Maddie’s India Poem

Maddie had an assignment yesterday where she had to write a poem about a new place she visited and how she felt.  We worked on it last night, and she said I could share with you this first draft about visiting India for the first time when she was eight.  She told me to emphasize that it was a first draft…so here you go-

Me, Maddie, Prema

Spice and Curry

Sounds. Strange voices. Sounds.  Different languages.

Fresh air rushes to me.  It carries with it a strong scent of spice and curry.

 

A long hallway greets my parents and I.

I cling to my leather bound passport, hoping it will be faithful to me.

The airplane ride was treacherous.

My eyes seem to drag to the dirt collected floor.

 

My hair tickles my face.

The scent of spice and curry overwhelms me.

As we walk, there is a woman figure.

Tall. Beautiful.  A goddess statue. Altar to the side.

I can almost taste the spice and curry in my mouth.

 

The heaviness of the air hits

The heat of the air scorches.

I try to shed my sweatshirt unsuccessfully,

because of the rush.

My pink hat tops my 8 year old head.

Curry and spice flood my senses.

 

The shocked stares of hundreds

make me sweat more.

This is my final destination.

My second home.

India.

Help Baby Girls In India

 India Iphone 047 

November 20 is Universal Children’s Day .  It was established to encourage all countries to institute a day, firstly to promote mutual exchange and understanding among children and secondly to initiate action to benefit and promote the welfare of the world’s children. It was also chosen as the day to celebrate childhood. 

In honor of Universal Children’s day, I thought of one specific and practical thing you can do to help girl babies and children in India.

If you haven’t ordered Christmas cards for your family yet, here’s an idea:

 Rhema Christmas CardYou can    Buy handmade Christmas cards and support the work of the Rhema project, which saves baby girls like the one you see Whitney holding from infanticide.  .

You can also find the Rhema Project on Facebook  or follow them on Twitter

When Darkness Comes

Dustin-India There are days that some of the things I have seen in this world come around and weigh on my chest like a million pounds.  I sense a darkness that is overwhelming.

I have images stuck in my head of a naked baby wandering through piles of trash with no one to care for him.

In another, I pass by a group of women caught in an act of shame unknown to me, but I think they don’t want to keep the girl baby that has just been born.  The mother is young and sick and has a vacant look in her eyes.

I see an old woman bent over her work table, nearly blind from the intricate loops of silver she creates day after day in order to provide our children with cheap jewelry they will no doubt cast aside after a few days of wearing.

I hear Sangeetha’s mother telling me her baby boy died of brain fever.  I feel the tears wash over me again, helpless.

Someone once told me that I can not be Jesus to the world.  Sometimes, like today, a sunny and beautiful day in November, the images come back, and the weight with it.

 I can’t be Jesus to the world, but I can be His voice. 

Today, remember those that hurt.  Remember the poor.  Speak up for the weak.  Pray for the persecuted.  Do something with the amazing life God gave you.  Be Jesus to your world today.

photo by Dustin Maust

Prema’s First Snow

Prema in Snow

Our friends Prema and Raj are here from India.  When our family was in Southern India with them this past summer, temps were in the 100+ range the whole time.  That’s pretty normal for them.

Raj posted this picture of Prema witnessing her first snow fall ever, and it really touched me.

Just thought I’d share.  Have a fantastic weekend!

The Inside Scoop

The past few years have been an interesting ride, spiritually speaking.  Travelling to places like India to see how Christians around the world live out their faith, then coming back to the United States to hear the noise, noise, noise of our gospel has taught me a lot.  We American Christians are really, really loud. Our music is loud.  We wear Christian t-shirts.  We bumper-sticker our cars.  We shout about our faith to those that believe differently.  We preach against each-other.  We preach wealth and prosperity.  We preach about how God will help us when we are down.

I’ve found myself being repulsed by so much of modern evangelicalism while slowly stepping away– Not from the core of my faith–Not from my church,  but away from the noise.  The bumper stickers.  The loud concerts.  The hype.  The hair slicked back preacher talk.

While I step back, and try to gain some sort of perspective, I am immediately surrounded by those voices I hear lifting their praise up to the One True God.  I hear them laying down their chains, lifting up the cross.  I see them entering the waters of baptism and leaving the life they once knew behind.  I see them living with reckless abandon, ready to begin a new life with their Savior.

Baptism-India

The farther I step back from the noise, the more I am connected with the core of who I am.  The ancient words of the saints fill my ears and give me comfort and hope.  I find myself reading about and admiring those who have gone before and lived their faith in a wild and reckless way.  I see them clinging to the one Hope they have, and sacrificing all else for Him.

That’s the kind of faith I want to have.  That’s the inside scoop.

 

photo by Gene Ort

Odds and Ends

Whenever you see me go more than 2 days without blogging, you know things are pretty crazy around here.  It’s been a great week, but super busy.  Here’s what we’ve been up to:

Maddie at TapMaddie-She got a 4.0 GPA on her first report card of middle school.  Her teachers had all great things to say, she’s studious, a hard worker, a great kid all around. Maddie has also been working hard on her “Safety Dance” for her tap class.  She loves middle school and loves GSM, the student ministry of GCC. 

   Vote For Whitney Whitney-We made about 300 little  signs attached to silly bands that said, “Don’t Be Silly, Vote For Whitney!” and “Nothing Silly About Voting For Whitney!”  We also made a bunch of really cute posters to hang around her school.  Election is Monday, so we will find out soon if she gets elected school  President. She is also getting perfect grades (who ARE these children?).  Her teacher is confident she will be ready for middle school next year.  He said he is so thankful for her because she is very kind to the rest of the kids, and a friend to everyone.  Whitney is going to be a part of GCC’s Christmas production this year.

Belle's Kindergarten PartyIsabelle-Is doing AMAZING in Kindergarten.  Her year in pre-K last year was the best investment of time and money we’ve ever  pent on our kids.  She is older than most of the kids in her class, but her teacher said it’s only helped her be a leader of her class.  She’s gotten numerous “Shine” awards because she is such a helpful kid.  She is a special friend to one of the special needs kids in her class, and loves to help her and play with her.  I got to go help out at her Fall Party and had lots of fun!

image   Rajendran and Prema are here visiting from India.  We are so happy they are here, and will be spending lots of time with them over the next few weeks.  They are like family to us, and love spending time with them.  Rob made Raj a very special necklace, “just like” the ones we get when we go to India.  Raj laughed and laughed.

All in all it’s been a great week.  We’ve finished up the Share The Well script for our book, and spent the week polishing up the DVD script.  It’s been a great week.  I’m so thankful for the life God has given me.  Hope you have a great weekend!