linking up with jeannett again!
We’re on our flight home from india. With 16+ hours on our last leg of the trip I was able to find a little time to write up a post ;)
I will definitely give you all the details of our trip soon (think: neighbor’s inviting you over for a slideshow… more than you ask for), but for now I’ll give you a few snap shots into our time over the last 10 days…
this pic was taken in the last couple hours before we left for our trip – leaving the kids, driving to l.a., then flying out. Something about this picture makes me super happy. Not sure if its that we are so cheesy and wearing matching shoes, that it represents the beginning of our lives being changed, or a quick image of our bond together. Either way, I like it!
I was trying to soak up the kids as much as possible before we left. Gracie was reading pilgrim’s progress and si snuggled up next to her and put his arm around her – melted my heart.
up at the crack to leave our hotel in l.a. and head to lax.
I love airplane wing shots, and this one was no exception. Here we were traveling in country in northern india. The plane’s name kills me! When you say “spice jet” I think you have to use jazz hands, too.
our first night after traveling we raced from our hotel to the river ganga – an extremely holy place for many Indians. Thousands of people packed out the area, both on the shore and on river boats. We opted for a boat for our group and watched the activities from the water – lots of music and chanting and bells and incense. Then we rowed up the river a tiny bit to the cremation site – probably 6 or so fire’s burning, and bodies being shuffled around. The closer to the river you’re cremated, the better, apparently.
the next morning, after visiting the ganga at sunrise, we went to our first training center, where ~25 men were being trained to be pastors with a vision for church planting. Words can’t describe this day, but I’ll sure try in another post. This shot is of sean sharing his talk he had prepared for our indian brothers. We were called to come to india to support and encourage the men and women there, but in the ned I think we were more encouraged – the work that God is doing there is unbelievable.
our team (10 of us from our church) read through this nook together, meeting every morning at breakfast to discuss it. It has been a very challenging book for me as discipleship and evangelism put me so far out of my comfort zone. But I’m learning its good to be challenged, as painful as it may be.
the second training center we visited was a real treat, too. The first day, instead of us teaching, we got to be the students and sit in on a class on personal evangelism. The pastor heading up this training center was a powerful teacher and you could tell he knew his students well and knew where to challenge and encourage them. At first the white board was being used in English, but the pastor was encouraged to write in hindi, since we had a translator and the class, after all, was really for his students.
each year a group of training center students graduates, and we got to attend the graduation ceremonies for 2 classes! The indian people really like ceremonies and celebrations – the graduation was about 4 hours long! And you should see the wedding celebrations – they practically shut down the streets and have a parade!
after the graduation we shared a meal with all the graduates and pastors – if you don’t know, the traditional way of eating indian food is with your hand, and only your right hand – the left hand is the unclean hand. Everywhere we went we were given forks to eat, and many Indians would eat with forks as well around us. Finally we asked why and they said they did it because we were using forks. We didn’t want to be rude after they went out of their way to get forks for us, but finally on our last day at the training center we were able to share a meal with just our hand – much easier than I expected!
one of the sweetest parts of the trip for me was connecting with the wife of one of the pastors. She was sweet and humble, but also a huge support to her husband’s mission. Here she is sitting next to me, reading the bible aloud to the young men in hindi.
another wing shot. It wasn’t until we were above the clouds that we saw the sun for the first time on our trip. The smog was so thick it was unbelievable!
we drank chai every day in teeny cups. After breakfast, in homes, on the trains… everywhere. At almost any time of the day you can see men on the streets sipping their chai. Here we were on a train to agra. Our last day of our trip was spent being tourists – shopping and visiting the taj mahal and the red fort.
our train was actually pretty nice as far as indian trains go. Another day we also got to experience the sleeper car trains.
and here we are nearing the end. Our last layover was in dubai. The sky was actually clear enough that we could see the tallest building in the world from the airport, just before boarding.
On the plane now, hoping to get sleep, but it is so hard! We get home Friday evening and I’m really hoping my internal clock gets reset quickly to the 13.5 hour difference of California time! I can’t wait to share more of our trip with you, but first I’ll need to catch up with my kids and definitely get some sleep!