Monday, July 18, 2016

"No one is looking at the statue, Brother, they are all photographing you!"

Becky from the CLCI team reporting from a hotel in Vijayawada. It's Monday morning here. But I have a weekend of events to catch you all up on, so let's go back to Saturday....

On Saturday we went out for lunch and ordered a south Indian thali meal, which is a bunch of rice and then a whole bunch of tiny dishes of curries and sauces and things to add to the rice. It was like a merry-go-round of flavors as we went around the plate trying each dish. Raven and I have had fun coming up with American comparisons to the flavors of the new foods we try... so far we have compared things to French toast, Bugles, and sour cream and onion chips (a "runny version", haha).

We did some sightseeing that afternoon. We went to a Buddhist temple with a HUGE statue of Buddha on top of it. As were standing in front looking at the statue, Pastor Jyothi turned to Pastor Joel and said, "No one is looking at the statue, Brother, they are all taking pictures of you!" Pastor Joel and Alex draw a lot of attention with their height. Many people have asked to take pictures with them. One of the women referred to Pastor Joel as "the highest man" and Raven and I got a kick out of that. :)
The temple is still under development and the inside is closed to the public, but Pastor Jyothi got us access inside  - VIP pass! There were Buddhist carvings all over the walls that were very interesting and elaborate. As we walk around temples and view the elaborate carvings of false gods, I find it a solemn reminder of how truly important it is to share and spread the gospel and help people to know the one true living God and the only path to heaven.
We also went to a museum that had a whole bunch of ancient artifacts - I enjoyed seeing ancient jewelry and coins. There was even ancient eyeliner!

That night we went about an hour outside of Guntur to a village to teach VBS at a church. There were around 70 very excited, energetic, and loud children packed inside the little building. I loved their enthusiasm! While we were in the middle of our VBS program, a group of men came in with a political leader who was campaigning. He's favorable to Christians, according to Jyothi, so our VBS must have made for a good campaign stop. Everyone stopped to honor him and take pictures. Then we got back to teaching...Our lessons went very well and gift distribution went smoothly and we were all done by 8:30.

We left Guntur on Sunday morning to go to a Sunday church service. We'd be teaching VBS there and then getting to participate in a communion service. I was so excited to go to church and worship with one of the CLCI congregations! But that's a story for my next blog post.... :)

Thank you again for your prayers and the messages you have sent me on Facebook! Your prayers are at work over here and a huge blessing to our trip. Everything is going very well so far. I didn't think it was possible, but I think I night be enjoying this second trip even more than my first time in India! I am just so happy to be back here, I wish I knew how to explain it! :)

- Becky