Thursday, December 28, 2006

I'm here again

I am back in k-town and so happy to be here. my time at home was amazing and restful and really full. full of so many good things. i feel like i am returning to kolkata full to the top and maybe even a little overflowing. thanks to all of you who made my time at home so special.

i thankful for color and the smells of life. i am thankful for noise (this might wear off in a day or two), i am thankful i get to see the sari bari ladies in a bit, i am thankful for the good life i get to live in this crazy amazing place.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Family on Christmas Day

Posted by Picasa

yes we are tired

Posted by Picasa

Pretty sis with pretty neice

t
Posted by Picasa

weird dreams

i have had very weird but similar dreams the last several nights. in every dream i step on what should be solid ground and i end up sinking to my waist or chest in mud. and once I stepped right through a natural bridge of some kind and almost fell all the way through but someone familiar was there to help me once i screamed for a awhile. they did not know i needed help at first and seemed to think i was over reacting. it is weird...not sure what i means...i always seem pull myself out of the mud but i end up feeling embarrassed and foolish...

must be having pre return to calcutta anxiety....mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm....

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas to all...

so today is the eve of Christmas...the day of anticipation before the Big day. the day when we await presents, family and hopefully the begining of hope for the world. church was really good and what it was really about was the fact that we all need to be transformed and we can celebrate christmas as the begining of transformation...when light enters a dark room the darkness is dispelled at least in some measure. darkness can not exist fully where there is light. we are all messy people with many and few messes that we have created through out our lives but we do not have to live with the mess or in dark...thanks to the coming of the light bringer. a light bringer born into a messy manger, under messy circumstances . so we can be comforted that the mess in our lives does not scare jesus...he just wants to transform it for our sake and make it new!!

so merry christmas my friends and may this year of our lives be less messy than the last because of transforming power of jesus in your life.

hoping for the world today in the only hope that makes any sense...the word made flesh as a messy baby, in messy circumstances for the salvation of the messy world.

Friday, December 22, 2006

my new motto


I think maybe i am reverting but a few weeks in the states has me back to feeling like myself...i am happy and funny and even silly. We went to walmart today and found this really cute veggie tales fleece...and i think i am going to adopt the veggie tales motto for the rest of my life...they seem to have it covered in a "everything i need to know i learned in kindergarten" kind of way...

So here it is the things i am going to live by...

Honesty
Helping
Sharing
Kindness
Forgiveness
Silliness


Hopefully my new motto will keep me sane, happy, kind and silly!!

Friday, December 15, 2006

My mom is a super hero

today sitting at my grandmothers talking with my mom...i saw in my mom a super hero. she is all the things of 1 cor 13...she is patient, she is kind, she is not easily provoked...she is love that endures all things. she is a super hero!! she has been taking care of my baba (not her mom but my dads) and it has been cool to see how well she loves my baba with her actions. she can't leap talk buildings in a single bound but she can love and serve people in a way that not many can...she has the power of patience, the power of kindness and the power of serrvanthood...what a mom...she is definitely my HERO!!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Fun Photos from Omaha




americans are tacky too

yep..after a couple of weeks back in the country i know that the holidays bring out the tacky in everyone! there are crazy lights, blow up snow men, santa and his reindeer alongside the baby j and his mom. i always thought maybe india had the market cornered on tacky for their holidays--they too have lots of lights and gaudy decorations, over the top fireworks. i think from now i will just think of puja like christmas except the US is much quiet at least at christmas--in india they bring out their private fireworks arsenals and the baddest most offbeat drumming bands they can find.

i think am comforted by the tacky...maybe it signifies what it means to celebrate in all cultures. the time of celebration is good. but as my sister keeps reminding my 2.5 year old neice, christmas is jesus birthday. and as my neice has reminded my sister that means CAKE and a celebration of the hope of transformation for us all.

parting thought, if you have google mail and my email address can you send me an invitation. i am in spam torment and need to make a change.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

New Hair cut and color




Hey here is my new hair cut and color..the color is dark chocolate but there is also some light highlights that you can not see...a little bit of layering and about 3 inches off the bottom. fun to have sorta cool hair at least for the next couple of weeks before i go back to frizzy land!!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Excerpt from my Beggars Society talk last night

As I have begun to live life with the women of sari bari I have become aware of this very human conception that God will always take us straight out of slavery and into the promised land or what we can calcutta call freedom. But it seems more often than not God First takes through a process. A process of exodus and he has it planned from the beginning…

Exodus 7:16

16 Then say to him, 'The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, has sent me to say to you: Let my people go, so that they may worship me in the desert. But until now you have not listened

he did not say so that they may worship me in the promised land or the land that I am going to them he said the desert.

Why would moses take them to the promised land before first introducing them to the promiser—the desire of the ages. If he first brough them to the promised land they would end up loving the promises more than the promiser. God’s main purpose in delivering israel was so that they could know and love him…bevere

We must recongize that from Adam to now that God has been interested in the transformation of his people. Jesus is not just interested in the destination because the destination in his own mind is secure. He is interested in the process of transformation…that is why after more than 400 years of slavery God does not take his people straight to the promised land he takes them into the desert.

He is not just interested in giving us what we want or what we think we deserve…he wants to be apart of the process that takes us there. So that we can receive freedom as gift instead of a right. A gift that only we can give..so we fall in love with him and not just the things he can and wants to do for us. He is interested in knowing and being known by us.

Exodus requires obedience, struggle and a willingness to be transformed. That is what Sari bari is about…the restoration of women from the sex trade. Sari bari is about transfomation, redemption and exodus.

The road to freedom is never easy. For the women coming out of the trade it means a completely different lifestyle. I means getting up early, making food and making food in india is no short or easy pop it in the microwave task. I means a 40 hour work week, it means structure and accountablity. I mean budgeting and planning ahead. I mean learning something new when all your life you have told that you are nothing, worthless, trash who can not to anything but lay down and take it.

But the flip side to this freedom we have on offer to the women, is a new life, new confidence, restoration of hope, self confidence and diginity. It means the hope of life in Jesus.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

THINGS THAT FEED MY SOUL

Friendship feeds my soul. it has been an amazing refreshing week as i have spent time with my omaha family. really my friends here feed my soul. I have shared wonderful meals and real and deep conversations with the gray's, the smith's, the harrells and beautiful daphne. An arty lunch at the jocelyn with kathy--that made me feel known and loved. i had a really good time eating at the leavenworth cafe with brent and then this afternoon checking out the newest coolest mexican food with jara and brent. I had two amazing but too short days in fargo with jared and julie...they blessed me and encouraged me on every level. I love julie landreth so much. I am almost speechless with thankfulness for this week of soul food. the last year in many ways have been like a friendship desert...i have good amazing community in kolkata but there is something really beautiful and amazing about these long term jesus reflecting soul reviving relationships. and the beautiful thing is that i get another week in california with more amazing friends...it will be like dessert for my soul.

feel thankful and blessed! i am speaking at the beggar's society meeting tonight in omaha...should be good...i feel good any way.... you can decide for yourself if it is any good. i think you can download and listen from the website in the next week or so.

Monday, December 04, 2006

sweet note that brought tears to my eyes!!

A year ago I had decided to raise money for an organization like say Samaritans Purse. I was looking through a catalog and saw that you could give money to save a girl's life by giving her money so she didn't have to sell herself.
Awhile after that, my grandma told me about WMF Kolkata and I decided to put the money towards that. Most of the money I used was birthday and Christmas money. My sister and cousin also gave some
- Hannah Scott, 13

Thursday, November 23, 2006

culture shock in southern illinois

okay yesterday on our road trip to st louis we went though some really small towns and it weird to realize that i felt as much an outsider there as i sometimes feel in kolkata. we stopped in one place and they had built in ashtray right above the toliet paper holder...who sits on the toilet and smokes...i think i am missing something. also we went past this little resturant called LU-BOB's....i just pictured some good old boys hanging out for a drink in a movie like Fargo. anyway, weird to be back in my own country and feel like an outsider in small town america...definitely a city girl.

i am thankful for...

the ability to make and eat pumpkin pie and be with my family. i am thankful for my brother and my sister in law. i am thankful for gracie , landon and elisabth. I am thankful for kristin keen and hard roads that lead to new life. i am thankful for upendra, gita and kiran. i am thankful for aroti, champa and basanti. i am thankful for all the ladies working for sari bari at deepika esp thumpa, aduri and sikina who are so close to having freedom. i am thankful for new life in dying places. i am thankful for pilates and yoga and no lower back pain. i am thankful for my education and the life i get to lead. i am thankful for jesus and the new things i learn every day. i am thankful to have so many friends who i love so much....kim, amy, daphne, minde, sonya, julie m and julie l to name a few.

thankful to be here.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

the journey begins....

so i have been back in the states for 2 days...resting mostly. enjoying some chips and salsa and as much diet soda as i can drink. went to old navy and gap but did not buy anything....nothing original or really cool....no offense to anyone....it just that my slightly hippy edge seems to have been pushed out this season.

