Monday, October 11, 2010

Dear Friends and Family,

I'm beginning my fourth week of being home and it's about time that I did one final update or a closing post to for my trip.

First, I would like to thank you all for praying for me and all the support. We couldn't have accomplished what we did if it wasn't for everyone praying for us back home.

I'm so glad for the time I had in HI as well as India. God used it to teach me a lot and I think in some ways change me in ways I don't even realize all the way. It's been really good to be home again and I think I appreciate what I have more now and the country I live in. Seriously, I have never seen such poverty as I did in India. It's like a totally different world there and I see how wonderful and blessed this country is even with all it's problems.

One of the of the really amazing things that happened was what God did in the red light district. As many of you know after being in North India for just a week we found out that we had to find another contact and a different place to stay. We had been told that ministry in the red light district was tough. That we shouldn't expect to see a lot a fruit so the last thing we needed was no contact; or so we thought.

Looking back we could see that God had different plans. He knew that if we had a contact we wouldn't be at freedom to do all that we felt like we were suppose to do. We had a translator who told us that he was surprised at how much progress we had made on our own (we only had a translator like 3 or 4 days out of almost 3 weeks) and how much the women loved us. He also said that when he work in that area for 5 years they would always just go prayer walking and never let the teams actually talk to the women. We are hoping that God uses us having been there to not only affect the prostitutes but the Christians in that area.

We were able to connect with two groups of women. We spent time with them, gave them a bible, brought them flowers, took pics of them and got them printed. One group of ladies we asked the madam if she could make money another way would she want to leave this life. She said yes and that 11 other people would come with her. My leader ending up taking her to a restoration home where they talk to someone about her leaving. Now it's up to her about what she does. I look at that time and praise God for what happened! Even though at times it didn't make sense what was happening He was still in control and had a plan.

Just in case you are wondering how else God used you in India I'll give you a list. (I view my time there like you were there as well because of your prayers and support in more than one way; I think God does as well.)
  • You fed the poor and beggars
  • You prayed for lepers
  • You brought good news to the a hindu girl who will never be the same again
  • You played, danced, sang, and hugged orphans
  • You left an umbrella for a homeless man sleeping on the street in the rain
  • You prayed for, hugged, and loved prostitutes and showed them people can love them for who they are not just for people can get from them
  • You gave money to those who have nothing
  • You brought a smile to faces by simply taking their photos or throwing a smile their way with a silly little Indian head bobble
  • You danced a hawaiian dance in a slum making a fool of yourself
  • You met with a dentist student for coffee who's a hindu you met on the train; and to talk about your beliefs
  • You cried for the people in India as you saw a young man sitting in a chair looking like he was on drugs or was physically sick knowing that his life will probably not change his whole life
  • You gave a scarf to a little orphan girl named Deepa.
Thank you again! If you would like to meet anytime and hang out or have coffee just let me know and I'd love to meet with you. God bless!!!

Love Chrissy

Friday, September 3, 2010

Mumbai Update #2


So we've made a little headway in the red light district but not much. It's an interesting area to work in. Like I said in the last update our first contact didn't work out. Our second contact sort of fell through as well. The second man I believe really wanted to help us but he was so busy and communication with us was difficult since our phone wasn't working at the time. God is faithful though and gave us another man who is willing to help us.

We've gone down to the red light area probably around a total of 6 to 7 times total so far. The first 2 times we went down, we went down when it was still light outside. It was good to get an idea of what the area was like and meet a few people and take some pictures. We also tried prayer walking but it didn't work so well since it's so loud you can really only walk in two's and sometimes single file. After it not really working out with our second contact we just started going down on our own. We communicated as best as we could with out little Hindi and their English. There's some people who were very friendly to us and others who tell us to leave.

One night when we were out we met a woman who said she's been a prostitute for somewhere around 20 years. She lived in a village but she needed money so she came to Mumbai. She now has 1 daughter and 2 sons. We met her mother and daughter because they live there with her. She said that she wants to go home but I don't think she can because of money. She doesn't have a pimp so no one is telling her she has to stay. She love my leader and was crying the first night we met her.

