Sunday, March 14, 2010

Day 6

On Saturday, we traveled to a part of Delhi where a group of nomadic people dwell in a tent city. These people were once considered Thieves in the caste system. Now they are not considered thieves but no status has been given to them. The government does not recognize them, as if the USA refused to give a Social Security card to someone and say, you are not valuable. Deshbandae, one of the Truthseeker staff, has started a school to teach the kids of the tent city. They have no access to school as non registered people. He brings apples every day for the children. There are two "school" rooms with about 20-25 kids in each. Along with Deshbandae, there are 2 other women teachers that teach the kids. All the people living here are Muslim yet they accept Deshbandae and what he is doing for their children.

Khanta is a woman who organized Friday's foot washing rally. She is a leader in her neighborhood. After going to the tent city, Khanta invited us to go back to her home. A humble 400 square foot apartment was what she opened up to us. We packed into the largest room (bedroom) and she told us her story of how she came to follow Jesus. She is an amazing woman.

We Shopped a bit at a market. My simple purchase was a set of 6 stainless steel drinking cups, purchased across the street from the market. The shop keeper looked at me a bit crooked as I became excited to find the right cups I was looking for. Stainless steel is durable and simple. It is a basic cup of the lower caste people and easier to clean compared to a plastic cup. What a find!

We had a closing dinner and it was off to the airport with the whole group.

Friday, March 12, 2010

married off

Oh, I forgot to say on Friday's post that Daisy just about got married off. At lunch, all the ladies went to an upper room and the old ladies gathered thought that she would be perfect for one of their sons. Before she left, she had to grab me and show me to the ladies to take off the pressure and prove she was married. That was a close one.

-Daiy's Husband

Day Five

Friday morning, we toured a school that would be comprable to a private college prep school back home. The difference in this school however is that it only accepts kids from high caste Hindu families. The "head boy and girl" shared with us about their school. When Boaz Johnson was a student he was at top of his class (Head Boy) here and could relate very well. But as a student when Boaz shared that he was a Christian, they stripped him of his title and he was not recognized for his accedemic achievements. He underwent persecution for what he believed. He has an incredible story as he kept hidden his story and where he lived (slums of Delhi).

We kept our identities quiet and finished the tour. It was interesting to tour the school. The staff continually asked, "what do you think of our school?" as to seek our approval or to show off. It was a nice school but it was clear that it was only for the high caste families and kids. When we left, we were given booklets as gifts. The writing in these booklets affirmed that the casste system was neccessary and helpful or that everyone has their place in society for a functional purpose.

After the tour, we took a 2 hour bus ride to our next foot washing rally. My jaw dropped when the truthseeker staff said that we were still in Delhi. We had only traveled about 35K... doing the math, that's 15-20 kilometers per hour!

Again, the foot washing rally was unique. This village is known for being Agnostic and very tough in what they will accept. What we have learned is that in America, faith is such an individualistic endeavor. Here, faith is mostly a communal act. At each of these rallies, there are local contacts that are "Truthseekers" or Christians. It was a good day. I shared a brief story in front of the crowd. Daisy said it took 5 minutes! (long in her opinion) but Boaz came to my deffense that it really was 2.5 minutes because of the interpretor. She is my best critic.

Time has gone quickly. And we have gotten used to this place. Around every corner our eyes are opened to something new and it begs the question, "Are the problems here too big to change?"

Steve and Daisy

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Day Four

Today we traveled by bus to the city of Agra. In this city is the Taj Mahal and the Agra Fort. built in the 1600s, it is amazing what some creativity and inginuity can do to make a really fancy grave for your wife. I told Daisy, a headstone would be about the most she could expect.

On the way home we stopped at a McDonalds for dinner. Inside the restaurant on a metal sign it stated, "no beef products are served or used in this restaurant" we thought it was funny. Kyle Small referenced an 80's Wendy's commercial, "Where's the Beef?"

Friday we will get to see one of the highest caste Hindu schools where Boaz Johnson attended and then on to another footwashing service.

Steve and Daisy

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Here is another good Photo of our procession to the tent that was set up for us for Wednesdays footwashing.

The Rickshaw video was pretty weak. I have another that shows us scurrying through traffic like a pack of wild animals trying to be herded... but it would take forever to get the video uploaded.

Look forward to sharing more later. Thursday is our tourist day to what they call the Taj.


