bad Things Happen...

I realized last night when I was relating all the traveling troubles to O. (because he wasn't with us) that everything happened in threes.

3 (very) late trains

3 broken down vehicles

3 lost items

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The Demon Of Lost Things


Here’s how it went:

Well, first there was the relative of the groom at the wedding that kept stealing things but I don’t know if that counts or not. So, lets zoom forward to the train ride home.

1. One of our train tickets with 5 or 6 peoples’ names on it flew out the window of the moving train. Yep. One of our people gave it to the ticket collector, he marked off the names and then, floop, it just blew out of his hands and out the window. THEN, he tried to charge our people for the lost tickets. For the next 8 hours he and the other ticket collectors bugged us for money. (bribes). We didn’t give it to them.

2. Vinita was with us and while in the bathroom with her daughter one of her brand new sandals fell off and slipped down the toilet hole onto the moving track below. She said, “I just threw the other one out the window, at least whoever finds it will have a pair.”

# 3

3. (And this is the worst one) I’m kind of fanatical about hanging onto my own stuff. But after 24 hours of hot traveling (details in following post) I left my bag on our pile of luggage with my sister-in-law and told my brother-in-law to get an auto rickshaw (those 3-wheeled contraptions) while I went and ordered dinner for them. When I came back, the luggage and everyone was in the rickshaw and I have a vague recollection of seeing my red bag in the front of the vehicle. My brother-in-law came back and sat in the front next to the driver (and the bag) and we went home.

When we got there, it was pitch black outside and I went around to get my bag and suitcase. My brother-in-law and his friend said, no, you go inside. So, I went. A minute later they came in and I said, “Where’s my red bag?”

Uh duh.

They ran out, the auto rickshaw was gone and so was my bag.

We found the auto driver later, - no bag. He claims innocence. We put in a report at the police station at midnight after a VERY long day, and that was that.

My wallet with credit/ATM card, Driver’s license and some money. Gone. My cell phone – gone. And a bunch of other misc. stuff. Gone Gone Gone.

I got everything taken care of the next morning. Got a new phone. My cell phone connects me to the internet so I had to get all that installed and it took 3 days due to faulty wires but it seems to be up and running, altho, my old cheap cell phone that I had for 4 years got way better tower connection than my new much more expensive phone of the same company. So, now I get kicked off the internet about every 2 minutes causing 30 minutes of work to take 3 hours. Not fun.

BUT – I did get my whole computer cleaned and upgraded and it REALLY needed it, so, you know, I’m happy about that.

The Wedding

Yeah, the wedding was first rate. Really. Lots of giving gifts to everybody and their brother, Literally, and a nice ceremony. Don’t forget the excessive dancing to loud obnoxious music in the HOT sun.

One of the neat things was that all of the people coming from the groom’s side walked him into the bride’s village. Then the next day when everything was over and done with, her family and friends walk the new couple to the end of their compound and then the groom’s people walk the new bride and groom through the village and to the edge of town. It was kind of a neat, symbolic thing.

Hot, but neat.

But more memorable than that was the traveling. Lets just skip over the hot bus rides, autos, cars and focus in on the train rides. Our “going” train was due at 10 PM. We were there by 8:00. Then it was LATE by 3 ½ hours. How many hours is that sitting in a really grimy and REALLY stinky rain station? (The latrines in the train are just holes that flush everything onto the tracks below. They recommend you don’t go while the train is stopped at stations, but like, yeah, anybody follows that rule.)

We passed the time watching the rats run a round the track and thought about Templeton from Charlotte’s Web.

Coming: Midnight train. O. was staying and traveling by car so he took an AC room at a hotel. We got to take a quick bath and then as we were ready to leave for the station we got a call that the train was 2 hours late. We slept for 1 1/2 hours. Got up. Dragged our kids to the car. Finally arrive at the place where everyone else is waiting for the train and get met with groans. The train wasn’t coming til 5AM. Well, no use going back to the hotel. The girls slept on. The rest of us laid around or talked all night. The train eventually pulled in at 8:30 AM. No sleep that night. Then a 12 hour train ride in the heat where we lost 3 things.

Everyone is now vowing to NEVER ever go to Rajasthan for a wedding ever again. I wouldn’t go that far, but I am NEVER traveling for a MAY wedding again, let me tell you.

Night – Mare.

I didn’t even tell you about the 2 hours (Ha!) ride from the village to the train station. First, our car’s accelerator wire broke. Then the bus carrying the groom’s family had a flat. Then the groom’s car had a clutch problem or something. We got in so late the groom’s family missed their bus back home. That was the demon of car problems.

Computer Problems

Working on it. Hope to be up and running again soon.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Wedding On Wednesday

O. has been away for a conference over the weekend. It was a "tremendous" time, according to him. God was moving in that place. Praise His name!

O. had also been working on his family's land situation which is always a headache. The people they have to pay the money to did come down from $3600 to $1200, so that was a relief but, yet, still a burden. I'm letting him handle it.

The rest of us, me and the girls, are leaving tonight for a wedding on Wednesday. I just got a phone call saying that it has been raining where the wedding is to be held and the tent and everything is wet. (The wedding is to be held outside.) Rain is bad because it makes everything wet. Rain is good because it makes everything cool - and since I've been dreading this May wedding (I don't need to tell you again how HOT it is) for the last 6 months, I can't say I'm real upset.

Rainy season starts from June but occasionally comes early. It hasn't hit us yet, but it has been cloudy for the last 4 days and I've taken in everything from outside.

I'll be back on Thursday.

