Tuesday, June 12, 2007

small world

Small world stories- I find that where ever i go i normally bump into someone i know, or someone that knows someone i know... but for that to happen all the way over in india was pretty crazy huh? haha. There are two actually, one was at a coffeeshop in Darjeeling, when a few guys came up to me while i was talking to my sis Beth and we found out he had been to my hometown of Jonesboro at my old University and had met a good friend of mine! Then, the next one blows my mind. I was sitting in pizza hut (yes, pizza hut) in Augra, India with my team... when i look over to find a very familiar face. I ignored the similarity at first, thinking she just looked like someone i knew. But when i finally decided to talk to her i found out it was one of our professors in college and someone that came into my coffeehouse very often!!!! how weird is that?? Seriously now. It was even more humorous, because all day long i kept telling my team i felt like i was going to run into someone i know. hmmmm, it is a very small world after all.

Coffee talk.

Really, i do believe that this mission has been the best decision of my life... and not only have i been able to see many come to know my lover, but i've seen the sacrifice of so many who love him... i've seen the passion they have and it's rubbed off on me. I'm a changed woman... I have a fresh new outlook on life, and i now have a perspective of the world that i never could have had without experiencing it in this way. I am so excited to come back and share the stories, encourage other bothers and sisters to live life to the fullest, and tell people who don't know Him how much He means to me... through the way i live my life. I can not express how much love i have for all of you at home that have been praying for me... and keeping in touch... and for those of you who have even helped me financially. God is so good to us, i pray that you have also been blessed during this time for blessing me, and if you haven't you will! I can not wait to see all of you in a little over a month! I expect very intense hugs that last at least 5 minutes a piece.

Dehli, India. (the real india)

The flight to dehli was pretty nice... but when the door opened my skin began to melt off my body. Guess what? Now i know what hell feels like. Over 120 degree weather could kill a person... or at least it tried. After a "interesting" 6 hour bus ride to Augra, we were dirty, tired, cranky and hungry. What a relief to get to our hostel hosted by the one and only Colonel Lambda. This was a great place and the taj mahal was just magnificent! I could not believe the contradiction between it's brillance and the impoverished ruins that surrounded it. We took abnormal train ride back to Dehli and began our unusual journey to the hotel. This might have been the most fascinating of all our adventures considering that Dehli has the worst traffic situation in the whole world. Seriously, it did not even compare to the crazy moto rides, the weaving traffic, and slightly annoying horns in the other locations. I just thought my life was in danger before. As we were in the middle of traffic one of our vans broke down and we had to frantically move all of the luggage and people into one van.. which logically is not possible. The whole time we were doing it we were laughing and the driver is screaming " come on come on... get in, shut the door!" We didn't even know he knew English! It was the most humorous thing ever to us, as i'm sure it was to the locals. Ha, crazy americans! We actually think they may be where we got the term/game Chinese firedrill... except in India. We also discovered why we say Holy cow. The cows here are so sacred to these people, they just roam the streets, block the road... and eat the trash.

Darjeeling, India.

Our first impression of India was a total contrast to our last impression of Bangladesh. Smooth roads... smooth sailing. We get to Siliguri, find a decent hotel with comfy beds, and eat pizza! This was the beginning of a beautiful journey. The next day we started our assent up the beautiful mountain to Darjeeling. The climate change was welcomed and the cool crisp air seemed to lift our spirits a bit. I never could have imagined this place could be so beautiful! The mountains towered over us, the waterfalls peacefully fell from the boulders petruding from the mountains... and the clouds delicately floated below us as if having nothing else on their agenda. I fell in love! Automatically. Perhaps i could attribute that love to the simple fact this place was such a contrast to the rest of the countries... but something about it was magical. Our first view of the city was from our balcony at sunset, this might have been one of the most spectacular things i could have imagined. This ministry time in Darj was right up my alley, not to mention that it was a perfect transitioning time for after travel. Allow me to explain.. the staff that is there is very small and has only been there about 6 months. This team is the first to be here and take on this type of ministry... we call them pioneers. I love it! A lot of what we were doing was pioneering as well and helped them gauge what needed to be done and where. We took part in spiritual mapping and spiritual evaluations... we learned to bring up questions in normal everyday conversation that could help our staff know the cities spiritual condition. Our stories of the getting to know the locals would blow your mind! Remind me to tell you of crazy uncle Tony and his english school at a very sketchy house! Ha, He's a trip for sure! Then, there was the backpacking ministry. I loved every bit of this. It was so cool to start up conversation, get to know someone... make relationships around town... and tell them about the one that makes my heart beat! It was so amazing, and we actually saw some come to know him and many who are now thinking about him more! One of the weekends we got to go to a tea village, minister to masses of people and elementary schools... and visit the largest tea distributer in the world (incl. to tazo tea- starbucks!) and the most beautiful river i've ever seen! Hard to leave this place, but i definantly have every intention of going back one day.


