Thursday, November 17, 2005

On the Way Home

Well the goodbye was tearful. I have really developed a grand bond with our team in India, Matthew, Jeffery and Wilma. The past 4 days, I have spent many, many hours with Jeff and Matt pouring into them Biblical principles, future driection and strategies to use to the truth of God to move forward in India. At the airport, there were long hugs and tears that were wiped from our faces. These men and their families face daily struggles and challanges. Words cannot describe the faith, talent and perseverence these men have. Through them, with your prayers, you are having a tremendous impact on India. May our commitment to that end continue strong. Spending until 1 and 2 am with Matt and Jefffery the past 4 nights is taking its toal. Now with a body that already is sleep deprived, we begin a 42 hour trip home with much of those miles in the air. I'll have to finish this when we get home because it is time to board the plane. Pray for our safe arrival home. I love you all, Ed

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Day Eight

The day began with a cold shower. My stomach was feeling something other than normal so I didn’t have breakfast. Today we were to take a boat to the backwaters of Kerala. I expected some type of jungle type cruise but it tuned out to be something much different. As we walked to the boat launch, we met Joseph Johnson and he took us to a very large boat. It was about 65 feet long and had two levels. There were of us and we had the whole boat to ourselves. It was an older boat that Joseph bad borrowed from a friend. It is typically used for tourists or parties. As we traveled the river we saw traditional fisherman in what looked like dug out canoes fishing with nets. They were in the same channel with super tankers, it was quite a sight. We traveled along the port seeing ship after ship and hotels and apartment complex’s lining the river. As we traveled along, we learned that Joseph owned a boat manufacturing company and that in 2002 he had won a national competition for boat design. He took us and showed us his land and shop along with a boat that his company is currently building. Jeffery has been mentoring Joseph and he was so appreciative of Jeffery and our being with him for the day. We had quite an adventure while at his shop. Whatever pictures are in your mind about his company, I can probably assure you they are not accurate. We docked next to an older Indian traditional house boat and then we had to navigate over to that boat and climb up on the boat that it was tied to. That boat was an old Indian Navy ship that Joseph wanted to restore and make into a worship boat. From their we had to climb up a ladder to the new ship that he was building and then climb down from there onto the shore. His land was full of spare parts, people working and one cow. We went into his shop and were served coconut juice in a fresh coconut. We then had to navigate again over three ships and a ladder to finally get back to our boat. We took off and Joseph asked us if we would like to stop by his home and of course we said yes. His home was nice and his wife served us chilled pineapple juice. We were not introduced to his wife so I can’t tell you her name. It is cultural here for the women to be in the background. It feels really weird. We took off from his home and docked at a nearby dock where a man got on board and brought lunch as we traveled back to our point of origin. The meal consisted of fresh fish and a chicken curry dish with rice and chaipatthy (flat bread). It was good and tasty. My dad thought it was our best meal of the trip that wasn’t pizza J. A good hamburger would be nice…I’m dying for a diet coke. Only the rich people buy diet cokes because being on a ‘diet’ is something only rich people are concerned about in this culture. Please pray for wisdom for me tonight (Wednesday morning for you) as I finish up some very important conversations with the national leaders here. I love you all and miss you deeply. I will post one more time during our trip while we are in Malaysia. There is wireless connection in the airport. I’ll up load the pictures once I arrive home. We have been going very hard (about 14 hours a day) since we left the states. We are all feeling the tiredness upon us. Please keep praying.

