Debrief from India 2009

I woke up to sunlight streaming through gingham and sunflower print curtains. We are back in California at a church camp along the central coast. It takes me back to my church camp days, when everything was simpler. Someone else paid the bills and made sure I had food. I was learning to worship and journal and pray. I was learning some of the best and worst lessons of my life, and the air was filled with hope. There is something sacred and intimate about those memories. This place restores my soul.

Only a few days ago I was on a tropical island paradise in Thailand. We went there for two days of debrief, which happened in private conversations in deck chairs on the white sand beach. We thought we were going to the Bankok YWAM base, but the taxi kept driving, and then we got on a speed boat, and then we waded through the ocean to our island.

For the safety of our contacts, I will not tell you where we *actually* were for three weeks between India and Thailand, but I have taken to calling it Never Never Land in my heart. They have a great fear of foreigners and foreign influence. We were more free to talk about Jesus than politics, but we had to be wise about both.

I’m still processing. I feel like God has taken me “back to the place where we fell in love”, although I was in love with Him long before church camp over sixteen years ago. This place also reminds me of the mountains of Colorado. Walking along the gravely trails under the full moon takes me to so many beautiful places. It’s a good place to begin laying a foundation. A friend of mine in Never Never Land, we can call her Lisa because there were a lot of Lisa’s everywhere we went, commented that the next five months are a time for me to lay a foundation because when I return on staff I will be going into missions “for a long time…a very long time.”

…return on staff. Have I mentioned yet that I’m coming back on staff with YWAM? Lord willing I will have my support raised by November and will be back in Pismo by my 29th birthday.

That’s about all I have for now. Getting settled and getting all my bills sorted is a bit…harrowing. I am seeking peace.

Beth

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Southeast Asia

Wow. Things are amazing here. There is so much to be thankful for. Such good conversations, and the people we are getting to know are amazing. I find that I am struggling with self contempt and a sense of failure, that most people struggle with here. They are definitely strongholds. People don’t even pray for fear of failure. In light of that, we are speaking a lot on identity, and how that changes when you know the one who made you. I got to teach on forgiveness to the kids here. I believe this generation is the one who will put things back together again, they are the world changers. Pray for us on May 28th and 29th when get a certain amount of money and a taxi and a day to go where ever we are lead. Pray for our money struggles. Our budget is a bit tight, and getting money is difficult as…it’s just difficult. We met an angel from Duluth Minnesota who left us $100. We could use more of those, if anyone felt like praying them into being. I can tell you all more later, in about a week and a half. These people are so gentle and beautiful. Love you all,
Beth

India

More things about India, since I have time

On the street in front of our house there were brand new puppies when we first got here. They’re standing now.

I am going to miss auto rickshaws. They’re super cheap and they connect you on all the crazy back roads to where you are going.

There is an election happening here in only a few days. Activity is ramping up surrounding that. Elections in India are quite something to experience.

Not only are we here at the hottest time of the year, but it is the hottest summer they have had in 35 years. Apparently God likes to refine me with literal fire. Reminds me of the August I spent in Phoenix…only hotter.

There are these black crows everywhere. When we first got here, it was kind of creepy when they looked at you sideways and you had to wonder what they were thinking. Now I know what they are thinking. They are wondering how they can poop on my clean laundry which I am hanging on the line. They begin practicing flight patterns before I am even inside. When they see me come out with a book or purse, they are even more excited because the greater surface area means they do not have to aim as carefully. This is what the crows in India are thinking.

Good night.

Looking back, looking forward

Our time in India is almost up. There were a couple of Australians here when we got here. Paul and Louise have been an amazing encouragement to me. They left earlier this week. It was really sweet to be around them, and I miss them already. I am really very grateful for their presence here. Lizzie is another friend at our guest house. She is from England and works with street children. She is a rather amazing woman. I don’t quite know how to show her how important her friendship is and has been to me. Sometimes I’m horrible at showing that on a daily basis. I hope she knows. The people you meet, they change your life as you go, don’t they? Especially in moments like these, when you are most actively becoming.

Our next stop will be working with children and youth, teaching about identity, forgiveness, and reconciliation. I am stunned at the honor and opportunity which we have. Amazing.

I probably won’t be back online for the next month or so. I may check once before we fly out this weekend. I love you all. Please keep praying…perhaps now more than ever.

Beth

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.

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.

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