Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: India (02/12/09)
TITLE: Saris, Curry, and Cows?!
By Ruth Neilson
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Dear Friends and Family,
Greetings from Chalakudi, India!
The weather is great, nice and balmy, just like everyone guessed it would be. Iím enjoying it though. Iím currently staying at the Divine Retreat Centre. Itís a local Catholic ministry; the church is allowing us to stay there for a quiet place to do a little extra prayer time. Pastor is encouraging all of us in the group to spend time in prayer and fasting in our brief time at the retreat centre...and I can understand why. Itís almost unreal how oppressive the spiritual atmosphere is here. I thought I was prepared for this mission trip, but now, Iím worried. Iím just a high school teacher...can I really make a difference for Christ here?
Anyways, on slightly more entertaining news from the trip, a bunch of us girls thought that we might be able to fit in better among the women if we purchased and wore saris. With a lot of help from one of the women here at the centre, we changed and got our saris on. With my darker features, I look like I could blend in here! I canít wait to show everyone at home the sari and even wear it to church.
Keep us in your prayers.
Thought I would take a quick moment to write. Iíve been crazy busy, working with the women here in India. In case you havenít heard, weíve traveled to Thrissur, India. We arrived by train a few weeks ago and walked into what can be called the artery of the railway line that connects the southern part of Kerala to the rest of the country. The food here is amazing; I never realized that I liked curry until now! Iíve learned so much that I cannot wait to get back into my classroom to share it with my students.
Unfortunately, as a woman, I feel like I havenít contributed anything to the team. Most of us women are feeling that way, actually. With the society being a male dominated one, the women refuse to even listen to what we have to say without her husband allowing her to. Whatís even worse, at least to me, is that even if the women was interested in accepting Christ, she more than likely wonít, unless her husband does as well.
Please continue to pray for this trip. One of the Hindi festivals occurs this month. The Gopashtami festival is actually the celebration that is dedicated to the lord Krishna celebrating the day when Krishna became an independent cow herder. The highlight of the festival is a parade with a cow decorated as the object of their devotion. My heart breaks for these lost people.
I covet your prayers,
Blessings and Greetings to all!
God is so amazing! I am still shaking in awe of God as I type this out tonight. Today was the Gopashtami Festival and the most amazing thing occurred. Wait, Iím getting ahead of myself. Let me start from the beginning.
One of the women that had been interested in the Gospel had accepted it a week ago, Thursday. But that is just the first part of the story. She still had to honor her husband, and we had encouraged her to do so, first for her own safety, but secondly, for her own witness to her husband. Well, she understood what we told her as the festival drew nearer.
It turns out, that her husband had a shrine to Krishna within the house, decorated and prepared for the festival. As the parade drew near their home, the cow that was being lead through the streets went crazy! The heifer stampeded and entered the house, destroying the shrine that was dedicated to it.
The wife quietly looked at the shrine and the animal and then looked back at her husband for a long moment, not saying a word. She told us that for that instant, she was terrified for her life...I donít know why, though. Her husband took a long look at his wife and demanded that she take him to us. Well, long story short, her husband accepted Christ.
God is so amazing!
Iíll be home in a few weeks.
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