06 March, 2010

Our Final Day in Manali

Our last full day in Manali… Today was a good day. We did final shopping stuff, said some goodbyes to friends and continued “meeting” with the Campbells (there is a lot to pass over!).

Tonight we had a farewell dinner /welcome home dinner/ birthday dinner at Johnson’s restaurant. We also presented the CDHers with their internship roles, ISPs, and a small gift from us! It was a good night and great fellowship together. After dinner the Campbell’s finally hit their jet lag wall and went to bed early… So, we decided it would be nice to get a good night’s sleep as well (since this will be the last night in a bed until we reach our bed in the USA!!!)

4th of March

After sleeping in for the first time in a LONG time, we went to Johnson’s for the longest meeting (yet most fun) with the Campbell’s. We discussed all this CDH- the schedule, the plans / goals for the next few months here, Internships, roles as house facilitators, etc. In other words, we were “passing the torch”. It was such a sweet time of fellowship with them too. We are so blessed to have friends in the ministry that we LOVE working with.

After the meeting, oh, did we mentioned that it downpoured snow ALL day. It was gross and sloshy though. We were a bit nervous that it would stick and we’d miss our bus…anyway, after the meeting Grant and Justin did the market run for the day and got pretty wet in doing so. After that they ran by the bus stations to check on the status of the bus route due to snow. They found out that there had been a small avalanche type thing that blocked the road a ways down. Only small cars were making it through at that point. We were nervous that we may have to leave early in order to get to Delhi in time for our flight home…. They said to check back tomorrow though…

Once we got home we went back to “meeting” some more. We discussed with the Campbell’s our proposed projects for the CDHers and tweaked them a bit together. (most of this was done with no electricity by the way…). The CDHers were cooking together while we were doing this (with no electricity of course) and we sat down to a candlelight dinner… delicious cheesy pasta, steamed broccoli, hummus, salsa, and homemade tortilla chips (the only way to do it here- can’t buy them).

After dinner we had a dance party (courtesy of Grant Campbell). It was a great release after the long day of meeting.

Campbell's Arrival/ Kevin's B-Day!

The Campbell’s came today!!! Praise the Lord! We woke up at 6:45am to get breakfast prepared and walk to the bus station to pick them up. It was so nice to see them in person- FINALLY! We walked back to the house, gave them the grand tour, and then ate some French Toast together. This day was full of sweet reunions. The kids started back to school the day before, so many children stopped by to visit Grant uncle and Charlene maam. The CDHers were also able to build some good relationships with kids during this time of reuniting.

That evening we enjoyed some pancakes and eggs for Kevin’s birthday! He turned 23 today. I think he had a pretty good “Indian” birthday. Earlier in the day, Grant, Justin, and Kevin went to Manali sweets to buy some treats to hand out to friends. It is custom in India to give sweets to others on your birthday. So, since Kevin is now Indian, he had to take part in this great tradition!

1st and 2nd of March

These days were full of preparations for the Campbell’s to arrive. We have been so excited and eagerly anticipating 3 March to come!!! The Campbell’s arrival and Kevin’s birthday. We did some major cleaning and some final details to the house to have it as “perfect” as possible before they arrived. It was nice to enjoy time as a house together in preparing for their homecoming.

During this time we also had a Skype Bible Study with Matt where we reviewed the principals of community in Romans 12. It was a very fruitful time as a house and we began to really takes some steps forward in developing true Biblical community!

03 March, 2010


This morning we enjoyed another service with the local church. Most of the songs were familiar songs from a group called Aradhna. We first became familiar with this worship music at Urbana Missions Conference a few months ago, when Chris Hale, the lead singer, came and spoke and led us in Hindi worship songs.

Today is also Holi. A Harvest festival and a festival of colors. The believers here do not participate (although it looks really fun to be attacked by people with water guns full of paint!), so we are staying on campus for the next few days for the most part. Although it is mostly lighthearted fun and games, there are some people here who take advantage of the holiday and get drunk and begin throwing things at people other than paint- cow manure, acidic things, etc. So, we have been advised to take the high road and not participate!