Day Seven

I had a good night’s sleep and woke up ready to the hit the ground running. We ate breakfast at the restaurant in the hotel. The restaurant is open air (alfresco) but it always hot and sticky here. Even the paper feels wet because the humidity is so high. Breakfast was eggs, pancakes (w/ honey), fresh pineapple juice and black coffee. Our taxi ride to our location for the day was uneventful. The streets here in Cochin are narrow, very narrow. They seem to be almost European narrow to me. Our meeting location was in a home and we had about 35 people. They were very gracious people several pastors were with us. Many were excited by what the team had to share. It was so hot with humidity that I was drenched I sweat as was everyone else. This is normal for the people here but I don’t think I would like living here with such high humidity. It seems like I can’t drink enough water. I’m beginning to see the end our trip and my heart is both sad and joyful. I’m sad that I’ll be leaving new friends, a new culture, good food and an adventure of a lifetime. I’m joyful because I so want to see my family. I miss Rachel’s voice and questions, I miss Bethany’s bubbly personality. I long to hug my son and daughter-in-law and to hold those beautiful grandsons. Most of all, I can’t want to kiss and hug my wife, Debbie. She is the joy of my life and I do miss her, but enough of the personal issues J I spent the whole evening from about 5 until 12:30am talking to our team here in India. We spent time planning, developing a deeper friendship and praying together. Please pray for our trip home to be smooth and uneventful. Also pray that we can get back on our time zone. I think we all just got on this time zone and now we have to change again. But this problem is simply compared to Matthew and Jeffery here in Kerala. They will have to travel by train some 40 hours back home. We will actually get home faster than they will. This team are strong men and women and you should be very, very proud of them.

Day Six

Today is a travel day. I finally was able to sleep more than five hours last night. I went to bed about 11:30pm and got up at 5:00am but went back to sleep until 6:30am. We called room service for breakfast and we ordered toast and nothing else. After eating some toast, our taxi arrived to take us to the airport. Oh yeah, I wanted you to know that there is one thing in India that could spoil me (besides the food). It is having my laundry done. Here it is so cheap. I can get a shirt cleaned and pressed and picked up and dropped off for 15 rupees or 35 cents. It is so nice to wear clean clothes again. I’m still waiting for a hot shower!!!! We arrived at the airport and got on the plane without any problems. We flew from Delhi to Bombay and then we had to catch another plane. As we exited the plane from the back door to the tarmac, Bud was the first one from our group off the plane. I was a few people him and as he hit the tarmac, there was a bus waiting to take people to the terminal. Bud got on the bus but it was full so the doors closed. I watched Bud ride away thinking that I would take the next bus to the terminal. However, Tony came up to me and asked, where is Bud? I told him he went to the terminal and then Tony said, he shouldn’t have gone. We are to take a different bus to catch our next plane. So my dad, Tony and myself got on the proper bus and went to the check in area for the next plane. While in the terminal, we asked a person about the situation and found out that he was taken to the arrival terminal and it was a 5 minute walk. We then prayed hoping Bud would ask the right questions and end up here before the flight left. The end of the story is that he did show up at the proper time and we all got on the plane from Bombay to Kochin together. Kochin is in the southern state of Kerala. Delhi was a cool place and we were refreshed there from the heat and humidity in Bombay. However, the heat and humidity in Kochin is stifling! As soon as we walked off the plane we began to sweat with out stop. I didn’t know I could sweat this much. The taxi drive to the place that we were to be was a one hour taxi ride. These taxi’s were larger and a little more comfortable. The country side is very tropical. Coconut trees are everywhere you look. There are forests full of coconut trees. This land looks much like Hawaii an it is beautiful. As we traveled along, we passed small town after small town. We crossed a few rivers and streams and made our way to the ocean. We arrived at our hotel and were assigned to our room. Bud and I were sharing a room and the room they put us in had one king size bed. Now let me clarify a little, a king size bed only refers to its size. It was the size of a king bed, but the mattress was not what you might expect on a king size bed. We had a 4 inch piece of covered foam rubber. Bud and I didn’t want to sleep in the same bed so we asked to be moved. They moved us to another room with two beds and as we began to freshen up, we turned on the A/C. As we turned it on, the fan made a loud and continuous sound and on top of that, it didn’t put out cold air. Now Bud and I are sweating profusely and we needed a room with a working A/C. So they moved us again in this room, the A/C worked and the fan worked but we were stuck with a king size bed again. We inspected the restroom and found it the least favorable one of our whole trip. We have no hot water. We asked about this and they told us if we call the front desk, they would send up a bucket of hot water for us. We certainly are on an adventure. Our whole team met in the lobby and took a walk in the city. It is a beautiful little city with tiny shops all over. There are a lot of westerners here, more than I have seen this whole trip. As we walked to the beach, we saw many, many fishermen. This whole region is full of fishermen. As we walked on what is like a boardwalk, we saw many fisherman selling their fish on the roadside. We saw some very large wahoo, dorado, grouper and other species. All of the fish were on the ground and you could buy one or a portion of one and then have it prepared right in your presence. This puts a new twist on fresh fish. We then walked back to the hotel and had dinner on the top floor in an open air seating area. The food was pretty spicy but enjoyable. The end of our night was in a one of the hotel rooms discussing what we are doing until midnight. Please pray for India. It is a needy country worthy of your prayers. I’ll write more later and I love you all very much.

