Oh India

“Hello, welcome to India, would you like to be in a Bollywood film tomorrow?” “Well I don’t know….um, yeah, I guess we would.” And so it begins. The truck in this picture had just been driven though a glass window into the set of a dirty club, we are the extras dancing in the background. We were all thinking there would be digital effects and sugar glass, however when the director said action the truck came flying through. After the shock of the explosion we look up to see one man bleeding profusely he ended up needing stitches, the glass was real and we are thankful to be alive.

Mumbai was like being dunked in freezing water after a nice afternoon nap. Yet we quickly adjusted and began to look through the caos to see the beauty. The best way to describe Mumbai is ambiguity.

There were times of being taken advantage of that left us cursing yet we would soon forget our worries as a man with bright henna orange hair would be petting a cow in the middle of the freeway, or a sip of spicy chai would fill us with comfort. Still, after just a few days we were ready to leave and so we set out by train into the interior. Every romantic conception of the India train is true it is absolutely amazing. Our first night we were sharing bunks with a Sikh/Krishna family on their way to worship for the Diwali festival, they were going to the temple we’re the Hare Krishna movement began and they were ecstatic,  the joy and excitement that shown in their faces was incredible and challenged me in my own attitude towards worship. Entering the countryside of India was a breath of cool fresh air, literally.

Since we left Mumbai every day has had it’s own amazement and difficulty. The travel days have been extremely difficult and tiring. The hagglers are ruthless and we have quickly learned that staying a tight group is very necessary for our own well being, the hours that we spend in the big cities for train connections have definitely hardened our skin and run ins with child slaves and illicit sex offers tire our spirit. Yet at the same time we have had almost divine connections with places and people, again the word ambiguous describes our experience. The first day we were invited by a couple of school teachers to visit their school in a nearby village we took their offer and spent the day with them attending classes and touring the village, it was incredible.

Our second day we ended up in one of the Rasput lost cities called mandu the civilation dates back to 900 a.d. and the ruins passed through Afghan and Mongul empires . Here we were invited to a Diwali festival for dinner we were the only non-Indians attending and it was so great to find ourselves right in the middle of a very vibrant Indian community.

this boy swims in an 1100 year old rasput pool.

Now we head for Varanasi an intense spiritual capital in India were they burn the dead to the river God. We have heard the atmosphere is intense in every way but that it should not be missed. This is especially a time for prayer for God to speak to our hearts and protect our bodies and minds. It is a bigger city so email should be accessible and  I can be more diligent with the blog. Until then, here are some beautiful faces from India.rice fields

Pattaya

 

A popular shot from walking street.

 


What to say about Pattaya? This city has been known as Vegas on steroids. T-shirts proudly proclaim “good guys go to heaven bad guys go to Pattaya”. As you enter the town you drive beneath an arch that reads “Welcome to Pattaya, the Extreme City.” Missionaries who have been, talk about the oppressive spiritual atmosphere and how you can feel the darkness as you enter. Many of these descriptions have often left my own mouth, however this time the trip has seemed different. While not much has changed in the city all I see amongst the believers here is hope and joy. I think sometimes the drama of evil offers it more power than it holds, even here it still lacks the strength to keep Jesus from bringing life and joy to individuals on a daily basis.

 

While we are still digesting the reality that we find here, I can say our time spent here has seemed divinely purposed, it is as if God has turned on a burner under our hearts and is brewing something up, who knows what that might be time will tell. Meanwhile we enjoy the time together with our new friends here and look very much forward to meeting up with Michael and Eric for the next big adventure…..India.