Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Charotte's 30th Birthday

Last night we celebrated Charlotte's Birthday at Quepies....a restuarant in Kolkata. Maybe the best restaurant in kolkata. It had charm, great service and the food was amazing indian bengali food. i am going to take anyone who comes to this really was amazing. we were in a private room because we had a little wine for the celebration and it reminded me of my great grandmothers house for some reason. its good to have good friends and celebrations! these little things add to the richness of life...mixed in with the hard, good, amazing, horrible, devasting, powerful and beautiful thing, it makes for a pretty good road to walk.

i just bought Amos Lee on itunes. this guy is amazing.
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New life in the City

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Sunday, March 25, 2007

10 things i thought about in the last week

10. can trade be fair? is company responsible only for the person who works for them or for their whole family? is it possible for their to be justice in consumerism?

9. how would miranda sorbet soda taste as a float, ya know if we added ice cream?

8. every day i think about Deepa and Asha and ask God help us, help them out of the sex trade and onto the road to freedom

7. this quote from a devotion: ""nine-tenths of our suffering is caused by others not thinking so much of us as we think they ought" Mary Lyon

6. my brother...i want him to be happy!

5. my sister and grace

4. whether or not we would get tickets to see the namesake...this ended up being really funny because i ended up really worrying out loud about this...and end up cracking up with kristin. dang i wish i could kill worry in my heart. no we did not get tickets :)

3. why don't i lose weight when i fast? this is not a reason to fast i know but still i wonder....

2. when will i cut my hair, how should i cut my hair? when will my hair stop falling out?

1. can i really be this happy? can sari bari really be this good? HOPE is definitely the answer( jesus is the only only hope)...and then more thoughts about thought number 10 and how can we really make sari bari "fair" and "redemptive" in everyway for everyone who works and purchases....

Sunday, March 18, 2007

More on Freedom Day

Watch this video!

Freedom Day, Sunday March 25th

If you are in so cal you can attend the Freedom Day program. End the trafficking of persons and modern slavery through awareness and advocacy! You can use your voice because they can not use theirs. Abolition now!!

CONTACT: Greg Russinger
Freedom Day Coordinator
(805) 701-0079

Modern-Day Abolitionists Unite to End Slavery
Freedom Day Promotes Awareness of Human Trafficking

WHO: A Coalition of NGOs, Faith Communities, Universities, Artists and Individuals

WHAT: On the 200th anniversary of Britain’s abolition of slavery by Parliament,
non-government organizations, government agencies, faith-based
organizations, artistic organizations, students and community members are joining together to raise awareness, network, and mobilize against modern-day slavery and human trafficking. Freedom Day will feature a series of films, music, art, and learning forums as people come together in support of this modern abolitionist movement.

WHEN: Sunday, March 25, 2007
2:00-7:00 P.M. PST

WHERE: Vanguard University (courtyard outside of Heath Hall)
55 Fair Drive
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

While many believe that slavery ended in the 1800’s, the sad truth is that slavery still exists in disturbing numbers throughout the world. Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery – and it is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) approximately 600,000 to 800,000 victims are trafficked across international borders worldwide each year. An alarming 14,500 to 17,500 of those victims are being trafficked annually into the United States. Victims of trafficking are men, women and children that are subjected to force, fraud, or coercion, for the purpose of commercial sex or forced labor.

For more information about Freedom Day and to pre-register for this free event, please visit

Friday, March 16, 2007

What happened today in kolkata (taken from the Times of India)

KOLKATA: About 100 people were arrested in various parts of West Bengal on Friday as bandh supporters beat up government officials, torched a bus and disrupted rail and road traffic during an opposition-sponsored general strike to protest the police firing at Nandigram.

Roads wore a deserted look as vehicles kept off roads while train services on both Howrah and Sealdah divisions were disrupted.