Tonight we did sneak out for a while to visit Minu again for dinner… (to be continued)

*The continuation:

Sorry this is short, but the computer crashed while we were typing earlier- T.I.I. (this is India). This becomes a common phrase while you are here. For example, “the power is out again” – “T.I.I” or “there are donkeys and dogs at the dumpster eating our trash everyday” – “T.I.I” or I just typed a REALLY long blog post and for no reason the computer shut down” – “T.I.I”

Dinner at Minu’s house was great! We got to sing songs, pray for the family, and enjoy delicious food and fellowship. We talked a lot about movies and RATS of course!

After Minu’s we came home to discuss Bruchko. During our book discussion, Casey screamed and we all looked to see a dirty stinkin rat climbing up our kitchen wall (through our dish rack). The girls left the room quickly, and Jess went to hide under the blankets in the only sealed room in our house- our bedroom. Kevin and Justin began the war of wars, which included the rat running under Kevin’s legs, Justin throwing shoes at the rat, Kevin using a crow bar and Justin using an umbrella, and NO LUCK in killing the rat. Needless to say, Kevin slept in the sealed room- our bedroom. It was a peaceful slumber party.

27th of February

Lazy Saturdays are still some of the best days in India. Something that the Lord has been teaching us a lot is to rest and that this is a discipline so many American Christians seem to neglect (including us!). We are learning that in resting, we are more capable to be in tune with the Holy Spirit and work even harder the other days!

After sleeping in (with no sounds of rats since we boarded up as many holes as we could!), we woke up to the sound of sizzling French toast made by Kevin and Ashley! Later in the afternoon, the two of us took a walk in the upper forest to Hadimba Temple. This temple is very eerie. The Hindu people in this area also practice some animistic things, so this temple is a place where they still make blood sacrifices. It is sad to see the hopelessness of these people that are worshiping gods that do not exist. We pray for their salvation and that Christ would be made known to them!

After the hike, we came home to see our friend Thomas teaching Kevin the Hindi alphabet and the girls cooking Spinach Quiche and making Key Lime pie. We are so excited to see the CDHers getting into their element here in India. They are making friends with people in the community and really starting to get the program! We pray that they will continue to be open, vulnerable, and disciplined throughout the program and beyond.

26th of February

Happy Birthday to Curtis Brock- Justin’s dad. Today was a very good day! We finally got more wood for our Tandoor oven. This is the best way to heat our house, so we were very grateful that the carpenter came to cut our wood! While the carpenter was here, Kevin had him make a shelf for his room! Kevin’s room is finally looking like a room!

Book Reports were due today as well. Ashley read Mark of a Christian, Kevin read In the Name of Jesus, Casey read The Hiding Place, and Laura read Life Together. One of our favorite aspects of this program is the “CDH Library.” The CDH-India library includes these four books as well as Walking from East to West, The Cost of Discipleship, Truly the Community, Soul Survivor, A Long Obedience, The Pursuit of God, and A Severe Mercy. Praising God that each participant took something meaningful from the book they read and are looking forward to upcoming books. You can pray for them as they feel a bit overwhelmed at times with all the books, projects, service, etc that goes on with this intensive discipleship program.

This evening we enjoyed a nice end of week meal at Mayur, a local Indian Restaurant. I say Indian Restaurant, because it most resembles the Indian restaurants at home (looks, taste, service, etc.). The only difference is the price. At home a meal would cost around $12 or $15 bucks per plate. Here, about $3. Pretty nice… We came home to light of the fire and watch a few episodes of The Office, season 4. A taste of America!

Language Lessons

Another fruitful day in Manali. The CDHers went back to their internships after a day off in Neha’s village. Laura and Ashley finished up the painting while Kevin worked on the school play and wondered why the power goes out so often!

Later in the afternoon, we set off to Minu’s house. Minu is a dear friend of Grant and Charlene’s and she agreed to teach us some Hindi lessons. Our Australian friend Phillipa joined us as well. Phillipa is a practicing doctor at home and decided to come to Rural India to serve patients here for the year.

We learned some basic phrases, but not so easy! We learned how to say:

What is your name?

