-- I wrote this on Tuesday, but since I had an Indian man looking over my shoulder, I waited until now to log onto my blog to post it. --

Today is a relaxing day...we moved hotels to be closer to the river, which is downtown. We are closer to the children this way as well. When we first arrived to our new hotel, the power was out and they were running on a back-up generator which meant no A/C. Eric panicked for a moment (or three hours) but now the power is back on and our room is cooling upstairs as I type. It is definitely HOT with temps over 100 during the day. The only relief is around 7-8 pm when the sun goes down, it probably dips into the 80s which is very tolerable. What is crazy is that it will continue to heat up for their hottest season during May-June. I can't imagine what mid-day feels like during those months.
The time with the children yesterday was very touching. Eric and I went with Ravinder to collect the boys from the station (the ministry is held outside 1/2 mi from the station). It was just as humbling to see their dire conditions yesterday as it was last October. The smell of the station as these sweet boys sleep on the filthy planforms, their only cover (if they have one) is a stained, soiled wool blanket. Flies swarm any skin or hair that is exposed. We came upon one boy that has especially captured my heart, Sahid; his sleepy face lit up when he saw us. One of the first things he said to me, which R. translated, was "you are good because you are one who came back". I was obviously touched that he remembered me from October but immediately my yearning for the last 5 months to return was affirmed by the fact that it means as much to the children to be reunited as it does me. Eric and I attempted to teach them kickball with a ball we brought with us...soon it became a free for all which R kept calling, 'kickball "Indian rules"'. :) It was fun to see them laughing, getting energy out, and having fun. Eric shared the story Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego with them and I sang Father Abraham as well as a few other songs we taught them back in Oct. We will see them again tomorrow morning.
One observation that I want to note is that both at the rail station and with the slum children, I was surprised, shocked even that my memory had forgotten how TINY these children are. I was struck by their small limbs, frames, under-nourished bellies, poor hygiene, you name it. R. showed us some photos of past trips over the last three years and honestly? The children looked the same in those photos three YEARS ago. I commented on how little the children have grown in three years and he said that is what happens when they have such poor nutrition, lack of food, improper medical care, etc. We are so accustomed to being blown away at how quickly children in the western world grow, even my own nieces & nephews seem to shoot up like little trees in just a few weeks time. In the past 5 months from when I was here, these children seem to have shrunk and my heart sinks so deep within me because of it.
Last night we taught the slum children to play kickball as well, they had a better attention span and the behavior necessary to explain most of the rules. It was a big success, hopefully we will play again tonight.
They sang for us and recited memory verses, what a sweet time it was to listen to their little hearts praise the Lord and speak His truth by memory.
As Eric mentioned in his post, we had the opportunity to have dinner as the honored guests in an Indian home last night - it was very humbling. We were fed delicious food, so good! After accepting heaping upon heaping of everything, we balanced trying to be polite while stomaching the sheer quantity we were given. As code near the end, I asked Eric if he remembered the song "pop goes the weasel" he smiled and agreed that he was feeling the same. Each time we said, 'this is delicious, thank you!' we earned ourselves another helping. We are struck by the generousity of the people here despite that they have almost nothing. We are praying for supernatural cultural awareness and that grace would transcend any natural cultural barriers there might be. Our hope is that our gratitude would exude from every single part of us.
We are so thankful to be here and look forward to seeing the children again tonight. We are so blessed by all of your thoughts, comments and prayers. Thank you all for being such a blessing of encouragement! :)
Lots of love - B

Today we went on a sunrise boatride on the Ganga...very eye opening. We are now getting ready to head out to visit the V. Fort and some temples. It is sad to know that tomorrow we are leaving already, but we have soaked up so much culturally and spending time with the children so we are very thankful. Goodbyes are especially hard to say when you don't know when the next visit will be...having to just trust the Lord with that. :)


WOW! (From Eric)

So.....yeah.....we're here and I'm not sure where this is. As Betsy mentioned in the last post from the moment we stepped off the plane there were so many senses that were overloaded. From sorrow, guilt, confusion, anxiety, you name it I felt it.
Today, Monday the 29th, we probably covered the entire V-City, not by foot or in car like one would think, but on the back of a motorbike. The only way I can explain how crazy this would be is to paint you a quick picture of how traffic works here. Picture with me 4 cars driving down the street, two on one side, two on the other. All cars are going the same speed as another and no one is impatient about getting to their destination.....Yeah that's not what it's like here! So there are three cars side by side with two motorcycles acting as wing men, a bicycle in between each car and the random old man walking in the middle of the street...did I mention there were multiple random cows and dogs there. Ok that is what the streets look like before the sun comes up. After that, I couldn't quite tell you because there was so much smog that my eyes were burning from trying to watch my life flash before my eyes. Now let me point out that this is a 45 minute ride of terror that we did 3 times!!! Yup 3! Amazingly enough if really is beautiful to watch. The fact that with all of this chaos going on, it actually looks like a bunch of figure skaters dancing to a planned script where each one knows when to duck, slide, and zig so that the others can gracefully move to their next position. The most important thing for everyone to remember, this means you worry warts, is that Betsy and I are safe and we were able to see parts of the city that most tourists wouldn't even think of walking down.
All in all it has been a wonderful visit. We were able to meet with the rail boys this morning and then get a quick nap before heading back to the Pink House to see the slum children. It was moving to hear them pray over us. We then had a wonderfully authentic Indian dinner, where we were treated as guests of honor. The family then asked us to pray over them before we headed back to our hotel.
In His wonderful hands of protection,
P.S. Yes we have AC and it has been DELIGHTFUL! Thanks for all the prayers!!!