Today stretched us in ways it is difficult to explain. It all began today at 5am with a ride to the Delhi train station. Here is what the day looks like after returning to our Guest House at Midnight.

5am Depart to Delhi Train Station... imagine a sporting event getting over and your team won but without the collective celebration (people everywhere)
6am to 11:00 travel by train to Gwailor where we are met with drums and fanfare
12:00 to 2:00 travel in a caravan of SUVs to a remote town where half of the travel is a police escort.
2-4pm Footwashing rally with 500 people.
4pm quick exit with much of the town waving and chasing after us in celebration
7pm wait for the train
7:30pm train arrives
11:30pm arrive in Delhi train station where it seems just as busy as any other day. If you have seen video of worker bees scurying around a hive, this is what it felt like.
11:35pm we got to go on our first Auto Rikshaw ride from the station back to our guest house for 120 rupes or about $3

Midnight on Wednesday night we arrive at P51 which is our Guest House to get cleaned up and go to bed.

We cannot put into words how much we prayed during travel, the celebration and watching something amazing happen to people as they begin to realize they are not just who they have been told they are, but made equal in God's image.

Hope the video works from the rikshaw

Steve and Daisy

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Day Two
Today is Tuesday. I still chuckle to myself when I look at my watch and realize we are a half a world away. Today was an amazing journey through the slums of Delhi. Boaz Johnson, who is along with us on the trip is a professor at North Park University and he grew up in a nearby slum. As we walked down the road where he grew up, we all realized that this was something special. We met the family who is living in his old home. They welcomed us in and Boaz was greeted quietly like a home town hero. They offered us tea and some snacks to us. The family had very little yet they offered us much.

After lunch we toured a Sikh temple. Interesting. The kitchen in the temple where they offer food to anyone who needs to eat, feeds 20,000 daily. The kitchen is more than industrial… and yet because you are in a temple, everyone is barefoot. Sikhs (seeks) are most commonly identified by their head wrap (turban). Another lesson in a major religion of this area of the world.

Next came our first footwashing service. Local community leaders arrange these gatherings with Truthseekers. We washed the feet of Muslims and Hindus. We were told this gathering is quite rare because of the two groups of people. Barriers seemed to be broken. Even one leader washed his wife’s feet. Serving your wife is unheard of in India. There were also about 200 kids who came, but weren’t able to wash everyone’s feet.

We were all quite overwhelmed by the end of the day from our experience.

5am train ride to remote untouchable neighborhood tomorrow. Yikes!

Grace & Peace,
Steve & Daisy

ps. Steve had his first taste of spicy Indian food today. His Norwegian blood could barely handle the heat.

Monday, March 8, 2010

We traveled by plane from Minneapolis to Chicago to connect with a great group of college students from North Park University. After introducing ourselves to a couple of students one of them came back to me and said, “wait, are you Super Steve?” (a nickname students have called me over the years.) One of the college students who attends NPU from our church must have told him, that his youth pastor, Super Steve, was going on the same trip. Weird.

We had a direct flight to New Delhi. The pilot of the plane seemed overjoyed with the announcement that we were ahead of schedule and he would hope to get us at our destination 30 minutes early. After 14 hours on a plane, 30 minutes didn’t seem like a cause for spontaneous celebration.

After landing in Delhi, customs went smoothly. The college students are staying in a Hostel while Boaz Johnson, Kyle Small and the two of us are in a guest house/hotel. The main office of Truthseekers is a 2 minute walk from our stay.

Our first experience on the streets of Delhi can only be described as something similar to playing the game Mario Cart. Traffic signs and painted lines are all suggestions… and driving on the left side of the road takes some getting used to.

Today, Monday, we have orientation and get to meet the staff of Truthseekers, exchange money, shop for an Indian outfit and get trained. As a team, we took time washing one another's feet. Pictured is Sunil Sardar (wearing the hat), who started Truthseekers and the man washing his feet is Professor Boaz Johnson from North Park University.

It is awesome how in the big and little details, we have had our needs met. We wait in expectation to see how God will work in the hearts of people. We await the sunrise to see what this land has in store for us.

Steve & Daisy

Monday, March 1, 2010


Daisy and I will post stories and pictures from our time in India as we find WiFi available or an Internet cafe. Check back and we would love to share our journey with you.

