I see now why people have warned me against going to India. It's a fascinating place, but the poverty is immense. Usually, even in the South African townships or the Haitian villages, there's one place where you can buy bottled water or eat packaged food. Not here. Every bottle of water has been used and resealed with a cheap glue. They get the bottles out of the trash in the bigger cities and then reuse them in the out-of-the-way places. You can't get packaged food either.
Everything just sits in some little store front until someone eventually buys it.
For all that, though, i'm feeling good and have eaten well. The Christians here are very hospitable and want to ensure i have a first rate experience. But for them i would probably be hugging a toilet bowl most of the day.
Thangklal is a good man. He's the pastor here in Guhawarti. He stated the church about three years ago and they now have about a hundred people. He and his family live meagerly. They have three rooms in their house, with cement roof + floors + walls, and its FULL of giant bugs. Last night i gave his children some gifts from the States, and as i pulled them out of my bag a giant roach came flying with them. The roach landed on the daughter, who them began to play with it while her parents ooeh. Later, some geckos ate the roach and we sat and watched.
Pastor's wife made us Chai Tea on her stove. I felt very sad watching her do that. It was a coleman stove, with only 2 pots hanging above it. There were not enough cups for here to have some tea, so only pastor and I and his brother drank. I was given the large cup as a gesture of respect.
Last night i spoke at a bible study for their church. It was about 20 college students and 10 PhD professors. Everyone was involved in mechanical/chemical/civil/biochemical engineering. It felt so strange to remind myself to speak slowly and simply (because of the language barrier) to a room full of such brilliant people.
Today i'm going to teach a half day seminar on church growth and discipleship. The indian people are so polite its hard to tell if they really benefit from my teaching or if they are just concerned about my feelings. I'll never know.
No cell service or wireless internet here. I'm cut off from the world. No coffee either. I've been drinking black tea to avoid the caffeine headaches.
Pastor Lal has been paying for everything out of his pocket, to show me honor. That is also very humbling. He deserves the honors. He is the one overcoming poverty, persecution, and a massive religious-culture war. I pray God richly bless him and his family. I will go home meekly because of his patronage.
God is good. I feel Him strongly with the Indian Christians. I want my kids to experience this stuff sooner rather than later. Christianity simply must be de-westernized in order for the promise of the kingdom to make sense.
Love Jesus more...that is what i think and feel today