Friday, October 30, 2009

I was laying in bed one morning when Dad told me to try and turn on my computer. When my computer had broken for the first time, Dad kept telling me that He is in control of my computer so I would try to turn it on every day or so. the second time it broke however, I did not try very often. So when I woke up and Dad told me to turn it on, I realised my mistake! I hadn't been trusting! Well as soon as I pushed the on button it came on :). This was one week ago, one week before my big (humongous) cultural paper was due for class. All in Dad's timing:D!!

The teachers at the school took me out on Tuesday. I hadn't seen them in two weeks because of testing, and they missed me very much! I am teaching at the end of the day now, so the teachers were able to leave with me as we finished classes. Our first stop was to eat some very questionable street food. It was a small bread thing with spicy water inside. I am definitely NOT supposed to drink the water! I ate three of them though, before I convinced them it was too spicy to go on (not a lie!). It was great fun though, it felt dangerous, and therefore I enjoyed it very much :D Then we went over to one to the teachers houses and they taught me how to make Lucies. Then they gave me some spicy coconut! That was very interesting!!

It is weird being so close to leaving. Part of me is becoming so comfortable with the people around me, knowing that I am finally starting to understand things, finally knowing how to interact, finally having enough language to be good friends, and finally having strong relationships with people. The other part of me is very excited about the things going on back home, ready to see what life after graduation will be like, ready to try and apply the things I have learned in an American setting, and ready to blend in with everyone else. Sometimes I feel like I have done so much and had so many cool opportunities, and sometimes I feel like I need another 6 months to finish what I have started. But I can't get lost in all this analysis! I need to focus on the people in front of me that I am only with for a week and a half more!

I'm headed out to my first home-stay family tomorrow to say my last goodbye. This will be a tough one, I'm saying goodbye to Rema and Sosmita, my first friends here on the other side of the world. Rema was my personal protector and guide to the village, and Sosmita was the first person to be sarcastic and mean to me (in a good way). Those that know me will know that she was speaking my language :D So now I am going to say goodbye to them, and it will be very hard.

Next week I will be traveling upstate to visit some more friends that I met once and fell in love with. One little girl in particular is the whole reason I am going the distance! I am excited to talk and laugh with her one more time, and tell her the importance of accepting the son. She is a cousin, and about 14, yarp that He gives and controls the conversations so that the time can be blessed.

Well that is all for now, keep me in your yarpers as I prepare to leave! Thanks!

Thursday, October 15, 2009


So a lot has been happening lately! With only a month left, things are getting pretty busy here. I just got back from visiting one of my home stay families for the last time, and it was a wonderful trip :) Home stays are much more fun when I know some language! We went on a weekend vacation last week to a mountain town nearby and had some cold weather, which is very much appreciated in this constant heat. This weekend I get to go ride some elephants with a national friend, so I'm excited to ride my favorite animal ever, but also to have some good time with my national friend that I haven't gotten to speak to much lately.
To give an update on Loni, she is still reading the Word we've given her and listening to the stories on a CD, and she is very interested. Yarp that Dad can use me a ton in this last month that I'm here, but I also see how he is raising up others to continue with her while I am gone.
My school is having exams for a couple of weeks, so I have to take another two weeks off from the stories I am telling them, but if I work right up till I leave I should be able to finish up the story set I wanted to share with them! I can see the Word working in some of those faces, and it is such a joy to hear them surprised and intrigued by the stories, and to really get involved with the people they portray. There is also a teacher who has become my friend, and I've gotten to go to her house and talk with her, so it is good to be building the relationships outside of the school.
We've had a lot of visitors lately and the house hasn't been very quiet or relaxing for a couple of weeks now. It has been good to help me with language, but I can feel it taking a toll on me for not having any alone time. Yarp that I can find ways to be more creative about getting alone time in with Dad that isn't hurried and is more private.
With all the stories and opportunities going on around me, I can feel the effects of being more active than the enemy desires. I am having a hard time seeing how to get through these last weeks and fell as if a very heavey burden is on me. Yarp that I can see through all of this clearly, and fully do Dad's work in these last few weeks.
I am also sad to say that my computer has broken again and is going on the shelf. I have a lot of papers and email responsibilities especially as my time is getting busier and drawing to a close. My roommates are being very gracious to me to let me use theirs, but it is hard to work my busy schedule into theirs so that I can have sufficient computer time.
Thank you for all your yarps, I know that they will be very helpful, and Dad will use them to do his work here in the next month and beyond.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Happy Night

