Sunday, October 9, 2011

India day 5, Sunday

Okay, so we had a few days that were very emotional and it took me a lot off thought to find how to share them with you properly. I am thrilled to know that people are actually reading this. It's impossible to fully understand without actually seeing it, but I hope you get the best picture possible. I also hope that it moves you.

Today our group split up and went into 2 villages for church service. My group included Bro Jerry, Leeanne, Bryan W, Rosie, and myself. The small church building was pretty full.
It's amazing to me how closing my eyes, and clapping my hands in worship to a song I can't even understand the words to can be so powerful. You get so into it that you lose track of the language barrier and do your best to sing along and fall into your own little world. After we sang I stood up on shaky legs, having no idea what God was going to lead me to say and gave my testimony. I talked about my rebelling, and drinking, and getting pregnant being unmarried. That people judged me and friends stopped talking to me and then father leaving me. It took time but After asking for salvation God took away my pain, and shame, and I don't carry those past hurts around with me. He sent me a man who loved me and my child and my life is completely different from what it used to be.
Jerry's sermon was absolutely fantastic! You could def hear that he was being spirit led! After the sermon we got to go out and pray individually for each person in the congregation.
Then we met back at the team house. We rested, had lunch, ate, and spent some time together for a few hours and then went to dedicate the first water well. It was so great seeing how happy the people were. We take so much for granted here. Every one of us ought to be praising the Lord everyday for being fortunate enough to have clean, running water. They were so thankful to God and the church for the donation. I wish everyone who donated to our trip could have seen the joy in their eyes and what an impact it made. After we got back to the house we ate and went to the hotel To rest. Tomorrow will be an emotional day

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Monday, October 3, 2011

Day 4 India, Saturday

Last night at supper Suresh asked us to help out with an unscheduled project. It the project would be going into a field where Harvest India has planted 2,000 Teak trees and removing all the new branches that are starting to grow so that they don't take strength away from the tree. The whole team was very excited to get to do some work and we all said absolutely! Suresh said we were the first team to get to do this and he was impressed at how not 1 of our team members even asked about cobras or spiders or anything like that. This tree farm is the first of many in an effort to make harvest India self sustainable. It will take 15 years till harvest but when that time comes they will earn $50,00+ profit. So this morning we got up at 7 and headed to the field and started ripping off branches. To get some of ten off you have to bend the tree down and hold it with 1 had and twist and pull with the other, well on my second tree I bent it down, started to twist and a HUGE ant fell down my shirt, and in my bra. So here I am shaking my shirt like a crazy person trying to get the dang thing out and *snap* it Bites me!! And it hurt! No big deal just kinda one of those "SERIOUSLY" type moments :) it was so nice to be out there doing that type of work. While we were working a neighbor woman made chai and sent it over for us. What a wonderful blessing, it was so good and felt like God sent is a special blessing for being obedient. I was happy to find that he also cleared the way of cobras lol :) hen we finished we went back to the hotel to shower, then to the mission house for breakfast, then over to day 2, our last day, of VBS. We sang more songs an acted out Jonah and the whale and the good sumatitan. It was hilarious and the kids loved it! And we had a blast as we sweat off 10 pounds dancing to some of their songs with them. It was such an awesome day again. Bryan T, Brian W, Deborah, and I did games again and man do those kids go crazy for Simon says. Before we went to serve lunch Suresh introduced us individually and presented us with a scarf, and a plaque to remember our trip. When I walked back to my seat I looked out at all those kids, 1,050 kids, and I lost it. The tears just started coming harder and harder. In just 2 short days these kids have stolen my heart and I was not ready for us to be done yet. I could do that everyday of my life. It's wild to think that I am here in India with chaotic driving, prostitution running rampant, cockroaches everywhere, cold showers and in most places pretty much having to pee in a hole on the ground(even inside) but I am so joyful. This is not the person I used to be. God has changed my heart so much in the last year and I can see it now. I love it here. All these things I could complain about and yet I find less to co
Plain about here than in the states! An the things we do just feel normal. Isn't that crazy?!? And just incredible.
We got to serve them lunch again today, and I so love the opportunity to serve them. The children are delecs, the lowest of the low, called the untouchables. In this town if they are not taken in (or ministered to) by harvest India many of these girls will end up as prostitutes. Their lives will consist of being forced to have sex with at least! 10 men a day and usually closer to 20. They will be abused, and beaten. To show these kids love and hug them, and tell them they are important, that they matter, fills me up with joy. Harvest India gives these kids hope for a better life but not just hope... They offer a way.
After we served we had our lunch and then the VBS rally! We all put on crowns with a bible verse on them and marched the streets of this Hindu tow with 1,050 children. Suresh led the way on a truck singing songs, and preaching the gospel!! This is unheard of here. While we were stopped and he was preaching a Hindu home opened their doors, and gave the children water. And 1 Muslim man went up to Suresh and gave him 100 Rupees and then gave his life to Christ. I really feel like with more support WE could make a difference in this community. The girls walking next to us were giving each other and arguing over who got to walk next to is and hold our hand.
Once back we waved as they all left the building. As we drove off they swarmed te car and waved and yelled. They said "miss you"
They will forever hold a special place in my heart.
*I wanna take A minute and say that the building we worshipped in was rented. It was a Hindu temple. When setting up for VBS the Harvest India team hung drapes over the paintings of the Hindu Gods and we were able to use a building built for false worship to teach hundreds of children that God loves them! Also there were only expected to be 300 kids at VBS but on day 1 there were 800! On day 2 it grew to 900 an by day 3 God blessed us with 1,050 children. The children are roughy by taxi-bus that is paid for by Harvest India. Some of the kids travel as much as 2 hours. They are also served breakfast and lunch as well as any materials they would need. As you can imagine there is a huge cost difference between 300 and 1050 kids... The difference works out to be $7,000. Harvest India relys on faith in God provisions and will not turn anyone away. with so many children they could use some extra donations and supplementing. If anyone would like to donate you can visit the website
Please just go and look at the site for more information on what they do.*
After being outside all day I think we may have sweat off 5 lbs, so we came home to freshen up then went to dinner. We were so excited that our saree's were brought from Tenali and were at the house waiting for us!! AND Christina gave all of the girls house dresses(SO comfy!) wonderful people and a wonderful organization.

