Saturday, July 20


I slept in a little this morning because on Saturdays we don't have meetings with the staff.  It was raining, so i made hot chocolate with my breakfast. I chatted with Heather, who had dropped by with Joy, and then I decided to start my day. I walked through the muddy streets and got very close to being sprayed by cars speeding through the residential area more than once. I decided to get my waxing done on my errands. This is sort of a personal detail, but I throw it in for the purpose of letting you know that to get my legs, arms AND underarms done is under $3 here. Lasts for three weeks. I've done the math - it literally costs less to get waxed here than to shave. When everything was finished I grabbed a mango shake for 40 cents and settled into the PMI basement to finish my preparations for the optional English class that I lead at the end of each week. I had found a really cool online service that makes art out of words, and had decided to integrate it into a short lesson on synonyms, adjectives, and the power of words. I made the necessary printouts and plans, but as I was finishing up, I heard a yell. Prabin was repeating something in Hindi about "Water Coming!" I looked over and the steps that come down from the bathroom did indeed have Water Coming out of them. We were being flooded by a staircase fountain. Our basement is situated a good deal below the surface of the road, and the entire area where we are located used to be (or, as seems more probable today, still IS) a river. They have kept the water at bay for building purposes, but in the rain the riverbed (A.K.A. the ground beneath our feet) saturates and FLOWS. We dealt with the flow in the basement and waited to see if the rain would stop. My shoe had broken in the struggle against the river, and I was kind of looking a mess, so when things settled I excused myself for a break.

I came away from all the fuss and sloshed my way home through the badly backed up streets to take a shower and change my shoes, and found the power out in our home - I'm just sure you won't know what luxury is until you've taken a cold bucket bath by candlelight. I'm not complaining though; it wasn't much of a problem because the rain had cooled the world to a comfortable, breezy 75 degrees, and the shower was actually really refreshing.

I went back and everyone was joking that i may have to teach them all to swim before this monsoon is over! We canceled our programs for the evening, and no one showed up for English class, so my day is turning out to be very slow-paced. I think i'm okay with that.
I've had enough on my plate just recently; my last two days have been fairly exciting...

"I want to know why people believe in Christianity.
I wonder about Jesus - I heard someone say He rose from the dead.
I know that I can't be good enough.
I feel like there must be a God."

This girl from Mongolia who looks like the spitting image of a real-life Mulan sat across from me on a couch, and she said all of those things to me.
She had asked on Wednesday if I had time to sit with her and talk about God. Of course I told her I had time and that she should come the next day and we could discuss it.
I asked her about her home in Mongolia and what religion her family and friends generally follow. I got to know more about her priorities and her customs and that was really precious to me. At the end of the first day she asked if we could meet every day an hour before English class for the rest of the month. We've spent two days so far going through the story of the problem and the promise.

As we talk, I can see that she struggles with the supernatural aspects of faith. She wants a god she can see. She told me she loves the idea of a God that could really forgive people even when they keep hurting him - that it's wonderful how God loved Adam and Eve enough to cover their naked shame and promise them a way back to Him. She has no problem with a creation story or a consequence for wrongdoing, but a Jesus kind-of makes her tilt her head and take a breath. Her background is buddhist, so this doesn't much surprise me. 

I've spent a lot of time and energy thinking and praying about our exchanges. I don't often get such blatant opportunities to share, and in depth, and one on one, and with someone who is actively interested. This girl is seeking truth hard, and I am asking God for her soul. 
I'll ask that you do the same. 
I find this whole situation to be making a deep impression on my heart and consciousness. Somehow I'm burdened - I am moved for her, and I feel like she's an important part of my Indian story.  I hope you'll pray with me and for me as we continue to talk into the end of this month. 
And pray for continued refreshment from rain for me and safety from rain for my friends!

Love from Delhi,
Julie, swimming in blessings and standing in rain.

Thursday, July 4

Ceaseless Giving. Global Bonds.

People take advantage of other people.

they work the system, they get their money's worth, they live on somebody else's dime. 
I'm just thankful that in a world filled with people out for themselves, Christ was not like that. 
Isn't it amazing that he was human, and while humans are people who take anything we can from other people in order that we can have a better life, He was a human who made sure the best life was assured for us by giving everything He could to us. from take to give; from striving for better to resting in best. He really does fit our needs like a jigsaw puzzle, doesn't he? He really does fill our voids. Astounded today by the beauty of his unending giving. How does he keep on doing it?

Tonight was our international night in PMI, and not only was the diversity incredibly beautiful, it was so much fun. We had friends from Bangladesh, Kenya, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Madagascar, China, Turkmenistan, Belize, Laos, Nepal, the Philippines, and of course, India and America. We played games from other countries and sang everyone's national anthem and ate each others' food. i did a little jig and a dueling banjo performance - my banjo was carefully crafted from paper plates and toilet paper tubes, so you know that was a priceless two minutes of everyone's life. I placed second in the limbo competition, and what the very tall Ethiopian first prize winner lacked in back flexibility he made up for in BONELESS LEGS. We all were amazed; we laughed and laughed with delight. We danced around moving bamboo sticks and laughed even more when every one of us got tangled up in them, tripping over the traditional moves from the Philippines. Life is beautiful; the world is beautiful; the people of the world are beautiful. Salad from Laos is spicy. Cakes from China are chalky. Corn nuts from the Philippines are crunchy. And we all ate them together.


Ceaseless giving.
Global bonds.

Happy Independence Day! I started this blog last night, feeling like i was writing two different paragraphs in two different directions with no transition piece, but also sensing that these two ideas would be something i would wish i'd written down. I labored through the two concepts separately today, ruminating on the contrast of God with the world by way of Christ and the contrast of the world with itself by way of countries.  
The contrast of the world with itself is sensational; exquisite. His contrast with us is both meritorious and necessary.
(Even photographically speaking,  contrast, which is just basic difference, is vital; did you know that? Without contrast you have flat colors and depthless perspective.)
Since it's Thursday, we had song practice for the Sunday service. We have a mission Sunday this week, so we were working with especially globally-focused material.
i was particularly moved by this song. 
Somehow, this one's better heard than read, but here are the lyrics:

Love unfailing, overtaking my heart
You take me in
Finding peace again
Fear is lost in all You are
And I would give the world to tell Your story
'Cause I know that You've called me
I know that You've called me
I've lost myself for good within Your promise
and I won't hide it;
I won't hide it
Jesus, I believe in You
And I would go 
to the ends of the earth
To the ends of the earth 

For You alone are the Son of God
And all the world will see
That You are God
You are God.

I didn't even realize until i was singing it on my walk home that it coupled the two themes i'd been working with separately all day! 

we don't hide His Promise to ceaselessly cover our sins. we can't keep it in our heads, in our homes, or in our countries. we have to go, and we have to talk about it.
Truth takes the fear out of difference. Truth gives us the opportunity understand people, to go to them where they are.
we learn to love each other in our differences because of how He Loved us.
He Loves endlessly, and He Loves the whole world, and that's why i love it, too.
  Ceaseless Giving.                   Global Bonds. 

He covers our shame and joins our hands. 
how deep is my desire to be just like that.
Love from Delhi,
Julie, giving more ceaselessly; bonding more globally.