India - Delhi
Dates: May 23 - June 3
Ministry Partner: GBC Global Partners Peter and Heather M.
Ministry Focus: Compassion ministry, children's ministry, University student program, medical work with slum families, worship outreach, English camp
This year we will again give support to Grace Global Partners, Peter and Heather M, in Delhi, India. Their community outreach program, Passion Movement International, serves the slum children and families of Delhi, as well as provides a variety of outreach programs to University students. Their church plant, Capitol Bible Church, evangelizes and disciples new believers.
Updated Tuesday, June 4
E-mail from Charlie
Thank you for taking part with me as we have given our
hearts over to the work in Delhi. I am
only sorry that I was not able to write more to you because of the demanding
schedule and pace that we kept. Still,
thank you for your notes and encouragement. It has been a real pleasure to have you as
part of this team.
On our last day in Delhi, we went to church but not
before packing all of our personal belongings into our overburdened
suitcases. We needed to check out of our
hotel before we went to church, as church would have gone on past the 12:00
deadline. (We were still able to leave
our luggage at the hotel for a small fee.)
Then after church, Peter hired a taxi to gather our belongings and haul
us over to another worker's house where we could gather what was left of our
Packing all of us and our luggage into this small taxi
was no small feat.
The driver used the tiny luggage rack on top of the car
to its fullest potential by going vertical.
It looked as if our car had a bee-hive hairstyle. The amazing thing is that we did not lose any
luggage though if we tried this in the states, I am sure we would have been
pulled over. They are used to stacking
things deep and wide over here so we fit right in.
After church, we had the opportunity to visit the South
Delhi mall. Talk about teeming and
bustling! This place was like Universal
City Walk on steroids. Loud pulsating
music permeated the walls as we went through at least 5 full airport like
security screenings. Had my team not
been as cohesive as it was, it might have been truly possible to lose one or
two of them in this crowd. The ladies
pretty much stayed in a clot and teemed from store to store as happy as could
be. However, when they saw an actual
Starbucks coffee shop, they were drawn to it like moths to a candle.
Finally, with drinks and souvenirs in hands and smiles on
their faces, we met up with Peter and Heather and their family for dinner and
an in-field team debrief.
As we reflected on our time together, it became obvious
to all that we were all going to leave a large portion of our hearts in
Delhi. The work at PMI is a good work
and people are being touched. The
Indians are a beautiful people and it is easy to see why the Supervisor is so
concerned for them.
He was successful in passing that passion and concern on
to me and it is my desire that this passion and concern is passed to you.
Updated Monday, June 3
The Delhi team returned home safely and without incident today, grateful for your prayers as you have participated at a distance in their ministry in India. Be sure to come to the GO Team Celebration on Sunday night, September 15
, to hear more from them and the other GO Teams who served around the world.
Updated Saturday, June 1
E-mail from Charlie
One of the many blessings of going on one of these GO Team trips is the special ability to get to know your other teammates. It is a little like getting married. You think that you have a good idea about a person, but as you really get to know them, their little quirks begin to appear.
How they react to difficult situations is also a very telling thing. Because this has been such a busy trip, there has been a lot of opportunity for hilarity to happen. Time would fail me if I tried to write in detail about one of my teammates sliding to the bottom of a long marble staircase or about the time one of my other teammates discovered a bidet. Needless to say, we have spent a lot of time laughing, and sometimes crying, with each other.
Some of our best laughs have come as reactions to riding around with various drivers in this crazy, noisy city. Here it is an adventure just to cross the street. I mentioned before that the traffic laws here seem to only be suggestions. Here we have bombed through red traffic lights on a very regular basis. I don't even know why they even bother painting lines on the road. No one ever stays in a lane here. Left turns are managed from the far right side of the street. Double yellow lines are completely ignored. Turn signals seem to be a sign of weakness and horns are used freely as if to communicate the following message, "Look out! I'm coming through and I'm not stopping!"
