Sunday, December 9, 2012
Monday, March 19, 2012
This festival was recently planned. The leaders here would not have scheduled our conference for this time had they known about it. The women coming to the conference are traveling overnight to get here. When they arrive in the morning the roads will all be closed and they will have to walk 6-7 kilometers to get to the conference center. I asked James if this would be dangerous for them and he said yes because it will be very difficult to get through the crowds. I asked if it would be dangerous because they don't have the marks on their heads and he said yes they will be asked about it. I am concerned for the safety of those women.
He is not sure that he will be able to come here tomorrow because of the crowds, but he will try to come late in the day if he can. If not, we will see him on Tuesday. We will start the conference a day late.
The celebrations have already started and their are many people out in the streets and playing music. In the courtyard of our hotel which is outside of our hotel room their is loud music and celebrating.
It will not be safe for us to leave our hotel until the celebrations are over.
Please pray for the women who are traveling here.
In Uganda when you wave your hand by waving your fingers up and down, it means "come here". I learned this by accidently calling kids to me when I thought I was waving at them. Yesterday at church I noticed that when I waved at people I waved differently. I laughed when I thought about it.
I love the hand shake in Uganda. You move your hand back and forth between a regular hand shake and gripping the top of the hand and thumb. It's a move in the wrist, with your thumb staying in the same place. I'm probably not describing it well. Any way, the hand shake goes back and forth several times. It's not uncommon to continue holding someones hand in that position for an entire conversation. Yesterday when I was shaking hands with people at church, I realized that our hand shakes are too short and we don't connect as well. We can't hold on to someone's hand too long. We might invade each others space. Ugandans are very warm, and they get in your space. I like that.
In Lugandan (the language in Uganda), Calle means OK. It seems like they would have an easy time saying Callie's name since they already have that word in their language. It was funny because WE have an accent, and they have a hard time understanding what we are saying. They kept calling Callie "Carrie".
Latrines aren't that bad after all, if you can keep your feet dry.
Running hot clean water is an amazing wonderful luxury. So is a washing machine.
When I got home and walked in my kitchen, I was over come with how much we have. It made me cry. A couple of days ago, I made myself a turkey sandwich with avocado & lettace, and chips with hummus. I was sitting there eating and I thought "How can I just sit here and eat like this when some people don't have anything?" I still haven't figured out the answer. I know that I have to do more to help.
Even when I go camping, I have more luxuries than the poor.
An observation by Callie: Every one of the kids we saw in Uganda would be removed from their homes by CPS if they lived in the same conditions here in the USA.
The main staple food in Uganda is banana. Most of the food is fairly bland. Salt and spices are a luxury and most people don't have them. We ate a lot of potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, plantains, bananas, beans, & rice. I avoided the meat.
Worship involves your whole body in Uganda. They love to dance.
They highly value education. They are desperate for it. They do everything they can to obtain it. For many it is unreachable.
Psalm 146 :7 He executes justice for the oppressed; He gives food to the hungry.
from a worship song we sang at church yesterday:
Lord, break my heart for what breaks Yours. Everything I am for Your kingdoms cause.
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Hung out with Drea & Bryan most of the morning. Paul came to get us and we went to lunch with Him at the mall, picked up a few more gifts & went to an internet cafe to print our boarding passes. Rode in a rickshaw again. Went back to the hotel to get packed.
Tim ran a fever last night. I’m not sure why. He is taking Cipro (an antibiotic for travelers stomach problems.) I emailed Mary and she sent out a prayer request to our prayer team. This morning the fever was gone and he was fine. Thank you Jesus!
I finally broke down and started taking Cipro. If you know me well, you know I hate to take medicine. I can’t afford to be sick when I go home.
Today we will teach to leaders in Paul’s community in his church in the slums. We don’t know who will be there, if anyone because it is in the middle of the week and people have to work. Paul is expecting it to be mostly or all women.
