Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Another Guest Blogger- My Mommy!

(This blog is written by my mom, Debbie, after their visit over Christmas!)

Our visit was such a blessing.

We knew it was a hard place to live. We had heard stories from our kids and parents of other kids who had lived there. But it was important to us that we see it. We needed to experience it to understand our kids' lives there. And it was very overwhelming at first. We became more at ease with the chaos as time went by, but I don't think I could ever live there.

We wanted to see what they dealt with daily, and did, but I was BLESSED to see how equipped they are to live there. God knew their future and developed in them personality traits that would make them useful to him in this place.

Kathy has a strong will and boldness. She has always been able to stand up and speak her mind. Sometimes, as a teenager, that didn't seem like a good thing!  But I saw her strongly stand up to people who think they can take advantage of her because she is a foreigner. God made her the way he needed her to be. He gave her an ability to learn language well. He gave her a heart for children to teach and to love. He gave her a passion to help women. I can SEE God using her as he designed.

Kyle has such an easy going personality.  I see that at work as he calmly drives through the chaotic streets. I promise you that this was God's design, most of us could not do that!  When we first met Kyle, it was jokingly said that he never met a stranger. His ability to just start chats with people benefits him so much.  I can SEE God using him as he designed.

So all of who they are now and how they are used was begun long ago as God equipped them. I am comforted by realizing this and seeing them serve. I am grateful for God's plan.

I am a BLESSED mom!


Saturday, January 10, 2015

Kelli's Visit- A Special Guest Blogger!

This is a post, written by my sister, Kelli, after she and my parents visited us in our city for Christmas 2014! (But first, an amendment to a previous post- the beautiful, flowering plant against the hideous concrete wall was ripped out shortly after my post was written... and as the saying goes, "This is India!")

It had been a very long year and 3 months since I had seen them and felt their hugs.

When I saw the faces of Kathy and Kyle, I felt like things were finally right.

When Corinth’s sweet smile greeted me with the words “I love you Auntie Kel”, my heart melted.

And when I got to hold my baby nephew Noah for the very first time, I was overwhelmed with joy.

8,400 miles away… and I was at home. Because my family is my home.

 India is a completely different world. So many people crowded everywhere. Bicycles, motor bikes, autos, rickshaws. With no lanes, or any rules on the road at all for that matter, car horns are constantly sounding. Animals roam freely. Cows, birds, pigs, water buffalo, dogs, chipmunks, goats, donkeys. Oh and those monkeys!

 The rhythmic up and down inflections of the Hindi language call out from market workers and shop owners. Bangles and head scarfs adorn the women whose small frames conceal the strength that they possess. Every so often, a bright smile overcomes the face of a hardworking man. Often when he sees the blonde pigtails of my sweet niece, the heaviness of his day is lifted just a little.

 Walking inside someone’s home, shoes are left outside by the door, bringing an immediate sense of comfort and familiarity with the other sock-footed strangers. Sitting on the floor, personal bubbles are completely burst, but it does not phase anyone. They are all at home. Because their church family is their home.

 Sweet voices fill the room. Worshipping the Lord. I do not know the language, but I can see the meaning in their passionate faces. I do not recognize the words, but the familiar melodies of hymns bring me into communion with my fellow believers. When heads are bowed and eyes are closed, we are speaking to the same Heavenly Father. No language is foreign to His ears. We are all His creation. We are all His children.

 With hot chai in our bellies, and sweet songs in our hearts, it is time to go. The common greeting and salutation of Namaste is as normal as a handshake, but amongst fellow believers a different phrase is exchanged. Jai masih ki. There is victory in the Messiah. That victory is what brings hope in such a broken world.

 To have so few possessions, to sleep six or seven in a room, to be surrounded by poverty; these are some of the richest people. Christ is our victory. He is greater than any earthly riches.

 Since being home, I have definitely enjoyed having heat, and having quiet orderly streets, and being able to get back into my routine. But one thing that carried over from my trip was the realization that having so many possessions is not necessary. Excess does not equal success; it equals supply that we can give to others. I have cleaned out my closet and gathered three large bags to donate to those who have a need. It is not much, but is a start to a simpler lifestyle.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

 I have so much respect for my sister Kathy and my brother-in-law Kyle. Day after day, they confront hardships with faith, and they are teaching Corinth and Noah how to be strong followers of the Lord.

 Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:57)

Jai Masih Ki!