I am heading for st louis today to spend time with my sister and her family and hopeful get in some coffee or something with ange and court (previous wmf kolakta peeps). I am loaded down with sari blankets for gifts and for selling in omaha....be happy omaha people there are some good ones. after st. louis i will be in omaha for a week and then with jared and julie in the fearfully cold fargo....i am happy to stopping in INDY today to see my brother and get my warm warm winter coat. and after that speaking at the beggars society on the 10th before heading to what i hope will be sunny CA on the 11th for a week. i am hopeful that my luggage will get lighter and lighter at each stop.

time in kolkata ended at a high point...things really came together on so many levels before we left. kristin and i are in a really good place relationally and sari bari is doing so well...upendra is in charge and has already sent me 2 emails telling how things are going...i taught him how to do email last week before i left and i think he is having fun emailing....just wait until he has to email 25 people back then we will see how he feels :)

i am so happy to be with and see my family. i love free refills and long sleeve t shirts. i love that i am going on a little road trip with my mom and dad today. i love that i will have a whole week with my neice and my sister. i love that i get to have thanksgiving with my family. i love that i am eating at bahama breeze today. i love that kristin, bethie, melinda and i will have time together in omaha. i love that i can be confident to leave sari bari in upendra's hands so that i am free to be present here.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

the amazing life i get to lead

so things here crazy busy in an amazing in and miraculous way. last week we signed the contract for a new place for sari bari--we will now have our own place and room enough for up to 15 women....so we will start with 5 new ladies in january when we return from the states.

a week ago friday we dressed up in sari's and went to the gach...it was so cool. gave out jolly ranchers which everyone seemed to love...we spent most our time in the brothel of the women who are working for sari bari on subcontracting partnership with an orgazniation called deepika. it was really an amazing and encouraging night to be with the ladies and to have silas--our regional coordinator visting us.

kristin and i have been continuing to work out the kinks in our relationship....in way i think we are both being slam dunked and we going to come out cleaner, purer and better on the other side....pray for that! god is working good things in both out hearts and teaching us much through each other.

i cried on friday as i realized that i am leaving for the states in a week and have been so busy and sick that i have not had the time with the ladies at sari bari that i would like...i have been in songacchi doing brothel visits three days a week and my time at sari bari has been very task driven....i just realized how much i love the ladies and i really miss them when i do not have regular time to invest in their lives and honestly i miss the challenge and investment that they bring in mine.

this week in gonna be crazy but we make out move into the new place tomorrow and then have fun day planned on tuesday with the ladies--making an outing to the movies and having lunch....we also have lots of visitors so that will make it even more interesting....

i will try to do better...i know that there has been a huge hole in my blog world and i have not been filling it!!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Some pics from Thailand



back to the blog

where do i begin...there has been this huge gap in my blogging...mainly cuz i had a pretty serious fever for more than a week and it has taken me awhile to get my energy back. but i am pretty much back to normal now and trying to catch up on my life...

we had a really great visit from brent anderson of the WMF office...he was a really great encouragement even and maybe even especially because i was sick most of the time he was here.

i have three weeks till coming back the states for a visit and i am trying to remain present to what is happening here...actually lots of good stuff is happening here! I will try and give a really good update tomorrow.

so that's all for now.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

i am still alive

basically still alive but roughing it through my transitition back to kolkata. not sure why this seems to be happening...i do not think re-entry used to be so hard...it was always coming back to america that was hard. things at sari bari are going great and things at the gach are good too. i now have some more time with upendra finally done with training of our second site so he can more available at kalighat and i can go to the gach more...

anyway not much to say about much...except i pressing through...

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Incovenient Truth

this movie is so good...whether you like al gore or not....this is not political issue. this is a kingdom issue...an issue of how we are destroying the creation with our carelessness. i am all pumped and inspired about just about everything...the creation, honoring my body, choosing simplicity. kristin is all inspired and hopeful for the girls in the gach.

on another note...a observation in thailand on the metro (sky train) each door has two lines--real lines of people to get on the train...people exit out the middle between the two lines and people wait to get on the train until everyone else has exited.

this is situation where law brings life!

in india...there is mass chaos when exiting and entering the metro..every man, woman and child for themself. one the metro if the sign marked for the ladies has fallen off the men will refuse to get up because the sign is not there.

this is a situation where the law brings death.

just a little observation on law, life and death in different cultures :)

Sunday, October 01, 2006

i still haven't found what i am looking for...

yes, that is U2...but some good truth there for me. I have spent a week of rest in a relatively clean and decent place and in reflecting this morning I know that it still does not bring the satisfaction that i hoped for...i do not want to complain because time here has been really good. but I think being back in bangkok before depart tomorrow allows reality to set back in...i am looking forward to going back to kolkata but the next months will bring alot of work and i am sure alot of stress as we press forward into sari bari and the work in the gach.

i was reading ezekeil (sp?) this morning and in chapter one and two he basically describes the glory of God...the firery beautiful brillance. then i read 1 cor 3..and was struck again with paul being like "what you need a letter of recommendation"...you are the letter so be who you are...and then you have this treasure in jars of clay...that this is not about you but about jesus...i know i wrote about this before but it seems to kick my butt every time. it is not about you!! get over yourself, you are the letter so represent but do not let it be about you. so my goal is reflect that brilliance of ezekeil (the seen glory of God) as the letter with out letter my smoky, light dimming sinfulness getting in the way...the part of me that is selfish and needy and fearful. i am going to try anyway. sometimes i really can not get over how much crap I see reflected back to me in the context of community...i used to think i was a nice person, i still mostly am, but wow sometimes i really do not like who i am because it is not very nice at all.

so what i am looking for is a better me in the context of broken world...to be the letter no matter where i am in the world, to the jar of clay that can be crushed like an indian tea cup so that the glory of god can be seen inspite of me.

hey yeah i am not really as full of self loathing as it might seem in this blog but i am just feeling aware of my humanity and my brokeness in the context of community and what and how that brokenness can be used for his glory starting now and into the next years and months in kolkata.

this morning i realized that really want to content with my circumstances, not matter what they are, to find the goodness, peace and beauty in the good, bad and ugly times of life. i see others always striving never content..nothing is ever good enough and wow, seems like it would be really disappointing way to live. so i am gonna figure out in my idealist little mind how to enjoy whatever the circumstance while at the same hoping for the best in people and situations...my this is not possible but i really want it to be...like this morning i am going to enjoy starbucks on a cloudy day in bangkok...a moment that will be amazing and maybe divine depending on the brew of coffee today:)

Saturday, September 30, 2006

beach days ending...

friday was am-mazing. we had sun, sea kayaking and some lame snorkeling but overall a sweet little trip. hopping from island to island on a long boat. we sea kayaked around one of the islands...it is basically a limestone island so the formations on the rock walls were like nothing i have ever seen before.

kristin turned 30 yesterday and while it was raining again it was really a good day. we had breakfast out and then walked around, did a little shopping until the sun came out...and then we hit the beach for a couple of hours where we met fredrick...i guess i should say kristin met fredrick...cute 25 year old german guy...he will come into the story more later.

so we spent the rest of the afternoon evening trying to entertain ourselves so we could stay awake...and stay up late. we took a short nap, walked around some more...we were supposed to have some wine on the beach to celebrate but we got poured out...so we went to resturant and had prawns and wine...the thais are really cool no issues with bringing on our own..this would never happen in india. then we went back to the room played boggle, went out again went shopping, then to the atm, then to email again...all trying to kill time till 1030 when we would fredrick again for some more celebration...we are so old..we go to bed at like 10 everynight in calcutta so this was a big night....we made it through though and had a really, really good time talking with fredrick about music and movies...pretty sure he knows more than we do about american popular culture.

it does not matter what culture i am in, i always get hit on by indian guys, later on in the night this really interesting guy from north india joined us. he asked what we do and usually we get uncomfortable silence but apparently he worked with a guy for a couple years filming a documentary on the red light districts of india...so he totally knew where we work and was really. really. compassinate toward the girls...

so we played a couple of games of pool and then headed out for the memory making swim in the ocean at 2am. it was a great day...and i think a great 30th for kristin.

we head back to bangkok today...there is a typhoon headed this ways so the city seems like a better option for our last days here...maybe we will see a movie...

looking forward to coming home to kolkata on tuesday...