Here is a driving lesson for India:
Inch your way slowly out of the driveway honking loudly. As soon as you see a space almost big enough for your vehicle accelerate quickly. Accelerate until you almost reach the car in front of you then put on your brakes. One inch is more than enough room between you and any vehicle on the road. Swerve around any vehicle on the road where there is space. Even if there is not enough room for you, don’t worry. You can honk at the car next to you and they will move over. The exception to this is buses. Don’t drive between buses that don’t have room for at least half of your vehicle between them. Traffic signs and lanes are nice suggestions, but usually impractical. Don’t hit the people running in front of your car, instead swerve around them and tap your horn to let them know you see them. Beep beep means “I’m next to you and there is less than one inch between our cars” Long beep means there’s not room but I’m moving in anyway. Accelerate quickly then let off the gas over and over to produce a jolting feeling for your passengers. Otherwise they might feel too safe and stop praying. Eventually they will get sick but don’t worry because then they will roll down the window to spit or vomit, and everyone will be able to see the only white people in the area are with you. If you hit someone just keep going. They won’t mind as long as they aren’t bleeding. If they are bleeding and you are white keep going because you don’t want to go to jail or get mobbed. If there are 2 lanes, 4 cars can fit side by side, along with people, motorbikes, animals, and bicycles swerving in and out. Rickshaws don’t go as fast so always drive around them. They know to get out of your way, but occasionally you will get behind one or two that won’t move. Don’t worry, just keep honking and eventually they will move over. When you get further back into the neighborhood the streets will be very small and congested with people. Keep honking. Drive slowly so that you don’t knock anyone down because they will be right next to your car. It is up to them to move their feet and arms out of the way. If there is an animal you might have to honk a lot. If it feels like it, it will move. No one will move it for you and you can’t hit it but if you get very close to it, it will usually move. Keep honking. Always keep honking. If you don’t, others won’t know what you are doing. There is a honking language and all the honks mean something. You need to learn it. There is a method to the madness of it all, and you actually get used to it.
John picked us up about 10:00 and we took rickshaws to the church. Because they are open and smaller, it felt different driving through the slums. There is less of a barrier separating us.
We taught Sanctity of Life, Parenting, Natural Family Planning, Marriage & Birth Kits to about 30 families. We gave each family a hand towel, birth kit & soap. Each man was given a necktie.
I was overwhelmed by the ride to church and the closeness of the suffering we saw. I just wanted to cry. I wouldn’t have had it any other way, because I want to understand the people we are here to help. But it was really difficult for me to teach this morning. When I am upset sometimes I lose my voice, and I was really fighting that as we began. I just cried out to the Lord and told Him I had no strength, and that nothing I could give was good enough, but to I was a willing vessel. I asked Him to work through me however He wanted, but I that I am completely inadequate.
This was the feedback…and we didn’t even hear it all because of lack of time:
“I was always beating my child in front of everyone and I’m going to stop now.”
“You taught us how to treat our children and wives, and how to make decisions together as husband and wife. This teaching is very unusual for us. You gave us scientific facts that we didn’t know. We didn’t understand the differences between men and women.”
“We always disciplined without allowing for repentance. We would just leave our child alone and not reconcile for up to a month. You taught us to love unconditionally and to make sure we teach our children to repent. This is not how our culture is, but we want to obey the bible, not our culture.”
“We don’t allow our children freedom after they marry. We want to obey the bible and free them after they marry for the couple to make their own decisions . I didn’t know that abortion was wrong. I’m going to teach this and Natural Family Planning to the women I work with in women’s ministry. I’m going to be a midwife. You taught us how to be clean.”
“I am a businessman but I am illiterate. I didn’t take any calls to go to work today, but I came here instead. Even though I can’t read I learned so much and it was so helpful. I want to do all that you taught us.”
“My wife took my role as husband, but no more. I’m going to take care to do it now.”
“I was so convicted about the teaching on kids. I hit my kids in the face and pinch them until blood comes. I’m not going to do that anymore.”
“I was so convicted by the teaching. I used to be very very poor. I had 2 girls already and I got pregnant with another girl. I had multiple shots to abort the baby, but she lived and did not have any problems. Now she is in 12th grade and she is the smartest of all my children.”
“This teaching was very hard for me. I didn’t want to come, but my friend came and I like her so I came with her. I have been hitting my kid bad in the face. I was so convicted. Also I try to control my husband and I want to stop doing that.