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Sunday, October 2, 2011

Day 3 India, Friday

(Thursday continued)
We had a great dinner with Suresh, his wife Christina and his daughter Nancy last night. We ate in a home that will eventually be a team house once it renovated. The story behind the house is pretty good too. When HI was looking to buy a home they came to this one. This home was actually being used for a brothel, and the women owning it sold it and left in such a hurry that he even left all the furniture. It has many rooms and in this town some if the brothels will post pictures of Jesus around because they want to give the impression that they are good people. Some of the doors are made of a frame with dangly wooden crosses all over it( see pic below) God pressed Suresh to buy at just the time and this house is perfect for what needs to be done. Because of the renovations that need to be done we will be staying a a motel in town. Peddipuram has the highest rate for prostitution around. It is crowded and full of Hindu temples. It truly is a dark place. No one looks happy, and they stare at you coldly and like they are empty inside. The hotel we are staying in is right in the middle of town. Today while We were driving we had a heard of water buffalo come right down the street past us as well as some pigs! Tomorrow we will go teach day 2 and 3 of VBS to kids from the town. Today they did day 1and were expecting 300 to show up...well God has blessed us and there were 800!! They are expecting more tomorrow. I am SO excited to get to work with the kids.


Well last night I did not get much sleep. I thought I would not need a blanket so I left mine at the house in Tenali, but I ended up waking up about a dozen times because it was so cold in here. The fan and the ac make it pretty chilly. But, I made what had work the best I could. I used my mosquito net to wrap around my feet and legs and then used my macabee skirts as 2 blankets, 1 for the top 1/2 ad 1 for the bottom 1/2 :) I felt pretty happy with myself for being crafty! Lol VBS was amazing!! Today there were almost 900 kids and they project tomorrow will be 1,000!!!! They greeted us here the same as the orphanage. 2 lines boys on 1 side girls on the other about 600 kids, 300 on each side throwing flowers up, smiling, and reaching out for you hand. I was smiling so hard that my cheeks felt like they might just rip apart. How blessed am I that these children would be so happy to greet me? What have I done? The answer is nothing. Nothing but look. Nothing but smile. All these kids want is attention. Something so small to us but so big for them. Something we throw away watching television... Our attention and our time. We sang with them, acted out some parable skits, and then divided into groups. I did games with Jerry, Brian T, and Ryan. The girls all crowded around me and wanted to shake my hand and say hi. I had one little girl reach over from the side and just touch my skin and I heard her giggle. Hundreds of girls. There are lots of boys here to. We played Simon says and duck duck goose and it was so much fun. They are so sweet and beautiful. Before we broke for lunch their instructor had all the girl line up and walk through shaking my hand and telling me their names. The after that they all yelled " what's your name?!" I told them my name and he had them chant it to cheer for me. That was a humbling experience. I was so red and smiling again.Then about 10 of them grabbed my arms and wisked me off to the building. They kept running up and pinching my cheeks, then kissing their hand. That is them kissing, and the teacher said They like my smile. I had so much fun it was hard not to smile! Next we served the kids lunch. They came through the line and we put curry and a side on their plates. One thing I LOVE about harvest India is that the people can eat as much as they want until the food runs out. They get certain size portions but as soon as they are finished they can have more If the want it.
After we served them their lunch we went back to the mission house to have ours. We had pomegranate seeds, a slice of angel food cake, a triangle tortilla with potatoes curry inside (fried) it was delicious, but a little hot!
After snack we went back to VBS. We acted out David and Goliath and did the chicken dance with them. We got another group of kids for games. This one was larger and mostly younger kids. Walking outside they crowded around me so much I literally could not move and had girls from every direction trying to grab my hands. I felt like I was in the center of a mosh pit. We played more Simon says and then we split up into an inner circle and an outer circle graves hands and the circles ran opposite ways. I had so much fun running and playing with them. I took a few pictures but it's hard to do much. If you take 1 child ALL the others want you to take theirs as well. This one little girl in particular is so beautiful. Her name is Akila. We ended at 4pm and had dinner at the home and then came back to the hotel early to rest. Tomorrow we will get up for day 2 of VBS!