Day Five

I again woke up at 4;30am – it is tough for me to get fully adjusted to this time zone. I will probably get fully adjusted the day before we head for home. I took another sponge bath and this time I used a hand towel for a washrag. I won’t tell you how dirty that hand towel looked when I was done…yeah it was that dirty. Bud and I are sharing a room at the hotel so we ordered room service which comes with the cost of the room. We each ordered chicken omelets with toast and “separate coffee”, which means black coffee. Bud doesn’t drink coffee but I wanted two cups (oh, give me some Starbucks!) so we ordered two. After breakfast, we had a friend here come and pick us up and take us to our next destination. As we rode through Delhi, it was apparent that it is much different from Bombay. For one thing the climate is cooler with less humidity. It doesn’t seem as crowed and there are certainly not as many taxis. It is somewhat cleaner that Bombay with less street vendors, but much is the same too. At the church we were at, the worship leaders were really good. They were two younger ladies, maybe 20ish and they did a fantastic job. One thing that is really good about the Indian churches that I have visited is that the teens and children are very involved on the worship teams and are always sitting in the church learning alongside the adults. They don’t complain and in fact they are very appreciative of the teachings they receive. After the team taught (10am – 5pm), the team headed back to the hotel room to freshen up and then at 7:00pm we were to go to dinner. I was in the mood for another great Indian meal but we ended up at Pizza Hut again. Some in our group just don’t like the Indian style food. The pizza was ok but our time together was fantastic. One of my new friends here, Titus and his wife Patricia were the ones who picked us up. They had an 8 year old daughter named Rachel. Right away we got attached to each other. I became a sort of Uncle to her and she was like a granddaughter to me. At lunch, we sat next to each other and she would teach me some Hindi words and I would tell her about the States and showed her some pictures of my family. Our time in Delhi is short, we fly out in the morning, and my fondness for Rachel was growing quickly. As we parted ways with our dinner party, Rachel asked me to please come back to India. This is question that has been asked too many times of me. I invited Rachel and her family to visit me in Peoria. Who knows! Gifts were exchanged between friends and then went to a Indian dessert deli to taste some Indian desserts. I found them very sweet and one could not partake of too many Well I need to close and try and get some sleep. We have a long day of travel tomorrow. Delhi is in Northern India and we are flying to Mumbai and then on to Kochin in the state of Kerala. I have been told that is beautiful and is God’s country. The people of Kerala are suppose to be more middle class and a really nice place to visit. We’ll be in Kerala for three days before we begin our trek home. Keep on praying.