There was another woman who Kelsey and I met one night and we thought her name was something like Judy but now we're not sure. We were both really drawn to her after speaking to her. She had really good English and she seemed so very sweet. After not very long at all of speaking with her a crowd of young men was gathering and they (her and another girl with her) started acting really nervous. I asked if we should go and she said yes. We turned and left down the road to met the rest of our group. After not going to far I turn to look back and couldn't see her anymore. It was like she disappeared out of no where. We have looked for her since and asked the other girl who was with her through a translator but we've gotten no where. I'm a little concerned for her and can't help but wonder if something bad happened to her.

Last night was the first night that we went out with our new contact; who is really great to work with. We were thinking about not going out once again because of rain but decided we were going to anyway. I think that some of the ladies were really impressed that we still came even in the monsoon. I hope that it showed them that we really care. As we were walking through the area today I started tearing up. We were going to meet some of the ladies who were really happy to see us last night and especially Kailyn. Some of them told us it was better to come 3 to 6 because they're not busy then. We were going to go have tea with these ladies but didn't find them. We were met with a lot of opposition today partly I think because of our cameras.

We ended up leaving the red light area and just walking down the street taking pictures. We seem to attract crowds at rapid rates. LOL It's okay for a while and in some areas but after a little bit it becomes overwhelming. We ended up meeting a very nice business muslim man who invited us into his office. He gave us pepsi and introduced us to his son. He told us a little about himself and his beliefs and we also shared a little of what we believed about Jesus but not much. His wife was roman catholic but converted to muslim. He ended up wanting a pic of each of us individually. It was pretty gross because I he posed pretending to kiss my cheek. So I pretty much got lipped by an old Indian man. I guess I can mark that off my list of things to do before I die. Just kidding. He was very nice though and told us before we leaved that if we needed anything at anytime to call him; even at 12 at night. "I will come and get you and take you to my house. You are not friends or even good friends but family now!" This is what I love so much about the Indian people. They are so hospitable!

Another thing that's happened in the red light district that I wasn't expecting at all was ministry to male prostitutes. They are cross dressers and at first glance and even meeting them you can't really tell. What got me wondering was his voice for one of them. He is obviously on hormones and/or has had surgeries. One of them speaks very good English so be we've been able to talk to him quite a bit. He's the prettiest man I've ever seen and it's really sad that he's there. He's told us that he's only been here a month and that he's in college or was in college. I'm not really sure I believe the month part at all. He also said he started doing this because of family problems. That's really sad if that's truly the case.

As you can see from the what I've written there's very people who need freedom from more then one thing. The red light area isn't at all like a pictured it would be. It's basically women living in a certain area sitting or standing outside of their home selling themselves as life in India goes on around them. It's not like there's big bars with lots of prostitutes in them or anything. It's like these women living with other women and maybe a pimp or with their children and husbands. Some stand on the main road on the sidewalk. Others sit in front or stand inside tiny little dark ally ways. I've never seen a western man down there all these times so I'm thinking there's somewhere else westerners go.

Please pray for the women to have open soft hearts and their pimps so we can talk to them. We are planning on giving flowers with verses out to the women soon so we're hoping this will open the door up for us a little more. Please also pray that the man who is helping us right now would get a heart for this area and carry on the ministry here when we leave next Tue. Thank you!

From the crazy country of India,

The Traveling Iowan :)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Mumbai Update...

So much has happened since we left for Mumbai. We met our contact after around a 26 hour train ride. We were living in I would say the most getto conditions so far. We worked with this contact for around a week before we found out that they wanted us to leave. We really don't understand all the reasons why we had to leave but that's okay. It's sort of sad that it didn't work out with that contact since the women in the red light district were starting to like us and open up more to us.

We had to find a new place the same day we were asked to leave. We ended up finding a hotel that is over our buget for housing but we figured it out so it will work. So for the past week we have been staying in a hotel in downtown Mumbai. We had to find a contact and see if God wanted us to stay or not. It appears that He did since that's what He impressed on all us and he provided somewhat of a contact.

