I'm realizing that I haven't really given much information about what's been going on at the home. Part of the reason is that we want to use a lot of discretion with how much information we share about the home and kids for its safety and well-being. That is one reason why we do not post any pictures of the kids and home. We do send out an email once a month, so if you would like to get more specific information on what we're doing, ways God is moving, see pictures, etc., please send us your email address.
Last month a team from America came for 10 days and we helped some with their stay. It was interesting to have so many Americans at the home, a nice change from the daily routine, and also allowed us some extra time to hear about the awesome testimonies of the kids' lives, persecution in India, and Hinduism. A twist was thrown into the visit when 8 year old Narmadha took a hard fall from the playground and was in the ICU with severe head trauma. Thankfully, she came out of it quickly and is doing fine.
There has been a lot of sickness going around the city and our home. Several boys and girls are staying home from school (teachers' orders- swine flu scare) and each day someone new has come down with a fever. The past two days I was houseparent for downstairs girls' home because one of our staff members had a relative die suddenly of swine flu. The houseparent stays in the home around the clock with 11 or 12 girls ages 3-18. They go through their daily routine from 6am to 10pm and try to keep everything going smoothly. Two of the third grade girls were sick, so I stayed with them during the day since they could not go to school. Being a houseparent is a lot of work, but I enjoyed spending that time with the girls and thought it went fairly well. I was thankful that I have been trying to pay close attention to what goes on in the homes in case I was needed to fill in last minute (it's harder than you would think to figure out what all 11 kids should be doing at any given time!) Even then I'm sure I still missed some things, I feel like I'm getting more and more comfortable. The girls were pretty well-behaved and I only had to give one punishment. I have to say, I'm really starting to love these kids. They are wonderful.
Ben and I were also able to watch the kids' perform in traditional Indian dances, songs, and skits for Parents Day at the school. It was great, apart from skits where I couldn't understand a word and missed the Indian sense of humor. I was surprised at how proud I felt of the kids, as if I had known them longer than 2 months and was a part of their family. I guess that's a good sign. They are so talented!
We're just back to the normal schedule now, with Fridays off. I noticed today that I felt significantly more comfortable and at ease in the city and within a culture so drastically different from my own. I think I am finally passing into an easier adjustment period... awesome! September will mark Ben and I's first year annivesary (!) as well as a 4 day trip to Ooty as a home during the kids' vacations.
Please keep praying for us and for the home. Mostly, for more of Jesus in all areas- our lives, the kids' lives, the home, and all relationships here. We would also love to meet some people and make a few friends to spend time with. It's been difficult for us to meet people outside the home. Lastly, we have a big decision we have to make within the next month that will greatly affect our future... so we need to hear God clearly.
That's all for now!
August 28, 2009
August 11, 2009
You may think that if you speak the same language, communication will be easy. However, you would be incorrect in your assumption. Even if you can get atune your ear to the Indian accent, you will still regularly find yourself thinking, "huh?"
Let's go over a few basics for communication here. Granted, a few of these words may actually be Tamil, not english, but no matter.
(spelling accuracy is optional):
tiffin = snack
boochie = bug of any kind
chapel = shoes
jeddies = underwear (must be said with a giggle)
current = electricity
grams = beans of any kind (I think)
jootie = ponytail
swabbing = a type of mopping on your knees with a rag
pie = floormat
dustbin = trashcan
"keep it" = put away or bring it
"simply he's doing" = he's doing just to do, not really trying
frock = dress
mixture = a popular crunchy, spicy snack
August 9, 2009
I’ve been doing some thinking about yokes lately. See, in India, you often see bullock carts on the road. They are long-horned animals with wooden yokes on their backs, dragging a cart behind while a seated rider whips them lest they slow down.
Jesus talks a little about yokes in the Scripture. Yet, when you aren’t around them, it’s hard to fully grasp what he is describing, hard to obtain the fullness of its meaning. Like so many things from Jesus’ time that we don’t see in modern day, there is a richness that is lost for us.
When I see these poor animals here in India, I sympathize for them and their mundane existence. Day after day, they walk the streets carrying heavy pieces of wood upon their shoulders. They have no choice, they have no rest.
The Jews had quite a yoke laid upon them, the Law of Moses. It was a heavy burden, impossible to sustain. I can’t imagine what it was like to live under such legalism. Just spend a few minutes in Leviticus and you’ll see what I mean. It must have consumed their minds and everything they did, constantly leaving them unsure of whether they were in or out of God’s favor.
Jesus came to free us of this burden and offer us his yoke instead. “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,” he says, “for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light”.
Jesus offers us his grace in return for our yoke, yet often times we don’t take him up on the offer.
It’s like we say “ok, sure, thanks” and then we pick up our old yoke and keep moving like the bullock cart.
We pick up our yokes of condemnation, guilt, fear, regret, striving to please man, other people’s burdens…we pick them up and we keep walking.
In the early church in Acts, the disciples met together to talk about how the Gentiles were becoming Christians. A question remained unanswered: these people aren’t Jewish, so should we insist that they come under our Law? To be a part of our new faith, must they be circumcised like us? Peter's response was sharp:
“Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear? No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.”
Jesus offered them his yoke, yet their first tendency was to pick up their old ones instead.
Maybe it was comfortable for them. After all, it was what they were used to. Too often the familiar is comfortable, even when it keeps us from something better.
Maybe they were scared to take Jesus up on his offer because it was such a drastic change. Freedom can be scary.
Or maybe it just seemed too good to be true. Maybe, deep down, they thought it couldn’t that easy. When things seem too simple to be true, we try to complicate them.
But can we really knock the disciples for their inclination? Isn’t it often our first tendency, as well? I’m not talking about what we know in our heads, I’m talking deep down… what we live. We continue to put on yokes for ourselves that we were never meant to bear.
Jesus really did come to free us from the bullock cart. He really did come to offer us his yoke. It's that simple. We don’t need to complicate it. We need to know it, live it, breathe it.