Monday, November 16, 2009

10 Days in India...

Three years ago my view of the world radically changed. I left my comfortable "bubble" of Northern Indiana and traveled to southern India with a team from Granger Community Church. I had never traveled overseas, let alone to a third world country and I never expected to come back a different person. But I did. I left a piece of my heart with the people of India. I came back with a love for a broken and hurting country that somehow managed to turn my world upside down. A love for a group of people who inspired me to be more like them: giving. loving. sacrificial. authentic. strong.

And in March I get the opportunity to head back to India...and I couldn't be more excited.

This time I'll be headed to a village called Kalavai - a village that is considered the lowest of the low, a village that most wouldn't even notice if it disappeared, a village that without intervention from people of "power" would never have any hope of changing. A few years ago GCC heard about Kalavai and decided to intervene - to use the power that comes with just being Americans to change the future of this village. Every few months teams from GCC head to Kalavai to help them start and run businesses, assist in building homes, teaching the children English, providing filters for clean water and many more projects. As soon as I heard about the Conversational English Team I was all in. I knew that was exactly where I belonged. What I didn't realize though was the power behind learning English.

Ironically, in India if you want to attend college, you must speak English. All courses are not in Hindi or Tamil, but English. English is considered the "trade language" of India! Who knew?! Obviously the ten days of our trip is not enough to teach our highly complicated language, but we'll be working with local church planters who have already started the ball rolling and will continue the program after we leave. And we are bringing something with us most Indians don't have access to - native speakers of the As someone who had to study foreign languages in school, conversing with someone is the best way to learn. I can't imagine a better way to spend 10 days.

But even as a "seasoned veteran," this trip will be vastly different for me, and your prayers would not only be greatly appreciated, but greatly needed as well. Three years ago my stomach did not transition well to the long days of travel and life in India. I had trouble eating and came back 13 pounds lighter than when I left 10 days before. Not exactly the healthiest way to lose weight, and not exactly part of the experience I want to relive. Knowing now what I didn't know then is obviously to my benefit and I'm stepping up my game in the next few months of preparation. Also, during my last trip, I was lucky enough to always have bathroom facilities - strange bathroom facilities at times, but still, always accessible. This time I will not. At all. For days. It's hard for me to even fathom life in the middle of nowhere with a tent and a bush. But I know I'm supposed to be headed to India, and I know with the power of prayer and a little stubbornness on my part, I can handle it. If you are willing, please pray for these two things for me specifically, as well as safe travel for our team, for God to use us in whatever ways he can and for the people of Kalavai.

And as always, a trip like this doesn't come cheap. With the economy the way it is, travel costs are up. Currently, the cost of my trip is $3,000. If you want the opportunity to help send me to India, you can mail a donation using the attached form, or hop on the web at For those of you who are curious and like to plan ahead, half of my support is due on January 18, with the trip paid in full by February 22.

We want to bring the kingdom of God from up there, to down here on earth. One little village in India at a time. It's already begun and I can't wait to be a part of it. And by supporting me in prayer or in finances, you will become a part of it too. You will be influencing the lives of the people of Kalavai. You will be a world changer as well. You will be bringing up there, down here.


If you want to see some of the videos that captured my heart, and of the work being done in Kalavai, you can find them here. These are the people I will soon be meeting. The people I will be serving. The people who will be radically changing my life. The people whose lives you will be changing as well. If you have any questions or want the web address to follow along on my journey of preparation, more information can be found periodically here on my blog or on my Facebook fanpage.

Reflections of India

I've been thinking about India a lot lately...a lot. I decided to look back on some of my thoughts after I returned from my trip three years ago.


Well it has been almost two months since our return from India and here I am still trying to process everything I saw and experienced. I wonder if I will ever truly be "done" processing...

Last night Lindsey (one of my fellow India travelers) and I were talking about the pace of our lives. Somehow, without our knowledge, our lives have gone crazy. It seems like my life is over flowing with too many things to do and not enough time to do it in. Slowly, the pace of my life has increased back to warp speed. And it spawned a conversation about the pace of life in India...

India is a hard country and culture to put into words. As I have told many of you, even though we were actually only gone for 10 days, it felt like we were gone for at least a month. There was so many things packed into our days that it often felt like one day was really two or three. I believe most of this is simply because of we were "guests" from America and everyone wanted to see us, have a chance to talk with us and to have us pray for them. There is kind of a relaxed urgency in their way of life. The church planters we were with packed their days with visiting people and ministering in villages and homes, wanting nothing more than to love these people and help them to meet or know Christ better. Yet at the same time, there was always downtime to spend with their closest family and friends. Every day we were in the villages we "took rest" - some of us napped, some of us just laid down our heads, but there was always down time. How ironic is it that I had to travel across the world to see an example of relaxed urgency. And even after I experienced it and yearned to be like that upon my return home, somewhere along the line I returned to my old habits. Packing my minutes, hours, days and weeks with stuff, without "taking rest" every day.

How desperately do I want to remember how the Indians lived, and learn to emulate it into my daily life.