As for ministry here, our goal is to work in a red light area about 15 min from our hotel. It's much larger than the one we were working in before. We need your prayers because we need motivation as well as direction. I have only spent one evening down there so far and we're going down again tonight. Pray for openness in the people and leading from Jesus. Please pray that we would finish strong as a team as we've been struggling this this.

Our team has had quite a bit of opposition since arrive here. Everything from lice, weird illnesses, head colds, parasites, losing a contact, getting kick out. Please pray for health as well and protection.

Thanks you so much! I can't wait to be home again and see everyone I love so much and care about. Plus just being in my home country again is going to be amazing! If you ever want to appreciate all God has given you just live in leave the country for awhile :)

Here's a few fun facts for you:

"You Know You're Indian When...."

- You cross the road even when there's oncoming traffic.

- You don't look for a trash can but throw garbage on the ground without hesitation

- You don't say yes by shaking your head up and down but side to side

- You don't know what a line is most of the time and if there is a line you shove your way as close as possible to the counter hopefully before the other hundred Indians try to do the same thing.

- You don't really grasp the concept of time but operate on a event mindset

- You will give up your plans for the entire day just to help a foreigner who you just met and really is a total stranger

- You will pay a stranger on the side of the road to clean out your ear wax with a wire and cotton

- You shove your way through crowds to get to where you need to go; and considered it normal

- You willing invite total strangers into your home serving them tea and cookies (aka biscuits)

- You live with cows, chickens, goats in and around your house like they're one of the family

- You use your horn to let people know you're passing, to get out of your way, to let them know your coming around a corner, and of course just for good measure

- You might drink tea religiously everyday and will stop everyday life to have it

- You think nothing of riding in a overly crowed bus or train where you might have to hang halfway out the door.

- You can successfully fit your four person family on your motorcycle

- You'll call a total stranger Auntie or Uncle instead of Mr. or Ms.

- You don't even blink when you see a full grown man peeing on the side of the road or a child taking a dump on the train tracks

- You are so very generous and will share even a small packet of cookies with a "rich" westerner when you earn the small living by prostitution

- You still have a smile on your face and can laugh and find joy even when you're so poor you really have nothing at all

- You love having your picture taken even if you'll never get a copy but only see in on the LCD screen of the camera

- You know that there are probably as many smells in India as there are hindu gods or languages

- You know what a samosa is

- You eat rice three times a day and still like it

- You can successfully eat with the right hand only. Rolling, tearing and popping your food into your mouth.

- You are amazingly good at water-falling drinks into your mouth instead of touching the glass or bottle to your lips

- A cup of good tea can be as small as dixie cup

- You pay around 33 cents to 1 dollar for an hour of internet service

- You will stare unashamed at a white person even when they stare back

- You are accustom to seeing people begging with deformities that you know they weren't born with

- You find it normal to live in a country that lives in mad chaos and hardly any order at all

- The first and maybe only phrases you know in English are: Hello!!!, What is your name?, My name is..., How are you?, What country?.....

- You most likely know more than one language

- You are most likely very friendly and welcoming to strangers/foreigners

- You've learned to watch where you walk if you don't want to step in mud, poo, or a hole

- You love your country and you're proud of it even if you can see many things that need to change