I went to my new friend's house tonight, and it was a very good night! I've been telling her a lot of stories, I spend most every day with her in her parlor (salon). She has been to my house a couple times, but tonight was my first time to go to her house. I was very nervous because her husband would be there, and I still don't understand how to work those South Asian relationships with friend's husbands. When I arrived though, he looked very nice and followed all the rules of the society. But the best apart - My friend Loni had told him the stories I've been telling her! So I asked him if he could tell me a story, and he was very excited to tell the story of G-zus' temptation to me, and to talk about studying the Word I had given Loni. As he told the story, any time he messed up Loni would jump in and help, all I had to do was sit back and ask questions! It was so awesome to see Dad at work in this cousin family! He said he has been telling his friends! This is much more than I expected, but I am so thankful! It is so awesome when Dad shows that He is indeed in this place, that His work IS being done, despite our deficiencies.
Then the Husband stepped out and I had a word study with Loni which I was yarping for, because I'd much rather her teach him the stories. We learned a new story, acted it out, and then she told it back to me several times. She is so eager to learn, and she is always smiling. I thank Dad for such a friend!
Besides these, I keep busy trying to learn language and gather more information from people about what they believe and how they live. We have to write a big paper about the people we work with for my school, and those questions are really useful to bring out really good conversations with the English speakers I meet! This last photo is from a longuage route, these girls were so excited when I pulled out a camera! They all wanted individual pictures with me, and there was no way I could resist :)

Monday, September 14, 2009

leapord handed

I just got back from a weekend with my home-stay family, and it was wonderful! They were all very impressed with the amount of language I had learned since leaving them, and I was glad to be able to speak to them more in depth :).
On Saturday I ran around the village with my two best friends, Rima and Sosmita. We went from house to house having tea with many families. I was able to tell these families my short testimony and a story about Dad's son, so I enjoyed having something to give them. I got to watch Rima's dad while he was fishing, while Rima helped. I tried to help also, but the family wouldn't let me since it would involve me digging around in very dirty mud for small fish. I watched from the outside as they gathered the fish into their baskets, flung mud back into the river, and flung big fish out to where we were standing. That night I ate some cokura that they had caught, cokura being some sort of river crab. I also ate a sour bean off a tree. It tasted a bit like sour candy, but I was 95% sure I shouldn't be eating the bean, so I didn't have much more :)!
The girls were really good about teaching me a song - its about the beautiful world around us. I'm not sure if its the right language or not, but its close.
On Sunday I saw some henna on the hand of the girl next to me and asked if I could have some today. I thought maybe t would be too much trouble to go buy some henna. Haha, silly city girl! Rima took me to her friends house and picked the henna plant right off the tree! Then we took it back to the house where she ground it into paste to put on my hands. It reminds me of a fake tan. My hands are VERY orange! At a gathering that night I got to sing my newly learnt song plus two others I had learned. Then I was pressed to sing one more song, in English. After singing, they asked for one more - this went on for a few more rounds before I convinced them to sing to me! It was a very fun night, where I got to play and laugh with many of the villagers that I usually pass on the road. It was a very fun night.
It really was a great weekend, and I learned my testimony and short story by heart for telling it to so many people! It was great to see my house family again, and to find out the news of the village (my friend Rika is pregnant!!) .

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Celestial ground

In the sixth of an eight hour bus ride, I found the thing I really love about my country.

Night had fallen, and the moonlight filled the sky. I was passing miles and miles of tea gardens when the lights started to attract my eye. The lightning bugs filled the tea gardens like stars in the sky. Their flying and blinking became like a dazzling dance that went on for miles. The crickets and other bugs were so loud and in tune with the lights that for the first ten minutes, I could not separate them in my mind. The symphony of nature - complete with a light show!

It reminded me of CS Lewis' portrayal of creation where Aslan sings on the barren black mass that will become Narnia, and the ground begins to swell and move and take form, all in response to the song of Aslan.

This dance of the fireflies is surely an oft recurring performance, but for that night, Dad let me look and see and fill my eyes with wonder. I've been rather down on the country lately, so He knew I needed that and whatever we need He provides in His own AWESOME way :)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Casting Seeds

So I'm a little late updating, but I wanted to wait until I got my new project going so I could tell you about it! The pic to the right is from a sleepover night! We soaked our feet in the tub for pedicures :)

