Jai Missikie! Over hear that means Praise the Lord, believers say it to each other everytime they meet and before they go. I hope all of you are doing wonderful, today was another wonderful day here in South Asia. So this week has been crazy busy and so have the last two. I had great friends coming in and out of the city and so I've had some great fellowship and a lot of fun. As far as serving goes this past week has been one thing after another, it's really refreshing and the Lord has given me more drive to keep it up. Usually when people first come over seas the firt three months is protected language time to get the servant set in language and culture, and the work with your specific job isn't full speed untill after the first three months. My three months are almost up but since I am not staying in the village all the time anymore I get to go do my job while learning language. So monday morning I got up early like a normal working person would I caught an auto-rickshaw and made my way to meet a NGO (non-government organization) rep then the two of us made our way out to the first village I taught English at in the school. Once arriving at the school it was so nice to see all the kids faces and know I would get to teach them for the next few months untill they break for summer. After I finished at the school I took a short autoride to my mommi and papa's house. I had a wonderful day with my national family.
It had been almost three weeks since I had seen Mommi because she was visiting her family. So once i saw mommi she let me help with doing the laundry. This may sound simple but most of my time in the homestay i was not allowed to help with regualr house stuff because I was the guest, and also because they dont think Americans do things for themselves. Many of the upper caste people in the country and the middle caste people have hired help that comes if not everyday a few times a week and does all their cleaning and laundry. I tried telling the family in the begining of the homestay that having househelpers is not very common in America and that many people do their cleaning and regular house stuff themselves. I also told them the various job I did while working in the US (babysitting, hostess, busser, waitress, cleaning and setting up a dance studio, working in fellowships and working at my dad's store on-top of having my own apaertment while in college). However I still dont think they think i knew how to do much, and it makes sense. They do household chores WAY different here and was everything by hand (clothes, dishes, the floor, EVERYTHING). So when you learn a new way to do things it can look like you have no idea what you're doing or when you do it the way your used to it can look totally wrong. These are also experiences I've shared with the woman who cleans the floors in my flat a few times a week. (we have a lady come because dust in this city, dirt and all sorts of stuff somehow work their way into your house no matter how hard you try to keep it out and all the floors are granite) So me trying to make a long story shorter I got to help mommi wash clothes it was really fun, then there was a hole in byaa's shirt and since I have been able to work on my sewing skills while I was in the village I got to help a little. So after mommi and I finished all the work we both took a really long nap. The power was out too and there is not much or girls or women to do when the power is out because usually they watch tv all day once their chores are finished. It was nice to know when I woke up I would be around people I've missed and wouldn't have to go anywhere to work on language studying.
After the nap byaa and I walk to the bazaar (market) to get some food for dinner along the way he had me try some new food. He called it spicy water.....i thought spicy water? That sounds gross and he knows i cant drink the regular water here yet? (HUmmmm). Here's what it looks like....it comes on a leaf that acts like a tea saucer and it dried up, then this little hallow shell thing made out of dough is filled with different veggies and you guessed it.......SPICY WATER. So I tried it and it was a lot like a great snack I had in Kolkata in October when I was visiting a friend. I had one and they decided i was done trying new food for the night, but when you pay the street guy he gives you like 3 or 5 so Byaa had two as well. When we were walking back to the house byaa said he doesn't like to eat spicy water ( as he laughed a little and had a sneaky look on his face
After getting back to the house I sat and had dinner with mommi and byaa and then my friend Bhavna came over to visit. She is one pretty cool lady! Bhavna is 22 or 23 I cant remember all i know if she is really close to my age. We have a great friendship, she speaks really good English but likes to talk to me in Hindi to help me learn the language (many people that speak English in this country wont speak to you in their native language because it is offensive to them to not speak English with a native English speaker). Needless to say Bhavna is a great friend and helper, she also is really helpful with cultural things I might not pick up on and more importantly she kind of understands my fleeting American culture and is understanding of some of America's norms and taboos.
Things that are taboos in America are not taboo here (like picking your nose, burping, flatulence, commenting on how a person is looking fatter that day or skinny, asking really blunt questions) those are taboos in the US but are totally normal and cool here, but here you dont comment on how a new baby looks cute, you dont say Thank You to friends or people you know when they do something nice, its rude to be asked your relationship status, its rude to not eat EVERY SINGLE THING THEY PUT ON YOUR PLATE (I mean short of licking it clean), its rude to not stop for 30 minutes to talk to someone you know if you see them, it's not nice to not see someone you know if you have been in their neighborhood....there are more but Ill stop there.
Any who....so Bhavan is a great friend she has been a great encourager and is always sending nice little e-mail notes or texts to say hello during the week. She says she is shy and has a hard time making friends but i totally dont believe it she is really sweet and is way easy to make friends with. So after we sat and visited at my Mommi's house her byaa told my byaa that it was time for her to come home......so I asked mommi if it would be okay if i went with her to her house to get more help with my language and to talk with her. At her house we talked in hindi and she helped me study and then we got to talking about Spring and the holiday her mom was celebrating (there are like tons of Hindu holidays in a year in the last two months there's been like 10) so that helped me talk with her about why this time of year is so special to people that follow JC. I got to talk with her all about HOLY Week and why it's so special and why Good Friday is so good but also soo sad. Then we talked about resurrection Sunday and why it makes everything so special and how because Jesus died on the cross for our sins and then rose on the third day he made a way for us to be right with God again. We basically talked through the bible in a few minutes and how it all leads to Christ. I've had other chances to share with her about my faith as we talk about each others faiths. She is unlike most Hindu's I've met over here, she really knows the stories about the gods and why the holidays are celebrated and why they are important to Hindu believers, she has helped me a lot with understanding things more about Hindus.