Rough itinerary for trip to the states

Just wanted to share out my rough itinerary for my november/ december trip home. i hope to have good quality time with everyone. Send me an email if you want to set up specific time while i am in your area.

November 19 Leave India/ arrive Fort Wayne IN
November 22 Travel by car to St. Louis for Family thanksgiving at Elisabeths
November 29 Leave st. Louis/Arrive Omaha NE
Nov 29-December 2 Kolkata Staff Retreat in Omaha
December 2-7 Hanging in O town
December 8-10 Fargo, ND with Landreths
December 10 Return to Omaha for Beggars Society
December 11 Depart Omaha/ Arrive Los Angeles
December 17 Depart Los Angeles/ Arrive Indianpolis
December 17-December 27 Indiana

Thursday, September 28, 2006

the beautiful land

yes, that is where i am in one of the most beautiful places on earth. We just got to Au Nang from Ko Lanta. Au Nang is way better simply because there are more travelers here to hang around with and pratice being "open". some of you know what i mean...and the sun is shining. yesterday was a bit of bummer because the monsoon is still in full swing so the cloudy rainy days can get you down when all you want is a tan and to ride around on a scooter.

it is really beautiful and we are going on a little adventure tomorrow to snorkel and sea kayak. should be fun...

more soon!

Monday, September 25, 2006

coffee, thai food, the bum etc.

bangkok has been amazing even with only 24 hours....you can eat really good food on the street for less than a dollar and then feel less guilty about spending 3 bucks on a coffee at starbucks. it's balance that seems to work for me...

the pineapple here is amazing...maybe the best in the world--at least that i have tasted.mmmm...what else starting to gather some christmas presents which is fun.

also finding that being here is another reminder how much i/ we need to pray for men. so many men are here just for the sex industry. you see them everywhere with thai girls...it is very distrubing and sad on so many levels. i wonder what the thai girls think...are they happy or sad to be out with a foreigner.

we off in a bit to catch our bus to karabi...14 hours of fun to be sure. thankful to have my donut with me. yes, i have been carrying it everywhere...i hope it will be enough to help me endure the bus ride.

more soon...

Saturday, September 23, 2006

breakthrough and a banged up BUM!

breaking through the darkness is a beautiful thing! i had a couple of rough days there but things are getting better as they always do...just hard to live your brokeness sometimes when do not know your way out of it...it is amazing to have a community around you to walk with you through these things....my community is really a community of one other so...i guess i owe some public love to kristin! she walked with me through the hard stuff. really want to live free and in the spirit....reading galations 5...just not sure what this looks like in real life and how the heck do i become that person in gal 5!!

is has been raining since tuesday here..everyday, all day. yesterday was the worst, 2nd highest rainfall ever in kolkata in the last 30 years. we had to do a little wading through the streets and our house leaks like a sieve but we made it through...

the rain also caused our stairs to be totally drenched in water and i had the joy of slipping several times before i finally fell down the stairs and significantly bruised or something to my tailbone/bum area. never really knew i needed to use my hiney so much..have to say i miss sitting like a normal person after just 3 days of this...kristin bought me a donut to sit on today....yes, thisis funny...especially since i will be carrying it around thailand for the next week.

we are off to thailand tonight for our visa run and kristin's birthday...should be fun. will try and update the blog at least once while am there...

Monday, September 18, 2006

amar buke bhetore bange jacchi

I am just so broken today. maybe that is being too vulnerable for something that is public like a blog....i woke up angry and hurt and in full self protection mode. I get to sari bari and i am leading a devotion with the ladies on psalm139 and i pray with them the first time i had done it today and my heart cracked and i wanted to cry.

i understand the ladies really well today...they are all really hard...that is my temptation also to allow my heart and exterior to harden so that no one and nothing can hurt me. but i think maybe it does not really matter if you put the wall, you still get hurt and unfortunately you can still hurt others...

i wanted to cry this morning cuz my shell was cracked as i set in the presence of these ladies and realized i was about to tell them that God really knows them and he is behind and before them and his hand is upon them and that is nothing he does not know and and above all that he loves them deeply.

i have just been broken the rest of the day...weary,on the edge of tears, still in some ways fighting to keep the hardness so i do not have to hurt or be vulnerable. I was vulnerable with the ladies this morning about my struggles, somehow it seemed to give the psalm more power, because i had a context of brokeness and failure in my own heart and life that i was speaking out of and the knowledge that jesus sees into my darkeness was maybe more real this morning that it has even been...i think the ladies understood really well who GOD is the context of that psalm certainly better than i have up to this point.

not much else to say, except maybe pray for me. i do not want to be hard hearted.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

i am such a loser

yep--thats me! today i am super in touch with my lameness as a person. i think today i even suprised myself with my loser capabilities...

on happier note, my good friend joshua tucker just showed up in calcutta. super happy to see him and have him around for the nect week before we go to thailand.

just want to say that i am super thankful for my mom and dad and daphne...all of whom i got to talk with yesterday and made me feel just a little bit normal. could just be the aftermath of all that goodness from home but my heart is full of longing for something normal and easy today, i guess you could call that home. maybe that's why i am being such a loser, a rebellion against my life here. who knows.....

Friday, September 15, 2006

water is important

yep--today just before we came here we got water back in our building. whohoo--we went 48 hours without water cuz a major water main broke...it guess it is ancient and needs to be replaced. our whole area was without water and it was a major topic of coversation today in the gach. hate to complain to much since i know in places like sierra leone they have water troubles all the time!!

the gach was so good today. we can see god answering our prayers even as we walk down the street. one of our friends, we will just call her shakil (oneill), really wants freedom so bad...she is working for us at sari bari at our sub contracting unit in the gach but this will be a slow path to what she wants and she wants to make it happen fast...she is really smart so we are going to see about taking her to freeset soon (after the puja season is over). and we going to go with our friend jill to her village in early october that should be an experience...she asked if we would be wearing our sari's--i can not see it happening but i am going to try...i have about a 3 hour tolerance for a sari!

mmm..what else...it was a good day, that's all.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

when brothel owners become your friend...

sounds like a scary tv show. anyway, this morning we prayed specifically for the gach and specifically for break though, as well as, specifically for madams and brothel owners etc. so we go to the gach and really never make it anywhere but the first place we went which was our old friends house...we just happened to ask if he was home and he was...and he gave us a tour of the brothels that his family owns (i have been before but it was interesting to do it again). his perspective is so unique because he has grown up with it....anyway, we were served lunch and welcomed there--kind of weird but cool and also got to ask if we could teach english and bengali literacy and it was received really well....so we will see what happens. today already feels like an answered prayer but i would love to see what happened today go all the way.

hope today that every brothel owner, every girl and every customer will one day have freedom!

