India // 1 month in a land far away // June 2009

Imagine This... Every morning you wake up in your own sweat. Stop... what do you think of India right now... haha... I LOVE THIS PLACE!!

Ok.. keep imagining this... You are driving down the street in an SUV with windows that do not go up and the wind blowing in your face. India music plays on the radio, and out the window this is what you see... Trash on the road, and in the gutters. Passing buildings that are half constructed or look war stricken. Fading and peeling paint make for beauitful photography. Motorcylcles with anywhere from 1 to 5 people on them, Buses, and Trucks filled with people. They are flying by you down the roads which do not have lanes and you are driving on the other side of the road. traffic and driving here is unbelievable... It is horrible. No crosswalks, no traffick lanes. All is fair in love and war. Cows standing NOT in pastures but in trash dumps and eating what they find on the side of the road. Dogs roam and men pee on the side of the road. I think I have spotted 3 children that have pooped in a gutter where people walk, and I have seen about 6 camels running down the street. Sometimes I feel like I am in one of the Borne Movies, Spygame, or in Indian Jones. Somtimes little children come up to glass windows tapping, begging for money. Little kids play cricket in an alley or in a field covered in trash, dirt, and little grass. The heat is beating down, and beads of sweat drip down every part of your body. A language heard and spoken that YOU cannot understand, and only wish you could. It can not be explained in words. You need to feel the silk sari, or taste the spiciest food in the world. This is India.

This is my life daily here in Hyderabad, India. I have been here for 2 weeks or 15 days. I have 15 more days here. I absolutely love this place.

The culure is so great! It is opposite of everything I know. I am learning the language of Telegu... and little Hindu kids are the ones teaching me. The bathrooms dont have tissue paper and so this is what my left hand is for, however we make sure to keep it on us. The colors of this city are beautiful, the clothing radiant and the markets filled with music, life, and people. The weather can be wonderful at times, and horriible at others. Nights are phenomenal with cool showers, lightening, and big breezes. Every night I see a constellation I am unfamiliar with. From the rooftop of my house, where i am stayin in the country and outskirts of the city, I can see a train that passes by about 10 times a day. It reminds me of SlumDog Millionaire. Everyone rides bikes here. The taxis are yellow rickshaws (pictures to come). The people stare at me. I am a skyscaper in a field in this city. I actually have to hid my face and head sometimes to avoid commotion. Children giggle at the site of me and play and touch my skin. I make them laugh.

My heart has been filled with so much joy here in India. The people are so sweet and the children are not like any other children I have seen in the world. My hearts gets broken everyday I stay here. I have cried and laughed so much.

For those of you who do not know, let me tell you what I have been doing so far here in this country.
Let me give you a summary.
Some days I am in the Slums of Hyderabad. Walking through dirt piles, flyinfested "kitchens", and playing games with little kids who grab my hand and touch my skin because it is something they havent seen in another color. Shy little faces peek around corners to see the "americans" and all want "snaps" taken of them.
Other days I am on a stage singing songs and playing my guitar in youth services or churches. Preaching some days, and listening others.
I have been to orphanages, HIV hospitals, and villages. Two days ago I was in a prostitute village, sharing my testimony, and introducing Jesus and his healing touch to a group of Hindu women hungry for a love they have never known. All they know is this lifestyle of making money and living day to day by selling themselves daily. I sat and talked with these women. We laughed, hugged, shared stories, and prayed. This is the extraordinary life and this is relationship. They did not want me to go. I realized that even though these women now know Jesus, they still have to return to thier lifestyle. It messes with American thinking. But God is a protector and restorer. For this group of women there is no other option for income. Either they die along with thier kids and families or they sell themselves for income to have a simple meal. Jobs are not available, especially to these women. But God is bigger and can protect the physical and emotion state of these new believers.
This is just a few things I have done and seen while I have been here in Hyderabad. Seriously, people would not be able to understand or picture what I have experienced, seen, and touched here in India. We eat with our right hand, never using utensils, and the food has flavor incomparable to any american dish. I think I have become more health concious and picky haha.
But, God is healing people here. We are an extension of his hands and feet on the planet. Hindu's here are hungry to see and feel God's healing touch and to know a God of love, something they have no experience of. Temples are everywhere but they are pretty empty. When we have prayed over people we have seen miracles... It is incredible! I found myself crying during one ministry site when little children at a slum outreach got filled with the holy spirit and all they could do was shout Hallellujah! I have seen Hindu women cry as they have said they felt God touch thier body and now they feel different and better. This, people, is Jesus.
Jesus is a healer. It is so unfortunate because people in the US are so skeptical of the power and love and healing of god. However here, people are so open, and because of thier openness and willingness to know God, they actually see tangibly the touch of God and they can experience it the way it was intended. Most of the people I have encountered have never known the name of Jesus, especially the children. They are my favorite.

Well, this is all I can write right now. I have to go put on my sari (indian garb) and get ready to go to a youth service. I am incharge of games.
I definitely have a lot more stories, even some life threatening situations, and some experiences that YOU have never experienced.... But I'll keep you in suspense and anticipation until next time!

keep praying for me and my team. Our health has been good but we definitely need the protection and favor of God. Christians are not liked very much here, and we have already encountered this opposition. We are safe and alive and hope you are have a great summer! More stories to come!

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