Grace & Peace,
Steve and Daisy

Friday, April 3, 2009

Israel Getz Fun

We have had so much fun discovering the ancient times of the Bible. Our experience has been similar to our little car, Hyandi Getz "Fun." (see picture of car). click pictures to enlarge

Today is Friday and went to the Garden of Gethsemene/ Mount of Olives, Dominus Flevit, City of David, shopping with Matt Peterson (extreme bargining skills), and a fine dinner to come.

The Garden of Gethsemene where Jesus often took his disciples and prayed, was arrested here in the darkness of night. From the garden, the city walls are quite visible as they are high up the hill. In the Gosepel of Luke, the writer continually leads the reader toward Jerusalem beginning in chapter 11. Being here now, it makes fuller sense that in Jesus' time of prayer and petition, he would have set his eyes on Jerusalem and the cross.

Friday is the beginning of the Jewish Sabbath. On Friday, the market is absolutely crazy and packed. People scurying, shopping and buying food before the sun goes down to mark the beginning of Sabbath. We fought the crowds in the old city and open air markets.

Tonight we have a final supper with Matt and friends. Another American came intoday and three more will visit in the next couple days who will stay for two weeks. We hope Matt gets enough time to study.

See many of you soon.

Grace and Peace,
Steve and Daisy

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Thursday-Leaving The Galilee

Today we left the Galilean area and ventured up hill to Mt. Tabor where the Transfiguration took place (Mt 17). The mount looks like a giant hump amidst little rolling hills until we had to drive the switchbacks all the way up.From Tabor we went to Megiddo which some people think will be the location of Armagedon. 19 civilizations had been unearthed at this location. The highlight of the short time here was the water tunnel.

Next we drove to see Mt Carmel. In trying to get there we traveled through Haifa. We arrived at the ancient sea port of Caesarea. I was in awe at the Roman tribute that Herod had built and the enormity of the city. The Mediterranean sets the perfect stage for the site. Herod did nothing small. The aqua duct transported fresh warter from over 17 miles away. With that much fresh water, might as well build a fresh water pool in your palace, a bath house and hot tubs. Stepping on marble pieces as we walk along the paths are a sign that nothing built by the hands of man is permanent.

We are sad that our trip is shortly coming to a close. Friday is packed with many last minute locations and shopping.

Grace and Peace,
Steve & Daisy

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Wednesday in Galilee

Today was the most peaceful day of the journey. We spent the day touring around the Sea of Galilee. We went to Capernaum, where Jesus called his first disciples to follow him.

We also went to the Mount of the Beatitudes (Matthew 5-7). This place was very peaceful and absolutely breathtaking. There are many scents of spring in the air here.

We also drove around the sea of Galilee in our little car. It is much smaller than the flannel graph stories from my youth.

The Jordan river is a very protected stream of water. However, there is only one portion that is safe to visit. Many are baptised in the Jordan River. We were surprised to See so much wildlife around and in the river. One caution to the wise... Holy Water is not for consumption.

The Internet her is spotty and I frequently get disconnected. Thursday will be Caesarea, Mt. Tabor and a few other places on the way back to Jerusalem.

Steve & Daisy

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Very Low Tuesday

Tuesday was our lowest day yet. We woke up early again, grabbed some obscure breakfast and headed out for Masada (Palace of King Herod). Another great story of the Romans and Jews colliding. After finishing up at Masada, we experienced the greatest low of the trip... The Dead Sea! The Dead Sea is the lowest point on earth. Because of it's lowest point, there is 10% more oxygen there compared to sea level. The water is also considered to be made up of 33% solid substance.

We giggled quietly to ourselves as we floated, bobbed and came up with creative postures for what looked like synchronized swimming. Steve's favorite was the Sky-Diving Pose

After rinsing and checking out of our hotel, we continued driving North to Ein Gedi, an oasis in the middle of this massive rock desert. Ein Gedi is mentioned in 1 Samuel 24 with an encounter between David and Saul and again in Song of Songs 1:14. After being in the desert and the salty Dead Sea, we know the true meaning of Oasis with fresh running cool crisp water. The middle school aged kids there were giddy to swim and splash in the fresh waters.