Monday, September 11, 2006

mocking identity

kristin did a really good devotion this morning. we reflected on john 19--and how jesus was tortured....they set a crown of thorns on His head and they mocked his identity. They made fun of his kingship with a instrument of torture...they treated a king like a criminal. and while he received their torture..we did not speak or defend himself...he received it, submitted to it and said very little really. but what we can also assume though it is not said....these attacks on his identity did not actually affect his identity as a king or affect how he felt about his own identity and purpose in the world at that moment. he sumbitted but was not made less in his submission and then from the cross he asked for forgiveness for those who knew not what they did...

sort of just ripped my face off....assaults on my identity happen everyday. i am often tempted to believe them...often i think that i am my own worst enemy...my own assaults on my identity are the worst.

reflecting on what i wrote yesterday i think this fits in...violence of any kind is an assault on our identity and the human response to assaults on our identity is anger and retrobution...but that was not christ's example. the identity of the western world was assaulted on 9/11...our power and wealth was assaulted ...which forgive me for saying this but power and wealth has become the identity of the west so what has been our response? violence and assaults on the identity of the muslim people...call them things like "evil doers" etc. like a said a normal human response but not the response of Jesus. the hindus and the muslims continue to fight and harm one another because each has determined that the value of the others life is less...they see each other as lessor people (the only place i do not see this division is in the red light district--a culture which knows no religion and every religion)

Read 2 peter

we have our identity established...we are the chosen race, a royal priesthood, a people for God own possesion that we may declare the excellencies of him who called out of the darkness and into the light

we have a model for how to live..for it is comendable if a man bears up under suffering because he concious of God....when they hurled their insults as he him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats, instead he entrusted himself to him who judges justly...by his wounds we are healed (the whole world can have this healing but who will model what it is supposed to look like??)

i am reminded that my identity even when under assault, can not be diminshed or stolen because it is secure not established by how i look, what i own, or how important a job i have....i remember the words of jesus, you can take nothing from me because i give it to you freely.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

eye for an eye makes the whole world blind

I was broken hearted today reading the paper...it was sad combination of reflections on september 11 and a recent bombing of a mosque here in india. there was no hope for our world today only a never ending cycle of hate...

hate and fear breed hate and fear. The mosque that was bombed killed more than 40 with more than half of them being children...i was a prayer retreat this weeked in the retreat speaker (a US christian with powerful influence in the US Gov) basically spoke a campaign of hate against the muslim people of the world. why are we repaying evil for evil? where will it all end....muslims may have bombed the trains in bombay now maybe hindu's bombed the mosque...where will it all end. what happened to the christian world which in many cases is the western world? why are bombing our muslim neighbors? what happen to loving your neighbor as you yourself, praying for those who persecute you? turning the other cheek? shouldn't we as christians be the first to say enough...we will not repay evil for evil. i just wanted to cry today...how sad that we continue to buy into a doctrine of hate and fear and this horrible horrible disease has spread to every nation on the earth...the battle against the other.

everyday, i am harassed and mistreated. not day goes by with out it happening and everyday i make an intentional effort to forgive and forget and start the next day fresh...not always easy and it does not always happen but i will still call it sucessful day if i make it home having only sinned in my heart instead of verbally abusing or using violence to protect myself. I choose not repay evil for evil by the grace of God.

we have to forgive our neighbors!! Jesus said it...if you do not forgive you will not be forgiven. if we repay every evil with another evil what does it gain...is it worth it to gain the world and lose our soul. doesn't an eye for eye make the whole world go blind! the never ending cycle of hate has to stop somewhere...shouldn't it stop with us!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

What kristin has to say about our day yesterday

i am lazy and do not want to write this story..since kristin already did i am going to post her blog entry on mine!!

last night wen went to the movies. we had a really really good staff meeting with everyone and a good day at the gatch.

so we headed to this place called city center to eat KFC and go see whatever movie was playing.
the choices are sparse here so usually when an english movie comes we go see it. so at this time "my super hero ex girlfriend was playing". i thought...cool. uma thurma. super heroes. can't be that bad...right?
so we at some yummy KFC and then sat down to watch the movie. we were at the nice ac theater. well we were i think the only females in the theater. it was all young indian guys...in their 20's. most of the theater is empty but there are assigned seats and these guys are assigned right behind us.

i didn't really know what the movie was about but everything, every joke, every character, every line was about sex. and i am not being super righteous or anything.....but it was disturbing.
and i think sitting in india in a theater made it worse. there is a stereo type here about westerners...they have sex all the time with who ever they wish. they are all loose and unmoral. we as western women receive the brunt of this attitude with vatious grabs, swipes, words spoken to us as we live in this city.

so we are watching this movie with these indian guys behind us and they are cussing at the movie and i feel so humliated and embarrassed. so embarassed of my country. so ashamed of what is protrayed about our country. so dirty and ashamed of being a women. i was really embarassed and at some points covered my eyes and tried not to listen to the guys behind me.

it was at this point that sarah leaned over and said, "i feel like we should leave" i said yes. and so we left.
i guess i just don't get it. i see how sex destoies the lives of so many people. i see men everyday who think with their "2nd brain" and because of this they steal the dignity and value of men. they are so consumed with it that i feel like it blinds them.

and then i watch amovie like that and i think, "is it really like that back home? is the attitude that the point of your life and the point of men and women relationship is to sleep with them? i know that i see a dark side of men everyday. i think it just shocked me when i saw it on the big screen and it was acceptable and even supposed to be funny. it made me sad and embarassed more than anything.

i am trying to love the men here. i am actually trying to understand men's struggle with lust. i waver from complete hatred of the men i see around me to tear of cmpassion for the bondage that they are in.
i love when our floor in our flat after we have just swept and swabbed...its clean and you can go barefoot all over the house. i love that sarah's bangla is kicking but now! i love that our meeting at saribari went really well today. i love that instead of getting to go trecking for my 30th birthday i have to go to thailand.

Kaj Moddhe diye Mukti hobe

it a beautiful thing to hold something with open hands and see what god does with it...really what he does with your obedience in not holding on to something that was his in the first place. we had a really good meeting today at sari bari...one that i think will change the direction of sari bari in a good way....i was really prepared to let sari bari go at least in kalighat because i wondered if some of the issues we are having are possible to overcome...so i came up with a new plan and presented it to the ladies today and they really received it pretty well...i felt like we were all given back something that could have been lost to all of us.

and i saw hope in the eyes of one of the ladies...hope that was not thier yesterday. And in some ways i came down pretty hard today...made some strict rules and reminded them that freedom can not come from me or anyone but themselves. through the work freedom with come, through building a relationship with jesus freedom with come, but they have to stand on their feet and grab hold of freedom with their own hands. and i told them it will be hard but we will help them but only to the extent that it empowers..strange to me in some ways that by my being stricter they seem to now feel more secure...i hope this continue tto be the case.

there is some much more work to be done...we are starting additional training this month for the ladies as i think i said i think will help bring them along in the freedom and restoration process.

i feel really really thankful and really very much like my prayers of the last couple days have been answered...

Thursday, August 31, 2006

what a week...

i feel like i can not really put into words how i feel about my week....weird, good and hard stuff had happened...

like last night a rat ran between my legs and was actually large enough to swish my skirt...i mean this little guy was not so little, i could feel how heavy he was as he ran across my feet. i screamed..the downstairs family thought this was funny...we had a little conversation about the rat being the size of cat.

on tuesday night kristin and i sat out on the veranda and split a really, really cold beer (we could split it cuz it comes in one liter bottles here!)and listened to christmas music. it was really perfect...

...especially after my day on tuesday which was spent pursuing the impossible plane ticket...we were supposed to have regional staff retreat in nepal in october but tickets are not available beause of puja (which is the hindu relgious festival time). major bummer. we still have to leave the country though for our six month thingy...might have to suffer in thailand for a few days.

reading psalm 40 this week and it is really good for some reason...there is this part about our sin, one version calls it brokeness, being so overwhelming that we can not make it...it out numbers the hairs on our heads...i feel like this is the women we work with at sari bari...their brokenesss and their circumstances are so overwhelming that they can not do it on their own. they have to help....but the dilemma is alway how to help them. i basically want to help them help themselves...may sound trite or cheesy but they really have take their freedoom....through the job we offer at sari bari freedom can come but they have to choose it, want it, take it for themselves. one woman might be leaving...she feels tremendous family pressure for money and feels like the trade will provide...but you can see in her eyes she does not want to go back...it hurts her to think about it. we have to let her go if she goes...my heart was broken i wrestled with it this week...i hate to see her leave but i she leaves it is her choice and i can not offer her more money just so she will stay...it will only sell short the many, many women of both now and the future who will make it work somehow...i do want to pay them more but i am just not sure how...i alway want the people to be more important than the business so i wonder if non profit is the better way to go...really i do not know anything except i want these women to have wholistic freedom.

these are my ramblings...they may not make any sense but i still trying to process how this business thing is supposed to work...

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Make it personal...STOP THE TRAFFICK!!