I am teaching health lessons at a local school, and teaching Dad stories at the end. I walked into the class yesterday, and a man introduced me as Miss Eba, here to teach English. He nodded at me, and then left - just left! I only then realised that I would have no other teachers in the room, and that I had no clue how an Asian teacher was supposed to act!! The students were all standing and saying "Good morning Miss Eba", and then staring at me. Finally I told them they could sit down, because I realised they wouldn't sit without me saying so. I felt like my obvious ignorance of how to run their class left me with a group that decided they could get away with anything! They were very talkative, but that's when being an American really helped me out - they really do want to know what I have to say! So I started in on the health lesson, and it's designed to be fun, so they were really liking it. After the health lesson I told the Creation story, and they really liked it. In my second class, I got many really good questions about the origin of evil, who created it, and why the tree would be there! I was amazed that they asked the same questions my friends at home ask about that story! They really wanted to go on to the next story, because they knew what came next and really wanted to talk about it, but I told them they had to wait until Friday. One of the girls told them that I was making them wait for the suspense! They really enjoyed it, and even tricked me into staying for 2 periods with them instead of just one! I really need to learn to listen for that bell!This pic is in one of the training centers - we found a toy and played with the camera. We were waiting on another to show up. People are late very often here, but as I am also a very late person, I love it!

In the first class, when I finished my lesson, I half expected someone to come in and take over again, but then I realised that I was the only teacher for these kids at this time! So we had an American question and answer time, and they wanted to know everything about Michael Jackson :) I didn't have too much to share, but they were filling in plenty! They were also really curious about tornadoes, so I was able to share a lot of stories that could only have come from the Mid West!!

I go back on Friday, and I am very excited. I go two times a week and teach 8th and 9th grade. I'll go for about 6 weeks. After that I might try and find another school. I'm hoping to really get to know these kids and maybe meet some of their families.

I wanted to say a little about the transportation to and from the school. I ride the public bus, which cost about 6 cents, as opposed to the auto that takes 3 dollars one way. On the down side, there is rarely a seat and it takes about an hour! Last night trying to get home wore me out! I waited at the bus stop for 15 minutes, watching bus after bus go by because only one bus from that part of town goes to my part of town. When that bus finally got to us it was full, not only in the seats, but also the standing room in the aisle! I just squished in and hung on to the overhead pole. In the ensuing hour and a half (it was rush hour) about 20 more people got onto the bus and about 4 got off! I never did get a seat, and I ended up getting off one stop early because I thought I was lost. Its very difficult to see out the windows when you are standing on the bus because all you can see is downward at the road, so I can't read the store signs to find out where I am, and I can't look for landmarks! Anyway, by the time I got home I was exhausted and was never more happy to find a cold Coca Cola in my fridge :)

So that's a bit of my life right now - hopefully it made sense and gave you a little picture of South Asia! Please yarp for me as I try to make new relationships with cousins, find a language teacher, and struggle to stay in budget (my parents should have quite a laugh at that one)!

As always, THANK YOU so much for all of your letters, support, and yarper!! It is so very uplifting to get your messages and know that the people back home are lifting me up as I head into the fray!!!!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Starting to Work!

So this week I have been able to start working with the Asian Relief team that is stationed here, which is a really good way to meet cousins and other people to make relationships and find People of Peace. I have been training on how to tell stories, what I should expect when going into villages, and tons more language. Its been really fun working with the believing people here and making friendships with them.

I've been getting used to the city and learning my way around on buses and autos, with the occasional bike rickshaw! I find the bike rickshaws very awkward because the seat is tilted forward and I pay so little to be taken however far. I've always overpaid because I'm white, but I still pay less than 20 cents! The buses are a little better. They cost about the same amount, but there are tons of people on a bus so I can feel a little better about how much I'm paying. Sometimes there are no seats though, and then it gets very hot and uncomfortable! I am taller than the average person here, and the buses weren't made for someone so tall! the autos are the most expensive, but they are also the fastest and most comfortable. They go directly without stopping for other passagers, they're small enough to fit through small gaps in traffic, and you ride them alone with doors. I like to look out the windows (just openings, there are no coverings like glass or plastic over them, it is too hot for that - you want the breeze!) at all the buildings and people. As long as I'm not feeling sick the auto is very fun, but the bus is a better place to meet people. I was on the bus last week going to the vegetable market and I wasn't very sure where that was. I got like four people to help me and they made sure I got off where I needed to and pointed me in the right direction. They are so helpful!

I was on my way to the training center last week and I left my directions at home, and the girl I was meeting had forgotten her phone. So, I rode the bus and told them what I knew and I got there right away and was even 2 minutes early (which if you've ever met me somewhere, you know that is not usual)! Then I waited for my friend for 45 minutes :) I like that part of the culture though, me and other friend sat around talking and playing with some num-chucks we found! (I have pictures that I will post as soon as I can!!)

Thanks for all your yarper and support it makes a world of difference over here!!!