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Saturday, October 1, 2011

Day 2 India, Thursday

This morning we woke up a tad later than we had hoped, but after not going to sleep until a little past 4 am an then being woken up at 5 am by the prayer call in the village, our 7 am alarm came really early. It's so strange how normal certain things seem here, like cold showers. It actually feels so good. Right outside our room is a large room with a large beautiful table where we all met to eat breakfast. We had hard boiled egg, a delicious fresh made tortilla type bread, and a dish with potatoes, onions, peppers, curry, and tumeric. It was SO yummy! With it we had fresh juice an it was by far the best juice I have ever had in my life. After breakfast we loaded on the bus to go see a few Harvey India buildings. Along the way we side side-swiped a crazy taxi. Seriously just can't get over the driving here lol. First stop was at the new public school. The school was opened within the last year or so and had quite a bit of opposition. The towns people did not want a school where delecs would attend. So many people behind harvest India went and at in the grounds and prayed and they were given the permission they needed! The kids learn english, and about Jesus and goes from grade 1-10. After this they can go to +1 and +2 and then the university. The children were not here because they are on holiday this week. Since most of the kids live in the orphanage and don't get a chance to leave during this holiday they are sent out to stay with pastors where they can receive love and more individual attention. Next on the schedule is 1 of the orphanages. Just wow. We get off the bus and are greeted once again with flowers. Infront of us the pathway to the door is lined on the right with boys and the left with girls a you walk by they throw flower petals up in the air. Let me just say some of these kids have some good aim! Lol as we walk by they yell "sista, sista!" and ask your name. I wish I had time to hug every single one of them. We go inside and 3 groups dance for us. It was great getting to let them put on a show for us and clap an cheer for them. It may not seem like much but just a small amount of attention and caring goes a very long way here. We also got the opportunity to have a few of them tell us about themselves. Of how they ended up at the home and what Harvey india has done for them. On the way out they again yell "sista, sista" and reach out to grab our hands. I was surprised how many of them remembered my name. Across re street was Suresh's home(Suresh is the president of Harvest India) where the tailor was waiting to get out measurements for saree's an punjabi's(sp) and had fabric laid out for us to pick from. These fabrics are AMAZING!! So beautiful it's hard to pick. I cannot wait to have my saree made. We were supposed to get on the train at 12:20 however we for slowed way down in the crazy traffic and didn't make it. We went to the rooms grabbed what we would need for the next 4 days. From the balcony outside our area we could see some small girls on the street they started waving at us so we waved and smiled back. They ran off and just a few decide later came back... With friends! :) so cute! We left for the train station, and did make it on a train even though we were late. This was a regular day train but still interesting. As soon as we sit we see a young boy wearing nothing but a pair of shorts on his handstand knees cleaning the filthy floor of the train. He tapped me on the leg and put his hand out for money. I started to cry as I turned away. It breaks my heart, but we were told on this trip not to give to beggars for safety reasons. Then at every stop people would crowd the isles an vendors would walk up and down the isles trying to sell everything from hot foods, to nuts and fruit and coffee or chai. After nearly 4 hours we make it to peddipuram. It is 5:19 pm. My back is super sore, as well as my knee and I don't think I have ankles anymore. Tomorrow we will start VBS. (pics: 4 am sucking melted Hershey chocolate from the wrapper I'm exhausted and starving, breakfast!, the beds at the orphanage, at the orphanage Suresh is showing me the land, beautiful feet, the girls dancing for us, and Bryan sleeping on the train :)