I get regular updates from Lisa Thompson at the salvation army and this one is kickin...also close to my home being from pasadena...this advocacy and action on a level we can particpate.

http://www.pasadenaweekly.com/article.php?id=3670&IssueNum=30
http://www.pasadenaweekly.com/article.php?id=3702&IssueNum=31

I applaud Pasadena Weekly for the two part series covering the issue ofhuman trafficking and prostitution. These are such important issues thatmust be tackled.The most difficult part of offering help to these victims of exploitationis that they are not easily recognized. The US government's efforts torescue and restore trafficking victims have been stalled because the verypeople they seek to help cannot be found. These people are locked inslavery within our own neighborhoods, hidden in plain sight. Our culture ofignorance and tolerance permits this injustice to persist.Unfortunately, in the July 27 article the only recommendations listed fromthe researchers at UC Berkley for the prevention of human trafficking wereaimed at "the state." Yet every one of us has a responsibility to preventhuman trafficking. We all play a part in the cultural complicity when welook the other way and tolerate sexual abuse of children and theexploitation of women and girls in prostitution.All forms of commercial sex, be they legal like pornography or illegal,fuel the demand for human trafficking victims.All prostitution hurts women. It relegates them to sex objects and devaluesthem as human beings. Prostitution is rarely a free choice, but one ofdesperation that no woman should be forced to make.I urge the Pasadena Weekly to follow through with your commitment to cutall questionable advertising, which serves as a guise for the commercialsex trade.You mention your need to be "responsible citizens" but toning down "sexualcontent" is not far enough. On August 15, 2006, a ring of prostitution,involving 240 women was busted in Riverside, CA after police investigatedwhat was posed as an escort service in online and newspaper advertisements.In the same edition of Pasadena Weekly that ran the story "The new face ofslavery" I counted at least 41 "questionable" adds making little attempt tohide their true purpose of selling sex. If many of the services offered areillegal, as you claim, they have no business being in your paper.We do not want in any way to encourage or participate in those actions thatexploit women and facilitate human slavery and misery.Please put your money where your mouth is. Set an example for the communityand other newspapers demonstrating that sexual exploitation will no longerbe tolerated.Sincerely,Ruthi Hoffman HanchettMonrovia, CA

Saturday, August 26, 2006

wishing i was a straight line and not so up and down

sometimes i wish i was not so sensitive. i woke up, worked out and was having a pretty good morning and i got a call that really frustrated and upset me. I feel a little lied to and misled and i am stuggling to regain my day in a good. part of it is really that the phone called required me to give more effort to the day than i was planning, more work...but i guess that is what i agreed to in coming here... freedom is not with out its price and really i would not trade anything i am doing...but i wish i did not get discouraged so easily. i am being purposefully vague so as not harm anyone but i wanted to get out my feelings. i had some really good advice recently, a woman who works with the girls in the trade told me you can not be swayed by the ups and downs. you have to stay even....because you will have amazing highs and new hope for the girls and then at any minute it can be smashed with disappointment and betrayl. I used to give this analogy to my servant team members that God is like a straight line--steady and unmoving and we as humans tend to be squiggly line--all over the freaken place and to take that into consideration when things in kolkata make you feel out of control...remember God is steady and most certainly in control. So i am trying to take my own and my friends wise advice today but it is certainly a stuggle.

just a few good things about today...kristin offered to make me breakfast after the upsetting phone call, i got to see Shopna at sari bari, a beautiful little girl of one of the ladies and i learned how to say " do think i am stupid/a fool" in bengali (it is an idiom not a literal translation)--goes like this " tumi amake bhoka peyecho". try it out on your friends if you are feeling bold.

Friday, August 25, 2006

okay yeah so i have not written anything personal about myself for more than a month....sorry. I feel like i have been really up and down and just barely keeping my head above water. I want to be like my blog hero kristin keen who writes on her blog like 4 or 5 times a week but it seems when i am tired that this is the first thing to go....

good things that have happened recently
went to the gatch today and spent 6 hours with kiran going around talking with girls, drinking teas, talking about freedom, why i am not married, and life in general. I helped one of the girls use a food processor to make her masala...she bought it for some reason and decided to take it out today and try it for the first time...really fun and funny...some benefits of being a western...you can help explain how to use a food processor...really weird to see one being used in that context...we do not even have a food processor.

we have 8 new girls come to work with us at subcontracting non profit for sari bari...all from the same brothel. this is amazing...what we want really...to see whole brothels getting freedom. really cool to visit them and encourage them outside of work....they are all currently stuggling with consistant attendance so keep them in your prayers.

i excercise pretty consistant here but we restarted the circuit training workout that we were doing when i first got here (check out ocotber 2005 blog for the workout) and wow--i am still sore after three days...i thought i was in shape...i guess yoga and pilates and body by jake do not hold much sway against circuit--i think it is the push ups that kill me most of all.

we went to bangalore which was sweet. got some good advice and i can see how God will use to draw kristin and I into better relationship and better community in the future. and can i say that is always better to argue and get things out in the open...kristin and i always have a great day right after working out our issues.

Some fun and Funny things
just so you know ---you should not touch "explosive things" this was posted in the kolkata metro. i just want to know how i will know unless i touch it.

seeing young indian men in really tight pants that have waists higher than their belly button with the shirt tucked in.

a sad thing
a beloved pastor here in kolkata passed away. i attended his church during my first couple years here and currently attend the bengali fellowship his church planted. this man was amazing and kolkata has been changed and made a much much better place because of his life and ministry.

what jesus is saying
have you heard that song by cold play called message....that song really spoke to me yesterday. it inspired some thoughts on what it means to be lost and found...and consider what areas in my life i am still lost. i am found person with lost parts of my heart...still need to reflect on this more but read luke 15 the whole chapter and let me know if you have a thought or 2.


I

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Changed it again

I think this one will stick...did not feel the sneech theme was all me :)

Monday, August 21, 2006

Bored with my blog

I am one of those people who always changes my room around. And i have had this blog format for more than a year and i am little bored...so i changed it. and decide one of my favorite stories should be the title of my blog...if you have never read it check it out below. The story is just a good reminder that no matter where you are in the world people are the same, everywhere they are human and beautiful and fragile and broken and like the sneeches , special just because they exist.
Bellies With Stars
THE SNEETCHES by Dr. Suess

Now the Star-bellied Sneetches had bellies with stars. The Plain-bellied Sneetches had none upon thars. The stars weren't so big; they were really quite small. You would think such a thing wouldn't matter at all. But because they had stars, all the Star-bellied Sneetches would brag, "We're the best kind of Sneetch on the beaches."
With their snoots in the air, they would sniff and they'd snort, " We'll have nothing to do with the plain-bellied sort." And whenever they met some, when they were out walking, they'd hike right on past them without even talking.
When the Star-bellied children went out to play ball, could the Plain-bellies join in their game? Not at all! You could only play ball if your bellies had stars, and the Plain-bellied children had none upon thars.
When the Star-bellied Sneetches had frankfurter roasts, or picnics or parties or marshmallow toasts, they never invited the Plain-bellied Sneetches. Left them out cold in the dark of the beaches. Kept them away; never let them come near, and that's how they treated them year after year.
Then one day, it seems, while the Plain-bellied Sneetches were moping, just moping alone on the beaches, sitting there, wishing their bellies had stars, up zipped a stranger in the strangest of cars.
"My friends, " he announced in a voice clear and keen, "My name is Sylvester McMonkey McBean. I've heard of your troubles; I've heard you're unhappy. But I can fix that; I'm the fix-it-up chappie. I've come here to help you; I have what you need. My prices are low, and I work with great speed, and my work is one hundred per cent guaranteed."
Then quickly, Sylvester McMonkey McBean put together a very peculiar machine. Then he said, "You want stars like a Star-bellied Sneetch? My friends, you can have them . . . . for three dollars each. Just hand me your money and climb on aboard."
They clambered inside and the big machine roared. It bonked. It clonked. It jerked. It berked. It bopped them around, but the thing really worked. When the Plain-bellied Sneetches popped out, they had stars! They actually did, they had stars upon thars!
Then they yelled at the ones who had stars from the start, "We're exactly like you; you can't tell us apart. We're all just the same now, you snooty old smarties. Now we can come to your frankfurter parties!"
"Good grief!" groaned the one who had stars from the first. "We're still the best Sneetches, and they are the worst. But how in the world will we know," they all frowned, "if which kind is what or the other way 'round?"
Then up stepped McBean with a very sly wink, and he said, "Things are not quite as bad as you think. You don't know who's who, that is perfectly true. But come with me, friends, do you know what I'll do? I'll make you again the best Sneetches on beaches, and all it will cost you is ten dollars eaches.
Belly stars are no longer in style, " said McBean. "What you need is a trip through my stars-off machine. This wondrous contraption will take off your stars, so you won't look like Sneetches who have them on thars."
That handy machine, working very precisely, removed all the stars from their bellies quite nicely. Then, with snoots in the air, they paraded about. They opened their beaks and proceeded to shout, "We now know who's who, and there isn't a doubt, the best kind of Sneetches are Sneetches without."
Then, of course those with stars all got frightfully mad. To be wearing a star now was frightfully bad. Then, of course old Sylvester McMonkey McBean invited them into his stars-off machine. Then, of course from then on, you can probably guess, things really got into a horrible mess.
All the rest of the day on those wild screaming beaches, the Fix-it-up-Chappie was fixing up Sneetches. Off again, on again, in again, out again, through the machine and back round about again, still paying money, still running through, changing their stars every minute or two, until neither the Plain- nor the Star-bellies knew whether this one was that one or that one was this one or which one was what one or what one was who!
Then, when every last cent of their money was spent, the Fix-It-Up-Chappie packed up and he went. And he laughed as he drove in his car up the beach, "They never will learn; no, you can't teach a Sneetch!"
But McBean was quite wrong, I'm quite happy to say, the Sneetches got quite a bit smarter that day. That day, they decided that Sneetches are Sneetches, and no kind of Sneetch is the BEST on the beaches. That day, all the Sneetches forgot about stars, and whether they had one or not upon thars.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