From Ein Gedi, we continued north in our little car following the Dead Sea and then eventually to the Jordan River Valley. We took only 1 wrong turn that lead us to the nicest Israeli check point going into Jericho which is in the West Bank. Well, maybe we took two wrong turns. After seeing a sign for what we thought was Jesus' baptism area at the Jordan River, we turned down a quiet road that ended up being a barbed wire dead end. It was more or less in a military zone and we quickly turned around.

We found our way to the Sea of Galilee, checked in got our plan together for all the sites we will pack in on Wednesday.

Internet here is spotty and our hotel is under a major renovation.

Grace and Peace,
Steve & Daisy

Monday, March 30, 2009

Nearer to God on the Mountain

This blog will be a bit shorter because we have only slept for maybe 4 hours in the last 40 hours. We joined a handful of people at 11pm on a mini bus to go to Mt. Sinai on Sunday night. Our group had to choose a group name for our Bedouin Guide who was leading us up the mountain. We came up with “UN.” Out of the 8 of us, there were 6 different nationalities represented. They were fun to hike with at 2:00am on Monday morning.

It was a long and steady climb up to the mountain where most people believe God gave to Moses the Ten Commandments. Both Daisy and I think that if we would have seen the peak, we would not have had the same attitude about climbing. It was unbelievably…COLD up there at sunrise. 30 degrees was what my thermometer was reading.

While hiking up the mountain, a good story came to mind of how we nick-named a friend’s little brother Moses after he lit the bush on the side of their house on fire and brought in the whole city’s fire department. This one is for you, Fook-Moses.

Enjoy the Pictures. We are wiped out and have a big day ahead of us tomorrow. The border crossing went smooth, but every little item from my backpack was pulled out and scrutinized and inspected. Somehow the customs people weren’t interested in my Bible???

Steve & Daisy

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sunday: Akunamattatta

No worries for the rest of today. Tomorrow? We'll see.

Today, we spent at the beach and going to Dahab to line up our tour guide for Mt. Sinai. We found out that there were no Saturday night/ Sunday morning tours offered because of the Monastery being closed. We decided to rearrange our travel schedule this week with the help of Daisy's Dad and We are headed up the mountain late tonight in order to catch the sunrise on Monday morning. On Monday we will head north, cross into Israel and go to the Dead Sea for an overnight stay and a dip. Originally we intended to go all the way up north to Tiberius in the Galilean region.

If we are not able to get online on Monday, first thing on Tuesday will be to go up Masada, another monument to good old King Herod and interesting story for the people of Israel.

Enjoy the photos of our purposeful preparation for our hike.

Saturday Rest & Search

Saturday we wandered the town of Dahab, Egypt in search for a tour group to go up Mt. Sinai. We were already concerned before we went to town about the St. Kathrine's being closed on a Sunday. The best time to go is late in the evening the night before, drive and hike up the mountain in the dark in order to see the sunrise. With the Monestery closed on Sunday, we found that there were no tour groups going up. We found one guide who would take just the two of us, but we passed due to safety in numbers.

Arriving here later on Friday with the chaos, we didn't feel much like exploring and finding a tour guide... in hindsight, we should have pushed through and gone up Friday night when we first arrived.

Saturday we hung out at our hotel and then went into the slow paced town known for scuba diving and beachside dining. It felt a bit like a tourist town in Mexico with each restaurant owner shoving smelly "fresh catch of the day" platters on you to come eat at their restaurant. I had to breathe deep and offer grace to each person who stood in our path, walk around them and say "no" numerous times.

It feels like we have unplugged from our Biblical Adventure while we are chilling at the Red Sea. We can't wait to get back to the biblical sites. When we learned about Moses parting the sea and leading God's People out of egypt, Flannel Graph story boards don't do this place justice with the clear blue waters in front of our small sunning shelter.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Friday Adventure

Row Row Row Your Boat…Yikes

Friday was our travel day to Egypt. There weren’t many pictures taken Friday. It began with an unfriendly taxi driver who I think overcharged us. He asked if he could smoke during our brief ride to the ferry. I (Steve) told him if he wanted to smoke it would be a lower price for the ride… he put down his lighter.

We took the “fast” ferry over to Nuweiba, Egypt. After leaving about an hour and a half late, we didn’t find it to be fast at all. We made friends with an American named Rick who was traveling alone. He was good company for the frustrating journey.

