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.

Steve

video

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

Welcome,

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