Friday, March 10, 2006

Hi everyone Weve ha

Hi everyone!  We’ve had some different weather this week.  It’s rained every day – although only for the afternoons and evenings.  The humidity has also shot up.  Most problematic is how frequently the power goes out in this weather which creates not only a problem in getting on line but leaves us with out a fan.  Today the weather does seem to be breaking in that the humidity is less.  Still it gets quite hot but until this week it was very dry and hot.  It’s not monsoon season until mid June so we are anticipating a return to dry weather soon.

We are now 2/3s completed with our sabbatical and I (Harold) have to admit mixed feelings.  I certainly look forward to returning to everyone back home and to a life I love.  Yet there is an emerging sadness to think of leaving this place which has been very much home for us in so many ways. My new pastor friends here tease me that I am becoming quite Indian. While it’s said with humor it reflects a deeper truth….I have become Indian too!  In fact while I am writing this I am wearing my new native dress (more a dress that you might think!) its called a Dhoti which is a piece of white linen cloth wrapped about the waist.  We have adjusted to the Indian spices as well. I think we have achieved one of our goals for the sabbatical in that we have truly been immersed into this culture.  But most of all we have come to feel like family with the people here.  This is especially true of my relationship with the pastors here.  I really admire them.  Their pay is about 2000rs a month which is just over $40.00.  Their homes are all very humble.  Yet there is a deep joy within them and their families are truly beautiful.  You will see pictures of some lecturing I have been doing for the mission workers as well.  They remind me of our Preaching Elders in many ways.  These men ( they are all men – as with the pastors – although the Bishop has publicly stated that he believes it is appropriate to ordain women as pastors – but there is long way to go culturally before this may happen) ..anyway,  these men are so dedicated to their calling and do know their Bible extremely well.  They have been soaking up my lectures and I find this very rewarding.  There are 50 of these mission workers and they each have a location in which they are working with grass roots communities preaching and leading Bible studies as a means of sharing their faith.  I have told them they are the front line of growth for the diocese – in fact some of them work deep in the forested tribal areas.  We had a great discussion on earth keeping last week – since they are in the right place to help community groups with these issues including sanitation and clean drinking water issues.  I was able to give them a Biblical/theological basis for all of this.  

We head to the state of Goa on Sunday for a week of beach bumming and sight seeing.  Goa was a Portuguese colony so we expect some significant differences from Kerala and North India.
When we get back the last three weeks are filled with two pastor’s conferences I am leading and then a day of lectures by Donna and myself at a pastoral counseling Institute as well as long trips to the Tea Garden areas for documentation of proposed community development projects we are recommending to the Reformed Church in America.

We love you all – thanks for the comments – we’ll be back on after March 19th.


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