After getting off the boat with documents in hand, we did not see our driver who was sent by our hotel. It was nerve racking when we saw each bus load up and found ourselves standing almost alone. One bus however was only taking travelers from the port to the customs area. We were halted at the gate and more authorities were brought in. Beyond the customs gate, we could see a driver holding a sign with our names on it. Our driver was called to the gate and questioned. We don’t know Arabic, but it was clear that our driver was getting a lashing for being associated with us. We needed more documentation and paperwork.

We were finally allowed to exit with the condition that we go to the Tourist Police office. When we finally arrived at the office in the most random place, our driver came out shaking his head. He paid the officer the equivalence of $10 US so we would not have to wait a couple hours for paperwork. Finally we were on our way. We found out that the port we entered is nervous about Americans. Our driver was amazing and we don’t know what we would have done without him. We are glad we arranged this in advance with the hotel.

When we arrived at Le Meridien Resort in Dahab, it put all of our stress and anxiety to rest. The service and amenities are AMAZING. When the sun rose over the Red Sea, the place was amazing.

Don’t worry, we are safe and fine. What we thought would be a seamless day became chaos from the start. More to follow.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Rock: Lesson Learned

The purpose for our stop in Jordan was to visit this unbelievable civilization that left behind rock formations and cave dwellings in Petra. Most notable to Westerners by Indiana Jones' adventures, not having a camera battery with you will create your own adventure in seeking out other tourists with digital cameras using SD memory cards. Steve's stomach sank as we stopped for a scenic overlook midway to Petra and found that the reason the camera was not turning on was due to no battery in the camera. The battery was back at the hotel from being charged over night! STINK!

We ended up buying a Kodak disposable camera for 15 Dinars ($21.14 US Dollars!!) We found a few English speaking tourists to take our picture using the memory card that we had from our camera. A couple nice folks will also be emailing us a few photos as well.

We would love to show you Daisy's great adventure of riding a camel, but that will have to wait. We will have to process photographs the old fashion way... bringing in actual film to be processed. Lesson Learned! This ranks right up there with making sure you have a full tank of gas, milk in the refrigerator and batteries in your camera!!! After almost 10 years of marriage, Daisy responded so graciously and kept up the Anderson spirit!

After this camera adventure, we still enjoyed Petra and await the 27 photos yet to be developed. Tommorrow we go to Dahab, Egypt by a fast ferry across the Red Sea.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Travel Southward

Today we traveled south to the city of Eilat (a lot) by bus. On the bus was a very enthusiastic family of 9. We don’t think they stopped talking the entire four and a half hours down. Once we arrived, we crossed the border into Jordan. We are in the city of Aqaba which is right on the shore of the Red Sea. It is beautiful and much warmer here. We spent a few hours relaxing and knapping by the water. This is much different than the busy city of Jerusalem.

McDonald’s ice cream tastes the same here in Jordan as it does in Excelsior.

Tomorrow we venture up to Petra, a city made famous for its red rock formations and hidden city. It was built in the 3rd century B.C. For those of you who have seen Indiana Jones, The Last Crusade, it will be familiar to you… stay tuned.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Soaked in the Old City

Today we spent more time at the Western Wall. One of the highlights of the trip was the tour we took that brought us underground to the tunnels and archaeological excavation of the Temple Mount. Steve was fascinated with King Herod's accomplishments of engineering and construction. One of the pictures is of a block that weighs over 570 tons. It is the size of a small bus. Engineers can only guess how they might have moved it.

After the tunnel tour, we went on a self guided tour of the archaeological digs around the Temple Mount. It was incredible to see how the Romans destroyed the place, toppling rocks from 50 feet above the walls.

We also walked to the Garden of Gethsemane, but if we would have paid closer attention to the times posted in our book, we would have known that the garden and every other site over in that direction was closed from noon until 2:30pm. Again, we walk a ton. Steve even has reached a new hole in his belt in order to keep his pants from sagging.

We went to Bethlehem by bus for only 6 Shekels each. When we arrived at the Church of the Nativity, we were astonished at the site of Jesus' birth. We never knew that there was also a ornate silver star in the stable. Who knew?

Oh, we forgot to share with you that it rained all day (poured would be the better term). In packing, Daisy asked Steve if it would be a good idea to bring a rain jacket. Steve said "no, I don't think you will need that." Well it rained and we we found umbrellas in the marked f0or 15 shekels each ($3.75 ea.) What a deal... until you leave them on the bus that took you up to Bethlehem... Argh!!!