My name is ________.

How are you?

I’m fine.

Where are you from?

I am from __________.

It was fun to go around the room and try to pronounce things correctly! Minu is a gracious teacher and was patient with us as we learned the basic phrases. We are going back to her house on Sunday for a meal and fellowship with her! I’m sure she’ll quiz us, so we’ll be sure to practice a lot!

After language lessons, we came home to a Mexican Fiesta! Kevin and Casey prepare corn and black bean quesadillas with fresh salsa! It was delicious! Reminded us of our favorite Mexican restaurant at home- El Acapulco.

25 February, 2010

Neha's Village

After VERY little sleep (because of the Rat Parade in our kitchen), we woke up to prepare for a day as a villager. Today, we took a trip to Goshal- Neha’s village. We walked to the shared taxis just down the road from our house and drove to Bhang. Neha was there to pick us up as we would have to walk the rest of the way into her village. The walk was absolutely stunning. We walked over some rickety wooden bridges, and viewed the most beautiful scenery imaginable. Her village was colorful and vibrant today as it is the week of a Hindu festival. This festival is similar to our Groundhogs day. All of the villagers put a box of sand in the temple for a period of time. At the end of the month, they pull the box out to see what the gods have in store for them for the coming year. The darkness was evident this day, but the reception was also very very sweet. Neha’s mother was full of joy to see us. We were the ones that felt blessed to be hosted, but she was blessed to have us in her home. She gave each of us a flower as a welcome gift. Then, she came back around and gave the “newlyweds” two more flowers! The girls spend most of the morning preparing the meal and enjoying conversations while the guys sat with Neha’s father and discussed so many things in broken English! We shared a meal (guys and girls separate due to the space)- sweets, chickpeas, potatoes, rice, dahl, and puri (deep fried bread). We know that it was a great sacrifice for them to prepare and serve us with such an elaborate meal. We are so blessed! After the meal, Neha took us up to a waterfall to enjoy the scenic view from there. It was getting SUPER cold, so we decided to turn around and head back for the day. Overall, today was a GREAT day and a great opportunity to meet some locals in their local setting.

So beautiful!

CDHers with Neha on our way to Neha's village.

Krishna cooking for us in their kitchen.

Pouring water out of the rice.

Krishna making puri (deep fried bread).

Casey enjoying the ginger chai.

Neha's mother.

Praising the Lord for such a sweet time of fellowship. Praying for the salvation of the lost in these villages- that the relationships that the CDHers will build will bring the fruits of salvation to these rural places of India.

SO beautiful!

Dinner with Thomas and Benita

Today was a very domestic day. Jess and I spent most of the morning working around the house, trying to make CDH-I a nice home. We mopped, cleaned, hung up a dish rack and totally reorganized the kitchen. All this was preparation for guest night #2. We were expecting Thomas and Benita, the couple we mentioned earlier that works with college age students.

Benita brought over a grocery list for what to buy and she and Thomas volunteered to come over to teach us to cook rice and dahl, the traditional meal in India. As is the Indian way, the power was out for most of the day which limited us to prep certain items (ie, the delicious brownies that Ashley had prepared for the night). However, as is the Indian way, the show must go on. Thomas and Benita came over right as the power came back on. They had also invited Steve, an American that lives a few villages up. So, the cooking began (some with electricity, some without). It is amazing to me that they are not phased one bit by no power. They just light a candle or two and continue in the work. They also brought over chicken to fry.


Benita preparing.

Our amazing cooks/ teachers!

After spending about three hours together prepping for the meal, we finally sat down (on the floor) to enjoy this meal (with our hands-no utensils required!). The conversations were so encouraging. We really feel like Thomas is one of the first people that we’ve met that totally understands what we are trying to accomplish here in Manali. He is a genuine believer with a genuine heart for the lost. He also shared a lot about discipleship and community (interesting since we are the Community Discipleship Home…) We love this evening and hope that Thomas and Benita can really pour into this program.

Dinner with Pastor

Happy Birthday Susan Brock! Today is Justin’s mom’s birthday. For her birthday, we decided it would only be appropriate to enjoy some leftover cake from the evening before.