A state-owned bus was set on fire in Sealdah area of the city on Friday morning by bandh supporters. They also pelted stones and damaged a few buses at Landsdowne, Hastings, Beliaghata and Beadon Street (we live near this one but stayed away of course), Deputy Commissioner of Police (HQ) PK Chatterjee said.

Around 100 bandh supporters were arrested for disrupting traffic and damaging buses in the metropolis, he said.

In North Dinajpur district, Congress supporters beat up the Additional District Magistrate and four top officials. Deputy Magistrate Probhat Chatterjee was admitted to hospital in a critical condition, Home Secretary PR Roy said.

Roy said road and rail blockades were put up by the bandh supporters at different places in the state which were removed by the police.

Railway sources said that train services in both Howrah and Sealdah divisions were hit due to picketing at various stations by the bandh supporters.

Most of the long distance trains were stranded at different stations due to picketing, the sources said.

Metro Railway however maintained its services.

About a dozen flights belonging to different airlines took off for their destinations by 7.15 in the morning.

The strike was called by Trinamool Congress, Congress, BJP and Socialist Unity Centre of India in protest against the police action on the villagers of Nandigram that claimed at least 14 lives on Wednesday.

Be the change you want to see in the World

I am blog copier...any way this one is for a good cause.

From Daphne's blog:
jara pointed me to kid, zach hunter, who is working to abolish modern day slavery. he's 15 years old. watch this video. you can also read about him at the IJM website. he is super inspiring. and if that isn't enough you can read more here.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

cultural phenomenon

this is definitely cultural. every evening the men of the city settle down in the parks to play cards till it gets dark. And they gather round the Chai shops and cigarette shops and sit in small groups and talk or not talk as it may be. i was standing on my veranda tonight looking down and marveling at this little phenom. i mean it is all over the city...the casual gathering on the and poor do it. though i have noticed that poor guys are often asleep on the street by 8pm..sure they have had a hard day of labor that lets them sleep through anything. tonight, i am wondering what they are talking about and what pulls them out of their houses and away from their families every night. We actually have the communist party sitting outside in chair just in front our place. they just sit there looking intimidating and important...i just wonder why.

i think it just might have to be one of those questions i ask God in heaven. maybe i won't care by then...

tomorrow there will be a huge strike in Kolkata and all of west Bengal. it appears that it might be violent and there could be some pretty serious chaos since the police are the target of the protest. if you want to read about it click here and here and here.

apparently, the police opened fire on 300 women who were standing in front of the male villagers who were well prepared to fight for their homes. The police were there in an attempt to quell a protest by villagers against the opening of a TATA chemical factory. people here are really angry. it is a very volatile and political situation.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

How the world shapes up...

Just read this thanks to daphne, really interesting. checkout the link by clicking on the title of this blog entry.

Friday, March 09, 2007

today at the gach

We were feeling pretty crappy and ready to leave the gach at around 4pm today so we went down the flyer lane and I ran into a lady I know and used to talk with a lot and while were talking with her we ran into these 2 young girls and right away I asked them how long they had been there and if they wanted new work…and they came with us right away to freeset and they will start on Tuesday!!! So I am supposed to go pick them up at 930am on Tuesday. Their names are asha and deepa. Asha is 20 and was married early, her husband sold her into the trade in benaras and I think she was rescued and she said her husband is in jail and she has a 2 month old daughter and has only been in the gach for 2 months. And she really wants to leave and is really, really excited about it. Deepa is married and has a husband and a small daughter and she is only 18. she is also really interested to have a job that honors her family… her husband knows she works the line but will be supportive of her leaving. We were at freeset till about 530 talking with the girls about freedom and new work. So a rough day turned into an amazing day!! lots of reasons to have hope that new life is possible in dark and awful places!!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

where your treasure is...

last night small group was amazing. we had a full house of regulars and a few guests fellowshipping over ground nut stew, fried eggplant and watermelon. we listened to shane claiborne's talk from the beggars society and while that was certainly was the conversation afterwards that was truly amazing and powerful.

