miércoles, 13 de agosto de 2014

Allah, Ganesh and Jesus...

I write this... humbled - I guess. I am not feeling cocky, like most of the time when I talk about how amazing my God is. Of course He is, but lately He seems different. Not Him because He never changes. I mean my perception of Him. 

Yesterday was my first BSF class. Getting there I was under a lot of stress. I couldn't leave the room because either I was forgetting the money, or the key, or the directions for the driver. By the time we were out of the hotel it was already 9:30 am. We still had lots of time, but it usually takes me up to ten minutes to get an auto (a driver, specifically) who doesn't want to take advantage of how not-from-Chennai I look. 

Paper work
Play ground

One wanted to charge me ₹100, and I said no. Then others didn't want to take me there. Finally one agreed. I was sweating like a pig already because it was hot and humid, and all Libby was saying is how much she didn't want to go. Once we got there, we were received by Shobana, the class administrator. She recognized me, and hugged me. She took me to my children's class. Going upstairs, Libby and Enzo began crying, and I didn't know what to do. On one hand, I knew all this is new for them. On the other, I knew I had to make them feel secure, and confident. God was there, we were at a place where God is. God is everywhere... but I wanted to tell my children, Mommy will hang out with women who follow Jesus in India!! Please, stop crying. Let me go and talk about Jesus, please. I need this. I need this. You have no idea how much I need this. 

Pony tail. He was sweating.

But I didn't tell them that. I hugged them, and I felt bad about them. This is new, it is difficult for me, I am guessing it is difficult for them also, right? Their teachers let me get inside the room, since I've never seen it before. Also, they wanted me to reassure my children that everything would be okay. So I went in. Everybody was very nice. It was kind of a big room with a curtain in the middle. Very few toys on the floor. A song written on the board for Libby's class. 

I am a C
I am a C-H
I am a C-H-R-I-S-T-I-A-N

Out on the rickshaw

You've probably heard it before. I learned that one when I was a teacher at Grace. I knew this was not what they are used to, but I knew they would be safe. I knew God would take care of them. I just needed them to feel that. I prayed in my thoughts, I guess. So quickly. I don't even know if it was a conscious prayer, but I just wanted them to stop crying, and have peace about it. They sat down. Suddenly they weren't even looking at me. But I hadn't say good bye. So as I went out, I just said, "Bye, see you later, guys. Have fun!"

So anyway, I get down. Shobana introduces me to my group leader. I sit down on a chair. Quick look around. 150+ women, all Indian. I am the ONLY non-Indian. They look at me, and they smile. The song starts and all of us are singing in English a hymn, that I know very well by heart, because we sing it in Houston. Suddenly, I start crying. One tear, two, three... many tears coming down my cheeks. Continuos crying. I feel fear, and anxiety. And I just want to sit down. I don't even know why I am crying. I mean, nothing is wrong. I guess I had been tense or something for the last two weeks. But I felt like crying like a baby. I think it was just stress. I was finally there. I was finally in a safe place. I felt safe. I thanked God for that. 

Nihar's Birthday Party
at Madras Club

Getting cookies
Excuse me

I felt thankful that I was worshiping God in community with a bunch of women who looked different than me, but had the same Savior. I felt thankful that my children were being taken care of. No playground, no pool of balls, no fancy toys for them, but they were absolutely being loved, and taught the truths about a God who loves them dearly.

No AC for me. No cushioned chairs. No auditorium. Ants and spiders on the teacher's microphone as she was talking, no toilet paper in the bathroom, no soap. But God was there. I knew my children needed little, but even more now... we can be so blinded by the commodities that we lose perspective. Specially in the US. There is so much freaking money and stuff. I know for sure preachers preach always about this, but America is so freaking rich. Everybody is rich there. Everybody.

Give money to the church, you, guys.

I felt so blessed to be so far away from what I consider home, and still be in a ministry that was founded in San Antonio, Texas. So please, be faithful. Story after story of how these women got to know the Lord, and I'm in awe of this, because I had never, ever been in that kind of situation, you know? 