Day Four

I woke up at 4:30 this morning. My body clock has not still fully adjusted but I’m grateful for the 6 hours sleep the Lord has provided each night. What normally takes about 30 minutes to do at home in the morning (shower, shave and getting dressed) takes about an hour here. I have to wait for the hot water to warm up and then taking a shower consists of putting warm water in a bucket and then splash yourself with the water, apply soap and wash. Then you dip a pitcher in the bucket and rinse yourself off. It is like taking a sponge bath when camping. That is everyday life here for us. I can’t wait to take a long hot shower with a washrag. The morning began with an 1 1/2 hour taxi ride to a church in the Vasai area of Bombay. Bud was cramped into the Mini-Cooper taxi and really hurt his back by being squished for so long. We actually took a freeway for part of the way and went over a mountain pass. At the top of the pass there was a sign that said, “Look out for Leopards”. It is another world. As we entered the Vasai area, the poverty seemed to increase if that were possible. We saw people surviving by digging in trash and begging for money. At the church where the team was teaching at, the people were so happy and gracious. They praised the Lord, sang and danced. Just before lunch, we were singing more songs and worshipping the Lord. The song they sang asked for the name of Jesus to echo throughout their town, country and world. The people were singing very loudly and many were dancing. One of the pastors came up to me and grabbed my hand and began dancing with me. Jumping up and down and swaying to the music. Here in India, it is common for men to hold hands and put their arms around each other as a sign of friendship and relationship. This man just held my hand as danced and danced. It was fun and liberating. I could sense the love of Christ. We then had lunch and it was traditional Indian food that was delicious. The people loved us for only being there a short time. They took our pictures, asked for our e-mail and cell numbers. Many promised to come to the states and visit us and almost everyone begged us to return to their country and share the truth of Jesus with them. I wouldn’t be surprised to return home and find many e-mails from new friends. As we departed that place, tears were shed, hugs were given, prayers were offered and friendships developed. We left that church and headed for the airport to fly to Delhi, India. This was a domestic airport and it was much nicer than the International airport. As we waited for our flight, we sat and watched a Cricket match on a very large flat screen TV. The National Director here in India, Matthew, taught me all about Cricket. It was fun to watch once I understood what was happening. As we took off for Delhi, we flew over a sea of slums. People living on dirt or mud floors covered by pieces of cardboard or tin. As I looked at the streets of Bombay floating away from me, there seemed to be no rhyme or reason for how the streets came to be. There did not appear to be any design to it all. It is amazing to me how people survive and thrive in such an environment. As we landed in Delhi, we took our bags to the curb and waited for another EID partner, Titus, to come and pick us up. There were a couple of men who tried to insist on taking our bags and helping us. It was difficult to not allow them because they were so insistent. Finally Titus arrived and we went and had a snack at Matthew’s and his wife Suma’s home. Matthew’s home was much, much, much different from any home I’d seen so far. He lived on the seventh floor of a condominium. His home was much closer to what we are used to in the States. Matthew and Suma have two boys, Joshua and David and I had a great time playing with them as I thought about my grandsons whom I miss dearly. Finally, we arrived at our hotel. This had marble floors but that doesn’t mean that it was lavish in any way. The cost is about $45.00 per night. The door to the room looks like it has been opened more with a butter knife than with a key (we didn’t leave any valuables here). The furniture was low grade Wal-mart type and beds were hard as they were at the retreat center (I can’t wait for my bed). My sheets looked as if they had not been washed and the one towel we had was not washed well if at all. We do have a western toilet (praise the Lord) but the shower area is still bucket and pitcher style. I fell to sleep quickly thanking God for all that I’m experiencing and begging Him for souls and a heart that appreciates all that I have in Him. I pray God is blessing you and your life as you continue to grow in His grace and mercy too. Blessings, Ed

