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 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 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 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 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 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 is amazing to have a community around you to walk with you through these 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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...