It has been 6 months since my last post and in the time we’ve moved around so much I feel like we’ve reached a whole new level of “nomadic!” We honestly have not stopped moving, and there is no end in sight!!! Since I last […]
So, India was so beautiful and so stressful! I can’t say I loved every minute of it since we both got food poisoning twice, but we do love that we had the Indian experience and so thankful we had the opportunity to visit our friends who are serving as need greaters there! We have so much respect for those who are able to live there. It makes Thailand look like a piece of cake!!!
When we arrived we went straight to Agra since it has been a life long dream of mine to
see the Taj Mahal. I must say It does NOT disappoint!!! It is stunning! No photo can do it justice and I’m so thankful to have seen its beauty in real life and learn more about this amazing piece of architecture. Every thing else in Agra we found to be a bit over whelming..the noise, the cars, the pollution. But that was nothing compared to our next two days in New Delhi!!!
We purposely planned very little time in Delhi… I enjoyed the chaos of it all and would have liked a little more time but Aaron was done with it the minute we arrived! It really is amazing to see just HOW many people are everywhere we looked…We all know India has a lot of people, but to actually experience it and feel it is unreal. It’s like everyplace we went felt like Time’s Square. And of course we ran across a few things that took us by surprise, like the constant cows just walking on busy roads, the “community cup” that was attached to the public water fountains for all to share, and the public bathrooms that are literally on the street for all to see as we walk by. And let me tell you, the street samosas are amazing but definitely should NOT have eaten them…or atleast not 4 of them…we were very sick the next couple days!!!!! Delhi belly is no joke!! We thought we could handle it since we’ve survived Bangkok-belly and Bali-belly…but no amount of preparation had us ready for Delhi belly!!!!
Then we were off to see our friends serving in Jodhpur. It was such a relief to meet up with friends and feel a little piece of home. We loved following them around and joining in on their chaotic schedule and see all the blessings of their assignment. We are so proud of them for handling all the challenges with grace and joy. One of my favorite things she said was one of the things she loves most about India is that “at any given moment there is always something making you just a little uncomfortable” I was like ….what?! you love that?! But it made me so proud of them because despite everything they found joy and love for their assignment!!!
The ministry there was UNREAL! coming from Thailand, we were so impressed that pretty much everyone we ran into can speak some English, so even though we don’t know hindi we could still preach. A lot of places in India have full on English congregations and they are super productive. I never realized that before! So many people are looking to serve where the need is greater in English but don’t want to be preaching to tourists or expats. Here is an amazing place you can come to where you can preach to local people in ENGLISH!!! From what we learned from our friends and from what we hear went on at the most recent Gilead graduation, India is BOOMING right now and begging for need greater’s to come!!! A good ministry makes all the sacrifices and discomforts worth it, and we saw that first hand from the joy of our friends.
We were able to take a few days off with our friends and visit a city 5 hours away. Our friends actually have a bible study there with a man who found the “why study the Bible” video on facebook and filled out a request for a bible study. Our friends are the closest witnesses to him, so the study online most weeks when the man isn’t able to travel to the kingdomhall. I loved seeing his huge smile on his face when he told me proudly “I am the first person in this city who knows about Jehovah” He’s only a few chapters in but already has the missionary spirit!
So speaking of serving in India, in light of all the attention it is getting right now by potential need greaters, our friends just started up a blog to help future visitors navigate some of the challenges of moving there. Definitely check out her site and pass it on to anyone you know of who is interested in visiting India!!! I remember when we came to Thailand how helpful the few blogs that we found were. Getting answers to practical questions about what to pack, what transportation is like, and how to avoid getting sick, etc, really was a life saver for us. There isn’t as much information on India, so I know our friend’s blog will help a ton to anyone in that situation!! She is also a professional photographer so brace your self for some BEAUTIFUL photos that will make you want to go to India!!!!!!
Here’s a few of our favorite photos from the trip. If only photos and video could capture the smell….
Last month we had the privilege of getting to help feed SKE! Starting last year, Thailand has 2 classes a year. They are held in the kingdom hall in Nong Khai, which is on the boarder of Thailand and Laos. This hall is large because it’s used for a lot of Lao meetings and assemblies since things are tricky in Laos right now. This is only about 2 hours away from us, so we got to go help for 2 days. Basically the whole country of Thailand is invited to help, so a lot of friends flew up to help for a few days or a few weeks at a time.
A sister owns a house nearby the kingdom hall, so this has become the “kitchen house” where all the preparations are done. It is done very “Thai style” will all the prep work being done on the floor and all the cooking being done on basically gas camping stoves. The first day we made a Thai meal, which was hilarious trying to figure out what to do and how to help without being able to communicate. The sister took pity on us and gave us a few bundles of vegetables to separate and chop thinking this was an easy job…except we couldn’t recognize any of the veggies and didn’t know which part was edible and which wasn’t! Everyone had a good laugh, and after she demonstrated on a few we were able to take care of the rest. The next day was “farang food” or foreigner food, so thank goodness we were able to be more helpful! They made spaghetti carbonara and an attempt at tacos. After all the preparations are done, we drive them over to the kingdom hall and set up the serving area outside.