Paul’s mom:” I heard this teaching at the other conference and I was sad because my people weren’t there to hear it. I wanted to have this teaching here and I didn’t know you were going to come here. I prayed that God would bring it here, and this was really God’s plan. It’s a big blessing to us. When Paul left to go to America before, I cried out to God because I was so upset that he left us. He was the best teacher here and our pastor. I thought the ministry would fall apart because he was gone. I was in bed sick for one month because I was so upset. I didn’t know who was going to take care of the ministry. God showed me a vision after 1 month. He asked me why I was putting my trust in a man (Paul) who is only human and putting everything on him. Now I see why God took Paul to America and that God is taking the ministry to the next level and that this is just the beginning. I learned to trust in God and not man.”
Many people came to ask us for prayer and for blessings. A hindu lady came who was not a believer and asked for prayer for her 5 year old daughter who is having seizures. It was very joyful to be able to pray for these precious people.
After this most of the people left and I taught about 10-15 people how to listen to the heartbeat and breath sounds with a stethoscope and how to take blood pressures. One of the ladies had a masters degree, and one had a women’s ministry. They were all leaders somehow in their communities. They learned very quickly. I was impressed.
Paul’s mom made a meal for us that wasn’t spicy. What a priceless experience. I just adore this family. I told Paul’s mom how wonderful and amazing she is and what a good job she has done raising her children to serve the Lord. She told me to eat and talk about it later. The reason really is she is so humble. She just kept adding food to everyone’s plates. She doesn’t listen if you say no, she just keeps adding more anyway.
Paul’s dad asked us to come back again next year. We all feel like we should, so we are going to pray about it. So much fruit was seen already on this trip, and we have established meaningful relationships. We all want to continue working with the people here and help equip them for the work they are doing.
Back at the hotel, a fun night playing cards and drinking Indian coffee. Indian coffee is very different. It is thick, and then boiling milk is added to it. It’s so thick that you couldn’t really drink it without the milk. It tastes different too. It is very good.
We talked about the highlights of the trip for each of us. For Tim: St Thomas mount and the cave where he died, (Bryan brought up that the cave was probably similar to the ones that David hid in from Saul.) & praying for the people after the church services. For Bryan: The unexpected time of answering bible questions and sharing with Jaycee during our time shopping at the mall & participating in the Indian Wedding Ceremony.
I woke up at 5 am. I want to sleep! I hear the muslim morning calls to prayer and constant horns honking on the street below. The room is thick with humidity and everything feels wet. The rains stopped yesterday.
There are open troughs of sewage on the sides of the road. When it rains they overflow into the streets. It’s not just a little bit of water, it’s flooded. People are wading thru this water up to their knees. I cannot wrap my mind around this. It’s horrible. I see it, but it makes no sense to me. How can people live like this?
The homes in the slums…how can I describe them? From the outside some look somewhat orderly. Others look like there are filled with garbage.
And their eyes. Some are hollow. Some look like you are looking into the face of death. Some look like you are looking into the face of a demon. Some are searching for hope. Sorrow abounds. Suffering is the way of life. And it is endless. Massive amounts of people in crowded streets. Things you’ve never seen before. People laying on the sidewalk writhing in pain. Starving, emaciated people. Faces of sad children. All mixed with beautiful colorful clothing and beautiful people. So many contrasts.
We had breakfast in the hotel and then had a fun time playing hearts and waiting for our friends to come get us. The 4 of us made a pact to stay friends forever and prayed that God would use our friendship to bring glory to Himself. We are so compatible and we all get along so well.
John came to get us about 11 & we stopped and picked up Jaycee from the university. (Paul’s brothers) We went to St Thomas Mount. It was amazing to hear the story of Thomas coming to India to spread the gospel, and see the place where he died. He was persecuted by hindus who shot him with an arrow. He went into a cave to hide from them, and died in the cave. Then we went to St Thomas Church where he was originally buried. Our hearts were very heavy for all we saw.
We went to a new mall that was very westernized. Many of the stores were stores we have in the USA. We ate lunch at a Pizza Hut, which was pretty good. My stomach has been bothering me, but I think it is because of the massive amounts of curry and chilis in the food. I like spicy food, but everything is so spicy and hot. I think I need a couple of days of bland, so that is what I am trying to do today.