will the sun come out tomorrow

rain, rain go away. not sure what's up but everytime i come back from bangalore--which was absolutely amazing i feel like i hit a wall in kolkata. maybe it just makes me more aware of the spiritual stuff going on here. if you read this pray for us. oh and back to the rain comment--it has been raining for the past two days straight which also contributes to things kinda feeling like a bummer.

reading a great book by howard schultz the starbucks guy....i am very inspired and hope we can see something similarly amazing happen with sari bari....a girl can dream right!!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Treasures in Jars of Clay

2 Corinthians 4: 5-18
5 Remember, our Message is not about ourselves; we're proclaiming Jesus Christ, the Master. All we are is messengers, errand runners from Jesus for you. 6 It started when God said, "Light up the darkness!" and our lives filled up with light as we saw and understood God in the face of Christ, all bright and beautiful. 7 If you only look at us , you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That's to prevent anyone from confusing God's incomparable power with us. 8 As it is, there's not much chance of that. You know for yourselves that we're not much to look at. We've been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we're not demoralized; we're not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; 9 we've been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn't left our side; we've been thrown down, but we haven't broken. 10 What they did to Jesus, they do to us— trial and torture, mockery and murder; what Jesus did among them, he does in us— he lives! 11 Our lives are at constant risk for Jesus' sake, which makes Jesus' life all the more evident in us. 12 While we're going through the worst, you're getting in on the best! 13 We're not keeping this quiet, not on your life. Just like the psalmist who wrote, "I believed it, so I said it," we say what we believe. 14 And what we believe is that the One who raised up the Master Jesus will just as certainly raise us up with you, alive. 15 Every detail works to your advantage and to God's glory: more and more grace, more and more people, more and more praise! 16 So we're not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. 17 These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. 18 There's far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can't see now will last forever.


I have thinking, praying and reflecting on this passage of scripture for the last couple of weeks. And I am so drawn by the Jars of clay part. I still have the mind of an artist even when I am not being very disciplined about actually creating anything but I love the visual message of this passage. We have treasure and not only do we have a treasure we have it something fragile and frail, we have it in a jar of clay

Notes for Verse 7
Verse 7. But we - Not only the apostles, but all true believers.

Have this treasure - Of divine light, love, glory.

In earthen vessels - In frail, feeble, perishing bodies. He proceeds to show, that afflictions, yea, death itself, are so far from hindering the ministration of the Spirit, that they even further it, sharpen the ministers, and increase the fruit. That the excellence of the power, which works these in us, may undeniably appear to be of God.
Notes for Verse 8
Verse 8. We are troubled, etc. - The four articles in this verse respect inward, the four in the next outward, afflictions. In each clause the former part shows the "earthen vessels;" the latter,

"the excellence of the power." Not crushed - Not swallowed up in care and anxiety.

Perplexed - What course to take, but never despairing of his power and love to carry us through.
Notes for Verse 10
Verse 10. Always - Wherever we go.

Bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus - Continually expecting to lay down our lives like him.

That the life also of Jesus might be manifested in our body - That we may also rise and be glorified like him.
Notes for Verse 11
Verse 11. For we who yet live - Who are not yet killed for the testimony of Jesus.

Are always delivered unto death - Are perpetually in the very jaws of destruction; which we willingly submit to, that we may "obtain a better resurrection."
Notes for Verse 12
Verse 12. So then death worketh in us, but life in you - You live in peace; we die daily.

Yet - Living or dying, so long as we believe, we cannot but speak.


I have always love drinking chai out of the little clay cups. In a simple way I have always thought they were so beautiful and at first I could not imagine that you would use this little clay cup only once and then throw it away. But that is exactly what you do you throw it away out into the street and it breaks into a dozen pieces. This fragile thing hold a little bit of Indian treasure called Cha…

The message says we have treasure in “the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives.” So we as God’s people hold a much greater treasure than a cup of Cha. we are the Jars of Clay and the treasure we carry with us is Jesus. And I always wonder why Jesus choose to work through people who fail and stumble and make huge mistakes…I wonder why me. But I am beginning to see that Jesus can use me his little jar of clay because it is not about me but It is about Him. Acknowledging how fragile I am and big and amazing God is keeps me humble and it keeps me constantly leaning on Jesus.

Paul's focus, however, was not on the perishable container but on its priceless contents—God's power dwelling in us. Though we are weak, God uses us to spread his Good News, and he gives us power to do his work. Knowing that the power is his, not ours, should keep us from pride and motivate us to keep daily contact with God, our power source. Our responsibility is to let people see God through us

We hold the treasure for the girls. We hold the power of God within us and we have this treasure to offer our friends (men, women, and children) in kalighat and sonagacchi. And God has chosen you. He has chosen you to bring the treasures of who He is and all that he has to the people in your home and in your workplace. You are the ones who carry a treasure and it is not about you but about the those who still await the treasure. And the scripture promises that it will hard and we will battered by troubles and not know what to do, we will be spiritually terrorized but we will not be defeated, demoralized or without the help and guidance of our Jesus. we have to allow God to shine bright in us so that these jars of clay with light up this city and the world with the love of the only God who can transform it.

India is great so you better be careful!! DANGER!

Check this out!

The Salvation Army Announces:

First Annual International Weekend of Prayer and Fasting for Victims of trafficking

September 29 - October 2
Our vision is for Christians to organize one day in the workplace and one Sunday to focus prayer and intercession on behalf of people who aretrafficked, enslaved and exploited.Petition God to change things, to free the captives, to end these evils,and to guide and empower Christians to serve, to prevent, to rescue and torestore. Register on -line at: http://www.salvationarmyusa.org/trafficking.

Other websites for anti-trafficking information:http://www.iast.net/http://www.salvationist.ca/trafficking

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

A beautifully wet backside

I am sitting here in the email place thoroughly soaked because i stood in a downpour under my umbrella waiting for the wonderfully delicious roasted corn that you can only get in Kolkata or maybe only india. I am wet on my back mostly because of the slant of the rain and kristin and i were carefully covering a young girl also waiting...the rain was so hard it did not really work and we got soaked but we also got the corn...they roast the corn on top of a clay oven and then cover it with lime and salt...it tastes like a mix of corn on the cob and popcorn....mmmmmmm!

Friday, July 28, 2006

Psalms in my heart today

Two Psalms of 23

My side…
God is my kind and compassionate protector and defender, there is nothing that I want that he can not give me

He touches my heart with beauty in the unexpected places of Kolkata and gives me quietness of the heart even in the chaos of the streets

He rebuilds the ruins of my broken heart, he teaches me how to walk so I will not stumble down the cluttered alleyways and he does it so I will thank him.