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Friday, September 30, 2011

Update on India 1

I haven't been able to post every night I am going to post by days. I have been keeping up in my journal so this will be a reflection of my journal entries. I hope you enjoy. Our first night in Chennai we were all so exhausted but as we got off the plane it was so surreal to know that we were actually ere. We each partner up so that all the unaccompanied females are walking next To an unaccompanied Male for safety. Then we head towards customs.get our passports and visa's checked. We get out bags an as we start towards the door we see a guard there with an AK-47 standing at the door. We exit and as soon as my foot hits the outside air I start sweating. It's only 3:30 am but it's hot and humid. As we walk towards the bus we are moved down a narrow walkway with crowds of people on either side of us. You can hear them talking and yelling for people. It's pretty intimidating. You also hear horns, and traffic noises. Wager to our bus, which is very small. All our bags are loaded on the roof and we are so close to each other your practically connected. With our backpacks on our laps. Our guides from Harvest India stood infront and directed. Driving here is WILD!!! Bikes, motorbikes, little taxi's( like the one above), cars, bicycle drawn carts, and busses zip around wildly. It seems that traffic lights are just a suggestion. Once we got to the hotel we were able to rest, but I slept on both trains and I was not tired at all. Deborah, Leeanne and I were in 1 room. We reorganized luggage, showered and got ready for breakfast. After breakfast Brian T, Leeanne, Deborah and I were escorted by Keeshore( our Harvest India guide) to the mall. We got to ride in the taxi's. WoW. What a ride they are!! Again zipping around and between everything we possibly can. It's a little terrifying at first!! Lol but I figured God dis not send me all this way to let me die by taxi accident :) the mall was good too. We went o a few stores before we found what we wanted. I found the most beautiful embellished orange material for a saree!! I'm so excited I can't wait to get the tailor! Before we left we stopped at the pizza hut. We got coke! As we left go back to the the hotel hotel, there is a woman stiiting crowss legged on the ground with her infant sleeping on a mat infront of her and she was asking for money. So sad. A few feet down we see an elderly woman who is nothing but skin and bones curled up and sleeping in the dusty dirt.
We got back in the taxi and headed to the hotel. Our room isn't too bad. It has an air conditioner which is nice. We eat lunch, and repack. We head to the train station to go to Tenali. The train is very interesting. It's a sleeper train, so there are compartments and each compartment has 6 beds. 3 on the left wall an 3 on the right. Across the walkway are 2 seats on the bottom, and a bunk on top. In 1 compartment was myself, Ryan, Brian T and 2 Indians, and across the hall were Brian and Tara and Deborah. The rest of the group was in the next compartment. Me, Deborah and Ryan were on top bunks. Looking up at it I thought it would be terrible but it actually wasnt so bad. We joked and talked for awhile and and took some pictures of an adorable indian baby who came by in her mothers arms then we all fell asleep for the journey. It was supposed to be 6 hours but we had to stop for 2. Originally we thought the train had broken down, but we found out the next morning that a person had fallen on the tracks and was hit by the train. We hardly even knew we'd stopped we were all sound asleep. Kind of an awful thought to think we were all sleeping while they were digging a body if from under our train. When we arrived in tenali we were woken up and rushed off the train. Getting up and down the ladder in such a small space in a skirt is no easy task but I made it without hurting myself or anyone else lol. We got off the train and were greeted by people from Harvest India who hung beautiful strings of flowers around our necks and helped us with our bags.the flowers were heavy, but smelled amazing and that definitely helped us wake up. We got in 1 more bus which brought us to the mission house. We have beautiful little rooms. We arrived at 1:30am and I finished writing my journal entry at 3:56am. *that was our firsts at here. I have much more but it is 9:05 pm and after typing that on my iPhone my fingers are a little numb. I will post again soon! (pictures are backwards train station, us on the train little girl on train and then Jerry and I in Tenali just after we got off the train and then a pic of our room at the mission house!)