Today is Paul and Molly’s anniversary. While we were eating lunch we found out that they were at the mall where we were. They came and found us, and they went shopping with us. Paul is a good bargainer and knows what the prices should be for everything so he works out the deals for everything we buy. (Callie you will appreciate this: I only chimed in a couple of times to get the price I wanted.)
Tonight we had dinner in the hotel. Here was part of the conversation.
Me: I want butter naan with garlic.
Waiter: You want garlic naan and butter naan?
Me: No, I only want one naan with both garlic and butter.
Waiter: You want garlic naan?
Me: Yes but I want it with butter.
Waiter: Garlic naan?
Me: Yes can I get naan with both butter and garlic?
Waiter: You want butter naan?
Me: I want naan with both butter and garlic. Can I get both?
Waiter: You want garlic naan?
Me: Yes, with butter.
Waiter: So you want garlic naan?
Me: yes, both garlic and butter.
Waiter: ok, ok, yes. (head nodding side to side) Garlic naan.
The people at this hotel are so nice to us and the service has been good. It is just funny trying to communicate. I wonder if the waiter is thinking when I’m ordering “This crazy American lady” I have no idea why, but obviously something must be wrong with ordering garlic naan with butter. I’ve ordered garlic naan before and it didn’t come with butter…it was very dry…so it’s not because it has butter on it already. I like both butter and garlic.
They work very hard to please us, and I always thing about how little they probably get paid. One of our servers for dinner tonight was young and very thin. I hope they treat him good, but I know that in some way he is suffering. I could tell he was working hard. My heart was moved with compassion and sadness for him, but I have no idea anything about him except for what I can see in his appearance.
We went to a different hotel last night because Paul and Molly wanted us to get good rest. We were truly exhausted. No exaggeration. The hotel we stayed in was not really that much better, but it was much more expensive, so we went back to our first hotel and decided to stay there the rest of the time.
Tonight we got invited to an Indian wedding and Bryan was asked to speak about marriage. It was an amazing night!
I woke up at 2am and couldn’t go back to sleep. Jet lag isn’t relenting yet. So after about an hour or two, I got up and worked on writing this blog.
We brought a little hot water heater, but when we tried to use it the first day it quit working. Bryan ordered hot water last night from the hotel to make top ramen but when the water arrived it was luke warm at best. They ordered more, but it never arrived, so he gave up and made it with cold water eventually. There has to be something wrong with noodles that don’t have to be cooked. I’m pretty sure they aren’t real food J But we rejoice in whatever we can eat.
Bryan and Drea went to Xavier’s (Paul’s brother) church this morning. Bryan taught and Drea gave a word of exhortation.
Tim and I went to Paul’s church, which his dad pastors. The story of his family is totally amazing.
Tim preached for the first service at 8:00. He did a great job. The message was wonderful. He taught about the leper in Mark 1 who came to Jesus and said “if you are willing, you can make me clean” and Jesus said “I am willing!” I was very proud of him. He taught barefoot. J They take their shoes off here when they enter a building.
Paul’s brother John and his wife dedicated their baby this morning and Tim and I got to be part of the ceremony by praying for them during the dedication. What a blessing for us.
All the married women cover their heads with their shawls. I haven’t covered my head here until this day, but Paul’s brother John asked me to cover. It’s especially important to them during prayer.
The 2nd service was at 10:00 and Paul asked me to preach. It was the service for the young people. This was really a stretch for me, but God equipped me and I was so blessed. I taught from Col 3 to do everything we do as unto the Lord, and then expounded on how to live in love and shine Christ’s light wherever we are. At the end I had them shout out “I will let my light shine for Jesus!” As they shouted they raised their bibles and looked me in the eye and I could see the sincere commitment in their eyes. I felt like they were making me a promise. I can’t describe it, but the look said it all. I was utterly humbled as I saw their commitment knowing the hardships and persecutions they face.
Bryan and Andrea got to the church we were at just in time to hear me teach. I looked up into the balcony and my sweet Molly was there raising her hands interceding for me.
