Monday, June 20, 2011

We're coming back!!!

We leave for the airport in 6 hours. We will be back in the USA on Wednesday at 6pm.

Sunday, June 26th, we will be sharing at Graham Covenant Church and having "snacks and stories" after church for 30 or 45 min. If you want to come, we would love to see you!!! The morning service starts at 10:30am and snacks and stories will be 12pm.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Bhongir and Hyderabad - our roaming continues

This week we have been having a wonderful time visiting Pastor David's sisters, Joy and Grace, and there families. Monday night, we left Nellore by reserved bus (meaning that you purchase your tickets ahead of time and they don't sell more tickets than there are seats) accompanied by Chandana, Rohith, Rinish, and Havilash (David's niece, two nephews, and oldest son). We arrived in Bhongir Tuesday morning at the home of Joy and her three sons, Ranjith (23), Abini (19), and Rokshith (14). After getting cleaned up and eating a delicious tiffin (a.k.a. breakfast) of dosa (very flat pancakes) and groundnut chetni (think spicy peanut butter), we headed out for adventure.

We climbed to the top of a rather high hill to explore the ruins of a fort. The fort was occupied about 1100 years ago by a powerful queen who ruled the town and the surrounding area. The "getting there" was definitely half the fun as we paused frequently on the way up to talk, take pictures, eat snacks, and be silly. We had a great time exploring the barracks, playing on old cannons, and poking our noses into forgotten corners.

Once we got back to Joy's house, we ate lunch and then spread out throughout the house for naps (everyone was very tired after traveling through the night and climbing the hill). That evening we had a great time meeting several of Joy's friends, singing in Telugu and English, and even doing a couple of "action songs." As you can imagine, we were very ready to sleep when bed time came around despite the naps of the afternoon.

Wednesday began early for Bethany and I because we were going out with Joy "canvassing." Joy is the headmistress of a school, K-10th, and since the Indian school year will be beginning in the next two weeks or so, she was taking several of the teachers out to the villages to recruit more students. We went along and provided much entertainment for the villagers that morning. We saw tribal women in their traditional dress and they even did a traditional rain dance for us. We also sang for them and Bethany taught them the actions for the chorus of "Our God is an Awesome God." When we got back to Joy's about mid-morning, Bethany and I needed a second nap, so after breakfast we did just that. We had planned to go swimming that afternoon, but apparently the tribal women's rain dance worked, because the temperature dropped about 4 pm and it poured for a good half hour. Since Bethany and I haven't seen much rain since arriving in India, we were really excited, especially Bethany. We initiated a "rain party," which consisted of everyone going up on the roof and dancing and playing in the rain. Let's just say that we will be remembered in that neighborhood for a long time. That evening, we went over to the home of Joy's best friend, Dr. Sandhya. We had a wonderful dinner and a fabulous time of fellowship. Dr. Sandhya also insisted on presenting us with saris in keeping with Indian tradition. Bethany chose a brown and gold one with green flowers and I chose one that is different shades of blue with sun flowers.

Thursday morning, we packed up our things and went to look at Joy's school. After touring the school, we all loaded on another bus for the short trip to Hyderabad - Joy's three sons also came with us to visit their aunt and cousins. Thursday evening was spent hanging out with Grace and her family, Emmanuel (her husband), Vineela, and Hashita (her two daughters).

Friday, we rented a car for the day and went sightseeing with the whole family. Grace took us to see a very famous park where there is a 40-foot statue of Buddha in middle of the lake. As we rode out to the statue, it started to rain again! Apparently, the rainy season is starting right on schedule. Thankfully, our clothes dry really quickly here. Afterward, we went to another historical site in the heart of Old Hyderabad, Charminar. It was built in 1591 as a memorial to all the people who had died of the plague in the city.

This afternoon (Saturday), we are going our shopping with Grace to some of the well known centers, where we have been told we will be able to find fun Indian gifts for our families very inexpensively. And tonight, we are heading back to Hyerabad.

It's been a long week, but we've had so much fun!!! As we start to wrap up our time in India, please pray that we will continue to be a blessing to those around us and that the Lord will use the remaining time to the fullest in our lives and the lives of all we meet.