Day Three

Eating in India is not good if you are on the Atkins diet. I have had more starches today than I can remember. Remembering what I had is fairly easy. For breakfast, lunch and dinner I had Indian flat bread along with a garbanzo bean gravy. To eat it, you tear a piece of flat bread (looks like a tortilla) and dip it in the gravy, pick up a garbanzo bean and eat it. The gravy is made with a spicy gravy and that was a different taste and texture for a breakfast meal. For Dinner, we went to a nice restaurant and had a traditional meal that consisted of different varieties of flat bread and two different tips of mild to spicy mixtures to dip the flat bread in. I do love the food here, Bud, Tony and my dad are not so fond of it J In the morning my dad, Jeffery and I took a taxi (mini cooper size) several miles to our next location to meet. Tony Bud Wilma and Matthew took a train to another location. Our taxi drive (as every taxi ride) was an adventure into another world. We arrived at our drop off point and walked a few narrow streets to a small alley. On our way, we passed by a stand selling fresh fish. Most of the fish were covered with flies and the lady at the stand wasn’t even trying to shoe them away, that is how many there were. It is sights like these that touch my heart and cause me to realize that this is a difficult country to live in. I have learned that the people of India are very smart people. Almost everyone speaks at minimum two languages and the majority seem to speak at least 3 but understand up to 6 or 7 languages. It is not uncommon for people to speak 4 languages fluently. They are also a very strong people, this is a hard place to live. As we walked to the church, it was above the pastor’s home (don’t get any ideas). We could hear the people singing and worshipping as we approached and the pastor came and greeted us and asked us to come and sit in his home for some morning tea which we did. After a short time, we climbed the ladder up to the worship area and found a room about 12 feet by 20 feet long. It was tiled up the walls about 4 feet and the floors were ceramic tile. The ladies sat on the left and men on the right. They were all sitting on the ground cross legged. I found out that these people were from southern India from the State of Tamil. They brought us to the front of the church and gave us some plastic chairs to sit on but quickly moved us to the middle of the room as they put up an EID banner up front. As I looked at the people worshipping, I could not sit in a chair for the next seven hours while they sat on the floor so my dad and I chose to sit on the floor. We sat there cross-legged and in various adjustments to that position all day long. Yes my butt was numb and my legs became numb and the muscles were being stretched in new ways. Before some team members taught, the pastor greeted us and through a translator we learned that we were the very first foreigners in his church and that he was humbled that we, coming from the US would choose to put ourselves on their level and sit on the floor with them. My heart would let me do nothing less. It was an honor to be with them, worship with them, learn with them and get our lives nourished spiritually together. As we left the upper room there, we needed to get on the road but the pastor asked us to join him down stairs for tea, so we did. Then, another pastor asked us if we would please come to his home and meet his wife. This was pastor Solomon who had interpreted for me all day. It said it was a short walk and so we went. This took us again into another part of India that blows my mind. As we walked to this pastor’s house, I saw two little boys squatting on the roadside defecating right out in public without a thought. People were passing by without a thought. As we walked deeper into the his neighborhood, everyone knew that we were foreigners and the inquisitive looks were constant, especially from the children. Pastor Solomon’s wife and three children greeted us. This would be the first Indian home that I would enter. Pastor Solomon told us that in the floods of several months ago, his home was filled with seven feet of water, he lost everything. As we entered the home, we had to lower our heads. The first room was 10 feet by 6 feet and seemed to be just a sitting room or storage room. We entered the second room (and only other room) which was their bedroom. There was a loft that you could climb to if you got on the bed. This bedroom was 10 feet by maybe 7 feet. In that room, we crammed 3 plastic chairs and sat and talked for a while. The walls were made of cement that had a light blue coat of paint where the finish coat of the cement was not rupturing off from having been under water. It was a humbling experience. The taxi ride home was simply a fast paced Disney ride with real danger at every turn. By the grace of God we have not been in an accident. I simply do not have the words to explain the feeling of driving on the roads of Bombay. This is certainly another world. We are not in Kansas Toto!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Day Two