After both services many people came forward and asked us to pray for them.
After church we all went up to Paul and Molly’s little house above the church. Oh, did I mention that this church is in the slums? Paul’s parents live downstairs and have lived here 60, yes SIXTY years sharing Christ in this community. The stories about what they have done are powerful and transforming. These are the hidden heroes of our faith.
The house they live in has been rebuilt and remodeled and added on to many times. The original house was made from mud and leaves. The church has had their sound equipment stolen many times. There is a hindu across the street that is demanding $10,000 from them to have church there and since they won’t pay he plays loud hindu music during all of their church services and works to disrupt and frustrate them during every service. The whole street signed a petition to try to make them stop having church here.
Still their ministry grows. They have produced many many quality Christian leaders here that have now gone out to work for Christ, some with Campus Crusade and other large ministries.
All 4 of their sons are amazing men of God. 3 are pastors, and one is a teacher at the university. Each of their ministries are powerful. We have had a wonderful time getting to know each of them, and they have blessed us immensely. They have a beautiful daughter too that we have met, but have not had much time to get to know her. She has a new baby who is beautiful.
This morning a blind woman came from a village 6 kilometers away because Paul led her to Christ. She doesn’t want to go to any other church except his, so she walks 1 km and takes a bus 5 km to come here. 15 people in her village have come to Christ because of her. She gave a testimony in church today about how Jesus loves the poor and needy. Oh how poor she looks, but her love for Jesus shines.
Paul’s mother was not literate, but she begged God to be able to read His word. Miraculously He gave her that gift, but that is the only thing she can read. She cannot read anything else except the bible.
Their neighborhood has been burned down 5 times and many people have died in each fire.
Chennai is known for criminals and murderers. This is the place where people hire assassins from. It is a very hard slum with a lot of crime and murders every day. Of all the people that Paul grew up with in this area, only 2 are not dead or in jail.
Just a couple of weeks ago Paul’s next door neighbor, a 16 year old hindu girl, committed suicide by catching herself on fire because she was in love with a young man and for 6 months her parents would not give her permission to be with him.
Molly cannot go out on the street here because she is white and will not be safe. Paul is also in danger for marrying Molly. The people here are angry that he married a white person. God has been faithful in protecting their family. Paul’s father is a government employee and is like the mayor here in this area.
Paul and Molly’s story of how God brought them together is also full of miracles…over 20 true miracles to confirm that He wanted them to be together. They both work so hard to honor Christ and to serve Him.
Paul took us shopping in the evening to get souvenirs.
Tim was up most of the night with stomach problems, so he wasn’t able to stay for the conference this morning.
Today I taught Natural Family Planning. We taught both the men and the women together, because if the men don’t understand the wife’s cycle, they will not support the times of abstinence needed to make it effective. This culture is not used to discussing things like this, and to bring men and women together during the class was obviously uncomfortable to them, but they were very gracious and received it. They had so many questions but they came and asked them quietly to the translator, and then we would answer the question for everyone.
We discussed the story of Onan who was supposed to give his brother’s wife a child but instead spilled his seed. (Genesis 38:6-10). I had Bryan come and explain how what Onan had done to Tamar was abuse because he had sex with her, but didn’t allow her to conceive. The sin that God killed him for was abusing her and dishonoring his brother by not raising up an heir for him. We also had a question from the Old Testament about not having sex during a woman’s monthly cycle, because the NFP beads show that time as a time when you can have sex without getting pregnant. We explained that we are not under the law anymore, and we do not live by the
law. Medically it ok for sex at that time, even though most people will abstain during their cycle.
Andrea taught about Shame (from Mending the Soul). She has such a beautiful countenance and sweet spirit. This was not an easy lesson to teach because it is difficult to talk about abuse, especially in a culture where most are abused in some way, and no one talks about it. She did a great job and the people appreciated what she taught them.
We gave out birth kits and explained what each item it contained was for.