Anna Centenary Library

And I might sound stupid or even ignorant. But I've only met one Indian guy, who was a pastor in Ohio. Other than that, my little Christian bubble had always consisted of American suburban families and I always felt safe there. Never expanded my bubble. Ever. If I talked to somebody outside the bubble, I normally would go back to my bubble feeling "afraid". And the bubble is fine. I'm not judging the bubbles, we are supposed to be all in bubbles, but cannot stay there forever. 

But this Sunday we went looking for houses and the realtor was Muslim. And he paid for lunch, and was a nice gentleman. And we never talked about Islam. He told me about the caste system in India. He also talked about how all men are equal according to the Holy Book, but still in India, people have levels, you know? There are people who are never going to marry other people because of the status they have.

I said love is messy, and like in all societies, those rules get broken. Because love goes beyond that. He agreed. THEN, he mentioned his wife was Catholic, but converted to Islam to marry him. That's when I realized he was talking about the Quran when he mentioned the Holy Book. And my brain is speeding in finding ways on how to start a spiritual conversation, "You are not gonna kill us after you show us the apartments, are you? Because after all, we are infidels. Your Holy Book says to kill us wherever you find us..."

Filter coffee
Hot, hot

I didn't say anything. He also invited me to his house. Told me his wife would show me how to cook. Whether simply courtesy or not, he was a pretty normal guy, who I'm sure would've never mentioned religion unless asked. But he did mention his Scriptures -which I don't consider an authority for me- but they have helped him. He said he has suffered much, and I believe that. And I'm sure his faith has helped him somehow. I firmly believe my God has blessed him, but he believes his god has helped him. But who am I to go and tell him he is wrong?

See, I have a long ways to go with humility. I am not humble. I believe I have the truth. I know my God is the only true God. But I've been always been in your face with people about it. And I've been praying that God would use me in these season in India. But I am sure that I will mess this up if I make this thing my own. This is not my own thing. This is God's thing. I cannot go and tell people how wrong they are. Faith just doesn't work like that. They won't believe no matter how much information I give. God has to work in their hearts, to draw them to Him. It's very easy for me to share about God's love, but my approach has not always been the best.

I lack humility.

Family dosa

Another lady at the hotel was very excited about church and stuff I told her about my Bible study on Tuesday. I'll give her information about BSF. I'm not completely sure she is a Christian, tough. Yet another woman told me openly she was a Christian, to which I said, "Oh, really??". I felt stupid after that. Not because they are Indian, it means all of them follow Ganesh, or Parvati, or Vishnu. 

A gentleman at the store gave me a little statue of Ganesh as a nice gesture since I bought clothes. I told him I knew about Ganesh, and how he protected his mother when she was taking a bath. He was surprised I knew about Ganesh. I told him I didn't follow Ganesh, that I followed Jesus. I asked him if he had heard about Jesus, to which he said yes.  He has a wife, and two children (3 years and 6 months old). He is 29 years old. Wife doesn't work, and wears only sarees. He's been married since he was 26. 

Nena is sleeping

Most people I've met say they don't have children when I ask. I am not married yet. That's how they answer. Some are young, others are older. All of them need love, tough. And I'm sure in their own way all of them are looking for forgiveness, and grace, and compassion. For a place to call home, to feel and be safe, for somebody to really be interested in them. To have a place to rest when they feel weary... 

I believe Jesus is what they need. But, like Paul asks, how will they believe in Him? How will they believe in someone they haven't heard about? And how will they hear about Jesus if nobody tells them? And how will they be told if nobody is willing to go, and tell them? I am not saying I am here for that reason... I guess all I'm trying to say is that I'm working hard in shutting my mouth, and let God do the work sometimes I think I must be doing. I'm willing to be humbled, learn from people, actually listen to what they have to say, and love them no matter what. 

I'm sure God will make good use of that :)

Very appropriate for the week

Very appropriate for this week

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