Day 2 Well it is now 10:30pm and my day began at 5:30am. I am exhausted today. The best part of the day was that I was able to speak to Debbie for the first time since leaving on Sunday night, it is now Thursday night here in Bombay, India. We began with breakfast. It was some flat bread that looked like pancakes but tasted much different. It was to be have some spicy gravy on it. We all passed and had peanut butter and jelly on bread. Just before we were finished, we were offered a fried egg so we ate it. My dad, Jerry, myself, Matthew (EID Director of India) and Wilma (EID women and children’s coordinator for India) left to teach in the “Attic”. The four of us piled into a taxi about the size of a Mini Cooper and took off for a 25 minute ride. Traffic was bad and we maneuvered our say through it, inches (or less) from each car around us. It is quite thrilling. It is said here that if you can drive in Bombay, you can drive anywhere in the world. I believe and I will not be driving in Bombay! The scenery to the “Attic” was shocking. We would be traveling by hundreds of stores selling many items including food and then there was a dairy farm right there in the middle of the city with all of smells and things that go with it. We also traveled by some slums and it was awful, there is not way for me to explain it without being plain. The houses they lived in were at best, shacks and they were walking on mud about 2 inches deep. They work and I assume somhow slept tin these conditions. Some men had on some whitish colored shirts but because they were worn everyday for who knows how long, they are now yellow and dingy. It is all they had. My heart was broken. We arrived at the “Attic” and had a short walk to the access point which is a ladder leading to the “Attic”. Below the attic, the pastor and his wife have a bakery and their church is literally an upper room. In When I’m able, I’ll post pictures of the Attic on the photo page. It is hot and humid in Bombay so being in an upper room with a corrugated fiberglass roof, it is a hot and sweaty experience. We taught EID principles from 9am until 5am with a short break. There were about 45 people in attendance and the room was full. There was a Muslim lady in the home next door (about 5 feet away) who sat at her open air window and listened to what we were teaching for most of the day…pray for her. The people in the seminar were full of joy and I think that they will made a huge impact on their region of the country and then it can spill over to their state and country. I met a young man named Adam. He is 15 years old and as I prayed for him, I saw him as a pastor and prayed to that end. If you have time, pray for Adam now, would you? On our way back to the retreat center, we stopped by one of the churches orphanages. We had to walk back to a section in the rear of an industrial area. The walk way was at times 3 feet and wide and at other times it was 15 feet wide. As we made our way, we had to walk over open sewer drainage ditches. Children were playing all around, dogs meandered here and there (I haven’t seen a cat). Almost all of the children were barefoot and the doors of the homes we passed were made of curtains. As we entered the orphanage, we saw 12 children. One of them was found on the street when she was about 10 days old. She was abandoned by her mother and left to die. She is now two years old and does not speak or crawl or walk. There were also three siblings under the age of 7 years old. They had witnessed their parents fighting and eventually killing each other. These stories and others are repeated over and over again all around the country. India is about 60-70% full of poverty. These families survive on $40.00 - $50.00 dollars per month and that is with both parents working and many times their children too. We left the orphanage to travel back to the retreat center to go to dinner. The traffic was horrific. You just could not understand without experiencing it. Once back to the retreat center, we went to Pizza Hut for dinner…what a treat. We ended the evening having some Indian ice cream which is much richer, almost like a frozen cake batter. I enjoyed it, the others really didn’t. We are all doing well and feeling well. The days are long, the time zone change still affects us (I woke up at 3:30am this morning). The spices do not always agree with us and the humidity tears us up. Please keep praying. We are all teaching today and tomorrow morning and then we will be flying to Delhi Saturday afternoon to teach all day Sunday there. I love you all and your prayers are being effective. This country needs much prayer. The EID Indian team is FANTASTIC. They are true servants of God and bond is being made between us. They have much work ahead of them. Pray for unity, love and a single mind for the will of the Lord to be accomplished. Also pray for ValleyLife. I long to be with you, my family in Christ. I long to love you, pray with you, encourage you, be encouraged by you. We too have much to accomplish in Phoenix. Our city, state and country is in desperate need of Jesus Christ. Please, please take him to the world you engage this weekend. As you come together on Sunday afternoon, pray for us (it will be early 6:00am Monday morning here as you gather) and pray that God will move POWERFULLY through us. May our obedience to the Lord of the Universe grow and be powerful for His kingdom building pleasure. I love you and appreciate you more than I have ever been able to tell you.

Day One

Day 1 in India We got to bed about midnight but it took about an hour to get to sleep. I was awoken at 5:00am by a Muslim call to prayer that is played loudly over strong loud speakers. I took a shower and prayed before our day began. Our breakfast consisted of a bowl of mashed potatoes (sort of), mixed with nuts and raisins, a fried egg and rice. We then had some team meetings until lunch. For lunch we had a traditional Indian dish that was very good and spicy (which didn’t really agree with Bud or Jerry . The afternoon continued with team time and then I told one of the Indian team members that I would like to take a walk with him. That is when my eyes really became opened! The retreat center we are staying in Mumbai is like an oasis from the sounds, bustle and smells of the city. As we strolled down to the street, our conversation was a comfortable level. By the time we reached the street I found ourselves almost shouting to each other because of the traffic noise. How can I describe my experience? Think of rush hour traffic on the freeway moving between 20 - 30 miles per house and you are walking within one foot of the cars. On top of that add pot holes, puddles of water with mosquito’s, piles of trash and store fronts just feet away. With that description, you begin to get a glimpse of what I was experiencing. After a 45 minute walk, my friend, Jeffery took me on a auto-shaw ride (kid of like a rickshaw but with a motor. That experience was 100% fearful punctuated by times of terror! You simply would not believe how close the cars came to each other, how fast they can stop and how much they can avoid – safely! That evening we had a small ceremony and gave away some certificates for learning and teaching EID principles and then we had dinner together. After dinner, some church leaders came back to my room until 10:15pm and now it is 11:35 on Wednesday night (I think) and I’m getting ready for bed. It has been a long day. Accomplishments On Wednesday, I was able to accomplish meeting with the EID India team, teach a lesson or two, have some in depth talks with ministry leaders and do some more strategizing with Tony. It was a full and fruitful day. THANKS FOR PRAYING!

