Children of the Howrah Train Station

Last Sunday, two boys died in the Howrah train station. I just thought that someone, somewhere needed to know. They were probably high on glue, which diminishes hunger pains, and rolled off of the roof onto the tracks, where they were then run over by the train.

I spent my week with 8 of the Howrah boys. They’re a little like the lost boys in Peter Pan. I felt like Wendy, darning their clothes. These 8 moved in with our contacts here about 30 days ago…and you can tell…you can see it in their eyes, in the way they move, treat each other, and touch you. They are being fed, they are being loved. I got to be part of that this week.

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Healing in India

Well, I could begin this post by telling you how the first thing I will do when near a bathtub in the states is take a good long bath, or how the water coming off my hair the other day was nearly black…and they say that this is relatively clean air for Kolkata. OR I could tell you about evangelism time today and how we saw SIX PEOPLE PRAY TO ACCEPT JESUS and 15 people or more HEALED on a street corner.

It began with interview-style evangelism, where we took a video camera with us and interviewed some flight attendant students about places to eat in Kolkata and the purpose of life. There were three of us in the group…me, Cody, and Kelsy. Cody shared the gospel with them and they said they had never heard such a thing, then were eager to pray with us. We arranged to meet them for church this Sunday, and ran into them in the street later, where they gave us mangoes and salt, may my bowels rest in peace tonight.

We kept walking and found a “blind” beggar on the street. Cody began to pray for him, for healing, and within seconds a crowd was gathered. I looked at him, thinking this could end well or it could end very very badly, “This should be fun.” He grinned and proclaimed that it is fun, which was pretty much my cue to jump in. I was praying for the beggar as Cody began explaining what he was doing. No one spoke English, so he prayed for a translator, and in short order a young Christian student happed by and thought we might need some help, so he started translating. Woooooooo!!!

I felt things get a little harried and my attention was drawn to the shrine only a few feet away. Just as Cody was getting to the resurrection power of Jesus, he was interrupted. I began praying against death and praying in tongues, and the man clears out and Cody goes on. As he put it:

At the end of my message, I hear come out of my mouth, “I want anyone who is sick to come forward, I will lay hands on you, and when you are healed you will know Jesus is real.” This surprised me, I was not planning on saying that. And what happened next I will never forget.

He starts praying for a man’s arthritic knee as I’m remembering that God promised to put His power behind the words of His saints, for His name’s sake. I’m remembering and praying for the man and against doubt and against death and against pain and disease, bringing the Kingdom of God and all this in the name of Jesus. Cody prayed for the man four times…the second time he had some relief, but the pain persisted, and the fourth time it began to recede. Three more people came forward for healing, and I continued praying for the beggar. I finally felt a sense of peace that he had had healing, and although I could not communicate with him very well, I saw his countenance change before my eyes, and just as I thought, “It’s done. He can go now,” he got up and left.

I wanted to pray, so Cody sent over a man with a headache. Hurrah! I have prayed for many headaches since this trip began, with great success. It’s an area that I want authority over and so have been pressing in for that. I had Kelsy join me so that I would not be praying for the men one on one. We prayed for his headache several times, and it was when I touched the spot lightly and prayed that the pain was healed.

There was only one woman in the crowd, and I smiled at her. She returned shortly with her camera crew! That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, the Indian paparazzi. I’m cracking up, they’re videoing us, Cody gave them an interview and Kelsy told them that “Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible told me so.”

We were walking away…very slowly as people continued to want prayer…and honestly, it broke my heart to send them away…and some people warned us to be careful…and the police started running after us…which was a little threatening. They told us to wait as another police man and a guard came over to us. Kelsy and I looked at each other sideways. They wanted healing! We prayed for all three of them, for their backs. Wowza! What a night.

We then went out for dinner with the team to Mouline Rouge, which is a knockoff from the movie or the place in Paris, or both, but it made me smile because it’s my favorite movie.

Glory be to Jesus! This is amazing stuff…God really is powerful…and amazing! I’m so excited to see more!

Dance Therapy in India

Friday I have an appointment you want to know about.