This evening, we were invited to dinner at Pastors house. This was such a fun day! We are learning so much about hospitality. Anu, their middle child, came to pick us up and walked us over to his home. We came straight in, sat down, and of course, enjoying a hot cup of chai. The night was full of hilarious dance moves by the kids, singing, putting together a remote control car with Abhinay (their oldest son), sharing photos with Shaanu (their adopted daughter), taking MANY pictures, letting them take MANY pictures, sharing rice, dahl, roti, and CHICKEN together, and finally praying together to end the evening. We are blessed by Pastor and the role he will play in the development of this program and the CDHers each session.

Pastor's wife and Shaanu in the kitchen.

Anku, pastor's little girl. She is a character!

21st of February

This morning, we attended the local church service again. It is challenging to participate in the service when over ½ of it is in Hindi. However, it is also very encouraging and praiseworthy to know that our God is understanding so many different languages, cultures, and peoples all at the same time.

After the service, Pastor and his wife joined us for lunch. We whipped up a delicious soup and rice dish (delicious may be relative now). We sat around and enjoyed conversations, food, and of course chai, for a few hours. After the pastor and his wife left, we spent the afternoon reading and enjoying the Sunday afternoon rest.

Later that night, we cooked some Pizzas! We did it South Glenn style (this is the neighborhood we live it at home). That means, that we cook individual pizzas and then enjoy them one by one as they come out of the oven. It is a fun tradition to try and start here in India as well. During dinner, Dr. Philip brought over a cake that he cooked all by himself. The girls topped it with some chocolate icing and oreos (the official cookie of CDH India). Dr. Dennis also brought over some cashew sweets for his birthday. Yes, for HIS birthday. Tradition in India is to deliver treats to all of your friends on your birthday! It’s a pretty cool tradition, I’d say.

After dinner we discussed our book Bruchko together, this book has been the source of some very thought provoking conversations for the CDHers including the role of the Biblical community in decision making, stepping out in faith, contextualizing the gospel, and many other things. We are enjoying this time together for sure!

Another day and another night to come…full of rats…

20 February, 2010

Lazy Saturdays

Lazy Saturdays are probably the best days here. It’s nice to experience a culture and not always feel like we are doing “busy work.” Everyone spent the morning doing laundry, reading books for their book reviews that are due this coming Friday, and hanging out with Neha (Grant and Charlene’s “daughter”). First thing this morning we got to skype with Zach and Ashley! So good to see the almost newlyweds. One reason it was nice to have a lazy Saturday was because we didn’t sleep the greatest last night. We kept waking up from the scratching and rustling in the kitchen, AND NO it was not our CDH friends- it was the dirty RATS again. We couldn’t find them, but they left plenty of evidence that forced us to put out more traps. Praying for some dead rats tomorrow morning!

***A quick ‘book summary’ of a book Justin is reading…feel free to skip if you don’t have time to read it allJ***

Justin is reading a book called Simple Spirituality by Christopher Heuertz and would highly recommend reading this book. It was one of the books that we picked up from Urbana Missions Conference. He walks through 5 topics that have shaped his view on the poor and his spiritual walk.- Humility, Community, Simplicity, Submission, and Brokenness. The great part of this book is that most of his life experiences come from India and it makes Justin think about CDH and the importance of what we are trying to accomplish through this program.

Some quotes from the book for you to think about:

“ Humility affirms our need for God. It is required to approach God. The Scriptures tell us that when we humble ourselves before the Lord, God will lift us up (James 4:10). Humility produces obedience as a sign and symbol of our love for God. Likewise, humility “is not concerned with one’s own advantage but with that of others.” It’s an obvious prerequisite for authentic community”

In regards to Community he says, “those on the margins have a lot to teach us, yet our pride often prevents us from learning from them.”

“I began to see how we give to those who are poor. We figure people who are poor don’t mind what we give them, that they’ll take anything. So we give them our leftovers.