Arrival

Arrival If the Taiwan and Malaysian airports were state of the art (and the were), then the International airport of Bombay was in the 1950’s in every respect. From small hallways to 1960 vintage furniture to wheelchairs from the 1930 era. As we landed and taxied to the gate, I looked out the window (it was 9:00pm) and saw houses that were only 40 yards from the tarmac. Once the big Boeing 777 turned, the jet engines pointed straight at the homes. They were intertwined and I have no idea how they stood or how people could sleep with jumbo jets landing, taking off and taxing all night – every night. Customs was a breeze for me, Bud and Jerry, but Tony had some challenges. He had what must have been too much luggage for one man so they ‘inspected’ his luggage (oh yeah, in Taiwan, they looked at his personal bag and confiscated his insect repellant. Tony thought the guy ‘needed’ it). Tony had some gifts in his bag and so the inspection cost him $50.00 (US) to get through customs – that is a lot of money for an Indian. We met the EID India team and what a thrill it was to see faces that were happy to see us. The greeting really made a difference. As soon as we turned the corner to see our new friends a whole other world collided with mine. There were throngs of people waiting to greet their loved ones. It look like mad fans at the Oscar awards straining to get a glimpse of their favorite actor. Once past the crowd, The Indian team began to arrange for a taxi to take us to the retreat center that we would be staying. There must have been at least 100 taxis waiting to take people around the city. As we walked to one of the teams cars, I saw people and dirt and grime and trash everywhere. As we traveled to the retreat center there were lots and lots of cars. Not only do Indians drive on the opposite side of the street than we do, there are no lines to delineate traffic (not yellow or white lines). It was organized chaos. I am guessing that the first lesson in driving is to use your horn. You sijmple could not drive in India with your horn being in proper working condition. As we rode along we saw piles of trash, street vendors all over, store front stores that looked like a war zone and people every where. The cars literally came within 1 inch of each other most of the time. It is simply an amazing experience. Once to the retreat center we were shown how to use the electricity and the bathrooms. There was hot water but only about 2 quarts worth at any one time. If I was able to upload them, on the picture page you’ll see the bathroom with a blue bucket. The idea is to put the 2 quarts of hot water in the bucket and mix in some cool water so you don’t get scolded and then pour the water over your body to rinse. That is an Indian shower.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

On the Way

We left LAX at about midnight headed for Taiwan. I took two Benadryl before we took off and was asleep at lift off. I slept on and off for almost 9 hours! I couldn’t believe it. The stewardess’ kept wanting to push food at me but with my black out shades and all, I think they got the message. The 14.5 hour plane ride was a riddle of languages all around me. The announcements over the intercom were done in at least three or four languages and English was always last. I am writing these thoughts down in the Taiwan airport as we wait to re-board to fly our second leg to Kuala Lampur, Malaysia. The flights have been smooth. It seemed that we flew towards darkness. We left LAX at midnight and we didn’t see dawn until just before we landed – that was weird. Our second stop was Kuala Lampur, Malaysia. It is a fantastic airport, new and crisply clean. Here we have a 7 hour layover so the airlines gave us a hotel room to rest. We met a nice lady from Holland, New Zealand and now lives in Kuala Lampur. Once we arrived at the Concorde Hotel, we found our room which was modest and had very weird electrical outlets. If you look at the the photo page on valleylifechurch.org, you’ll see a picture of a card in a slot with a key on it. We had to put the card in the slot for the electricity to work. When you left the room, you took the card out and the electricity turned off. That means the A/C turns off too. It is 87 degrees and about 95 percent humidity. We had a wonderful buffet dinner consisting some local cuisine and Indian cuisine. We spent some time in our hotel rooms. We all showered, some slept (I mean snored) and others, (like me) stayed awake until we get to our beds in Mumbai (Bombay). We still have another 4.5 hour flight and then customs and then a taxi ride to the retreat center. I spent many hours putting together some devotions and teachings that I will be using this week. Tony and I discussed our strategy to help our Indian EID Team move forward. Please pray for us as we need much wisdom… Pray for… Wisdom Adjustment to the culture and time Boldness Humility for all. Until tomorrow…

