Hi everyone! Becky here from the CLCI team, writing from our hotel in Ongole. Raven is here reading interesting articles and headlines to me from the Indian newspaper that was slid under our door this morning. She says hello to all of you! Everyone is doing well on our team and are thankful for your continued prayers and well-wishes. I can't believe that there is less than a week left of our trip. I've fallen behind in blogging so I'll try to see what I can remember from the awesome experiences of the past few days so you can get an idea of what has happened and the blessings that you can thank God for with us.
On Monday, we toured the Undavalli Caves, which were originally Buddhist but later taken over by Hindus. There were all sorts of statues and passageways inside this temple, and much to Raven's dismay, there were also tons of bats on the ceilings!! Jyothi asked her "What don't you like about bats, sister?" and Raven gave a thorough description of why they are gross. ;) There was a HUGE statue inside the caves that Jyothi told me was originally a Buddha but Hindus changed it into one of the Hindu gods. It was all very fascinating and interesting, but also kind of eery! It stated to rain very hard while we were up there, so we stayed inside the caves for awhile, watching the rain and listening to a dog howl.
Then we were off to VBS! This church we visited had a bunch of very silly, energetic kids who kept Raven and I thoroughly entertained. Before our lessons, the children sang, clapped, and played drums very enthusiasticly. I think some of the boys enjoyed showing off their skills by playing faster and faster and louder and louder. Then a group of girls came up in front to do some energetic action songs. One of the song recordings started out with a booming male voice saying, "Are you craaaazy about Jesus? How about you, are you crazy about Jesus?" and the little girls lipsynced to it, pointing to the crowd. That particular action song also included some rockin' air guitar! :) Their Sunday School teacher also performed a heartfelt dance.
During Alex's and Pastor Joel's lessons, Raven and I work on unwrapping and untangling packages of cross necklaces to prepare them for the gift distribution that happens at the end of each night. Sometimes this causes a little distraction as the kids begin eyeing the necklaces. There were some boys in the front that kept winking at us and gesturing, trying to convince me to give them necklaces. One of them continued to act silly and started doing random gestures that I didn't understand, so I just smiled and shook my head at him and then directed my focus to the lesson being taught, hoping he'd follow my lead.
After gift distribution, we took some pictures with the kids and then Raven asked people to write their names in her journal. Usually they ask us to write our names for them, so when we ask them for their autographs, we take them by surprise. Their eyes light up and they not only write their own name, but also pass the journal around to their family members. Some names are written in Telugu characters that we can't read, but others are written in English. It's been a fun way to connect even more with our CLCI brothers and sisters.
We went back to our hotel that night with the children's songs in our heads. I think Pastor Joel said it best when he noted, "It's the type of song that doesn't just get stuck in your head, it gets stuck in your body too." We can't help wanting to bob our heads and dance along! :)