Saturday - leave Texas (it was already Sunday in India by the time we left)
Sunday (very late) - land in Delhi
Monday - Delhi Tuesday - travel to Calcutta (Kolkata)
Wednesday - visit Purulia Thursday - visit islands of West Bengal
That's the stories you've read about thus far.
Here's what we did the rest of the trip and what I'll cover in the next few posts: Friday - travel to Kerala
Saturday & Sunday - visit with students in Kerala Monday - travel to Rajasthan
Tuesday & Wednesday - visit missionaries, BOH center, meet students in Rajasthan
Thursday - travel to Delhi
Friday - see some sites in Delhi and head back to the U.S.
Saturday - arrived back in Dallas
Kerala is home to our ministry headquarters in India. Brother KP grew up in Kerala. We have a seminary in south Kerala. Kerala is also the location where apostle Thomas (you know, the one from Scripture) landed when he went to share the Gospel with those in India. AMAZING! I was quite tired at this point in our trip (and it was also incredibly hot and humid) so I don't think the enormity of it all sunk in right away. But, now that I think about it, it was pretty incredible to stand where they think Thomas landed.
Speaking of tired, I feel like I wasted some of the time in Kerala because of my fatigue. Many tours have Kerala as the last stop. I like that we got a chance to rest a little between seeing ministry work in West Bengal and Rajasthan, because I was emotionally exhausted and needed the recharge.
We arrived at the campus on Friday. Friday evening was all-night prayer for the students and staff. After getting settle and eating some yummy dinner, we headed down to the big amphitheater for the service. It was hot, but incredibly encouraging.
I didn’t last long. My legs felt like gigantic weights that were inflating by the minute and my eyelids were drooping beyond my blinks to keep them open.
We got a good night’s rest and were able to do some laundry. I have to say that figuring out a German washing machine in India was a bit tricky. I’m still not sure I really washed our clothes correctly. But, some of our girls found the Bible college girls doing laundry--what am I complaining about?
We also had internet access and a phone line to the U.S. It was awesome to call my kids and chat for a bit. My mom was here with them and they were having a blast.
Saturday morning we toured the ministry headquarters and the seminary campus. We got to see a printing press. It was great. There are so many languages in Asia! We saw piles for over a dozen different languages of the same tract. And, GFA prints more than 30 million tracts each year! The awesome thing about tracts in India is that they get read! Printed materials are so much more valuable to the people, so they read them and pass them on. The average tract gets read more than half a dozen times. Talk about a great return on your investment--considering you can purchase 200 tracts for just $1 through GFA.
That evening we did a little socializing with the girls on campus. They had some skits and songs and we had a blast.
Sunday we attended worship on campus. It was awesome. Again, I was incredibly tired so I don’t think I was able to enjoy it as much in the moment. Looking back, my fatigue at this point in the trip is my biggest regret of the entire two weeks. But, I distinctly remember the joy of one worship song (that happened to be a favorite) and realizing I was getting a taste of heaven--every tongue and tribe and nation praising the Lord in unison!
Most of the girls on the trip made some great friendships in Kerala. They talked to the girls in the Bible college and seminary. The boys spent time with the young men on campus. I slept for a few hours Sunday afternoon. Really, I was just exhausted!
One thing I distinctly remember about Kerala is the amazing food. It was all incredibly delicious!I also loved meeting our counterparts in the Indian office. Again, I could say “Oh, you do Carol’s job” or “This is who the Mission department talks to here.” It was neat to see the direct link between what we do here in the U.S. and what is happening in Asia.
This is Emily holding a report she sent to India just before we left the U.S. She was very excited to see the direct link to her work!
We left Kerala on Monday to fly north to Rajasthan. Once again, we had flight issues. The airport was 3 hours north of the ministry offices, so our wait turned into quite the experience.
Turns out, they were paving the runway! What?! Yep, re-paving the runway. Crazy! So, they just cancelled our flights.
We finally got a flight to Mumbai, stayed in a hotel there for about 6 hours and then flew up to Rajasthan. Oh, it was interesting.