Friday, May 18, 2012

Challenges in J Village

Hopefully, you read my post about the breast cancer awareness training in the rural J village. If not, you can click here. The response was very positive, and we were invited back. One lady who professed to believe in nothing, requested we return on second Saturday when most of the women would be free, so that more women could hear this program. She was also the one pushing for us to come and conduct a children's program. We agreed. Before the training, our sister told us 23 were ready to come, and 15-20 children. So, we recruited three more to do the children's program, spent hours planning and gathering all the supplies, spent a lot on a taxi, and traveled the hour and a half to get there at the appointed time.
Our hostess had injured her rib the day before and was in pain, yet still, she went around the village reminding the ladies to come. We sat and waited, which is par for the course when you do these trainings. The weather was perfect, the view magnificent, and the company interesting. The ladies trickled in. Finally, our hostess, clearly frustrated and near tears, told us the reason behind the poor showing. That very same lady who had pushed for the children's program went behind our hostess and told them all not to go, that we were trying to change their religion. Opposition is not new, nor unexpected in this area of the country. We must be on guard not to be discouraged, and continue to do what God has called us to do.
We shared the life-saving information about breast cancer to a very positive audience. Then, before sharing the part about how to prepare for eternity, I talked about what had happened, and why some weren't there. We cannot change anyone's religion. We brought information that could save their lives, and this we shared. We can only (in obedience) try to communicate clearly the gospel message. Everyone must make their own choice. We cannot choose for them. Every week, my Hindu, Sikh, and Buddhist neighbors share about their festivals and faith with me. A long time ago, I studied different religions, and made my choice. When talking about facing death, I can only share about my own faith and how it prepares me. I cannot talk about another's faith. I can share the hope I have found, and why I am not afraid to die. The ladies listened, and tsked (that clucking sound)  in agreement to my statements about having to choose for themselves.
After sharing along these lines, we preceded to share from creation to Christ, and how He conquered death that we may live. When we finished, several stayed and asked for prayer, but all of the ladies thanked us and took our hands in a show of respect and gratitude.
Was I disappointed? For the ones who did not come, yes, and for our hostess, yes. Discouraged? I admit, it would have been easy to be discouraged, but I have to keep the big picture in mind, and be obedient to the task. If just one lady in that group made a decision to prepare for death by choosing life in Christ, what a wonderful result! That could be the one lady to bring her entire village to faith. Because of the breast cancer information we shared, we know we made a difference in their quality of life. By traveling the distance twice, we greatly encouraged our sister, the only believer in her village.
Challenged, yes; discouraged, no. Please remember sister K and the women of J village.
 I thought it odd that the big boys wanted to color, but Vic said they are not well-educated, and wanted to make the craft.
 We didn't have the 15-20 as hoped for, but those who came were very happy.
 The lady on the far left is K, and our hostess.
 She was proud of what she made. She was able to retell both Bible stories to the latecomers!
 The road to the other side of somewhere.
We had a beautiful day for our trip, despite the challenges. Challenges remind us Who is in control.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Pearls of Great Price in SJ

We were invited to go to a believer's home in SJ to share the breast cancer awareness program with neighborhood women. First, I had my regular monthly meeting with a group of SJ ladies at Archana's church, then met up with Nan, Sallu, and Vic. We hiked for over 30 minutes to the lady's home. It was already filling up with ladies. Twenty-six women and six children filled the room, covering the bed and the floor. More were in the kitchen. The response was very positive. The women seemed so grateful for the information that could save their life. The last part of the program is how to prepare for death. This is where we get to share about preparing for eternity. This gives women hope. Fifty percent of the women who get breast cancer in India will die. It is probably higher here in the mountains because of lack of knowledge, and limited access to the proper affordable medical treatment. Women who work in the fields most keep working, and say they can't go to the doctor. In the program, we teach them the importance of early detection, and how to examine themselves. Not all lumps are cancerous, so it is important to have a biopsy to check. There are affordable government hospitals here in the city. 