Monday, August 9, 2010

Hello Everyone,

I decided that it was definitely time for a longer update. I will start with updating you on our 3 week stay in Vellore before I move on to our current news here in Dhurmapuri and Mumbai. I briefly mentioned the Hindu girl who excepted Jesus. I was able to go back to her house with the pastor's wife and one of my good friends, Dawn. She wasn't there the first time we went to her house but after doing our programs we checked back and she was home along with her mother and sister. Her face was still glowing because of what Jesus had done in her life. One of the most encouraging things was that she wasn't wearing the hindu dot on her forehead anymore. I was worried about this but God totally took care of it. Even though her mother and sister were wearing it she wasn't! Praise the Lord! I gave her the bible and told her to read John with her family. She had told her family about what she did and then Ruby and I talked to them about Jesus for just a few minutes because we had to leave. I was hoping to talk to them longer and had been praying about it but I have total peace. I feel like God wants to use her to lead her family to Christ. That He wants to her as a new disciple to make disciples. This is His heart I believe and this is what I want to see as well. I don't want to come to India and make a disciple who doesn't then make a disciple. I want to be involved in a life being change who will change another and have the ripple affect! I truly believe that mother and sister will be saved and that they will read John together. I prayed for them before we left and the sister I guess was crying. She was the one who ended up with the bible and she was clutching it the whole time. Dawn took a pic so I will put it up at some point. She is so beautiful!

Another really cool thing that happened in Vellore and was totally unexpected was one day when we had decided to go shooting. Dawn, Kailyn, and I decided that we were just going to go down town and get some pictures. To make a very long story short God led us to a business man who showed us a hindu temple and who we ended up talking to for around 3 hours. He is very intellectual and he's searching for truth. He doesn't really believe in hinduism yet he practices it somewhat because that's what his parents taught him. We shared the gospel and talked and talked. He invited us out to eat so we could talk more other day. We went two days later and had another 3 hour talk. He was very kind and reserved a separate hotel room so we could talk in peace. He also gave us presents. We ended up agreeing to disagree but I believe that someday before he dies he's going to find Jesus and believe that He's really who He says He is. God is totally after this man otherwise why would we have met him? He's searching for truth and one day he'll find it in the Truth!

Okay, so on Friday we came back her to Dhurmapuri after a very good fruitful time of ministry in Vellore. I think most of us if not all of us loved our contact there! Pastor Caleb and his wife, Ruby, and three little children are wonderful! They took such good care of us and we had wonderful times of ministry where we saw God's hand move. Just a quick side note of a vision that they have: They would like to start an orphanage. I don't believe that this would be an orphanage that people could adopt from since supposedly you need a license but it's a home for children none the less. The start up cost is so cheap that it really surprised me: $1,100. If you would be interested in helping them, email me and I can send you his email address.

Nine or ten people from our group of 20 are going to Mumbai on Wed. We are going to be working in brothels. At this time we're not really sure what this is going to look like since we don't know much about the contact. That's pretty much how things seem to go around here. We usually find out what we're doing the day of or the day before we do something. Sometimes here in Dhurmapuri we find out sooner but that's always given to change at any moment. LOL We are going to be working with prostitutes and then the children of prostitutes. From all the people that we've talked to who have done this kind of ministry we've found out it's not usually very fruitful. People don't usually see much happen. Please pray for us that we would continue to see the mighty hand of God move in great ways! I would love it if you would pray along with me. This is what I'm going to be asking for one woman who I can be apart of getting her out of the brothels and her heart away from satan. and if God gives more, praise His name!!! Also pray for our team. I guess this is really hard ministry to do. Like some of the toughest stuff people have done before.

Okay, well it's about 1:30 am here in India so I'll call it a day and I'll post this in the morning when I go to the internet cafe. God bless you all so much!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Hello Friends and Family!!!!

I did have a long post all written but my computer has been acting really funky lately and it turned off on the way here so I lost everything I had written. So once again you'll have to put up with a short post.

I think the biggest and most exciting thing that's happened is that I got to help lead a Hindu girl to Jesus. I was pretty bold and she ended up deciding to believe in Him!!!! I and the translator prayed with her and after we got done praying she was so happy and you could tell by her face that something was different! I'm going to go give her a bible sometime this week. Please pray we have a chance to talk to her family about Jesus as well. I know that I could go home now and feel like it was totally worth everything for that one girl's soul.

Life here is always interesting and you really never know what to expect. Somedays I love being here and other days I feel like I'm going to go crazy. But really it is such an honor to be able to experience this. I really think the trip is going to start going so fast now. We have about 40 more days here before we begin debrief in Singapore and then back to HI.

I'll write more later. Thanks for all the prayers once again!