What if Jesus came to the door right now? What would he say? ‘I’m in town for a few days, do you know where I might be able to find a cheap hotel?’ Immediately I would offer Jesus my own bed, insist that he take it. He then might ask, ‘I’m hungry. Where might I be able to get a loaf of bread or a can of soup?’ Of course , I would sit the Master down at my own dining table and prepare a fest for him.

That’s how I would treat Jesus. But how do I treat my friends that are poor? How do I look my neighbors in the eye and recognize the sufferings of Christ in their poverty?”

In regards to simplicity he says “We want to make the issue about what we give, but in truth the issue is about what we keep”

In regards to submission he says, “The rich are tempted to allocate power according to what they own (I am what I have), so that submitting to friends who are poor in any sense is an absurd notion”

More from this book possibly in other blog updates. It’s too good to keep to oneself! So challenging, convicting, and inspiring.

That’s all for today. Listening to Jack Johnson’s Banana Pancakes while Laura, Ashley, and Kevin make us banana pancakes for dinner, then off to the theater (aka our living room with the laptop and projector!)

19th of February

Today was a pretty restful day. We continued evaluations with the participants, cleaned the house, and visited the CDHers in their internships.

After lunch we dropped off some brownies and a homemade card for the maintenance guys here on campus. They have helped us out SO MUCH since we have been here (from fixing the tandoor, to helping us fix the toilet, outlets, etc). We LOVE THEM!

The card we made for the maintenance guys.

Tonight was date night away from “the kids.” We enjoyed a delicious meal at Mayur, an Indian restaurant here in town. Jess had Butter Chicken and Justin had Chicken Tikka Masala. We were a little nervous about chicken since the town has been on some chicken strike for the past week or so. A villager told us to be careful eating chicken from places because they may use DOG instead!!! AHHH! After our delicious meal, we came home, started a fire and watched some episodes of the office! Great day.

Manu Temple

Old Manali rooftops

Today we began evaluation meetings with each CDHer. We are excited to see them figure out what exactly the Lord has for them! Continue to pray for Ashley, Kevin, Laura, and Casey as they participate in CDH India!

***Manu Temple***

Now that the snow has melted, we got to take a short trek through Old Manali to Manu Temple. Manu temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to the Sage Manu. Hindu tradition says that Manu was the creator of the human race. We walked this day with a purpose of prayer. We walked through Manali and prayed for the lost, broken, and poor. We prayed over the temple- that people would see the fallacies of their faith and come to know the One True God. After walking around the temple, we trekked a bit further up to a rock face that overlooks the entire town. This was such a great time to pray over the town and the people that the CDHers will be serving for the next 5 months. Ashley prayed that they “would not be satisfied.” That, too, is our prayer- that the people of Manali, the people of India, and the lost in our world would not be satisfied in a life without Christ.

17 February 2010

Today was our first official “family meeting.” Jess and I cooked a delicious breakfast (oatmeal, cinnamon toast, and fresh pineapple). Each Wednesday will be a start of a “new week” as far as chores and such are concerned for the CDHers. It is also the day that they will debrief about the week prior. We are praying that the CDHers will continue to be transparent and vulnerable as they open up in the program.

Tonight we had our first official “guest night.” Today is a day of a lot of first officials. Dennis and Cheryl, the couple we spoke of in previous blogs, came over for dinner. We cooked black bean burgers, green beans, bread, and mocha brownies for them. They brought us over a Burmese Chicken Soup dish. We were so thankful for chicken! This was the first taste of chicken that we’ve had since the pizza we had in Delhi. Praise the Lord! We are so blessed and grateful for Dennis and Cheryl and the friendship that is developing between them and the CDH program. Dennis is a doctor and Cheryl is a physiotherapist . Graduates from med school must serve 2 years in a rural hospital, so D and C have dedicated 2 years here! We are blessed!

Conversations and fellowship were so sweet. Looking forward to next week’s guest night! We’re inviting Thomas and Benita (student ministry workers in town with a branch of IFES/ InterVarsity). They are hopefully going to teach us to cook rice and dahl (traditional dish) and then Ashley will be teaching Benita to bake some delicious treats.

