Friday, May 31

Wedding wares with Sasuma and Nanand

I've decided that i love being busy. i've even developed a friendly relationship with exhaustion. When you're busy and exhausted, your breaks mean more. food tastes better. you sleep sound and sweet.
From the middle of May, I've been here, there and everywhere almost every single day. My mornings have been kids camp at CHEP. My afternoons were in Burari for some time. My evenings are filled with programs. On the 25th, a team of volunteers came from the States and among them are my future Mother-in-law (Sasuma)  and sister-in-law (Nanand)! We've had fun being together, climbing on (and off!) of camels, seeing the Taj Mahal and most importantly, (becca,) shopping.
While they've been here, i've finished most of my wedding purchases! They have enough space in their suitcases to take all my stuff back to the states for me, which is such a wonderful blessing. Things are shaping up for decor, and it's a great feeling to get details behind me with wedding planning.
I've been realizing how wonderful it is to get these types of experiences even in the wedding planning process. Like, every part of it is an adventure. I was looking for some moroccan lighting options, and i found out that there are some shops in Chandni Chowk, which is the oldest part of Delhi - the location of the first flag raised in independence in 1947 and also of countless enormous temples. I don't know the area, and furthermore it's fairly dangerous, so Praise and i needed some Delhi-bred backup. With that in mind, we took four of our CHEP guys and descended into the bowels of old Delhi, and not only are there unbelievable crowds there, there are baby monkeys climbing and tripping on the tangled mess of power lines overhead. Delhi is like that - a strange collision of the urban sector with a jungle that hasn't been allowed to evolve, but rather seems to have had an unbelievable amount of technology and infrastructure dropped in where it doesn't belong. Honestly, I don't know how 17 million people are expected to keep up.
Walking beneath the monkeys and into an uncountable number of lantern shops, I suddenly stopped and realized... I'm not buying my wedding decor on Amazon. I am scouring the markets of India for authentic, exotic, beautiful and cheap wares which can be reused after the big day. Yes, like bridesmaid's dresses.
 Not only that, I went back to Nehru place and the imported fabric market, but this time alone. I knew the ins and outs of the business from the wedding dress fiasco, and i worked the system to get 50 meters, which is 22 pounds, of gorgeous white fabric DIRT cheap. I carried it back across Delhi all alone, extremely proud of my independence and my Hindi, which has really been pretty good lately.

Everyday busyness keeps me going in Delhi, but I've enjoyed the busyness brought by the team as well - The kids' camps and medical camps they are facilitating are tiring but wonderful opportunities to serve, and I love serving alongside them.

I started this blog post as i "supervised" the English camp as taught by the team, and ended it after moving, packing, or consolidating everything i now own with one hours' notice and welcoming a family friend to move into our home!  Life here is full. Full in every way.

Love from Delhi!
Julie, Exhausted :)

Wednesday, May 15

Summer has Come

So many good and wonderful and funny things happen to me, but somehow i'm always at a loss for words. I want to take some time to catch you up on my goings on, so forgive me if it's disjointed.

May 9 - To ease you into my last month, I should let you know that recently I have engaged in several cathartic mosquito wars. Some days when I have had it with the bites on my legs and the way I can’t sleep because of their dive-bombing into my ears, I march into the bathroom where they swarm over the water I store in my buckets, shut the door behind me, and just begin the massacre. I know they must dread the coming day when my wrath is unleashed, when the escape is blocked and I take up my weapons of choice – just between you and me, I am pretty dang good with the back of a hairbrush.
But all of the mosquito frustrations and dengue scares pale in comparison to what happened this morning. I had just gotten out of the bucket bath and I had my clothes off to the side. When I went to grab my leggings, I froze.
climbing the wall by my sink was a giant cockroach.
Now, I feel a little spoiled that this is my first cockroach, having lived in Delhi eight months already and two months previously. I feel like I should be a seasoned roach warrior by now.  But it is my first, and therefore I am not seasoned. I shivered, and I gaped, and I made a noise that can be categorized probably with either the screams or the babbling insane murmurs.
 I quickly got dressed and hopped on one foot out to Leah to inform her of the code: red, and she asked for a fly swatter so I skidded in to Praisey’s room and asked for one. Praisey laughed, unconcerned, and picked up a kitchen utensil that she used to make mr. Roach what she called “half-dead” and send him back into the drain where he came from.  I thanked her, kicked her out, clamped the drain cover down as hard as possible and dumped an entire 12 liter bucket of water down after the wretched thing as I whimpered, never ceasing to imagine it wrestling the cover off of the hole and crawling back out having doubled in size.  I have a 24 liter bucket I could have used, but I didn’t want to overreact or anything.
I don’t think you’ll hear me complaining about the mosquitoes anymore. 

