Plus Belle La Vie

A More Beautiful Life

Month: October 2015

Conveyer Belt Worship

As I stood on a bridge in Haridwar that crossed a portion of the Ganges River. I was peering down into the river and saw a naked child being handed from his father to his mother. The mother then took the resisting child and dunked him under the water 4 times. Still screaming the child was thrown back to the father to be dried. The mother then started splashing water all over her fully clothed self.   

She was not the only woman to do this. Every morning and evening in the Holy City of Haridwar they have a fire ceremony where they bath in the Ganges River. This river is considered a god. 

   
 My team and I saw many people stripping down to just their under garments and going into the water. Others were just splashing it on themselves.   We walked through this ceremony. We noticed that some people just seemed to do it out of mere religious ritual and others did it out of a passion with a true devotion to this god.

I watched a old man (who was in under garments) bathing in this river. He seemed to be praying as he gently scooping up water and poured it over his head and face. He seemed at peace as he did this. He had his eyes closed and continued to pray as he scrubbed his arms. As he left the water up the steps he kissed his right hand and then placed it on the step. He loved this god. He served this god.

After the ceremony, we took a cable car up to a few Hindu temples.  

  The temple was like a carnaval. Things being sold everywhere. So many things being sold as offerings to the gods. There were flowers given to the gods. Most people seemed to have bought them their.  

 But there was some that brought their own hand picked flowers to give to the gods and goddesses. These people appeared to be more devoted than the ones that bought it as they were walking in. When we walked through it was hard to find your footing. People were everywhere. At every shrine a different colored dot was put on their forehead. There was people that had one for a specific god or goddess they served and there were others that had like 4 or 6.

When my team left these temples we talked about our observations. One a the girls said that it seemed like a “conveyer belt” worship. With that some of us mentioned how as Christians we can revert to that same attitude of just going through the motions and not actually meaning anything we do. Just waking up going to church, singing songs, going home, going to work, and then doing it all over again.   

 Questions that came to me during this time is:

Am I as devoted to God (the true God) as these people are to their gods and goddesses?

Would I be willing to bath in a freezing cold polluted river if God told me to? Without complaint?

Will these people ever know the truth? How would they take it?

Where am I? Where are you, Father?

I flip a switch and the hot water turns on. Putting a bucket under the focet I begin to fill up the bucket. After a few minutes I turn the tap off and begin to take a small cup and pour the water over my head. There is no tub or shower head. Just me, a bucket, a focet, four tiled walls, a door, a roof, toiletries, and a cup. With just this I am far more blessed than many other people in India. 

I didn’t know what it would be like coming here. I, like most people, have seen pictures of seen movies. India is so much like that, but being here being able to physically touch these people and make eye contact with them is so different. The thing that has devastated me the most this far is not seeing the poverty but having the young children walk up and touch me as they beg. When you see something you can ignore it but once those people, children and adults, touch you it makes it so much more real. Today as we were eating lunch in a park  

  three children came up to us. I was cleaning up after my teammates and the children gathered around me pointing to their mouths. We had some food left over which we had planned to give away. These children touched my feet then their forehead over and over again. This hurt my heart because their was nothing I could do. After we gave them the food we got up to leave and one of the young boys had snatched our water bottle that was unopened. I said “No” and tried to take it back but he wouldn’t let it go so here I stood feeling awful as I ripped the tiny fingers from the bottle and walked away. It is real.

Then I walk around seeing temples for gods and goddess of all kinds. At night as it gets dark you can hear their worship. I think “Where is my Father? Where is he?” These people are hungry. They are hungry even more than what their bodies crave. They desire something more in this life and they turn to these other things. I stand here and just watched. What can I say to someone who shares no common tongue? 

I shed some tears tonight thinking about India, because I would prefer to just look at the pictures and to not think that this isn’t real. That people are like this.  I want to tell that young boy that he wouldn’t have to thirst any more, I have good news, something that would satisfy much more than what his body said he needed but I couldn’t. 