On to Bangladesh. This my friends was one of the most spiritually challenging places I've been in. Immediately when i arrived i felt the weight of the place. It was hard for me to think anything positive and the spiritual oppression was unbelievable! I actually even got physically sick and had to visit the doctor twice. After much prayer by my team and a conscious decision to change my attitude even though my body wanted to sleep... i was healed! After that i was able to minister with my team through kids ministry in the slums to open air ministry, church and working with their underground radio ministry. This base just started a few years ago and so far has had a very tough road, it was cool to be able to encourage the staff and bless them as well. Although for some reason... we always feel more blessed when we leave a place than they do! Our way out of bangladesh, i believe, was the most challenging trip we had on outreach. So the 7 hour sweaty bumpy ride in the back of a truck up a mountain and loosing our luggage on the freeway were cake compared to this. First of all, the 4 hour trip turned into about 12 hours on a bumpy sweaty stretch in the middle of nowhere... with a flat tire and almost no food or water. Once we got to the boarder of India we had to pay again to leave the country!! Hahaha. crazy huh? The boarder exchange was a difficult one, especially since our thief of a driver was asking for more money AND chasing us in no man's land between the two countries! We were relieved for a bit after crossing in one piece until we saw the 1 km walk ahead of us... with all our stuff. After praying... "God what is the meaning of all this?" for 1 km... and hearing no answer... we were as ecstatic as possible to get on a normal suv to get to our next destination. You can't imagine how happy we were.

Thailand, part deux

Thailand part deux.. after a long grueling bus ride to korat we arrived after almost loosing our luggage on the freeway when the bottom of the bus unexpectantly opened up. You should have seen Jesse running behind the thai man to rescue the luggage only to have onlookers wonder if this white man was chasing this thai man for a reason. hahahah! Especially when he turning back with a frightening look on his face! While in Korat we were able to do several amazing ministries such as going to a nursing home, an orphanage, some boys detention centers... and spending a few days in jail( ok, we just visited these prisons.. but one was high security, so there.) Overall, Thailand was amazing... and we just felt so blessed from all of the opportunities and all of those who were encouraged and/or came to know the Lord.


Our next stop was Thailand.... Oh, how i love Thailand! Bangkok was were we stayed on and off as we traveled throughout the country. Nice big city... very western. We enjoyed having comfort things like starbucks and pizza! While in Thailand we were able to stay in a village way up north called Musagee Hill Tribe. And... it pretty much looked like how you would imagine- bucket showers, squatty potties, chickens...cows, oh you know random fires that make us fear for our lives ( no big deal really... haha). These people here were amazing!! We got to build a fence around their land, teach kids programs, encourage other believers, etc... but our favorite part was sleeping in the bamboo hut! I'll never forget those who loved us so much including our translator Daychay and our photographer Lou. This was a one of a kind experience for sure, especially the elephant ride the last day!


Let's see... where in the world do i pick up? I regret how long it's been since i've blogged. I'll try my best and catch you all up on what has happened thus far. After leaving New Zealand, we arrived at our first destination in Phnom Phen, Cambodia. After a day or so of living in the "city" we traveled to a smaller town a few hours away. This is where we stayed for about 2 weeks. I've never experienced ministry in this way. We were able to speak the name of Jesus to people who had never heard before! Many came to know Him through our daily journey to the villages. We were also able to teach english to the younger kids and do a lot of hut to hut evangelism. Our relationships with the young missionary pastor and his wife... along with the interpreters grew very deep. Departing was difficult and tears were shed. Cambodia will ALWAYS have a special place in my heart. I hope many will be inspired by my stories to visit and help, for they need lots of it! I hope you like gecko's! hahaha. Oh, and remind me to tell you of the time the chickens got loose in the tiny kitchen with about 8 of us trapped against the wall while the dog ferociously attacked the screaming birds! It was a riot!