Friday, May 25, 2012

Adventures in Bihar-Patna and update on ministries

Currently,  I am sitting at an internet café in Patna, Bihar. We have had a crazy journey while being here and have been able to see a lot of Bihar so far. Within the 3 weeks of us being here in Patna, we have been moving around a lot to different guest houses, apartments and ministry houses. For example, when we arrived in Patna last week, we stayed at a ministry house for a few days and went to a youth fellowship in which I talked about in my last blog. After a few days, we all piled into a taxi with one small backpack each and drove to another apartment about 45 minutes away. We have been working with a YWAm couple, Levine and Esther and staying in their home. Earlier this week, we remodeled their DTS room which is actually a few apartments. They are the leaders of a DTS which will be starting on June 9th. We completely cleaned the apartments scrubbed the bathrooms, the floors, the bedrooms and worked two days on remodeling and cleaning the rooms up. The boys put together bunk beds for th e incoming DTS students and inserted fans in the ceilings. The girls and I  washed and scrubbed all the dishes and appliance before I organized the kitchen. We then dusted, put up curtains and decorated the walls with Bible verses, encouraging quotes, a construction paper cross and decorative words to add color. Now, the DTS apartment is ready for their DTS to start! It was good to see the apartments in the beginning and to see how much work they all needed and by the end of the second day, all the rooms, the kitchens, the classrooms, bathrooms and bedrooms are all ready.
     Wednesday, we did house visits all day.  As a team, we walked in 115-116 degree weather to six different houses in the morning. At each house, we either prayed for the families, shared  encouragement from the Bible, shared testimonies or shared a Bible story. At many of the houses the families were very hospitable and offered us soda, mango juice,  snacks, fresh fruit and at one place, ice cream with a special pastry. At one of the houses, the mother humbled herself to get down on her hands and knees and wash each of our feet after we had walked a few miles to get to her house. Her hospitality reminded me of Jesus about how he came to the earth to serve. She was so sweet and offered us fresh bananas, watermelon, mango juice, ice cream and a fresh donut pastry. IT was such a blessing and I was amazed by her servant heart.
    On Thursday, we woke up early and put some clothes and supplies in our carry-on back packs.  Our team then walked with Esther to a place where we all loaded into a motorized rick shaw.  There was 11 of us in one rickshaw along with the driver and all our backpacks and supplies for the next few days.  We then were dropped off at a temple in which Rafael, a Brazilian man who works with YWAM as well, picked us up in a truck with a covered back. Four of us loaded in the back of the truck and the rest of us in the front. Rafael then drove us 3 1/2 hours to a city called Bodagyha. We then visited many temples in the city which is a tourist city for visiting temples.  I was amazed because many countries have built Buddhist temples in this city. This city is known to be the birthplace of Buddhism. As we traveled to the different temples, buildings and monuments, we prayer walked over the areas and interceded admist the spiritual warfare. These temples were huge and hundreds of people visit these temples every day to worship, burn incense, and pray to Buddha. We stayed at a guest house Thursday evening which was actually more of a hotel/hostel. But it was such a blessing because the rooms had air conditioning and there were two of us per room. On Friday, we visited more temples and in the morning, we drove out in the middle of nowhere to where there was a temple on the top of a mountain. This temple is known to be the place to where apparently Buddha fasted for 6 years in a cave to achieve ‘”enlightenment.” We walked up to this cave and saw the place to where Buddha apparently stayed. As we hiked up the mountain, there were monkeys that roamed the mountainside. It was quite entertaining to see how close we could get to them and take pictures of them. They were good sized monkeys and some of the mothers had little baby monkeys latched onto them. From the top of the mountain, it was a beautiful view onto the landscape below which consisted of flat desert land and some greenery. We then visited more temples before beginning the treck back to Patna. Despite the traffic, it took us 4 ½ hours to drive back to Patna. The driving was crazy as our driver basically played chicken with the other busses, rick shaws, bikes and cars. Watching everything from the back of the covered truck was quite breathtaking as we drove through acres of farm land. In this way, Patna is much different then Kolkata because it is definitely more country side and farm land. IT is more desert but Patna is more of a busy city.
     Anyway, this next week we will be helping lead a teen VBS and probably doing more house visits.  The following week we will be working with the Assemblies of God church and helping the pastor with different ministries. Hopefully, I will be able to blog sometime next week if I can find an internet café near our other house which we are going back to tomorrow. Thank you for your prayers . They are greatly appreciated. Please continue to pray for our safety, health and that we will be staying hydrated in this insane hot weather. Every day is quite an adventure and I am excited to see what else God will do in this state. I hope you are all doing well and enjoying yourselves. I can’t wait to see friends and family on June 23rd when I fly home. IT has been a challenging but awesome journey here in India! 

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