The class seemed like the normal mix of couples and single friends, but it was amazing to see a few foreigners in the class. The one brother we spoke to has been learning Thai for 10 years and was happy to report he understood about 90% of the class in Thai. That was encouraging for us to hear! We got to have lunch together and was happy to speak with a few of the friends who spoke English who could tell us about what they were learning that day. All in all it was a really fun experience! We hope you enjoy looking at the pictures! It’s definitely NOT like serving SKE at home!!!!!!!
For a minute there we actually settled into a really nice routine and felt like we finally had our life together, but we are learning things never stay the same here for too long! But for now, our house is functioning, the ants have been conquered, and our service presentations are steadily improving. Aaron and I have started working together in service now instead of only with other Thai speaking friends, so that has added to some of our adventures. Its kind of a “do or die” feeling when there is no one to help bail you out if the householder doesn’t understand you, but it’s been a lot of fun and it’s helping us to learn a lot.
So this has been my typical service presentation lately…
สวัสดีคะ ดิฉันชื่อคิมมี่ค่ะ มาจากแถว ป.ข.ส. วันนี้ผมกำลังเยี่ยมเพื่อนบ้านสั้น ๆ ดิฉันอยากให้แผ่นพับนี้ ให้ไว้อ่านค่ะเกี่ยวกับครอบครัว อะไรช่วยให้ครอบครัวมีความสุ
Got it?!? Yeah some days I don’t either!! But this is what I attempt to say: ” Hello! I come from around the bus station. I am visiting all your neighbors today. I want to give you this tract. Please read it. It is about family. What can help us have a happy family? What do you think?” Then I play the video on family happiness. “Have you ever heard of the Bible?” if the answer is yes I say: “The bible can help us a lot. We are Jehovah’s Witnesses. Here is an invitation to our meetings. Everyone is welcome and they are free. Our website is Jw.org” Many people will talk about Jesus when we ask about the Bible, because different missionaries here have taught the trinity. So when that happens I say “Jesus is God’s son. God’s Name is Jehovah” Then I attempt to read Psalms 83:18…although I usually only make it half way through until I start messing up and the householder jumps in and finishes! The people are always fascinated we can read (sort of) and are always happy to help us out! Then I give the meeting invitation and finish the same way. However, about half the time the householder says they have never heard of the Bible!!! So then all I know how to say is “the Bible is the holy book of the Almighty God…” Usually then I finish up with the website. That part still needs a little work!! How do you answer that question with one short and easy sentence?!
The people in service are usually very happy to talk with us. Often they will pull up a chair for us and we can play several videos. It’s not uncommon that they will give us water or fruit to eat. Kids are always everywhere so we get to play lots of Caleb and Sofia videos, although its Danny and Sofia here in Thailand! The kids love them, and its usually a good witness for the parents too because they learn they can find a bunch more on our website.
As foreigners we always get attention when we are out in service. It’s pretty common that we hear shouting from across the street “farang! farang!” meaning white person, or “western foreigner” to be more politically accurate. It always leads to a funny conversation, especially if they’ve been drinking which is really common on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Everyone is interested in where we are from and why we are here! They like to poke us or feel our skin or touch our hair. They are always generous with compliments and constantly tell us how handsome and beautiful we are even when I have sweat pouring down my face. They like to take our pictures too, which I HATE when I look so gross! But they love it. Also if we meet older people in service its considered polite to ask them how old they are! They like to brag about being 70, 80, or even we met a few in their 90’s! Then they always like to tell us all about their health problems, none of which do I ever understand! But I just nod along and say I’m sorry to hear.
It’s also pretty common to be followed by a pack of dogs in service. They bark and bark and pretend to be tough but thankfully we’ve never had any problems with them. We use our umbrella to protect ourselves if they are getting too close and shoo them off with it. If they are still not giving up then we bend down and pretend to pick up a rock to throw at them, and that always scares them off.
So now maybe you can picture what a morning in service is like for us!!! If not, don’t worry, theres a million pictures to look at! But first we made a video to tour you around one of our town markets! Markets like this are a really big part of Thai culture. We have a bunch here, so we named this one the “scary market” …you’ll see why! It’s open all day every day, and it’s where a lot of the local people get their meat and veggies from. But definitely not us! We wouldn’t dare hahaha!
So thats it for now! Hope you enjoy the million pictures below. Clearly I havn’t posted in a while!!! If you have any good ideas about things I should post about, leave me a comment below!! Even if not, comment anyway!! I love reading them 🙂