At first, my team reacted to this as you might expect, with looks of silent terror on their faces. But as the trip wore on, we have eased up to the point of just laughing at all of this. The mindset is that we haven't been killed so far, I guess these people know what they are doing.
This brings me to the quote of the day and perhaps the quote of the trip for us. We had just finished a little time shopping and were being shuttled away from mid-downtown Delhi. We were headed back to our hotel when we turned down a street. This is when I noticed that in this busy city, we were the only ones actually headed in that direction. After several 'head-on' cars swerved to pass us with headlights flashing, I leaned over and asked the driver if we had turned the wrong way down a one-way street. His reply brought the whole team into laughter hysterics. He said, "I think so but it's okay. I am ready to fight!"
It's amazing to see how much our perspective has changed!
Updated Friday, May 31
E-mail from Charlie
It has been a fast paced week that we have had until now. I have chosen to write to you about specific instances or what I call snapshots to help you to get a flavor for what life might be like on one of our GO team trips. If I were to write in detail all that we were doing, I would not have time to sleep.
Our schedule, to this point has been:
Saturday morning – Arrive, check into hotel, sleep, wake up, Visit PMI, Orientation, meet and visit with locals, dinner, bed.
Sunday – wake up, team devotions, church, play special music, teach Sunday School, visit afternoon Hindi Service, make introductions, go shopping, bed
Monday – drive 4 hours, visit Taj Mahal, drive 4 more hours, dinner, bed.
Tuesday – Do full 3 hour VBS, lunch, teach 2 hours of ESL, find our own dinner, finally in bed at 11.
Wednesday – Do full 3 hour VBS, lunch, teach 2 hours of ESL, socialize with secular college students for t more hours, dinner, bed.
Thursday – Morning medial camp, teach 2 hours of ESL, attend high school youth function, do music, share our personal stories, dinner, bed.
Friday – Morning medical camp…
We will be doing our final 2 hours of ESL culminating in the graduation of some of our students at the end of our period. Teaching ESL has probably been the biggest stretch for most of us but again the team, your team, has shown remarkable flexibility and has moved into this looking to everyone else as if it is a way of life for us. Helena, who was in charge of our classes and curriculum has done a fabulous job in keeping us supplied with ideas and exercises.
Let me put this into perspective for you. It is true that we have done 2 VBS sessions so far and we have one to go tomorrow, but we will be repeating the material for all three of the sessions. It was the same with our medical camps. We showed up and repeated what we had done the previous day.
NOT so with ESL. There are four class levels with different level curriculum for each that meet simultaneously. There are different lessons for each of these classes for each of the four consecutive days. Helena has had to come up with sixteen, two-hour classes and coach us on how to teach them. Our team has been divided as follows: Laura and Elyse have taken the beginners, Leanna and Becca have taken the advanced beginners, I have taken the low intermediate class and Helena has taken the advanced class. Each of us has come to love our kids. They are like shining jewels when they come to learn from us.
Throughout the week, I have had the good fortune to see these kids in a variety of venues. (It turns out that most of my kids in my class do believe.) They come dressed in beautiful Indian clothing that seems to shimmer as if to say ‘Royalty’. They are clean and well mannered and display a humility that seems to show a sincere gratitude.
Imagine my surprise when one of my beautiful young lady students approached me in the slum medical camp accompanying her ailing father. (The slum was her home. She sure did not look the part.) I could see the love and gratitude of this beautiful young lady as she stayed by her father to help him along. (She is showing her gratitude to the Supervisor even though her father does not know Him.)
I have one more class with all of these precious ones. It is my desire to really make it count.
Updated Thursday, May 30
E-mail from Charlie - Medical Camp Morning
Close your eyes and imagine that you are in a third world
country. You have been packed into a
nice, but smallish van. The van's
windows are closed but you can feel air conditioning and it is comfortable
enough. You are driving through a
congested city that has traffic laws that only seem to be suggestions. You pass what looks like a river but then you
realize that it is just an open sewer.
