on chaos, hospital visits and everyday life

Well, I’ve been in the hospital again. Actually, I am currently sitting in a hospital bed typing this. Which I think is just another way that the Lord is teaching me humility. And humility is not an easy lesson for me. It usually involves a lot of figurative hair pulling, feet dragging and gnashing of teeth. But alas, in this season, He is molding and refining me in more ways than I can count, including continuing to cultivate humility in me.

It can be terribly hard not to get caught up in the chaos that is everyday life in India. Hard to not get so frustrated with lack of scheduling, how often plans change at the last minute, how often I’m put on the spot. Hard to not get apathetic towards all of the tough issues facing this society. Hard to not be so sad about all of the people worshipping idols made of plaster, offering expensive jewelry and food to their idols when there are 70,000 homeless people living on the streets of this city. Hard to not be frustrated with the language barrier and how hard learning Hindi is.

But it’s in these moments, where the Lord keeps telling me over and over again.

“Do you believe that I am bigger than all of this?” 

“Do you believe that I am bigger than whatever is making you sick?”

“Do you believe that I am bigger than Hinduism?”

“Do you believe that I am bigger than the violence against women that is imbedded so deeply in this culture?”

“Do you believe that I can heal all the wounds of the kids that you work with?”

“Do you believe that I am making all things new and that I won’t leave anyone as orphans?”

And when I stop and listen and quit thinking about what I can do; because really, I can’t do anything. I can only love through Christ. He must become greater, I must become less. When I truly stop, I know that He is all that He says He is. I believe in a God that is so much bigger than anything that I can comprehend. I believe in a God that is all about rescue. A God that restores things as if they had never been taken. A God that loves women (and men) and hates violence. A God that cares about “the least of these”. A God that doesn’t leave us or forsake us, even when we are full of doubt. I believe that He is making all things new, that beauty will come out of all the ashes around us.

As far as my most recent hospital visit, I am fine. Just had to stay 2 nights to get fluids in me and get on more antibiotics. They aren’t really sure what has caused either one of my infections but hopefully this will be my last stay in the hospital. Just be praying that the antibiotics will really knock out whatever this infection is for good.

Also, shout out to the KFBC AWANA kids! We are so excited that you all are following our blog and praying for us! We hope that you are learning about how much God loves missions and kids all over the world! Thank you so much for your prayers!!

Durga Puja

Our city is in full on festival mode. October marks Durga Puja in India, and it’s most prominently celebrated in West Bengal. It celebrates the Hindu god Durga. Think Mardi Gras on steroids. There are multiple days to it, marked by the Hindu calendar, but it is really celebrated all month long. Each community puts up a “pandal” which is a temporary temple made of bamboo. These things can get extremely elaborate. There are also themes. I’ve heard of a Harry Potter theme, Titanic theme, etc. To celebrate Durga Puja, families will get dressed up and travel around looking at all of the pandals, a lot like us looking at Christmas lights. Prizes are given for the best ones and it is the biggest socio-cultural event in West Bengal.

Please be praying with us for our city. We will be taking all of the kids from the home to a conference for three days of Puja to avoid a lot of the craziness that will go on. We’ve already started hearing drums at night. And the parades and the drums will continue for several days, possibly even a week. Pray that we would be able to be a light in the darkness, that we would make the most of every opportunity given to us and that we would fervently pray for the people of this city.

Pray for the Hindu people of this city, that they would realize that their idols are simply idols. That there is a true living God who is all-powerful, who heals the broken hearted, who comforts, who restores. That they would realize that they can bring as many bananas and cucumbers as they want to their gods, but they still cannot do anything for them. They are just concrete dolls. Pray that their eyes would be opened to the goodness of the Lord.

Here are some semi-blurry from a taxi cab photos I took to give you an idea of these structures:

20131009-073331.jpg

20131009-073350.jpg

20131009-073402.jpg

20131009-073434.jpg

20131009-073446.jpg

20131009-073501.jpg

20131009-073521.jpg

Yeshu Tera Naam

Preston has already learned a song in Hindi! He’s playing guitar in church tomorrow morning. The song translates to:
“Jesus your name is higher than any another.
The name that is peace,
is life,
is to be worshipped.
The name that delivers, heals,
Jesus is the name.
The name that delivers from sickness, poverty, curses
The name that gives sight to the blind
Jesus is that name.”

Belonging.

being a missionary wasn’t always something that I wanted. I wanted to climb the corporate ladder, shatter the glass ceiling with my iron fist. there are so many things about me that just don’t scream “MISSIONARY” in my mind. i minored in Women’s and Gender Studies at the big, huge party school that I attended. I have a business degree and actually really love business. I’m told that I have a “big” personality, which I think is just a nice way of saying that I’m a lot to handle. I’m not a huge fan of cooking and Preston does two-thirds of the cooking in our house. I’m opinionated. I’m strong-willed. Stubborn. I battle pride regularly (read: every day). I love to be in charge. 

And here we are, in India, as missionaries. Saying it is still weird for me and we’ve been here for almost TWO MONTHS. India, this super patriarchal culture, where it is absolutely difficult to be a woman in. Especially a woman like me. It’s the kind of place where a husband’s word is supreme, where they don’t take woman seriously, where I can’t look men in the eyes in public. And then there’s missionary life, which is like another new culture in and of itself. 

Confession: It’s been hard for me to find a sense of belonging here. Not in a “I hate this place and want to go home” kind of way, but more in a “fish out of water” kind of way. In a sense of knowing that this is absolutely where i’m supposed to be and loving the ministry that we’re doing, but feeling like I’m “too much” for my new cultures. Satan’s voice has been louder than ever, shouting at me, “YOU DON’T BELONG HERE! You aren’t good enough to be a missionary. You are not a good wife!” And being 8,000 miles away from home, he’s been telling me that not only do I not belong here, but I don’t belong anywhere. That I’ve already been forgotten about, replaced, etc. SO MANY LIES. 

And that’s what they are. They are lies. They are the voice of an enemy who wants anything but the name of the Lord proclaimed in this lost world. He doesn’t want us here, loving on the least of these. Combating these lies has been a daily battle of speaking truth over myself, having Preston speak truth over me and most importantly, listening to that still, small voice that is so much louder than the shouting if I really stop and listen. And what is the truth? The truth is that stereotypes are stupid. And that I’m not too much for this culture. That He created me and because of that He loves who I am. That He is refining me every single day. That I have gifts to contribute to this place. That I shouldn’t be ashamed of exactly who I am. That I have something to offer. That I don’t have to cook more or be more feminine to obtain His affection. That I am an awesome wife who is exactly what her husband needs. And that as long as I am abiding and finding myself in the Lord, that He is going to honor that. 

He created me to belong to Him and that is the most important part of my own sense of belonging. When I press into that, all of the rest of it is just stuff. It doesn’t matter as much, because the creator of the universe says that I am his and that He is mine. And that I’m not too much for Him. And that is enough for me.