India – October 18

Written by | October, 2014
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The last two days were spent in doing workshops for district pastors of the BELC. Ed, Matt, Vanessa and I traveled about a two-hour train journey west of Chennai. I was drowsy on the train but didn’t dare sleep for fear I’d miss something fascinating. But everything here is fascinating.

Here are a couple of boys who were playing on the platform as we waited for our train. I’m guessing brothers.

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Seriously, the homes (and even businesses) in India look like they come from a Dr. Suess book. I keep expecting Cindy Lou Who to pop her head out of a window.

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Sorry, another sidesaddle motorcycle passenger. It never gets old.

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This little girl is one of thirteen children being cared for by a BELC pastor and his wife. Some of them are true orphans, but most of them have neglected or abandoned by one or both parents. Their support must be a heavy burden for the pastor, but he never asked for anything from us when we visited his home.

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These three girls lost their mother through illness. Soon thereafter their father, a BELC pastor, also died. They are being cared for by their grandparents.

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Matt and Vanessa Ude taking a break from the second day of the pastor’s workshop.

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You can’t really tell from this photo, but this is a BIG monkey. The kind you wouldn’t want to arm-wrestle.

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There were two of these big guys hanging around the rooftop of the hotel where we were holding our conference. Ed happened to be sitting just outside the conference room on a plastic chair, listening to me teach a class. Next thing we knew, Matt looked toward Ed and shouted “Hey!” We all looked to see what was going on, and here was this monkey skittering away over the rooftop with Ed’s 20-oz bottle of Pepsi. Snuck up and snatched it right from underneath his chair, the rotten pop thief! I hope it gets diabetes.

Here’s the hotel room where we met for a seminar with about a dozen pastors from this area. They are interested in the BELC but not yet members. They seemed enthusiastic. They certainly paid rapt attention to our discussion of the proper distinction between Law and Gospel.

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Having lunch back at our hotel. The menu was all Greek to me (or rather Tamil – if it were Greek I might have been able to decipher it). Matt and Vanessa are old pros, however – they guided me to the menu items that were unique and interesting on the one hand, and unlikely to lead to a hospital stay on the other. They were great traveling companions, and did everything they could to help a newbie from the States navigate a completely alien culture.

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It seems like everyone in India is friendly. This woman was just entering the hotel and returned a big smile for Ed’s greeting:

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I thought I’d seen a pretty broad selection of animals in India, but this was my first donkey. They say you always remember your first.

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A Hindu holy man in the train station, who kindly allowed me to photograph him. In fact, no one said “no” to me the whole trip. I can’t figure out whether the Indian people like to have their picture taken, or have simply developed a high tolerance for goofy westerners with cameras.

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Mother and daughter waiting patiently for their train. Good thing you’ve got that stocking cap – it’s a nippy 89 degrees out.

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Ed keeps a wary eye on the policeman on the platform. Police in India are allowed to beat their prisoners during interrogation. Coincidentally, no one seems to disrespect the police here. Go figure.

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Chennai Central train station by moonlight. Looks like Hogwarts.

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Returned home to a birthday cake that Janice had made for Ed, plus cards and presents. He got all the candles in one go.

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