 Sallu sharing her part in the program.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Pretty Nice Mother's Day

One of my best friend's daughter gave birth to twin boys today at 32 weeks, but so far everybody is fine, praise the Lord! At the big church on the hill, I witnessed my friend Prabha's son being baptized, as well as the infant daughter of two of their workers at the children's home. Then, I went to M's church. Nan and Vic promptly each gave me a beautiful hand made card. After the service, I witnessed 15 taking their stand in believer's baptism! Following the baptism, we all had lunch. Yesterday, my three godchildren Kiki (5), Ez (3), and Y (7 mos)  sent me red roses. Well, as Ez said, "I didn't send them, my mom did." I came home and Skyped with my beautiful mom. She was drinking from the photo mug I sent her! I have two house guests, so I had the excuse to make lasagna, garlic cheese biscuits, green beans, and veggies. It's been a pretty nice day! I am so thankful! Happy Mother's Day to all the first- time moms, especially my niece, Les.

 In the big church, they sprinkle...

 But immersion is the example we have in the Bible. It's a picture of what God did for us.

 First Lord's supper

Friday, May 11, 2012


It's coming again this year, that day I dread. It comes every year, and every year I wonder if this will be the year it doesn't bother me, that I don't cry. The only time I even remotely look forward to Mother's Day is if I can be with my own mother, and make her day special. Again this year that won't be the case. I'm on the other side of the world. I recall so many times trying to choose just the right card in the store, only to feel the wetness on my cheeks. Embarrassed, I would usually leave before succeeding. Nowadays, I can send an e card. I even cry when I enlist the online florist shops into helping me out. Now I have a dear friend who as a ministry to me will go to the local florist and choose a beautiful bouquet for my mom and take it to her for me. I've been telling my mom for years that I wanted to give her the flowers while she was alive -that I didn't want to spend hundreds of dollars for huge sprays when she is gone from this earth. She'll get a bouquet from the local grocery store florist. Cut flowers bring her joy, so why not spend the money on her now? Mom thinks that idea is just fine. She hates for me to spend so much money for delivery, so she is thrilled that my friend is helping me. The ten dollar delivery charge goes a long way where I live.
I really don't like this day, and I don't like that I don't like it. I always try to focus on my mom, or relatives or friends celebrating their first child, like my nephew and his wife. I like to think of my friends becoming mothers after having loses, and friends becoming mothers through adoption. One friend just posted today about having spent her first 24 hours with her new daughter in Ethiopia. I truly am so happy for them, and so thankful to God for His blessings. Every year I manage to find others to be happy for, and stave off the pity party that invites me to join in. Well, most years. And I try to remember those moms who have lost children in the past year, or those who have lost their mothers. Perhpas they are dreading this day, too. But this is supposed to be about my mom, not me.
I put my mom through so much. She said I was a fussy baby after they moved to a new home when I was two. I've been a challenge, and have been the cause of many gray hairs on her beautiful head. There have been the trips to the emergency room for broken bones, and numerous scrapes and sunburns that she so gently cared for. I remember her coming into my room at night to put cream on my sunburned face. I know I am special because my mom has told me so all my life. When someone tells you that enough, you believe it. Now, I spend my time telling girls they are special, they are unique, and there is no one like them -just like my mom told me. I do this in a country where little girls are not valued as much as boys.  I teach moms to encourage their daughters to be all God wants them to be, to want God's best for them. He has a plan for their lives. My mom encouraged me, I want to encourage others.
My mom is still living and still with my dad. That is such a gift. She is beautiful. She is kind and thoughtful. She is a worrier. I hate that I still cause her worry after fifty something years. While she would rather me be on the same continent, she believes in what I am doing, and wants me to be where God wants me to be. She doesn't make me feel guilty about not being there, she just makes me feel wanted and loved. She is supportive.
She always remembers to send my dog gifts, too. She talks to him on Skype. He's my baby and she is an excellent grandma. She's never said hurtful things to me about not giving her grandchildren. She has loved on all the strays (the human kind) I bring home, and tolerated the animals. She loves on my godchildren even from a distance. I have never outgrown my need for or love for my mommy. There are times when just nothing else will do and I am so thankful for Skype. I make sure my mom knows  that I am safe, and that I love her, every chance I get.