It was during our Evangelism time. Cody, Jonathan, and I set out to pray for sick people. The guys asked me which way I thought we should go, and I had some sense to go right and then right again…so off we went. Half way around the block, we saw a sign, “Women’s Union of Kolkatta.” We stared at the sign and then at each other. I had been ruminating to Cody earlier that this is not a good city to be a woman, so I was very intrigued by this organization which has been around for over 75 years. Cody raised his eyebrows and said, “Wanna check it out?” Of course I do!

The men at the gate gave me a little slip of paper to fill out. Name: Beth; Name of person to visit:…………………uh………………….”Guys, what do I put?” “I don’t know…make up a name?” “I could write my mother in law’s name.” Instead, with now six Indian men gesturing to me that I should write on the paper, I wrote “I want to know more about women’s union.” We were escourted to a cool room with many nice women in sarees sitting behind desks doing paper work. The little paper was handed to one woman who asked me what I wanted, then we were invited to sit on a little bench. We spoke prayers as conversation to one another in the moment of expectancy. Within minutes we were taken to meet the vice president.

She told us about how they take in refugees and women and children who have been trafficked. How they have formed a school and also take in some of the street children. They are a government subsidized residential facility for women and children in need. She spoke about the children who are trafficked, and how they needed to get counselors for them. And then her face brightened even more as she talked about how they have been doing a dance therapy program, and how freedom of movement has really transformed these girls!!!! So there were some confusing conversations and phone calls, and I have an appointment at 1 PM on Friday to meet the woman from the organization who offers that. And maybe…just maybe…I will get to participate in a dance therapy session or …maybe several. Glory be to Jesus…this is just stunning. Amazing. Only He could be so magnificent!

In other news, for those of you who follow all the random and amazing places I have danced, we can add a rooftop in Kalkotta to that list. Wooooooooooooooo!!!

Happy Bengali New Year. Tomorrow we are working with children, then we will start with the mother homes on Friday. That should be intense.

First Post from India

Hello from India!!!

I am excited to report that there is an internet cafe just around the corner from our guest house (hostel). This is very good news, and although I will not have very much time to be online, hopefully I will be able to make blog posts on a weekly basis.

Healing in His Wings

Our travel time was amazing. I got to see my friends Lisa and Barb before leaving (waves) which was a gift from heaven, and then I got to see my friend Terry during our layover in San Francisco. We had a wonderful dinner together, and Terry prayed for the team with her flags. That was super exciting. Then she gave me a key…and a confirmation…to remind me that I have the keys to miracles and healing. Um…wow. Yeah. That’s pretty God. Within moments I was with my team members, two of whom were sick. One I prayed for and she felt a little better maybe. The second one I was praying for and I got to the point where I didn’t have any words left, so I said, “and…Jesus…I don’t know what else to pray…but I feel like-” My friend interrupted me, “Wait! I’m better. Hold on,” she swallowed, “All better! No pain!” Are you kidding me? I mean, yeah, that’s what we were going for and all…but…wow. We continue to pray for one another for healing, as we see that modeled in the New Testament. Sometimes people get better quickly, sometimes over time…and I am talking to God about how He works in all this. Hurrah.

New Clothes

We each came with only a few clothes and intentions to buy some functional Indian clothes once we got here. Yesterday we spent most of the day at market buying clothes. I found a couple punjabi which I really love (Despite ludicrous amounts of starch. I feel like I’m wearing paper. Anybody know how to get this stuff out?), one which I’m not sure I like and I feel like I paid too much for…but Jesus says that He cares even more about me looking nice than I do, so I can trust Him with this. I was really disappointed because I love the bright, bright colors and my punjab are all pale or drab. I wanted something that was pink and orange and gold like the sunrise. Our guide, a very shrewd man who helped me find my friends when I was lost, told me, “One more place for you. Just come.” Okay….so I sit down and they begin showing me saree’s. There were a few that I really loved, and as the man was measuring me, just in case I wanted it, I saw fabric that was exactly what I had been wanting. I asked him about it and he laughed, knowing that it was way out of my price range. Then, on an impulse, he said he would give it to me for the price of the one I had been thinking of buying. Are you kidding me??? All this, because his sister is visiting from Portland. I will go pick my sari up tomorrow and have it in time for Easter sunrise service, which we are leading. How lovely is that? I think I would like to paint for him a picture. Please pray that I make something lovely and meaningful…a gift from the heart of God.