May 10 - Our dear Linda came in a flash of freshness and went in a flash of glory. While here she did not stop serving, giving, or loving the people God put on her heart. Her service never turns off - she is constantly processing and trying to think of ways to improve the areas that have been placed under her care. Ever since she left we have felt her absence sharply, but we constantly see the lingering effects of her efforts. We are all certainly more time conscious because of her two months of consistent encouragement, and we are all a little closer to performing at a level of excellence instead of expecting mediocrity to get us by.
We are thankful for Linda - every person here became quite attached to her in different ways. Her farewell at her last Saturday evening focal point was a wonderful hit, a laughter-filled party celebrating her strengths and her quirks. She's one of us - she's a part of our team; she made us better, and she looks great in a sari. What more could we ask for in a teammate?

May 11 - In the way of CBC news, we have some wonderful things to share!!
Last Sunday I was voted in as an official member. I've never been an individual member of a chrch before because of my constant moving and changing, so this was actually a pretty big deal for me. To have found the kind of fellowship that helps me to understand God's plan for His people is so beautiful to me. The four reasons I decided to join the chrch were: for fellowship & accountability from the members, availability to the members, and a commitment to a personal investment in the health of the body. CBC has taught me so much about being there for the people in your Family, and I want to share one example. Recently I've asked for prayer continuously concerning Andrew's job situation. He has been searching for months with nothing to show for it. Yesterday I was able to share the news that he finally got not one, but two of the jobs he's been applying so diligently for! I shared it in the morning at a staff meeting and in the evening in our small group, and in both situations people were so invested in and pleased by the news that they broke into delighted applause! It amazed me to see that kind of support. I'm thankful to be called one of their number.
But my new membership is not the most exciting thing to happen in our midst recently! Just this last Sunday, we had a b*tism service immediately following the message in which our 78-year-old pstor dunked ten new believers in a glorious kiddie pool at the front of our resource center.
Can you believe it -- ten new children of God, two of them from our Nandlal CHEP program, together proclaiming the Son's death until He comes. It was an event for His glory and just another reason I feel privileged to be among this congregation.

May 14 - While i've been here, i've mostly been helping hither and thither, flitting around and substituting for whatever English teacher can't make it, photographing, designing logos and brochures, singing, (baking, watching children).... And that has kept me somewhat busy. I haven't been able to to much work in the slums, and I can see why. Things are established there, and as my Hindi is so limited I'm often more of a distraction than a help. But for the summer, I have the opportunity to go to the slum and work on English with some of the sweetest low income children you've ever met.
I feel very strongly about working with youth. Arming them with the Truth - giving them the choice - is the only hope for the future of their families. I firmly believe that whole areas could be turned upside down; whole slums raised out of poverty and elevated out of abusive and addictive lifestyles through the influence of just a few dedicated and brave children with hearts to give the gift of Hope back to their communities, willing to demonstrate the Most Excellent Way through a relentless lifestyle and courageous love.
I am so happy that I get to go be with them and teach them some English! For a whole month I'll get to know them and be in their lives and talk to them about True Love, which is the theme of the summer program this year.
My pastor Larry Murray gave me a very encouraging talking-to at the beginning of the fundraising portion of this adventure. He told me how our home Family had been praying for youth to be raised up from among us to reach the new generation in China and India, and how I was the first answer to that prayer. I feel like I can begin to fulfill that role as i serve in a capacity that excites me and truly helps others.
It's not going to be a piece of peach cake: today while i was in transit, i was sweating so profusely i couldn't remember the last time i was so soaked in public - well, until i remembered Delhi 2010. Somehow, though, it made me excited to feel the same feeling, to remember that whirlwind summer and all the sweat i lost and all the people i came to love.

here's hoping this summer will replicate some of the productivity and fulfillment 2010 held, but that it's different in enough beautiful ways to teach me lessons i have not yet learned.

Sing like never before, oh my soul.
Worship His Holy Name.

Love from Delhi,
Sweatsoaked Julie :)