Monday, February 4

two encouraging stories.

There are a few nice things that have happened to me lately.

  On Tuesday, I was riding home from Burari. A guy had been assigned to ride home with me for safety reasons, and on that day there was only one other person riding to Kingsway Camp in the tuk-tuk with us, where on a normal day there are eight people packed in. We had little to talk about. I wasn't even sure he spoke English. But i asked him how he knew Rajesh, the man who oversees the burari center. He began to tell me and then said, "Actually - it's like this. And it was he and my auntie who led me to God. Actually - my testimony - is awesome." (I loved the way he said AUW-sum just the way an Indian should.) I grinned, dipped my head and opened my hands - "then let me hear it!" I encouraged. He told me his story: he was a boy who three years ago had been illiterate in his mother tongue, so much so that he hesitated to even speak in Hindi out of apprehension and embarrassment. He failed out of school. He lived in an extremely poor situation. He got into a lot of trouble. His parents were ashamed of him. They told him he was nothing, and would never be anything. "I went to my auntie's house, and I was weeping on the way. Just - weeping." He motioned repeatedly with two fingers tracing from his eyes to his chin. "I was weeping, and she talked to me and told me about love." He spoke slowly and clearly, with broken grammar but a beautiful vocabulary. I loved the way he kept saying he was weeping. I decided I'm not going to cry anymore - only weep.
When he came to Faith, he was changed. He found people like his auntie, a teacher, who did not give up on him. He studied hard, and is now ready to test out of the 12th grade and go to college. He learned English. When i asked him what he wants to do, I expected him to say he wants to be a government worker because about 85% of the people i ask want to get a government job. He laughed and said, "No, I don't want. My parents are forcing me that way. But I think for me, actually - I want to be an English teacher."
Teachers changed his life. And he wants to change the lives of others. His beautiful story of life change, and his humility - recognizing the Lord's hand upon his life and opportunities; never taking credit for any part of his success or selflessness - sang hope to my heart. I wish we all were that way, so excited to share our stories with others. So excited to inspire change and growth in the lives of others with our best efforts.
I was very proud of that boy.

  Last night, I was out shopping for light bulbs, rice, bread, ice cream, and chai leaves. I had to get each thing in a separate store. The light bulbs were not available, so i moved on to the rice. I picked up my huge bag and squeezed in line. As the cashier was checking me out he looked up and began talking to me commandingly. Like a good Delhiite, I was ready to argue. Just give me my rice! But he repeated himself, ordering me to get another bag, because there was a deal on that brand - buy one get one free. I had no idea. He could have saved himself some money just by letting me walk out with the amount of rice I actually wanted. I laughed to myself at the customer service - an act of kindness with a snarky attitude. I walked to the next store get my ice cream, after which it became evident that i couldn't complete my shopping while carrying all twenty-four pounds of rice.  So i commandeered a rickshaw to take me the rest of the way. I sighed as i sat down with the rice in between my feet, realizing that in my hurry i hadn't bothered to settle a price with the man before asking him to take me home. I began to worry - rickshaw-wallas are known to try and cheat anyone who looks like they weren't born and raised in Delhi. He took me the long way to the next shop because he said it was easier for him, and waited while I bought the chai. My home wasn't far. I had ten rupees out to give him, but then i just thought i'd add the change from the last shop to be safe. It was more that enough, but i knew he might ask me more anyway. he pulled up at my house and i hopped down and grabbed the bags of rice, handing him the 14 rupees. As I stepped away he called after me. I looked briefly over my shoulder, ready to wag my head and refuse him anything else - i've fought with rickshaw-wallas while walking up my steps before. But when i glanced back, his arms were extended. He was offering to carry the rice up to my house for me.
I was humbled.

There are times that I'm reminded that people are just people. That there's goodness everywhere among the depravity. It brings me close to tears when i realize that bitterness has nearly led me to forfeit the country my heart has so longed to love at close range. I should sit and watch the people milling in the market more often, thinking of each of their individual lives and problems. I should buy more juicy candied sugar cane and chole bhature. I should go to the slum and see the hearts of the people. I should remember the fabulous pieces of this culture, and never forget the humanity of the beautiful souls.

                Oh, an order of business.
For those of you who are supporting me, I hope you know by now how much your love and contributions mean to me. Because of the economy in America, I've lost a few of my monthly supporters. The continual monthly gifts and accumulation of savings from the fundraising period will keep me here for some time, but not as long as originally planned.
When i decided to leave for India, i decided to come on faith. I decided that however much money I had would be enough. I trusted that my Father would keep me in India as long as He wanted me here. I had hoped originally to stay two years. It looks now like it will be one. The plan for now is to stay until this September. I'll be sad to go. But i'm not sad my plans are changed. I'm told they often will be.
I trust that this is the right timing for my effectiveness here and my duties at home.

And I suspect I'll never be far from India...
I'm all but convinced I'll be back.

Now, to make the most of these seven months!

Love from Delhi,
Julie - encouraged.

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