two things stood out to me...the most powerful question was this...if what we do has benefit to us (which we all agreed being here in kolkata in relationship with the poor is a gift in our lives) then what is the cost? is there a cost? having come off a couple of amazing weeks at sari bari i am currently living in the benefits. because i am seeing transformation and in the process of working with the women to see their lives made new, my life is being made new. the benefit of being in relationship with poor persons is powerful, meaningful and life changing. everyone sitting around that room confessed it. the couple of weeks i have been realizing that leaving here does not feel like much of an option...i think this is a good thing. so the costs are there....but the benefits are real which leads me to the next thing that really ripped my face off...

the second thing was "where your treasure is there you heart will be also" i think we usually get it turned around the idea that where our heart is then that's where our treasure is....but our heart goes to the place we treasure not the other way around right? so if my treasure in things like finding the perfect guy and getting married, having a sucessful life, a comfortable life then that's where my heart will be....but more and more everyday, my treasure is here in the faces of the gach and certainly in the lives of the women at sari bari and so that is where my treasure is...that is what is changing my life. because my heart has followed and what i treasure is need for things is changing, because i see my friends without these it makes me re-evaluate what i need. my treasure is in jesus and the things he cares about...some of the time, hopefully moving to all the time. my treasure is in the lives of the women of kolkata and so that is where my heart is these days....more than ever.

this is so unprocessed but i am still kind of reeling from the goodness of the last couple of weeks and amazing gift it is to see a 35 year old woman write her name for the first time, and another woman to be proud of herself, and all of us this last week learn about the power of forgiveness and what unforgiveness costs us.

alright its friday morning i am off to the gach today. planning to have time this weekend to blog more.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

bringing back the old

This article was republished by in their journal. thought i would share with you all.

Seed Share: A Return to the Garden

by Sarah Lance

This article originally appeared in The Cry: The Advocacy Journal of Word Made Flesh vol. 8, no. 1 (Spring 2002)

I cut nails for a living. I take the hands and feet of the sweet women of Kolkata, India into my hands and cut their nails. It is simple and seemingly not so profound an act, but it is the beginning of a return to the Garden. By a return to the Garden, I mean the place where we as humans are safe, secure, and unashamed before one another and God. Cutting fingernails for my dear sisters in Kolkata is the beginning of breaking down the wall that separates and isolates one human from another. It is the beginning of intimacy.

The process begins simply. She offers me her hand. Really, she is not just offering me her hand she is offering me her heart, so I receive it as a gift. I take her hand and examine her fingernails. Her hands are rather dirty one finger does not even have a fingernail. Looking at my hands, I see that they are also rather dirty; in Kolkata the dirt clings and finds a happy home in nail beds. Actually, I think my fingernails need cutting more than hers. I have discovered that fingernail cutting is not really the main reason for our contact. Really, our hands are meeting in friendship, four hands meeting together to engage in the grand act of fingernail cutting so that we can begin our relationship and begin to break down the walls that separate us. I am learning that intimacy can begin in small acts of service. Continue reading this article.

Sarah is currently joining hands with women from Kolkatas red-light districts in a Word Made Flesh business initiative called Sari Bari. Her hearts deep desire is to walk with these women as their lives are made new in the spiritual, emotional and physical. For more information see