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Taking Off

Well the day is here and the time is rapidly approaching. I've left my family and find myself sitting alone at a computer typing words. I already miss all of you but the work at hand is important. I will not be able to post again until sometime Wednesday or possibly Tuesday night. I will also attempt to put the first pictures of our trip on the web at that time. I'm excited and nervous. I'm not nervous about the trip, I'm nervous about what we are to accomplish. This is a very important trip for the future of EID India. Pray that the Lord will be powerful in every step. Do pray for safety and health - nothing worse than getting sick on a trip. The anti-malaria meds are being taken and we are about ready to step into a whole different world. I'll try to describe the feeling, smells and other intangibles that pictures just can't communicate. Pray hard. Pray often. Connect to your Father - He is, as always, in control!

Friday, November 04, 2005

Last Minute Prep

I've been in Southern California since Wednesday. The EID team taught at the National Outreach Convention in San Diego. It was very, very well received. I was so encouraged by the response of the people who attended our seminar. I'm sure that many churches and people will be affected and encouraged through our time in San Diego. Today I was with my parents in Lakewood, California and enjoying some time with them and my Grandmother who is 96 years old. She began having trouble breathing and we had to take her to the ER. She was released but this could affect my Dad's ability to go now. Please pray that he and my mom will have wisdom regarding his travel. Tonight, Deb and Rachel drive in to Lakewood and we'll spend tomorrow and Sunday morning at Disneyland. Sunday night we are off to India. The EID USA team have met this week, prayed and sought the Lord's leading for any last minute adjustments for our team times in India. I'll talke to you soon...maybe I'll post some Disney pictures on the web page (www.valleylifechurch.org) which will be a huge contrast to the first pictures of India that you'll see probably on Wednesday.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

One Week Away

This picture is to remind me that I'll be in a much differnt place in a week from now! Next Sunday, I'll be in Los Angeles getting ready to fly west to India. I will be in San Diego from Wednesday - Friday teaching at the National Outreach Convention and then driving Los Angeles with Tony. While in San Diego, Tony, George and I will be meeting to finalize all that we will do in India. Deb and Rachel will drive out to L.A. on Friday and we'll spend all day Saturday and Sunday morning together before I take off. I still have to purchase some cool 'black out' goggles to wear for sleep on the plane. I have ear plugs and Tylenol PM to help.

October 25, 2005

This morning I read in 1 Samuel 15 that the Lord wants us to be obedient ("To obey is better than sacrifice."). Going to India is an act of obedience for me. I certainly know that God wants me to be there. I'm sure that I will return different, stronger and more thankful for what God is doing around the world. I have received all of the money necessary for the trip plus a little more for incidentals as we travel. Thanks to all who have a part in the financial investment of this trip. I pray that you are obeying the Lord today. I think the best way to obey the Lord is to love Him with your whole heart - the rest will flow from that. Ed

October 20, 2005

Well, I'm getting ready for India - at least mentally. I'm not looking forward to the long flight to India. Here is a short overview of the flight plan...LAX to Taiwan = 14 hour flight. We have a 7 hour lay over in Taiwan. Taiwan to Malaysia = 5 hour flight. We have a 7 hour lay over in Malaysia. Malaysia to Mumbai (Bombay, India) = 5 hour flight. That totals 24 hours in the air and 14 hours of lay over for a grand total of 38 hours of travel - that definitely spells exhaustion :-). So now you know one thing you can pray for. Our trip home is some what faster with the tail wind (only 11 hours from Taiwan to LAX) and our lay overs are much shorter. I'll write more in a couple of days. Ed