Posted by: nemerson | August 4, 2013

Post from July 25th

(Sorry for the delay–I had no internet access for 2 weeks and tried to post this on from an internet cafe.  It didn’t work!)

Since my very first trip to India, there is one thing that always remained the same–”flexible” must be your middle name! Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, things are going to change. In fact, I think it was that first trip to India when I started the process of giving up my “control-freak” nature and trusting God to take care of the details. No, I certainly haven’t arrived, but I’ve learned a lot this week!

After our very uneventful week in Coonoor, we hit the road last Thursday (18th) and traveled for 9 hours through curvy, bumpy roads. We brought Pastor Jamie’s brother-in-law, James Matthew (pastor of the church in Gudalur), and James Matthew’s 5-yr-old daughter with us so that we could drop them off at another hill station (village at the top of a mountain) where James Matthew’s wife had recently had a baby. She delivered the baby (their third girl!) on June 17th (the day we arrived in India!) at her parents’ home. It was my privilege to name the baby Joanna Hope. James Matthew had to wait a whole month to see his wife, middle daughter and new baby! The whole family traveled back home to Gudalur by bus on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Pastor Jamie and Grace and I continued our journey another 5 hours down the mountain and toward the west coast of India into the state of Kerala. We visited a pastor (Wilson Daniel) and his family that I had done ministry with 3 years ago. It was great to see them! We also got to stay at a brand new hotel with all the modern conveniences (except internet!!!)–even an outdoor swimming pool! We invited Pastor Wilson’s kids to come and go swimming with us on Saturday afternoon. It was wonderful! The water was actually cool because it had been raining there for several weeks, but the sun was almost out for the 2 hours we had in the pool. It started pouring as soon as we left.

That afternoon, we visited two children’s homes and did our Kings and Queens program with them. It was great to be with the kids and share the love of Jesus with them. These children were all being cared for by Christians, so they knew about the gospel, but they were surprised that they were Kings and Queens in the eyes of God. They were so excited to have the crowns!

On Sunday morning, we went to a small house church with Pastor Wilson and his family, and then set off on another 5-hour journey to Madurai, Tamil Nadu, which is in the plains (hot and dry). Although Pastor Jamie had made plans for our visit with the pastor in Madurai over a month ago, the pastor was not there when we arrived, and he was not expected back for several more days. After a nice rest in an air-conditioned hotel (with wi-fi!), we got back in the car for another 4 hours, heading to the east coast of India to a town called Tanjore, Tamil Nadu. Thankfully, the roads were flat and straight, which made for a much nicer ride. And we got to stop at Domino’s Pizza on the way! Yippeeee! It had been 3 weeks since our last bite of American food!

Though we arrived two days early, Pastor Solidos here in Tanjore was happy to have us. One of the believers in his church has a new house that no one is living in yet, and we are able to stay here free of charge. There’s no AC (it’s hot and dry here, too, with temps in the 90s and 100s) and no internet, but it is a very comfortable home with a nice bed and a western (not Indian!) toilet and a shower. The pastor’s wife brings us food at mealtimes and is trying so hard to cook things that are not too spicy that we’ll like. Pastor Solidos has also arranged Children’s Programs for us in local villages every nightthis week (Wed, Thurs, Fri) and gospel meetings on Saturday and Sunday nights. Thursday morning, I was able to speak at a small prayer meeting, and Friday morning, I was able to speak at another prayer meeting that was held at the house we’re staying in. What a joy to finally have so many opportunities to share God’s message with people!

Unfortunately, Pastor Jamie had a lot of work to do that could only be finished back in Coonoor. On Tuesday afternoon, before he left, Pastor Jamie brought us to the beach to go swimming! The wind was blowing, and the waves were crashing—Grace loved it! We swam and played until it was almost dark, and then headed back to our Tanjore home. Before leaving, Jamie arranged for us to have a 21-yr-old girl, Princy, come and stay with us. Since she speaks English, she can take care of us and translate for us. She had 3 years of Bible College (all in English), but she had never done any translating before. She was so nervous! But she loves Jesus and wants to serve Him, so she decided to come and help us out. She’s doing a great job and is wonderful with children. She feels called to work with children in Delhi just like me! Princy is also crazy enough to get into huge tickle fights with Grace, which makes Grace ever so happy. (I can’t even stand to watch!) Pastor Solidos also has a daughter who is 14, Jemmy, and she has been hanging out with us in the evenings after the children’s programs.

I’m not sure what we will do next week…we could stay here, but I know that it is difficult for the Pastor and his wife to take care of us. It is also difficult for Princy’s family to be without her at home to cook and clean (her mother is away, her father is working, and she has two younger siblings at home in school). With no internet access, I’m feeling lonely and out of touch. We don’t have a car here either, so we have to go everywhere by rickshaw, train, bus, or rented car (no AC) on the dry, dusty roads. Grace’s allergies have been quite a nuisance ever since we left Delhi—she’s been sneezing and blowing her nose constantly! With all that in mind, we may leave early for Thailand, if it’s possible. Please pray for God’s wisdom and direction for our next steps, and pray that Grace will be feeling better soon. 

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