Even when I walk down the hopeless, life stealing lanes of Sonagacchi, I will not consider hope to be lost because I am not alone and I know they are not alone. His presence and power free me and will free them.

He uses time drinking tea with a woman who prostitutes to lavish his excessive love as we sit side by side with brothel owners, traffickers and the customers who steal all the good things from the hearts of my friends. And in all this I am deeply transformed and I overflow in unexpected ways.

I will never doubt that God is good and that His love is lavished on me eternally and I will continue to be with Him and He with me beyond time.

The other side…
She is alone with no one to protect and defend her. She is in desperate need and so so alone.

She lays down in darkeness and her hearts screams are never silent.

Her insides are wracked in fear and torment. The only path before her is to lay down again and let it happen. And not one person know’s her pain more deeply than Jesus but she does not know He is there.

She stands on the line waiting on the edge of hell and lust, greed and fear pervade the air she breaths. She is always afraid but He is still with her. Memories of home imagined or real give her little relief…she thinks that there is no one who will save her from this daily darkness.

She squats before her kerosene stove hoping maybe it will blow up so will not have to continue to live with her enemies and her masters. She is the only one who gives, everyone takes, they take everything she has and everything she is from the inside out. Only bitterness pours from her eyes…

Most definitely, there is nothing good about this life and she knows that no one truly loves her. She thinks she is alone but He is still with her. And He will be with her until one of His people comes to show her the way out and after that He will be with her beyond all things ending.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Do not miss this...

A friend of the Calcutta people, John Sinclair from New Zeland has made a documentary aboutFreeset called Calcutta Hilton. Freeset is the company near Sonagachi where we take women to have alternative emplyment sewing jute bags. It is really really really good. They have some amazing shots of Sonagachi and have actually filmed some girls we know. Its a great documentary. It tell about the life of the founders ofFreeset as well as some of the women's stories. Please please watch it and tellall your friends about it. It will be on Link TV on July 24 at 12:00 and 6:00.....here is the link that showsthe time and explains the doco further.http://www.linktv.com/programming/programDescription.php4?code=calcutta I don't know how avliable link TV is but i heard about 60 million have access to it.....so watch it.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

I hear Beautiful Voices....

My Friend Amy Cole just put out this new CD. It is a unique and cool update on some pretty sweet hymns. You can preview the songs and buy the CD at http://cdbaby.com/cd/amycole and also check out her website http://www.amycolemusic.com/. Also if you are an Ituner...you can find her on Itunes and download the goodness.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Wisdom from my sister

I have been a little discouraged about God's goodness but these word are a good reminder today. they made me cry in the email place...something i really hate to do!!

"Jesus said there are times when God cannot lift the darkness from you, but you should trust him. At times God will seem like an unkind friend, but he is not; He will appear like an unnatural father, but he is not; He will appear like an unjust God, but he is not. Keep the thought that God is behind all things strong and growing. Not even the smallest detail of life happens unless God's will is behind it. THEREFORE, YOU CAN REST IN PERFECT CONFIDENCE IN HIM!"

Darjeeling Pics...Yes we saw these mountains!!




Thursday, July 13, 2006

just wanna say...

that i am okay. i have had some concerned emails...but really the struggle is part of getting all the good stuff. so just pray for us. going for some KFC after the Gach today...that should be yummy and fun! i think it is weird to be excited about KFC since i never ever ate it in the states.

anyway...

Saturday, July 08, 2006

wrestling and begging

i want the kingdom to come now...this week on wednesday i found myself on my knees begging God to give freedom to our friends and break the chains that are holding them so fast. chains of poverty, chains of injustice, chains of fear, chains of literal slavery and death...i do not know if any of you have every entertained the idea of wrestling with God but dude i felt agressive...i want it now and i am tired of waiting. i begged God in prayer as i circled him with my demands. And like most wrestling matches with God (i guess we only know about one for sure) i left with a limp and some humility but i also feel like i left with some of prayers answered and my faith increased. because God let me battle it out with him, question him, and demand what He has already promised some pretty amazing things have happened in the last week in the gach and there has also been some hard stuff but even in that we are coming out on the other side and we are able to say God did that for us and he did it for our friend mitu and maybe today for our friend china.

this morning we did a community devotion on faith and one of the questions was why in so many of jesus' miracles was the healing dependant on the faith of someone. i do not want what God does in kolkata to be dependant on my faith. my faith is weak and lame to be sure. but i sure do want what God has to give for the women of sonagacchi and it seems as though that is gonna really take a alot of faith. so i guess you could say for the past week i have been having a crisis of faith...not really about whether i believe in God but if i believe he is big enough to heal and redeem what i see here everyday. anyway, back to today, as i reflected on that question, i realized that God wants us to participate in the miracle, you kind of in some ways have to work for miracles (hopefully he includes wrestling and begging as work). You have to believe for them...he asks you to believe before he does it and so he gets the glory and we can not say i did that or they did that...we have to say He did it. he can do whatever he wants, whenever he wants but he wants us to be apart of making it happen by believing Him and being his hands and his feet.

this last week i have often found myself at the end of myself but i am also finding that as i continue to wrestle and beg and He is doing miracles in the lives of friends. mitu is once step closer to freedom and china might have freedom today and Rina and Rina are learing to read and who know where that will lead. and upendra and gita are understanding accountablity and forgiveness and love...and all these things really are miracles and for all these things we are giving God the glory in Kolkata today.

Friday, July 07, 2006

quitting is for quitters

today is one of those days when i would like to quit everything. everything seems hard and frustrating and like tears are the most reasonable reponse to most of lifes problems. mostly i am sure all my extremism...because that is what i am being today....melodramatic and hyper in touch with my own crap. sounds fun huh? more soon ona better day....

Friday, June 30, 2006

Argentina is the better team!

I am still so sad about Argentina losing last night to Germany. Argentina played a way better game than Germany..germany just won in penalty kicks in the end. So sad for the that argentine subsitute goalie i am sure he is hating life and that most of his country is hates is guts right now. Anyway, world cup football (soccer) has been an amazing and enjoyable part of our lives...something different to do and a welcome distraction. We saw the game where argentina beat Serbia Montenagro 6-0. it was beautiful --argentina just passes and handles the ball so beautifully. we watched the game a little timy bar called joeys pub last night with some american travelers...and then came back and had deep and interesting conversations about justice, god's heart, what makes life meaningful and fulfilling....it was good to hear from these three and their longing and searching hearts...and to see their different responses to what we do and we do it. they are all searching for meaning...i guess we all are but kristin and i have already chosen our meaning and purpose and that in so many way defines us.

i love figuring out how messed up i am so i can seek healing in my brokness. I love coconut macaroons for 10 rupees each. i love that kristin thrives when she is with people and helps me thrive too. i love watching world cup football. i love soccer legs. i love sleeping under a heavy quilt and being so warm and comfortable i do not want to get out of bed. i love rest and being a little bored. I love superman returns for it's purity but i love batman better for his complexity, darkside, and the battle he fights within himself.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

cold weather,unstoppable hips, thoughts on faith

we left wednesday night for the hills...we took a train to darjeeling for 10hours. and work up as sore as if we ran a marathon--not sure how that happens...actually, i am not sure that we actually slept. certainly, there was not rem sleep. After the train we took a jeep--sitting 4 across theback seat with kristin and i sitting on less than half of the back seat--youcan sure that kristin got that raw end of that deal as much as i tried to make myself smaller my hips were a upstoppable force and could onlyshift so far. my thought on the drive up included wondeing if my leg would ever regain feeling again, how beautiful god's amazing creation is, why do i live in kolkata and not darjeeling, and well at least it is not HOT!