Bryan taught on Leadership. While he was teaching I was signing “Certificates of Attendance” to hand out to everyone at the end of the conference. I wasn’t really paying attention to what he was saying. I found myself thinking “Wow, he sounds just like Joel Madson!” Then I realized he was teaching Joel’s material on Leadership. It was awesome! Bryan is a wonderful teacher. He demonstrates his commitment to serve Christ, and his commitment to serve the body of Christ. It was powerful to hear the pastors shouting out their commitment to live by God’s word as Bryan guided them.
At the end of the conference we had a time for feedback where people came up and shared with us how what we taught them affected them.
These are some of the stories that were told:
A pastor said he was being persecuted the day before he came to the conference. He was too tired and thought he would not go, but then he pushed through and went. He did not have enough money. He came on the bus from the mountains. He did not have enough money to get back home after he came to the conference. On the way a lady saw him on the bus and she had just gotten 2000 rupees and she gave him 500 rupees because she knew he was a pastor. (The pastors wear white shirts and don’t have the hindu markings.)
A blind pastor came who was recently married. He heard what God said and now he has a base for what to do with his family. “No other book will give you these ideas and tell you how to be happy. Thank God I know what women need so now I will know how to behave towards my wife!”
A pastor talked how we taught them to pray scripture. He said he will teach this in the villages. The Word of God will change people. This is the highlight of his life. We think always about the spiritual but we didn’t know how the healthcare goes along with this. It was a new thing to hear how the husband and wife should be. He hopes this will change his ministry. In the villages where he teaches there are a lot of cobras.
A pastor told us that he knew we spent a lot of money and time to come here to teach them. These teachings are a treasure that money cannot buy. It is not simply sitting and listening that we want them to do, we included family and health, and we want them to reach large numbers of people for Christ. This shows that we care about their people. He encouraged us to always give the baby (fetal model) when we teach sanctity of life because this helped them to understand. He said he would have been a better parent if he had heard this lesson 14 years ago. We made things easy for them to learn for example the beads we used to teach Natural Family Planning. They can hang these on the wall and that way the husband will know what day they are ok. The shame talk really helped them because in the beginning when we talked about Sanctity of Life they really clashed. He did abortion 2x with his wife and they were very sorry about it. They had never heard this before that they should not have abortion and the government told them they needed to do it because they already had 2 children and they should not have any more. They wanted us to pray for them so that their ministry would not be cursed. In the shame talk we said that they needed to admit their faults with each other and pray for healing so they asked us to pray for them.
This pastor is the pastor of a very large church in India, and for him to publically admit abortion was a very big deal. The other Indian leaders were very surprised. Please pray for him and his wife that God will bless them for their true repentance and example.
At the very end of the conference the people honored us with a garland they hung around our necks and by praying for us. It is difficult to explain the gratitude they have for what we have given them. The honor they show us and the appreciation is truly overwhelming and humbling. All the people who helped make this trip possible by praying for us and supporting us, THANKYOU!
Late in the afternoon, we walked down to the beach with Molly. This beach was clean and there were no people there. The water was so warm! Molly convinced me to get in the water and swim with her. It was such a wonderful experience, completely impulsive and unplanned. The water was warm and clean, there were no people, no seaweed, and easy waves. I was thoroughly exhausted from teaching and sensory overload. It was relaxing, warm, clean and I was with my beautiful friend Molly laughing and rejoicing in the ocean that our Creator made. It will be one of the most favorite memories in my life.
Of course that meant that I had swam in my clothes. I just put them all in a plastic bag and had them laundered at the hotel.
We left to go back to Chennai that evening. The ride back was difficult. I don’t really know why it was harder than the ride there. Probably because we were so tired. Tim was not feeling good before we started so that made it hard for him. I started getting car sick about an hour before we got to our hotel. I kept having to roll down my window and spit out the window. Not exactly what I wanted to do on the streets of India. Stick my white face out the window and call attention to myself. Of course no one here would think anything about me spitting…it was just the fact that I was putting my white or maybe green face out the window. It was hot and smelled bad outside so I felt bad for everyone else in our car. I thought I was going to lose it out the window, but somehow I didn’t. I’m sure it was God’s grace. My friends were so sweet. Thanks Drea and Bryan for not complaining about me.
We arrived to our hotel at night. No one wanted dinner and we went to bed right away. I think it was about 10.