16 February, 2010

First Day at DUF/ Starting relationships in Daystar School

DUF Girls dorm

Today we woke up to the sun shining brightly! Praise the Lord! Maybe our clothes will actually dry on the line now. We also woke up to a friendly critter in our bathroom. Kevin and Justin set out a rat trap the night before with some delicious organic peanut butter to catch our friend we’ve affectionately named Ratatouille. He was in the rat trap angry that we outsmarted him. We plan to keep setting out traps because Dr. Philip told us , “where there is one rat, there are MANY.” Oh, the joys of India.

The rat.

Later in the morning, Justin, Kevin, Laura, and Ashley went to the school for chai and a meet and greet with the teachers. We were given PLENTY of projects to keep us busy during the next few weeks before internships officially begin. In the meantime, Jess and Casey tried to look for someone in the ER to shadow, but came back with no luck. We’ll try tomorrow.

Tomorrow begins some painting in the library, shoveling snow from the sidewalks of the school, and other organizational things. We’re looking forward to getting our “hands dirty”


Later in the afternoon, we visited Dar Ul Fazl (DUF), the children’s home where many of the church youth come from. This was such a sweet time of fellowship with some of Justin’s old friends and meeting new friends. We played some pretty sweet camp games, sang some songs, Laura gave a devotion on having faith in God during the storms of life, and then we just hung out and got to know the students a little better. We are excited to see this relationship develop for the CDHers. These kids seem to crave quality time with the groups that come in. We are praying for authentic relationships to be developed in order to have spiritual discussions and really be able to pour into them spiritually.

Some of the children from DUF

Caleb helping in leading music.

The director of the children’s home, Di Mami, shared her testimony with us and hosted us in the “sitting area.” We were so challenged to hear the story of such a godly woman and the persecution and struggles she faced to be able to have the children’s home the way that it is today.

Also, we finally had a GOOD cup of coffee- LOTS of CREAM and LOTS of SUGAR. That’s the trick here…

14 February, 2010

ValenTIMES Day

In India they do not celebrate Valentines Day so neither did we. Well we did go out to Johnsons (a nice American restaurant here in Manali) for dinner but it was more to celebrate Laura’s birthday. Laura hates celebrating her birthday for some reason so we had to trick her :)


Laura's "I hate birthday's"face

This coke is for Britt, we miss you!

This morning we all went to church here on campus (everything is SO close) it was really good too. The normal pastor was not there he is in Delhi but another man spoke on Colossians 3. He told us about a near death experience for the gospel he had this winter holiday. It was surreal hearing someone in church talking about persecution for the sake of the gospel and it not be a “foreign missionary”. He was talking about how we are hidden in Christ so we have confidence in Christ. Nothing can happen to us without His knowing. It was such a powerful message to me and a good reminder.

13 of February

The book Simply Spiritual by Chris Heuertz talks about Humility. This is something that we are learning a lot about in the context of community. Everyone must dropped their own preferences and think of others more highly than themselves. As the facilitators for this Community Discipleship Home, this quote seemed appropriate:

“Humilty affirms our need for God. It is required to approach God. The Scriptures tell us that when we humble ourselves before the Lord, God will lift us up (James 4:10). Humility produces obedience as a sign and symbol of our love for God. Likewise, humility ‘is not concerned with one’s advantage but with that of others.’ It’s an obvious prerequisite for authentic community.”

Here are some pictures of the place we are staying (a.k.a the Treehouse):

This is our bathroom/ washroom. Here you can see our washer, our clothes drying, shower and sink.

Justin making Chai

The Enchanted Forest

Today we got to Skype with Grant and Charlene and Robbie and Annie! It was so good to catch up with them (and ask a lot of unanswered questions about the house and community). I think they were a little surprised at how quickly the CDHers have adapted and learned to “survive” in the snowy winters of N. India.

We also got to Skype with our families as well. It was nice to see everyone’s faces!

Today was our first of MANY experiences in the Mess Hall as well. We enjoyed a Chickpea dish with some deep fried chapatti. It was very tasty! Looking forward to many more in the days to come.