India is beautiful. We are right on the edge of the Himilayan Mountains  

 
it is just stunning views. The people are so beautiful as well. They may stop and stare at us, being white among brown faces, but I just gaze at the woman in their beautiful clothing, perfectly braided hair, and jewelry. Like I said they stare. The men stare especially. The people see us and stop what they are doing to watch us. The people are very generous to us and want to help us with just little things. They want pictures of us. But then there are some that do not like us because of our skin and will turn away from us if we ask questions. 

I have done so much since being here and now know what I have is great. I have a loving Father and so many great people in my life as well as possessions.

I have observed so much in just two days. 19 more.  

  

He’s Still Working On Me

Development Training (DT) week.

The most emotionally and physically destructive week of my life.

I didnt think that would be the case. The week before people were so happy, Oh, you are going on DT next week., That was my favorite week., We really grew as a team that week. With statements like this I thought it would be more class work, but it wasnt. On Monday we hit the ground running literally.

We were thrust into a situation that none of us really understood we were given an objective and were told that we needed to complete it and in order to complete it we would have to endure different tasks and overcome them as a team.

Monday morning and afternoon, we spent the whole morning discussing the task and attending different meetings to understand the safety side of things. Around 10 oclock that night it was over. We had a reflection as a team, as our trainers sat in on our discussion. The trainers wrote down various things we said and was observing how we acted under pressure.

Around 11 oclock I jumped in the shower in our communal bathroom and started to wash my hair and to really reflect on the day from a personal stand point. As I was rinsing out my shampoo and just applying my conditioner, Sue (a fellow trainee) ran into the bathroom screaming for me to get out of the shower. Confused, with conditioner in my hair I jumped out of the shower, put on my bathrobe and ran upstairs to put on warm clothes. We had 5 minutes to get to the lake and our mission was to form a search party for a man who had broken his leg. This whole time, I was angry. Why would someone make us do this? Why now? Do they not know what time it is? There is still conditioner in my hair!!

After this challenge was over, I went back to the shower and finished up, as I was in the shower I started to sob. I started to question the purpose of this training. The purpose of evening being here. My fellow female trainees heard me crying and urged me to dry up and put on my pajamas. I did. In the bathroom they each held me in their arms telling me that this week was only temporary and that God would reveal the purpose soon. I was broken. I missed my bed, my home, my friends, my own shower, and my previous comforts. That night I was ready to drop everything and be on a plane back home, but by the encouragement of my peers I re-evaluated my purpose, and that is To go to France and to tell these lost and discouraged people about the joy and satisfaction of being in a relationship with Jesus Christ.

The next few days after were easier, my team felt stronger and my faith was more firm. I did what I was told and pushed myself through every obstacle, which included hiking for a cumulative 20 km, abseiling, climbing, building and launching a rafting, mapping, backpacking, pitching a tent, and so much more.

Through all of this my team and I were being evaluated. Different quotes of ours were noted and at the end of the week were recanted to us in private discussions.

During my private discussion, I didnt speak much and only listened. They told me I was naturally servant-hearted and needed to be confident in myself. Hearing these two things made me die laughing on the inside.

For those who know me know this. I am a prideful person, I am bossy, and I have much of the dictator personality. My biggest struggle has always been being a servant. Ever since I was young I prayed that God would soften my prideful heart and make me more of a servant. I prayed he would make me more personable and kind.

With hearing this I laughed originally but later praised God, because this just proves his faithfulness. He has been working on me slowly but surely. He has been patient with me and now people see it. They see it. I may not feel it all the time, but God has been shaping me into his servant.

I learned this week that even at your lowest God raises you up. He puts people in your life to encourage you.

I, also, learned that he is faithful to his people. (This made me think of the song Hes Still Working on Me.“)

As I feel tired and miss my home, I am learning that God is enough and that he provides for his children. I am blessed through and by these challenges.
Continue to pray for me.

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