1000 Moms Project

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Moms and Friends Learn From Michal

Ten neighborhood ladies came this morning, including one new one! I spent hours looking for recipes to use Grana Padano cheese at the request of one of the ladies. A cousin had brought it to her and she didn't know what to do with it. Well, this is challenging because most of these ladies don't like cheese, this cheese is not vegetarian as it is an aged cheese and contains rennet, and most ladies don't have ovens. I had to find recipes that could do without the cheese as well. I came up with a cheesy apple potato salad, a pasta salad, and a cauliflower soup. Meetu didn't even come! Something came up. None of the ladies wanted to try the cheese. We made the pasta salad, and the potato salad without the cheese. They liked the pasta salad, but not the potato salad. The potato salad was just a cup of cubed apples, a cup of cubed boiled potatoes, a tablespoon each of olive oil and vinegar. It called for half a cup of the grated grana padano cheese, but I couldn't use it because of the vegetarians (including me). It was kinda bland. Recipe for pasta salad follows.
Today we learned lessons from Michal, daughter of Israel's first King, Saul, and wife of King David. Talk about family issues!! First, her father brings David into their home, makes him a soldier, then promises her sister to him in marriage. Her brother Jonathan loved David, as did Michal. He was handsome, a musician, a valiant warrior, a hero, and her brother's best friend. She told her dad she wanted to marry him. By now King Saul was getting just a bit annoyed by this high achiever. He thought by sending David up against the Philistines, he would be killed and out of his hair. He set the bride price high -at 100 Philistine foreskins. David killed two hundred Philistines and brought the required dowry. But things just got worse. Saul was jealous, and devised a plan to kill David. He sent soldiers to his chambers. Michal got wind of the plan and warned her husband. She helped him escape, and put an idol in the bed with some fake hair to try to delay the guards who came after him. She lied and told them he was sick. Her father came and saw the dummy. She lied again and told her father that David had forced her to let him go. King Saul ended up giving Michal away to another husband. He loved and respected Michal. Years later, when Saul and her brothers were all dead, David ascended the throne. He sent for his wife to be returned to him. Her heart-broken second husband followed after her, weeping all the way.
Scriptures do not tell us that Michal trusted in the same God as David. She did not seem to understand his devotion to God, or his worship style. When David returned the ark of God to the temple, he danced with all his his underwear. We aren't told why Michal did not join in celebration with the whole nation in bringing back this most holy relic. It had been lost in battle during her father's reign. Her father did not follow after God, so Michal was following after her father. She looked down from her window and saw her husband the king, dancing with the commoners, exposing himself in a most unkingly fashion. She met him at the door and just lashed out at him in criticism. He responded, telling her he was dancing before God, reminding her that God had chosen him over her father, as king of His nation Israel.She just didn't get his passion. Some of the lessons we found in Michal's story:
1. When husband and wife don't share the same faith, there will be problems.
2. Wives should encourage their husbands, not criticize.
3. Fathers have a profound influence on their daughters.


Sanvi had a school holiday so she came and played with Padma while we cooked and had our Bible Story. She comes on Saturdays.
Pasta Salad
2 cups of dry pasta (elbow macaroni)
2-3 tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 large potato, boiled and diced
1 medium onion, diced
2-3 green chilies, seeded and diced
1 cucumber, seeded and diced
1/4 cup sliced black olives
Grated cheese, or feta if you can get it (optional)

1. Cook the pasta in salted boiling water until it is done, but not mushy
2. Drain, transfer to a bowl, add a bit of olive oil and chill
3. Make a dressing of oil and vinegar, or use Good Seasonings packets
4. Add all the diced veggies to the pasta, and coat with oil and vinegar. I used about 1/4 cup of dressing.
5 Salt and pepper to taste. Add the grated cheese if you want.
6. Chill, then serve.
I had chilled all the veggies and the pasta, so it was ready to serve after we mixed it all together.

A Wonderful Day

On the other side of nowhere and just this side of somewhere, I had a training. We hiked 45 minutes down the mountain from the road though the forest to a wide clearing, complete with a few cows. I could hear the bubbling of the creek below. Nan, Vic and I explored the creek (a river during monsoon) while we waited for all to come. In between our training sessions, we had a delicious picnic lunch. Some of our hosts made lunch over an open fire. Some had a chicken curry, and the vegetarians had rice, mutter paneer, okra, and salad. As if the hike wasn't enough, we played frisbee, cricket, and badminton. The best part of this wonderful day with some new believers, was seeing four more choose LIFE in Christ! 

Friday, May 04, 2012


Oh I just love Package Day! In the last couple of days, I have received TWO packages!! PTL! I am so blessed!