Here at last! :)

We arrived safely and are enjoying time with friends this morning in Delhi. We are reminded how different life is here; within the first 15 min of our 45 min ride from the airport to our friends' house, we saw a fatal motocycle accident and a teenage beggar with amputated arms tapping on our window at a stoplight.
Of course our driver wanted more than we originally agreed on and the bank we exchanged money at tried to give us less than their displayed exchange rate. Our driver couldn't find the address we were going to so as we were driving up and down darkened corridors that all looked exactly the same at 11 pm, we started praying hard when his car stalled and then refused to start. We look at each other and thought, 'plan B?' Thankfully God doesn't need plan B and had us safely to where we needed to go before long.
We are excited to go to church for Palm Sunday with friends, before we leave this afternoon for our next city to visit.
So far the chai is just as good as I remember...


Leaving Newark!

And we are on our way! We are seated on the flight, waiting for all the other passengers to board. As we browse through the movies available...there are over FIFTY movies to choose from! Eric's comment on that was "you know it's going to be a long flight when they offer you fifty movies to pass the time!" :)
Hooray! Love to all!

First hiccup...

Well, we have made it all the way to... the Greensboro airport tar-mac. Our flight is through Newark and as usual Newark has delays! Admitedly I have an unfairly prejudiced opinion of NJ all based on their impossible airport. If only they would prove me wrong the next time I fly through there! Right now we are 2 hrs behind schedule, over an hour of which we have been seated in our sardine can airplane.
We are staying positive despite that technically we have been in travel mode for 3 hrs and we still aren't more than 10 miles from our house. Thankful that we had a long layover planned in Newark, hopefully we will still have the time we need to make our international flight connection.
Eric is napping and I am well blogging. duh. In a min though, I will be settling into my book "3 Cups of Tea" and trying not to wish that I had packed some cheezits or goldfish to snack on.
India here we come...even if I have to swim there myself! :)

First hiccup...



Here we go again....I am beyond excited!!!! Eric and I leave THIS Friday (3/26) and will be in India until Sat, 4/3!! Did I mention I can't wait?!?

We are going to be visiting and staying with old family friends, Dewy & Carolyn, in Delhi then off to V. City! What I am looking forward to most is seeing the sweet faces of the children I have been praying and aching for since our goodbyes in October! I cannot wait to hug them and see their smiles and hold the little ones on my hip! We will be bringing vitamins and toothbrushes as well as introducing the game of kickball! Who knows, maybe Eric will break out a lesson or two of math? :)

Some Huge Praises:
- All tickets/travel plans/hotel reservations were successfully booked!
- Visas arrived! We are legally allowed in!
- Time off work and Eric's spring break making the available opportunity to go
- The missionaries and nationals working there welcoming us with open arms - what a blessing
- God providing financial love offerings of dear friends and family that we have been able to use for supplies as we go. Phil 4:17 says, "Not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for what might be credited to your account." May the Lord richly bless you for your heartfelt care & concern for His children of India!

Prayer Requests while we are there:
- Safe travels (Eric isn't too excited about 15 hr plane leg, but as long as it is safe, we will be fine...traffic by rickshaw is really what he should be worried about! what an adventure!) :)
- Health (prevention of tummy and travel bugs)
- Maximized time with the children...I want to spend every second with them!
- That our visit would be encouragement to the missionaries and other ministry workers
- Spiritual Warfare - where we are going is a spiritually DARK place...that we would rely on God's power to REIGN supremely despite Satan's strongholds in that city
- Unity of hearts for Eric and me - that the Lord would use this trip to bring us closer as well as show us what His plans are for us as a couple

Thank you! I love you all and so appreciate prayers for us. I feel so incredibly blessed to be a small part of the lives of these Indian children and cannot wait for Eric to experience that first-hand. I know he will be hooked by their big brown eyes and devastatingly heart-breaking lives. We will take lots and lots of pictures!


So...we'll see what happens while we are gone for 9 days (see next post about that!), but I am excited to say that I planted an early spring crop in my garden! I put in two varieties of buttercrunch lettuce (yum), carrots, and spinach. I am so excited to be back into gardening season! Hopefully my harvesting will yield veggies like those in these pics!



From one end of the country one week to the opposite end of it the next week....

Maria and I had a great weekend together doing what we do best: talking for hours, eating, and soaking up every minute together that we could! We got up for the sunrise on Sat. morning...it was gloriously beautiful!! We figured why not start the day at 5:40 am together rather than "wasting" 4-5 hrs sleeping in? :) Best friends would do anything for each other, right?

After getting some breakfast, we went to walk around the green market and bought some of the world's best guacamole - seriously, it was oh so good. Then, cappuccinos at an outside restaurant on Palm Beach!

Could this day get any better? Oh yes it could!

As beautiful as the day's weather started off, it turned into a rainy afternoon....but what a perfect excuse for a movie and snacks! (enter guacamole)

Later, we went hot tubbing under the stars and an almost full moon...it was really cool to start and end the day in awe of nature's breath-taking beauty.

The time with Maria was as always, too short!! Working on getting another weekend together scheduled soon!

Sidenote: another fun aspect of the weekend was being back in the city Eric and I fell in love together...so many memories there: our engagement dinner, the church we got married in, "setting up house" as a newly married couple in our first apartment...can't believe that was almost 5 yrs ago already...