The CDHers are busy reading and getting acclimated not only to India life, but to CDH life. We are going to be assigning interest specific projects soon. Its going to be interesting to see what kind of projects are assigned in the context of Indian culture.

The afternoon and evening times were a great break from the busy days behind us. We enjoyed a nice walk in the Manali Forest. Jess was able to use her sweet photography skills to capture the forest in the knee-high snow! I think this was a great break from the daily life on the hospital campus and market. We truly haven’t left this little bubble since we pulled in the first day. It was nice to get some fresh air and walk around a bit. After the forest, we enjoyed some baked ziti (first time making our own sauce) and watch the movie outsourced as a family! Overall, a great break to a so far busy week!

The CDHers and Neha in the forest

Us with Neha in the forest.

In the left corner of the picture you can see an Indian couple having a snow ball fight, we thought this was so funny.

Keep praying for the CDHers as they have more and more opportunities to meet people in the community (now that life is getting back to normal here). Pray that they will be intentional with one another and also with the community in which they now live. Pray that we can help them in whatever way possible to develop the discipline that they desire to gain in this program.

11 of February

Highlights of the day:

*Denis and Sheryl came to visit. These are friends of Grant and Charlene and have been a HUGE help to us in the last few days. They came over to “check in” but ended up staying for the evening to help us cook a meal in the pressure cooker (and teach us along the way). We had rice, potatoes, tomatoes, and A LOT of Indian flavor!

Denise helping prepare dinner.

*Neha spent the night so that she could Skype with her Mummy and Daddy (Grant and Charlene) the next morning.

Neha practicing her guitar skills.

*We were blessed to be invited to a time of fellowship and Bible Study with some community members. We looked at Genesis 4 and Romans 12 and talked about presenting our lives as sacrifices to the Lord. It was such a sweet time of fellowship with other believers (and I would say a much needed spiritual booster for all of us in light of the “snowed in” lifestyle we’d been living).

13 February, 2010

How to cook Chapatti's

I feel like we are starting to wear down a little bit today. We haven’t had a “normal” day in a long time. But what is “normal” anyway? We’ve been living with a fire stove, propane stovetop, and limited contact with the community due to the snow. People are becoming more of the “real” person and we are definitely getting to know each other more. Its crazy how being snowed in can really teach us so much about ourselves and about each other. The group has really had to unify quickly due to the circumstances.

Today Grant and Charlene’s “daughter” Neha stopped by to visit. We’ve been expecting her, but figured it would be a while since she lives in a far out village and would most likely not be able to make it in the snow. However, she made the trek to visit us and we were so grateful! Neha took the crew to the market to buy fruits, vegetables, and other items and taught us how to cook some traditional Indian foods (greens and chapatti). The original plan was to cook them over the gas stove, but as things normally go here- that plan didn’t follow through. We ran out of propane and were told that due to snow, there would not be anymore until the roads opened back up. So, plan B went into effect and the girls learned to cook chapatti (bread) and veggies over the tandoor stove. Pretty awesome…

(video to come)

Electricity came on today as well! We were so grateful. Internet was also set up for us so we could finally communicate to everyone at home. It was an interesting vibe in the house. People were joyful, but much more homesick once they had a chance to talk to family and friends.

First official day in Manali

The CDHers and their first breakfast together in Manali

As we sit in the freezing cold CDH, we are hopeful that today will be a good day. Our first official day was full of shopping and sorting, organizing and cleaning. We’re learning…slowly.

We began to have our first few visitors as well today. There are so many people that are willing to check on us and see how we’re doing. We definitely feel welcomed here at Lady Willingdon Hospital.

Still no electricity and still A LOT of snow on the ground (with occasional flurries too).