Last night is the first night in a very long time that i have not been sweaty in my sleep and i was buried under a heavy blanket. it was beautiful. i took a hot shower and felt good and maybe my skin will even clear up in the next 2 days we are here.

kristin and i here to take a retreat. we have spent almost the last 24 hours since we got here seperate being alone with jesus. and we will spend the rest of the time dreaming of what can happening in kolkata in the next years and putting it on paper...

i have spent my time reading romans, ephesians, andhebrews and be reminded that my faith is small and i make God small with my small faith. I am reminded that while i fear failing God, he will NEVER FAIL ME. I am reading this book called BELIEVING GOD and it is ripping my face off...i tried to read it before but it was not connecting this time i am really taking in all that i can in mydesire to have faith that is deep and not swayed by the trials of calcutta.

lots more thoughts to share so i will try and write more tomorrow.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

dreaming for what we will never see...

that is what kolkata requires of us. that we dream for the things that we may never see...

it seems that the deeper we move into the lives of our red light community here the more complex and hard the issues become..yes i know that it is like this in every relationship. But here we are facing so many cultural barriers...we truly want to honor the culture and bring christ into the culture to transform people...but there are some things that seem insurmountable...like a culture of lying and stealing. the poor stealing from the poor, a madam--a victim of trafficking herself selling and owning other girls...these things are devasting on so many levels. and on any one day could kill the HOPE that we seek to have and carry for these women and their families.

so yesterday we were challenged to dream for the things that we will never see...things that won't happen in the next three or six years or even 25 years...but to keep a long term HOPE FILLED mindset. still have yet to fully process this but what an amazing way of thinking and releasing the issues of today into the hope that one day they will no longer be issues.

on fun or funny note....

the boro boro dude
i have a large chest..if you have met me you know this and most of the time i find it a source of frustration and irritation as it incurs a lot of negative attention in this culture. One of my little friends in omaha used to call breasts milkies and in bengali the term for the breast is literally the word for Milk...appropriate huh?

anyway, today again my chest was the source of some great fun and attention but this time from the ladies in the gach. I had 7-8 ladies pulling open my shirt to look at my bra...they were very interested as to where one would get a bra such as mine and how much it cost...which was alot in their mind...hard to explain the cost differences. it was hilarious standing in the middle of the lane talking about my chest size and what kind of bra could possible cost as much mine...fun to talk with them about normal stuff like bra size and weird but fun!!

Monday, June 19, 2006

big parties in small spaces

our little friend opurna is not so little anymore and celebrated her 12th brithday...we thought she was 10 so we were a little shocked but what a fun party. there were literally more than 20 people crammed into a 4x5 floor space dancing and celebrating...it great though in my advanced age a little loud and overwhelming....not to mention hot with all those bodies.

in india you only get the tiniest piece of cake...they share a 8 inch one layer cake between 30people..it is actually perfect...just a taste...with my tendancy to over enjoy cake it is a nice reminder that just a taste is more than a enough and cake is better when shared with lots of people you love.

Julian and Charlotte...our new cool british friends were at the party...they took over our old flat so now they are friends with our old neighbor...really fun to have our community of friends stay connected to our old neighborhood.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

just my life

so this week is just like one of those weeks where i just am i awe that this is my life...and what a weird life it is... we are having our house painted and it is certainly an adventure in the culture...the paint colors are exactly what we planned for and the rains are finally back so we are getting good sleep but just keep finding more and more water damage...

i am in full on dread that the warm red that i chose for my room could turn out to be pink...i will die...seriously!!

we have the best time last night with this really cool couple from the UK. I feel like they will really be our friends...it was like home, we watched football, shared a beer, some good conversation about life, jesus and politics....it was so real and so beautiful and so fun!! i have not had that much for a long time...really i forgot that we would get locked out of our house at 10pm and i never forget those kind of things...

upendra has been sick this week and i feel a little weary between time at sari bari and painting and try to keep it together mental, emotionally and spiritual.

we had small group at our house on thursday and it was really good but in a calcutta kind of way. i was facilitating and we were doing lecto divina and on the parable of lazarus and that rich man and this huge storm blew in and it was really loud...so while it was not the quite reflective time i was hoping for it was really good and we had good challenging conversation about what that passage means to us in a place where lazarus is literally at our front gate and we encounter him daily...pretty profound to have this conversation with a group of people who have given themselves to full service with and for the poor.

well, i am off to the hardware store to get more paint and sandpaper and a hammer and nails....wish me luck....oh one more thing, kristin and i are fasting from saturday (today) to monday the 19th...so pray for us...we are just wanting more jesus here so that is the theme....and join us by giving up a meal if you are up for it.

Monday, June 12, 2006

it's sooooooo hot!

whew...the last few days have been so humid...like the kind of hot that you never really dry off because you are sweating all the time and you smell by the end of the day like a gym bag that's been sitting full of stinky sock for 2 days. i mean seriously it is so gross here right now...moonsoon has started and there was some relief to the heat of may but now it is just this pensive gloomy humidity with no rain---rain would be good to really cool it down again. okay, enough venting about the heat...i am escaping it momentarirly by sitting in the email place.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

finally a good day

i would caterogorize these last weeks since returning from the states as pretty rough...certainly with lots of ups and downs. I think i feel like i never really got a break and when i re-entered the culture i was not ready to face it on top of which we have been in transition for the last month and things are not really changing as far as settling down...hopefully by the end of the month.

actually, today did not start off so good but it kept getting better. I went to a new minstry that we (sari bari) are partnering with and training more ladies and it was good to see how they are doing and the positive efforts being made to a new life...they still have a very long way to go but it was hopeful all the same...

and i think what i needed this morning was a little bit of hope being restored. i just told kristin this morning how discouraged i was...so piling on a little hope has seemed to take the edge off...

then i went to sari bari kalighat and had a great time with the ladies---we laughed and laughed---my bengali is not sophisticted enough to make jokes except for joking about the way i speak bengali and the american accent with which i speak it....i had then rolling as i told them stories of speaking mistakes and being made fun of because of my nasal way of speaking (hey this is not just me everyone here thinks americans are nasal). it was good to laugh and have fun with them after some of the struggles of the last weeks...

and last but not least i aslo accomplished something else that i have been trying to do for weeks...i bought a power strip for my computer...now this may not seem like a big deal except for here in calcutta you have to go to this specific market and ask at many, many shops before you find it. I FOUND IT! i have been waylaid by lack of time, torrential rain and general weariness but today i triumped!!

one more thing...my language class was canceled for tonight which means a night off and some rest--who hooooooooo!

Monday, June 05, 2006

unto us a child is born...

Just wanted to let everyone know that Upendra and Rada have welcomed a beautiful baby boy into the world (last thursday) finally. Mom and baby are doing great..Rada was one of 2 women who did not have a c-section in a ward of 40 women...they are a little over zealous with the" ceaser" as they call it here. He does not have a name yet but i am told they will decide one soon...they are new christians so they are thinking of giving him the name "jesus"and calling him by another nickname--common here to have a bhalo (good name) name and a choto name (little). whatever the name i am sure he will be an amazing kid!

Friday, June 02, 2006

The Sari Bari Blog


Check it out...Sari Bari now has a blog with all the lastest pictures of blankets being produced. i will try to post updates on what's happening and how soon you might be able to purchase one of these beauties!!

www.saribari.blogspot.com

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Some pics from my Birthday




The first picture is of me and Gita---Gita is the Sari Bari trainer and a sweet girl of 18 who has been a great job helping us out with sari bari. The Second pic is me receiving a hug from one of the ladies and the third is of my very special Sari Bari Birthday Blanket--made from all the scraps with special embroidery "Happy Birthday Sarah Sister". And finally we have Upendra, the Sari Bari Asst. Production Manager--his wife should be having a baby any day now.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

still weird

yesterday's weirdness did not end with my blog entry...after i left the email place i was walking into the market and this young well dressed indian man basically acosted me and would not let me pass. he was kneeling in front of me and babling in english and hindi (i speak bengali not hindi)and i could not make out much except "please" and "jesus christ"...he grabbed me at one point and i told him firmly not to do that again...but then every time i moved to get away he would move in front of me again still babbling...making no sense. after trying to get away for about 3 minutes and get to the entrance to the market i finally pushed (generally against my principles to use violence) him...this did not stop him still he blocked my way and babbled...i was almost to the point of fear and panick when about 12 indian men came to my rescue and asked me what was happening...i told them i did not know but i wanted to get away from the man....and at the that point the man got up and left. really, really weird...i could not stop thinking about it all night...

i feel like a heaviness hangs on me today....not feeling my best. kristin is in dehli till friday so maybe just feeling a little lonely. Our friend and co-worker Upendra's wife has been in the hospital for 5 days awaiting the arrival of their baby--nothing is wrong--not sure why they have her in the hospital for what basically seems to be normal stuff...who can fathom the minds of the indian hospital system...anyway, Upendra and Rada are both wearing out and ready for this baby to come--please keep them in your prayers.