Saturday, March 1, 2008
Before I get going, let me say that I enjoy hearing your comments about the trip/blog. Here in India, I am about as inconspicuous as the grand canyon. In Tanuku, for instance, I am the only white person around. I make a scene and startle children everywhere I go. I am a novelty. I am the foreigner. Most people here do not speak my language and even the ones that do, really do not. What I'm trying to say is that your communication is good medicine for someone on the other side of the world. I cannot email you back, but know that having you along for the ride with me, is important to me. Thank you -- I do appreciate it and you very much.
Well, after a long day and last night’s opening of the Convention, I was exhausted. I don’t think I have shared that I haven’t slept much since I have been here. On the flight from LA to Frankfurt, I didn’t sleep. On the flight from Frankfurt to Hyderabad, I only slept a couple of hours – at most. You could tell from the video. FYI: Folks, that’s not alcohol, that’s sleep deprivation! Similar symptoms, however. Anyhow, last night I crashed (sleep metaphor – since you know the traffic here, I don’t want to alarm you). I actually got a full-night’s sleep. Which is mucho better than the 3 and then 3 and a half hours sleep I had gotten the previous two nights. It’s amazing I got any sleep at all during the night of the iguana. Oh, yes – THE lizard. There is more to that tale, actually.
So I got up today around 7:30, and checked my mail and such online (Since I now have wireless access from my room). After getting cleaned-up, which is an adventure all it’s own, I headed down to the dining room for breakfast. They like to serve me breakfast at 8:30am. That is their schedule. Today, I was running late – Okay, I was in slow-motion -- so I arrived at 8:45. The place was a ghost town. No one was around, as far as I could tell. So I sat down in the living room and relaxed. After about 5 minutes, one of the young ladies around here noticed me sitting there and went for help. Directly, Shanthi, Pastor Prem’s wife appeared, (obviously straight from sleep somewhere), and asked if I would like some tea. It turns out that everyone else had crashed hard (again, sleep) just like me!
I sat at the table and after a few minutes, Shanthi brought me a cup of tea. Shanthi’s brother, who is also a Pastor, came in and kept me company. Then a groggy-looking Pastor Prem showed up. Now it’s time for a “Boy, Do I Feel Stupid!” moment… Drinking Shanthi’s tea, I remarked that we have tea “like this in the United States – I get it at Starbucks – we call it Chai tea.” They look at me like, “duh, where do you think that came from?!” They were much too kind to say it, but it definitely was a moment!
I was scheduled to preach at the youth event here at the campus at 11:30, which was then moved to 12 noon (Service times here seem to be very flexible). So the young man who was my guide on the video comes to my room to bring me the news and then he says, “Pastor Prem is not here. He had to go to the doctor. I will be translating for you in the youth service” (have you seen the video?). Obviously stressing about having to interpret for me, he then requests of me; ”Please make small words.” Too funny. I told him that my wife tells me the same thing when I preach in America. We actually ended up having a pretty good service with the youth.
Tonight's service at the grounds was great. The crowd was up to about 1,000. I didn't understand most things that were said with the exception of the Christian Boy band when they sang "One Way, Jesus!" with an Indian accent. I told Pastor Prem; "Finally, a song I can sing along with!" He thought that was funny. At the end of tonight's service, hundreds came down for prayer. It seems that I have prayed for more people in the last three days than in the last year. God is doing a great work here.
Tomorrow is Sunday, I'll be preaching at noon (which will be 10:30 Saturday night LA time).
Thank you for your love and prayers.
Until next time...