The Father of Lights

One of the hardest things for me in this culture is knowing how to successfully interact with the men. I do not like to send wrong signals, and I find it hard even within my own culture because I am so interested in hearing what other people have to say, in really hearing them and hearing what God is teaching them. The lecture phase of DTS was great, because there was a pretty clear age boundary between me and most of the men in my life. I was walking along last night feeling rather overwhelmed by it all, thinking about how hard it must be to be a woman in this culture (and yet how lovely the women are!), when I looked up and there was one more guy looking strait at me, raising his eyebrows. (There is also an assumption about American women…grrr…based on movies. This is one main reason we are buying these clothes. Even when I was buying my sari I had to stipulate that I wanted a “shy…good family” neckline.) Ugh! I looked away, crying out to Jesus, and found myself staring down full face the nearly full moon. We were walking between two buildings, and there it was, beautiful as ever, carrying in it all the haunting memories of beautiful life and love and friends that have happened under nearly full moons. Every good and perfect gift comes down to us from above, from the father of lights in whom there is no shadow of turning, no variation, constant as light. (James 1) In that moment I was found.

Prayer requests

Please pray for me as I try to learn this new culture. I feel like I barely understand my own culture…although Jesus says I am lovely in any culture. I am struggling with my attitude, feeling overwhelmed, and not knowing how to even interact with my own team. It would be really great if we all got our feet under us during this time, and a sense of openness, vulnerability, and love for one another was established and rooted. We are already unified in thought and action…but here in a place so far from where we live we will get to see how strong that foundation really is, how deep those roots really go. For myself, I feel like I’m still digging, like the things God has for me here will require strength and depth which I am still seeking. Pray for me, I do not feel like I even know how to seek Him more, and yet I am so hungry to find Him, to find more. Also, I feel like we are here as representations of life and light in this place. I am praying that we reflect God a little more clearly each day, and that as we walk, life comes forth from the city around us. The abundant, lasting life of God.

Love you all. Holy Spirit, keep coming…deeper, deeper, we want more of you, more than we ever thought possible. More than we can handle. More.

Beth

P.S. There are pink roses in the garden of the guest house, and I saw a butterfly this morning. It’s the only one I’ve seen since getting here, but maybe that’s normal for places that aren’t Pismo Beach.

P.P.S. The food is especially comforting to me because it reminds me of Daksha (my sister-in-law’s mum) and the four months I spent living with my brother and his wife in Washington D.C. After a hard week of flying I would always come home to Daksha’s wonderful cooking. It warms my heart…every time. 🙂 Mmmmm…glory be to Jesus.

Packing for Outreach

Packing for our departure…I have a few exciting things to report:

Including the two checks in the mail, my outreach fees are paid! Thank you, thank you thank you to all who support me…in all the ways you do. Last Friday the base raised money for our remaining expenses. My peers and other YWAMers donated over $1500!!

We are leaving so soon. I wish I could post all the things I’ve learned since San Francisco…but as you can tell from my lack of posting, we have been learning A LOT.

I might have a chance to update when we are overseas…but I can’t make any promises. I will have someone making updates if at all possible.

Tomorrow, Saturday, is a day for cleaning and phone calls…so call if you get a chance! I will have my phone service held starting Tuesday. Not much use of it in India.

I do continue to have some financial needs, namely paying for my vaccinations, a couple bills, and spending money. Spending money is important not only for my heart, but also for my outreach. With this money I will be able to buy clothes and fit into the culture better. Because of stereotypes of American women, our contacts encourage us to dress more like local women, thus respecting their cultural concept of modesty. Each outfit is $6-10 (American currency). I will need clothes in both countries. Plus, it’s fun and the clothes are pretty! I would really like to have a little money for postage…if you want a post card, please send me your address :-).

That’s all for tonight!

Bethy