Thursday, October 30, 2014

Celebrating Three Years!!!

Just a few weeks before we arrived in South Asia, 

Nothing could deter us from the journey we were about to embark upon.

And we were so young looking.



We have added a member to the family,


And we look a lot older,

(especially Rebekah--please don't tell Kristie she's looking older)

So we celebrated our THREE YEAR ANNIVERSARY in country

by doing the most Indian thing we can think of: 



We don't look too torn up for a night on the train.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Give Them Tools

2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

We live in the circle below (click to enlarge).


Our job is not to convert anyone.

However, the red on the map is a BUNCH of small red dots, 

Each representing a tribe 

(or, a more technical term, "people/language group")

Who have not, despite thousands of years of work and witness,

Had the opportunity to hear about who Jesus is,

And what he wants to do in their life.


We could spend our entire life praying and sharing about Jesus one person at a time,

But simple birth rate and death rate would make our task futile.

Addition Will Not Work.

Multiplication Must Happen.


So we teach our fellow workers to Pray,

We teach them To Accurately Handle the Word,


And we give them Reproducible Tools which they can pass on to others.

2 Timothy 2:2
And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Reed Being Reed

This boy is 5 Months Old TODAY!



He has spent most of his 5 months travelling around India by train,

All of Asia by Plane, 



And our house floor by scooting around on his back.


We are not sure what he is thinking,


But we know he is always thinking about something,

Staring with those big, bright eyes.


We don't want to say he's always happy,


But he is certainly not a handful...


yet.


We get the feeling he and his sister are going to make quite the combo in the coming years.

Pray for us.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Rebekah Being Rebekah

Rebekah is closer to 6 than 5 years old.


She has lived over half of her life in India.
She has more energy than the average 5-year-old child.


Living as an only child for most of her life thus far,

Rebekah has a unique sense of style

(heavily influenced at this moment by Pirates, Fairies, and Narnian Creatures),


A plethora of funny faces,


No fear of monsters,


And a desire to try all kinds of new things.


She has her quiet moments, in her favorite spots,


But more often than not is playing the role of joker, 
Photobomber (one of her favorite roles),
And life of the party.


Friday, October 24, 2014

Puja in Pictures, Part 5

Diwale

Happy Diwale, Everyone!

Well, yesterday was.

We have spent 4 Puja Seasons in South Asia, now,
So we kinda know what we like to do.

Rebekah likes to dress up in traditional clothes and admire the "rangolis" 
(Indian art in which designs are made from colored powder)
like this one at her school.


We admired the lights on our apartment building,


The pandals (and accompanying idol) in our neighborhood,


And the lights, 


Idols, and CRAZY fireworks all over our sleepy little town.


Just a few more Pujas left in this 2014 Puja Season. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Puja in Pictures, Part 4

Down By the River

We have been travelling during this Puja month
(remember, "puja"="worship")

But there has been a lot of activity all over our part of South Asia.

We showed you some of the evolution of a pandal
("temporary temple" constructed by clubs in each neighborhood)

From a pile of bamboo and cloth into a beautiful temple.

And we showed you the Hindu idol in the river at the conclusion of one Puja.


In just a couple weeks,
Those idols are made in sheds on the side of the road out of sticks and mud,


Taken to the pandals,


Where guys like these priests or pundits


Tell the lines of devoted worshipers (oddly, mostly women/girls) how to give the "gifts" 
(fruit, sweets, food, and money) to the gods.


And the next day, the gods are loaded in the back of trucks,


Where a bunch of mostly young (and many times drunk & high) guys/boys


And some not-so-appropriately dressed dancers


Accompany the gods to the river.


Why? 

Religiously, we aren't sure if there's a reason for throwing the gods in the river after every Puja.

Pragmatically, the gods are just mud and sticks, so what else are you going to do with them?

Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Train: Can 20 Million People a Day Be Wrong?

Although many in the West may feel like the Indian Railways haven't been improved in about 60 or 70 years, our family is always up for adventures, from our first overnight train ride 2 1/2 years ago to our EPIC 27 1/2 hour train ride across half the country! And riding the overnight train is certainly an adventure!

But if 20 million people a day can take the trains here, why not us, right?!

This marked the first time Reed was on the train, and although James has taken this particular train a dozen times, the family joined him on this ride right in the middle of Puja Season.

We all started off fresh at 3 in the afternoon, just snacking...


And exploring new sights out the windows!


But as the night chugged along, Kristie relaxed in her book, 


Rebekah relaxed with her movie, 


And Reed just wore himself out having so much fun!


And as 4 AM the next morning rolled around, and our train rolled into our station,


We were all fresh and ready to take on the world!