Everyone getting off the bus because we were stuck

Justin and Kevin trying to get enough snow off the top of the vehicle to load the luggage

By 7:30am, we were stuck. We called Dr. Phillip, the head surgeon and dear friend of Grant and Charlene, for advice. He decided he would send Sam (our hero), to the rescue. As Sam was coming to us, our bus made its way a little further up the road. We finally parked in a lot with a large overhang (great shelter from the falling snow and 1.5 feet of snow!). Sam finally arrived with a vehicle to rescue us from the snow. However, he could only take 1/2 of the bags and participants. Jess, Laura, and I would just have to wait... After four hours of waiting, rummaging through our friends luggage for supplies, sitting by a fire with Hindi speaking men, watching a man play cards in a three piece suit, taking Laura to experience her first "squatty potty", and many many laughs, Sam arrived (this was four hours total). The snow was now about 2.5 feet and still snowing! Our drive to our new home was long and adventurous to say the least. We finally arrived to find Kevin, Casey, and Ashley in the house stocking our pantry with staple supplies for the snowy days ahead... Arriving in N. India with no electricity, no heat, and 3.5 feet of snow was quite a welcome! It can only get better from here, right?!

Cooking by candle light

The rest of the day consisted of staying warm and learning from Kevin on how to keep us warm with a Tandoor oven. This is a little fireplace in the middle of our living room with a metal pipe that goes out the roof. It can be used for warming a cooking. Our first day was eventful to say the least. We finished the day off with a nice warm bowl of tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. Praise the Lord for warmth and food!

Bus Ride

The bus ride was pretty nice, we didn't have anyone with motion sickness and no one had Delhi Belly on the drive. On top of all that, there was hardly anyone on the bus, so we all got 2 seats to sleep on! We drifted to sleep in between bathroom breaks, slamming on breaks, honking horns, and flashing lights. At about 6:30am we begin to wake from our bus ride slumber to see the beginnings of what would be the biggest snow storm any of us had ever been in.

12 February, 2010

Delhi Part II

The girls room in Delhi

After "sleeping" a full night in Delhi, we began day two adventures in Dirty Delhi. The hotel clerk gave us the advice to take the metro to the Red Fort, a historic Mogul landmark in Delhi. After a delicious American breakfast (eggs, bread, and chai), we packed up and headed out to the metro only to be harassed by Rickshaw drivers and various store owners along the way.

The CHDers at the Red Fort

Justin at the Red Fort classic pose

The Metro in India is actually a very advanced system and runs very quickly! After a few stops and changing trains, we made it to the stop where the Red Fort would be. From what we understand, this is considered "old Delhi." The sights and sounds are very different than where we were the day before. There were so many people with so very little. The smell and view was not very desirable. It made us all very grateful for what we have. After getting directions from various non-english speakers, we made it to the Red Fort. Laura, one of the CDH participants, reminded us that it looked A LOT like the palace and location where Jasmine and Aladdin spent their days! Being the history buffs that we are, we walked around and thought it looked really "pretty" and then headed out for lunch!

We treated ourselves to an authentic Indian meal for lunch--- Pizza Hut! Kavita, a friend of Grant and Charlene, met us for lunch. She is one of the youth workers in Manali, but spending some time in Delhi. It was a great time for our girls to learn a little more about the ministry in Manali with the youth girls. We were blessed to be able to meet a believer in Delhi in the midst of such darkness.

After lunch we made our way back to the Hotel Welcome Palace to pack our bags for the Road Trip of a lifetime- a 12 hour bus ride from Delhi to Manali. After packing all 12 bags, carry-ons, and people into two tiny vehicles, watching the other car run a redlight and almost get T-boned, and taking one last pee break in the dirtiest bathroom imaginable, we were on the bus and heading out of the Dirty Delhi at exactly 6:30pm.

Delhi Part I

Justin and mine's room in Delhi

We arrived in Delhi at Midnight February 6th. By the time that we got our luggage and to the hotel The Welcome Palace it was somewhere around 2:00am. We were all so tired and jet lagged. We scheduled to stay a day and a half in Delhi. We had some shopping to do but I got sick the morning of the 6th when we woke up at 8:00am. I am not sure if I could say I had "Delhi Belly" because we had only been there for a few hours but I was sick enough to not go shopping that morning. Justin had to take the girls shopping for their Kurtas (Indian shirts that they will be wearing while they are in India) and he picked me out some too.

I took a picture of the hotel room and bath room because that was where a lot of my time was spent in Delhi, which was ok since I am not a huge fan of that city. Thank God for a western toilet!