Word Made Flesh

Word Made Flesh (WMF) is a US international community that seeks to establish justice with the poorest of the poor. WMF has over 230 members living in mega-cities of the majority world. They seek to transform people through the proclamation of the powerful love of Jesus, through communities, through advocacy for the poor and through compassion. WMF staffers might be found in garbage heaps in Romania seeking out abandoned children or amongst women and children used for the sex trade in Asia or amongst the homeless youth sniffing paint to cure hunger pains in South America. Their unique and incarnational desire to serve people exemplifies Jesus life on earth. The previous story is taken from a compilation of journals focusing on various attributes that help us live as examples of Christ. Take a look at the work and vision of Word Made Flesh at

learning to let others fail

i am extremly hard on myself most of the time...i have high standards for myself and that often translates in to having a hard time failing. oh i know we all hate to least i know that i do. the thing is i fail all the time...i fail myself and i fail others...i can not be what i want to be..or as paul say so well...why do i do the things i do not want to do. what a complex mixture of beauty and failure we all are... however, this difficulty i have failing also often means that i have a hard time letting others fail. i want everybody to be happy, healthy and failure free. i want to protect those around me the crash and burn that i so easily find myself in at least on a weekly basis. i want to give advice or i guess you could say control situations where i am aware failure can happen. however, i know i can not fix and or protect those around me and i just need to let them fail. i mean that's how i learn...i learn by screwing up completely. it is just so hard to keep my mouth shut sometimes...i want to give the answer when the question has not been asked. i often annoy myself because i have this tendancy to take everything out to the very end....from step one to 20 i project how things will happen as a result of single action. i do this to myself and i do this to people around me....i really try not too but sometime i can not stop mind goes there without my permission. one of the big lessons of the last two weeks had been learning to keep my mouth shut and those around me fail and learn for is a weird thing because i almost feel like i have to withdraw in order to let it happen. i hoping it gets easier. i am hoping being a kind, gentle, cheerleader and servant is the kind of leader i will become...i do not want to control. darn that tendancy to want to make things control. it is so ugly. even this blog entry is tool in helping me process this...letting people fail thing...because i am taking out my feelings here instead of on a person i fear might fail.

i mean i am running sari bari on the fail first and fix it plan. why can't i let others do the same....praying for lots of grace today.... yeah grace, that is vocab word i know but not one i have really let in to my heart for myself and maybe i have let it in for the sari bari ladies more than anyone else because i have grace a million miles long for them but it does not extend everywhere to everyone. so i guess grace takes right now i am practicing and hoping that one day it will come naturally. dont they say it takes 2 weeks to form a habit...i have been working on this letting others fail things for a couple of weeks now but it still not a habit. super glad to serve a GOD that is a thousand times more gracious that i am...lord help me.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

the power of hardwork

i woke up this morning really tired and a little overwhelmed at having go to the atm to get money to sari bari's rent at 630am. I did not want to face the street today but i ploughed through singing " i need thee every hour" as i walked past a few hollers and hoots in my direction. I got the money and went to the market and got some milk for a good cup of hot cinnamin milk to enjoy with 2 corithians chapter one. i sat out on our veranda in the cool blowing breeze and was blown away by how directly i needed the words of first corinthians

He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort— we get a full measure of that, too. When we suffer for Jesus, it works out for your healing and salvation. If we are treated well, given a helping hand and encouraging word, that also works to your benefit, spurring you on, face forward, unflinching. Your hard times are also our hard times.
When we see that you're just as willing to endure the hard times as to enjoy the good times, we know you're going to make it, no doubt about it.

not sure why this encouraged me so much...i guess it made me feel not so alone. and i reassured of the healing that will come from a faithful God.

and finally putting my bible down i had a few minutes to reflect on yesterday. yesterday was the first of the month...payday for sari bari. And the end of the first month of our 7 ladies in training. they got their first paycheck...or really just their first training supplement. And their response was suprising to me and so beautiful. each one of them had a similar reponse...pride! Good pride...that kind that reminds you that are valuable and can do something to make a difference in your own circumstance. They knew from a simple paycheck that their work has value, that they have value. and while we know their value is not in their ability to is step in the right direction for these women to be empowered. for most of them this was their first payday ever from a real job...their words not mine. one lady said from my own trouble i earned this money. i wanted to cry. i am sold out on giving people jobs as a means for empowerment. a job does what a hand out can gives hope and belief in self. these new ladies are so amazing and i am so so proud of them!!