Thursday, February 28, 2013

(De)Constructing South Asia's Economy

In the USA, we are used to seeing big trucks that will mix and dump concrete wherever it needs to be poured. We do not have those big trucks. 

We have people.

And our labor-abundant economy here in South Asia gets things built.

Say you want to build a roof on a second-story garage apartment like this one...


Just get a bunch of people to show up early in the morning, 
some piles of sand and gravel,


and one ancient concrete mixing machine,


 and have those people walk up sketchy bamboo ladders 30-feet off the ground 


with pails of the concrete balanced on their head.


Under the strict supervision of our landlord (and local construction mogul), the roof is built in half a day.


Just a little insight into how things work, or don't, here in South Asia.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Coming Home!

Don't get too excited--WE are NOT coming home just yet...

But our visitors from Mississippi are, to the best of our knowledge, somewhere between here and there.


Jeff and Daniel were a pleasure to have, but they were having so much fun in South Asia that we were not sure they would want to leave.


 Then we got even more worried that the rickshaw bringing them home to Hattiesburg may not make it up the first hill leaving our house!


But, this is the last view we saw of them. So farewell, First Hattiesburg. 

We will meet again soon.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Vision


We have enjoyed our time travelling around with our visitors for a few days, talking to our neighbors and friends about their lives, their faith, and how believers' lives look when those two areas intersect.

Jeff and Daniel's senses have been overloaded with images, smells, and sounds from around our town. The disparity between what we have seen and what we expect God to do is expressed in the vision of men and women who yearn to make life here better through the Hope Christ brings.

Vision will turn a 10' x 6' wooden and metal room into a clinic for free health care in the slums of our city...


Vision will turn a prison-like block of rooms that houses 700 sex workers into a testimony of redemption...


Vision will provide 70 children from a dangerous slum with a before-school program that offers nutrition, tutoring, and escape from those who would do them harm.


And Vision will take the joy of children like these...


Who live in "houses" like this...


And provide them a clear picture of the one who will rescue them.


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Visitors!

We are pumped to have two guys from our home church, First Hattiesburg, here with us in South Asia! We have had friends from around South Asia come to our home, but these guys travelled all the way here just to see how we live our lives, our work, and how their church can participate in God's Global Kingdom among those tribes that have never heard of God's work in Christ.


We tried to take them straight to the village, but their American-ness seemed to draw them, like a moth to a flame, to what seemed like home to them...


McDonalds, Subway, and--of course...


But, after dragging the guys away from the Domestic Terminal in the Delhi Airport, we saw some more accurate pictures of life in South Asia. Despite the nation-wide strike happening, we made it to our sleepy little town and toured some sad locations, talking to some local devotees of these temples. Mostly we just saw people searching for some meaning in their lives.


And, in order to warm up to Rebekah (and because her charms are irresistible), Daniel and Jeff played hide-and-seek, trains, and read some of her favorite books.


We will try to get pictures if the guys actually play Princesses with Rebekah like she hopes.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Colorful School Days

Rebekah's school has a uniform, like most schools here.

On Fridays, however, the promise of "something different" gets the children SO excited. The children get to actually wear their own clothes, of a certain color.

James says he probably would have just thrown on a t-shirt of a specific color when he was a child, but Rebekah is all GIRL, so she takes these days very seriously. That includes having to pose for pictures on each of these days.

One of her biggest fears is that different colored sleeves will prevent her from getting in the class picture that is taken for those who participate in Color Day.



South-Asian BLACKOUT, just like back at the Rock cheering on USM!


Red Day, 


Showing off her Disney Princess shirt from Aunt Elisa.


Putting on our own lip gloss, getting ready for Green Day!


With our hair all up in pigtails.


And showing off our Valentine's Day outfit, 


since Friday was a holiday and Kristie decided to break the uniform rule on this Thursday!


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Why We Love Valentine's Day, In South Asia

Kristie is excited to be in a place that has such beautiful flowers available.
James is excited that those flowers are so inexpensive.
Rebekah is excited just to get stuff in general, 
but especially when some comes from the USA.


 Last year's Valentine's Day was difficult, as Rebekah was at the end of her 2-months of sickness.
This morning, though, we had no trouble getting her to smile in the morning.

(and yes, she is wearing the same pajamas she wore last year on Valentine's Day morning, although we have more than one pair)


A lollipop bouquet!


A finger puppet of a monkey!


A new outfit for school! 


And, the best presents of all, Rebekah's Hindi Children's Bible she has been begging for

And three roses from daddy.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Happy Fat Tuesday


"I don't want to eat a baby!" 

After explaining to her that the lucky person got the one baby in the King Cake, and that you didn't actually eat it, she was happier about finding it (Convenient, isn't it, that she found it? Or just good parenting.).


On this most glutenous sounding of holidays, we were able to once again participate in our own version of Mardi Gras celebrations. Last year Kristie tried her hand at a homemade King Cake, with the ingredients available here, and did a fine job!

This year, being a year older and more experienced with homemade bread, homemade cream cheese, food coloring, and a South Asian oven, James said the King Cake was better than he could get down on the Gulf Coast.


Not only did we teach Rebekah about the baby in the cake, but also about beads, kings, and "Throw me something, Mr.!" She repeated that last phrase all night, including while getting ready for her bath, when she twirled her shirt around and threw it to us. If she only knew how "authentic New Orleans" she was getting with that act.


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Really, South Asia? Part Twelve (Communists, Revisited)

We try as hard as we can to stay out of politics as we go about our work here in South Asia. Most likely, our political opinions would be appreciated about as much as a non-American coming to the USA and telling us how we should feel or think about a certain party or candidate.

One disturbing point of politics here in our country--especially in our state--is the prominence and reverence so many people give to the Communist Party. We even mentioned soon after arriving here how weird this made us feel.


And while James likes dress up as a "Bolshevik" to pose for photos when we find a two-dollar hat that accents his beard and the rustic hotel in which we stayed on our weekend get-away, do the adamant Communists here know the history of their party's founders?


We have been told the Communists here are nothing like those from Mao's China or the former USSR leaders, yet we had to stop and take pictures when we found statues of some infamous Communist heroes on a recent trip.


We just had to say, "Wow, really?"