I’ve run out of M&M’s, it’s time to come home.
Okay, I’m going to let you in on a silly little secret regarding my trip. As I was leaving from LAX, I stopped by one of the stores in the airport to get some See’s candy to take as a gift to the Mallipudi family. I also picked myself up a 5.5 ounce bag of Peanut M&M’s. I wanted to have something from home to stay with me (a little taste of the States while in India) and that touch point for me was M&M’s. What is more American than M&M’s? I have been nursing that bag of M&M’s since I have been here. Everyday, I have had 4 M&M’s and today the bag is empty – so it must be time to go home.
Well, this is my final blog from India. To all who have been following my adventure, thank-you for your prayers and words of encouragement. It is nearly 5:00 pm here, I am back in Hyderabad with Pastor Prem. We flew here this afternoon from the city that we were in last night, Visakhapatnam (say that ten times fast – I can’t even say it once). Even though I will be heading to the airport at about midnight, we took a hotel room. Pastor Prem and his brother-in-law will stay overnight here while I start my long journey back home. Pastor Prem has an appointment with the eye surgeon here, so it all worked out.
This morning, I had the complimentary breakfast buffet at the hotel. Everything here tastes just a little bit different than home. It’s kind of funny, I have been experiencing a craving for pancakes, which is strange, because I do not eat pancakes that often. At the buffet, they had pancakes. Unfortunately, they were not like American pancakes. So my craving went unsatisfied. I have also been craving Mexican food – which should surprise no one. 2 weeks without Mexican food is too long for me.
When I returned to my room, I heard firecrackers going off and a band playing. I looked out my window and saw a long procession of people who were heading to the ocean with all sorts of items. It looked like something was going on at the beach. Firecrackers kept going off all over the place. When Pastor Prem came to pick me up, I asked what was going on. He told me that today is a big Hindu holiday called Shiva-raatri and the people were going down to the ocean to dip (cleanse themselves) and then go to the temple to worship the god Shiva.
We were invited to lunch at Bishop A.G. Thankachan’s home. He was one of the speakers at the Convention. He has a great ministry throughout India with a television show and radio broadcasts. He preaches all over the world and is a very good preacher. I enjoyed him, because he preaches in English and I was able to understand what was being said. He is originally from another state, and speaks a different language. (Interestingly enough, there are 8 main languages in India – and they are not that similar.)
So when he preaches where they speak Telegu, he uses a translator, as I did. He is very good at it. I must admit that it takes some getting used to. Anyway, he showed us around his ministry center and Bible College. The Lord has blessed his ministry greatly here. After the tour, we then enjoyed a nice lunch prepared by his wife. We were pressed for time to catch our flight out of the smaller airport, so I prayed over him, his family and ministry – then we were off to fly back here to Hyderabad.
I will reiterate that I have been treated extremely well everywhere I have been in this Country. Of course, I stayed the whole time in one state – Andrha Pradesh – and have mostly been around Christians, which makes a difference also. However, even around non-Christians, I have been treated with courtesy and kindness. This is a great nation filled with wonderful people. I am thankful that I have been able to experience it firsthand. So farewell for now from India. My next entry will be from the US.