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Well, we are 32 hours into our trip and finally got to a hotel to shower and change our cloths. We are in Chennai, India at a hotel taking a rest before eating breakfast, going shopping, and then boarding the train at 4:00pm to head to Tenali. So far it's been a great trip. I slept almost the entire way from Houston to London and then after a 5 he layover I was asleep before we even took off to Chennai. The smell of curry was everywhere! We are now at the point where we can't drink anything but bottled water, using it also to brush our teeth. I'm so excited to be here and I can't wait to experience everything God has in store for me. Even with all that excitement it's hard to be away from my family. This is the first time I have ever been away and for the most part unreachable for my boys. And being in a strange place without my husband, my protector is a little intimidating as well. Please join us praying for health and safety for all my team members: Leeanne, Debra, Jerry, Tara, Brian W, Brian T, Ryan, Rosie, ad Steve. Thanks! I'll keep you updated as we continue on our journey! (Here is a picture of our pretty visa stamp, them throwing our luggage on the top of the van, and us on the crammed van ride!)

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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Slow and steady

Okay, so there a million things I would like to write about right now, but I'm going to keep this post strictly about my training. I typically get my running in at night. I put the boys to bed and wait about 2 hours and then run laps around my cul-de-sac and up to the mailbox with a baby monitor. Tonight when it came time for from my run I was all pumped up and raring to go at 10:55 at night and have nothing to do with all that energy! lol... So I did not make it to 2 miles tonight(I'll explain in just a minute) however I did run 1.5 miles, then I said screw it to the scorpions, and large spiders that come out to roam at night and ran another .25 miles barefoot. This is a big deal for me. I am not a fan of creepy crawly's at all and 4 years ago when we moved to Louisiana I NEVER would have thought I'd do that. I have gotten used to them lately. So in the end I ran a total of 1.75 miles. I have seriously been concentrating on my form and have been walking barefoot as much as I can get away with so my feet faired much better than my last attempt. I stretched for about 30 minutes afterwards and I feel great! Now I am a little bummed to not have done 2 miles today but I was having some calf pain and Monday at the gym I was stretching and made it worse. It hurt quite, a bit even just to walk, and was super tight. So I have been using RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) every night and stretching really well. It helps a lot but after the run I'm still feeling it. I've actually got it laying on ice packs right now. As a new runner it's hard to tell what is my body saying I can go further and what is my ego telling me it wants to go further, so when I find myself at a crossroads i take the long view and the safe choice. Tonight I could have gone further but would rather save it, than push to much and then have to take 2-6 weeks off for recovery!! Between my runs at night, and my hour and a 1/2 at the gym 3X a week I feel great! I'm going slowly but I am on track to be where I need to be, which I am more than happy with.

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