Monkey In My Kitchen

The electricity was out so I was cooking my "cutta dahl*" in the dimness of the late evening by just the light of the gas flame. I caught something out of the corner of my eye and thought a large stray dog had come into my kitchen. Not a pleasing thought but believe me when I say that it would have been preferable to turning around and seeing a very LARGE monkey throwing onions over his shoulder out of my vegetable baskets. (I think he was looking for a raw potato but unfortunately for him, I was out).

Now these are not cute, nice monkeys. They're big, ugly and mean.** This particular one was about 3' high seated, probably weighted about 80lbs and his tail was long enough to cross my whole kitchen.

I don't think he saw me standing there or he wouldn't have come in in the first place, and I was backed against the counter with nowhere to go so I was reluctant to gain his notice. If he came at me I was cornered.

I needed a weapon.

I stepped over his tail, crossed to the other side of the kitchen and got one of our long handled reed brooms. With that raised high I went back to my former position about four feet away from the monkey who was still searching for potatoes. I must have made a noise in there at some point because he turned and saw me and jumped back so he ended up in the middle of the kitchen.

I raised up the broom again and he jumped the rest of the way out the kitchen door and sat on the wall behind it contentedly eating a mango pit that he had previously picked out of our garbage.

I shut the door and made the rest of my dinner by candlelight.

* Cutta Dahl is lentils with pieces of raw mango added to make it tangy. Yum.
** See pictures from my post on March 18, 2006 "Monkeys Visited On Thursday." I have no idea how to do one of those link things where you just click it and go there. Sorry.

Sunday, May 21, 2006


It's Summer in India. A.K.A. "Hot Season." I've written about this before. Actually, I could write long posts every day on how HOT it is. But I won't. At least, not very often. Anyway, I'm only on here to say that it is Summer and School is Out and even tho I've yet to Go anywhere, I'm still chillin' (no pun intended).

Hence, why the gaps in posts.


Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Staff Pictures

O. and I've been working with our staff one on one for the last 2 weeks and on Saturday we had a group meeting. Here are some pictures from afterwards.

The one I took.

The one someone else took.

Treasure Island

I've read loads of books since my last book review post several months ago, but I'm getting back into the groove and I'm ready to stick my 2 cents out there on my most recent read.

Treasure Planet is one of my favorite Disney animated movies and since seeing it for the first time a couple years ago I've been itching to read Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. I am neither a lover nor a hater of classics but I like them and occasionally am in the mood for one. So when I saw Treasure Island at a yard sale over the summer I snatched it up. It's stayed on my book shelf til a couple days ago when I was in need of a new read.

I loved it.

I couldn't put it down and once I started, I zipped right on through it.

OK, yes, the language is archaic (1883 seaman's language) but you get used to it and I found it enjoyable after a while. The story was adventurous and fast moving (most of the time) but I think the thing I loved the most was the same thing that attracted me to Treasure Planet: the main character, Jim Hawkins. Other than having a really cool name, he's a great little character that I just loved.*

Pick it up for summer read - no not for school.

* I enjoyed all the characters in this book. And if you've seen Treasure Planet, it's fun to finally see how the characters translated into fantastical creatures while keeping their original personalities.

A Mother's Day Slip

Yesterday in church there was a nice Mother's Day program where all the mothers and grandmothers got roses. After the presentation our pastors said to the congregation, (in Hindi), "All you girls that are unmarried, don't worry, we'll do our best to make you mothers as soon as possible."

There was a small smattering of laughter and the pastor himself sort of laughed and shook his head and (wisely) just moved on...

Sometimes things just don't come out the way you mean them to.

Friday, May 12, 2006

I'm Baa-aack

I’m still here. I wrote a post yesterday and then didn’t have internet connection and lost everything and then before that… blah blah blah, snooze. The point is - I'm back. I don’t like such long waits in between posts, but it happens. I’ve been in the office and had 5 American guests for two day… blah blah blah, snooze – again.

Vacation, yeah right.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Ramesh's Graduation

O.'s younger brother, Ramesh, getting his diploma on Sunday.
Waking down the isle. I cried, I'm such a weirdo. (This picture should have been first - obviously.)
Getting his ordination certificate.


Our church's worship leader, Shalom, was married on March 8th (O.'s b-day) in Bombay. We had a reception for them at our church on April 24th (C.'s b-day.) Here are the pix:

Sweta, the bride, with Vinita, getting changed into saree #2 at the reception.
Shalom, Sweta, and our worship team (and Shalom's mother in the middle)
Sweta and C. (it was her b-day)
O. getting his robe put on for him before he starts to speak. He probably should have put it on before he walked on the stage but he forgot. Our pastor was putting it on him and zipping it up in a rush before the prayer O. was praying, ended. I love silly stuff like that.
The bride and groom with their rings at the ready.
Putting on the rings.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Refining The Vision

Our leadership here spent the afternoon meeting with another ministry's leader who challenged us to refine our mission's vision and make it more specific. It was a really God ordained meeting and I praise Him for it.

We hope to spend the next couple weeks in one on one meetings with our leadership and also in group meetings to discuss and make the vision more specific. God keep us faithful.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Released And Restored

We've had a friend visiting for the last few days who runs a Bible School in the state next to ours. He was the one who, along with some of his Bible students, was beaten a couple months ago.

He's doing just fine.

Then, we got the news today that the last of the Christian leaders being held in jail in Rajasthan were released on bail today! Praise the Lord! That's an answer to a lot of prayers. It's not the end of the persecution (or the court cases, etc) But at least they are out and safe and free.

We're waiting with baited breath to see what God is going to do in India in the coming days.