Through talking with her about Jesus and how my heart breaks when I think about Good Friday she said something that brought a lot of joy to my heart, she said she could really see that my faith in Jesus was genuine and that what he did really meant a lot to me. Then she asked if she could attend Easter sunday service with me, ofcourse I was totally stoked and praising the Father from every fiber in my being! I have been praying for Bhavna for a few months now and you all have been too she's been written about before on here and in my update e-mails. So this is the Lord answering prayers and softening her heart, from here what will happen is in the Lord hands but please continue to petition for her and for myself and other believers she comes in contact with. Please pray for protection and that the true way would be made more clear to her and that I would wait on the Lord and not be too eager or too shy but that I would do JUST AS THE LORD TELLS ME TO DO.
So that was monday! Tuesday I went back to the school and played with the kids for a little while, my byaa came with me because after my short visit to the school we were going to his sisters to spend time with her and encourage her. I just love GITA she is an amazing sister and such an amazing sister in Christ. Getting to Gita's was soo much fun! It seems that when I go to Gita's it's always an adventure and byaa seems to be involved in it some way or another. So from the school byaa and I walked in the killer hot sun to another little town to catch an auto that would take us to sister's city. We were having a hard time finding and auto but i was enjoying walking and seeing everything when.......a man on a motorcycle started talking to byaa. The man then offered byaa and me a ride! So totally south asian style there were three of us on one motorcylce. It was a little scary when he got on big roads and started to go fast and I realized i didn't have a helmet on or any way of protecting myself is a problem were to arise.........but it was in those moments that the Lord brought peace to me heart and told me to enjoy the fun ride and not worry but to trust in him. It was fun. I wish there were a picture ya'll could see of it. Picture this one regular sized South Asian man driving, one kind of skinny South Asian dude sitting in the middele (byaa) and one little white girl with a big backback on the back. This time i didn't sit sidesaddle because there was no room so I held on to the metal grill at the end of the seat. It was soooo fun! Someday I only wish I had a motorcycle but then I think that could be pushing it with the Lord and I dont want to test him. After the motorcycle ride through crazy bumpy back streets and on the main roads and highways we got off at a bus station. Then we look a bus for a little while and I met a really sweet girl that I sat next to. (on the busses here there are seats for men and seats for women and the two do not interchange) After the bus ride we got off and were in the big city and started walking towards Gita's. It was fun but I was happy to finally reach Gita's. I had a blast at Gita's we talked, I played with my little nieces and then we read the bible together. Gita is married to a man that doesn't like her going to church very often so she doesn't get to see believers much. Thats why since I'm her "sister" I am let into the home so easily other national believers have tried coming over to see her but she lives with her in-laws and they turn then away and tell her believer friends to leave. So spending time with her gives her good fellowship. The happy news is she is coming to Mommi's on Good Friday so I'll get to see her there!
When I made it home that night I was so stinking tired from the two long days. I also had less sleep in the village because I slept upstares with mommi while papa was away visiting his family. So I slept on papa's cot and got to sleep in a mosquito net it was cool! It was fun to sleep in the main room of the house too with mommi only a few feet away it gave a different feeling to the village. Usually I slept downstairs in the room that was usually byaa's but when I came he had to sleep upstairs so I could have some space of my own. Sleeping in the main room you hear everything going on in front of th house and let me tell you there are animals and people around all night. So making it back to my flat was nice to get a shower and to sleep. The next day I went with my language tutor and wonderful friend C! She's a great woman she is a leader at a fellowship in her village. So we went to her village, it took three hours:three busses, one cycle-rickshaw, a cool hike and to get to her house. The busses we took were crazy crowded I mean like in the US there is NO WAY that many people would be allowed on one bus. So it was really a fun experience and a funny one. I rode a crowded hot bus in Kolkata on my trip to see a friend in October before I moved to this side of the world and that was a crazy bus ride. This one was just funny and fun......since living here my standards have moved down more and my sense of humor in the strange things has risen.
Once arriving at C's house we ate and then I got to help with their children's bibl* club. It was really fun! The kids told me in the language I'm learning what they learned from the bible story that day. Then we played games and ate a snack. That night I went with C to her fellowship, for the last 40 days everynight the member of the church get together and pray over their village! They are going to keep praying everyday together for their village too they are really wanting to see the Lord work in their village. I heard some amazing stories from the believers about what the Lord is doing in their lives and I also heard about the persecution from one of the pastors. He, his wife and another man were BADLY beaten in December by a riot of Hindus. The men in the riot were demanding to know how much the Chrstns had paid them to become followers and why they left Hinduism! Over here many people believe that when a person becomes a Christn it is because they were paid to or because they get some sort of sick and gross benefits for being a believer. It's heart breaking and is sad that many people assume believers are believers because of such a crazy idea as that or that white believers here are a front for something else.
After fellowship C and I walked back to her house but along the way walked other believers back to their houses and got to pr*y ove them. It was GREAT! The when at her house there are two other fellowship leaders living in rooms next to her apartment so we go to talk more about being believers and play some board games. Today I got back from C's house and have been studying my language since and catching up on the web. Tomorrow I head off to a ESL seminar and then to a fellowship that night with believers my age! My friend from the school and my byaa are coming too! Please pray that it would be a great time of fellowship! Then on Sunday I head out to the village again for fellowship and then back to see my friend Heather (Gimpy). She is coming through my city on her way to SPain. She is going on vacation there for a week and so I'm going to ride with her to the airport and hang out with her for a few hours before she takes off!
I know this was a realllllly long one if you read it all the way through THANKS! If not I'm sorry I hope you got the important parts out of it!
Oh i forgot som exciting news! I have been asked by C to speak a little Easter morning to the believrs! PR*Y for me! It's a great chance but also a little daunting it's one of the most important day of the year to talk with people!