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 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 hurts her to think about it. we have to let her go if she 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 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.

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 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 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.


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 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

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:

Other websites for anti-trafficking information:

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 tastes like a mix of corn on the cob and popcorn....mmmmmmm!