Then your van turns down a bumpy road lined with what appears to be
mounds of bricks with corrugated metal on top.
You have entered one of the slum areas.
Now you are parked and you open the door. The heat hits you immediately but it is not
so bad because you have become used to it.
You have been drinking a lot of water and have plenty on hand. Then you have proceeded down a smallish dirt
and trash strewn alleyway that is lined with walls and open doorways. There is an older woman who has lit a small
fire and is preparing some kind of bread in the corner. This is where you have chosen to provide
medical services for the people who live here.
Our GO team had this distinct privilege of providing
medical services in this very colorful setting.
We prepared by planning where each team member would serve and by
organizing the medications that would be distributed to the sick and ailing.
Once we were there, each team member took their place
along with the PMI staff. There was a
registration station, two triage stations, a doctor's room, a pharmacy and an
intercession room. Our patients would
start with Elyse who would be working with the registration table and recorded
their weight. Then they would proceed to
Helena who recorded their height. Laura
would then queue them for the doctor and presented them. Dr. Peter examined them. Becca led them from the Dr.'s office to the
pharmacy where Leanna would fill their prescription s and instruct them as to
their daily dosages.
You might think that the patient was done at this point
but if they had just left after that, they would have missed out on the most
important part of the visit. Each
patient, young and old sat and listened while I interceded for them with the
help of a translator. I interceded for
them on behalf of their physical needs, but more importantly for their
spiritual needs. One thing that amazed
me was that some patients came only to be interceded for without going to see
the Dr. It was a special and thought provoking
time especially to know that these precious people had a very good idea of
their real needs.
When it was all through, we had processed more than 50
people in about three hours. We will do
this again tomorrow morning in a different slum area. I am hopeful that the right people will come.
Updated Tuesday, May 28
E-mail from Charlie
Thank you so much for taking the time to read these
updates that I am sending to you. You
are a special part of our team and I want you to know that you are
appreciated. Feel free to respond to me
via e-mail. We are somewhat hungry to
hear from you and to know that you are lifting us up.
Today was a wonderful day of activity. We started early with a VBS camp with
children from one of the slum areas.
There were about 50 children that attended. We started out by helping the PMI staff serve
a breakfast to the children. (We did
this to help meet a physical need.
Helping to meet physical needs opens the door for us to focus on the
more important needs.) After this we did some music, mostly action songs led by
me with my little travel guitar. Then
our team member, Leanna, demonstrated how each child was to use the personal
hygiene kit that we were giving to them.
The children listened attentively as team member Elyse
read a special children's story, with the help of a translator, and went on to
make a clear application as to the real message of the story. Team member Becca, was in charge of the
outdoor activity and did a great job in letting these precious little ones
enjoy a few games which, of course, involved water. As I mentioned before, our VBS theme was
California, so our games involved water balloons, beach balls, squirt guns and
other such things.
After bringing all of the kids back inside again, we and
the PMI staff served them their lunches consisting of PB&J sandwiches and
something good to drink. Then each child
was given a backpack, which they had previously decorated as one of the crafts
during craft time. But before each
backpack was delivered, our team made sure that they were filled with some
stickers, the hygiene kit and a few pieces of candy.
I took the opportunity to follow the kids out of the
building and watched as they piled into a small bus to go back to their home in
the slums. The looks on all of their
little faces told a different kind of story than you would expect to see on the
faces of such poverty stricken people.
Each face had a childlike joy smeared all over it. Many of these children have already accepted
the free gift available to them and you could tell it. I stood on the curb and waved goodbye. As many faces as could be possible crowded
into each window space, smiled with big bright toothy grins and waved
back. Then one of them hollered to me,
"See you later, Charlie!"
It was more than I could bear.
Updated Monday, May 27
E-mail from Charlie
I have had the privilege of being a GO team leader for a number of years now. I have been to exotic places, experienced flight cancellations in 3rd-world airports, survived a gigantic hailstorm, various earthquakes and even outran a class 3 tornado on my various GO team adventures. But nothing in my previous experience was able to prepare me for what I faced yesterday with my Delhi GO team. I, the lone man, went shopping with seven women.
Oh, it started most innocently enough. It actually began as kind of anadventure. Julie, one of our host team members, came to our hotel and hailed two motorized rickshaw taxis for the team to squeeze into. Then off we went, packed like sardines, to the bustling and crowded streetmarketplace.
When we landed, we made our way into a clothing shop that was more tiny and crowded than anything that I have ever seen. I was barely in the door after my seven ladies went in and there was absolutely no room to move anyfurther. But to my amazement a pair of Indian nationals pushed past me and entered the fray which just made the dense knot of people even tighter. I was able to look over that small pulsating crowd to see my wife happily pawing through some colorful tops or bottoms or middles or whatever. I watched as at least a couple of team members managed to literally push their way into a tiny fitting room. I could tell that it was going to be a long, hot night.
We then teemed our way through the teeming crowd amid loud speakers announcing something in the Hindi language, and the pulsating beat of the horns and the traffic all trying to occupy the same space as the pedestrians. We finally made it to another store where they sold, see if I get this right, something they called 'bangles'. My goodness was this store ever filled with bangles of various sizes, colors and sparklyness, at prices EVERYONE could afford! My team had three sales people working for at least 20 solid minutes before they finally left for the scarf store. It was turning out to be a very loooong night.
In spite of all of this, we have put in about two solid days of good work with the agencies here. I will let you know more about this in a day or so. The good thing is that we are all loving and caring for one another and sharing that love with the people of this great city of Delhi.
Updated Saturday, May 25
E-mail from Charlie
I write to you now from literally the other side of the planet. It is easy to know the time here and where you are simultaneously in that the country of India because they are twelve time zones apart. It is not perfectly easy though in that India, for some reason, elected to be one of the few countries that uses a half hour time zone. So if you want to know what time it is here and you are in the Pacific time zone, just look at your watch for the time, change in your mind from am to pm and add ½ hour. That is our time.
The team is doing remarkably well considering the many hours in flight, the jet lag, the stifling humidity, oppressive temperatures, and the very busy schedule. Spirits are quite positive as I write this note to you. We really hope that we get good rest tonight.
Let me tell you about some of the hard things that have happened and then I will tell you about our Supervisor’s more than sufficient resources that have been so obviously present during our entire time away from home. Our flight from LA to Tokyo was uneventful except for one team member confiding about an extreme fear of flying. Our team banded together, held tight hands together and faced the fear together. By the time we reached Delhi (our connecting flight from Tokyo) the whole team was doing well.
I came on the trip with fairly severe back pain. Those who saw and prayed us off at Grace watched me board the bus with crutches. I can’t tell you how much I did not want to do this. I told Mike that if this were a nine-to-five job for me, I would have taken a sick day. But our Supervisor’s resources have been sufficient again. The pain has been slowly subsiding and halfway through our first day of work here, I was able to set the crutches aside. The pain is chronically minimal and I am hopeful that it will not re-lapse.
However there have been benefits to this pain. First of all, the airlines took extra special care of us alltogether. It was kind of like taking a wheelchair to Disneyland except that the rides were a lot longer. Secondly, the team rallied around me and has been a huge encouragement. Being the only man on the team, I figured that it was going to be me doing all of the luggage lifting and toting but these ladies would have no part of that. They even cared for me by handling my carry-ons for me. Several months ago they referred to themselves as Charlie’s Angels. I truly believe it now.
We spent about a half of the day today in orientation and the rest of the day in contact with the locals. It was especially great to see the way our GO team truly embraced these people and their culture. More on that later.
Tomorrow is Sunday and we will be meeting again. We are very tired and still jetlagged but we are very much looking forward to the time.
Updated Thursday, May 23
The Delhi team was prayed off this morning for their trip to India. Thanks for praying for a safe flight and a good welcome with our friends in Delhi.