Or in other words, praise the Lord.
Time spent this past week worshiping God in another language was at many times challenging. However, the joys far outweighed the challenges. It was so refreshing for us to see a group of young Indians praising Jesus. Okay, I should probably give you all a little bit of background information. The pastor from our church invited us on a three-day youth conference in the Himalayas, with some other young adults from India. The title of this conference was “Reflection” and was led by a fellow white person, pastor Mike from the USA. We traveled for eight hours on Sunday night, on a rickety coach with not enough seats for everyone, on some very bumpy Indian roads. This is not an 18th birthday Cody will be forgetting any time soon.
At first, we all struggled with being at the conference as very few people spoke English, and toilets trips had to be planned days in advance as the toilet facilities were sub-par. By this I mean that there was no toilet roll, so the few tissues we had had to be rationed. Once we found our footing, we started to have fun, and engage in the worship more. The whole idea was to develop us as future leaders, so this theme was prevalent throughout our time at the conference. The emphasis was on how you don’t need to be labelled as a leader to be a leader, but on how we can be a leader simply through influencing people positively. There was also talks on the practical ways that we live as Christians. One such talk was on marriage, where our pastor was speaking about how if you choose the wrong person to marry it may end in arguments, separation and killing…. Something may have been lost in translation there. We also had fun acting out bible stories in our teams. Amy and Cody were one-line wonders in their act about Stephen. The line itself was “maro”. I’m going to leave you to look that one up if you want to. Orla made a convincing tree in the story of Zacchaeus, whilst Hannah gave a strong performance with two different acts. She was the best crowd member one has ever seen, and then she sent the crowd into chaos with her portrayal of a door. I can confirm that what her mum has always told her is true. She definitely does make a better door than a window. We loved it in the end and have made many new friends. Time away from the madness that is Delhi, in the fresh air of the foothills of the Himalayas was exactly what we needed.
The return journey from the conference was a little more interesting. On the way down the mountains, our driver nearly went over a live firework. This would have been a good one for the near-death experiences blog! People letting off fireworks of the middle of a main road is not uncommon for this time of year in India. For those of you who are familiar with your Hindu festivals, you’ll know that it is Diwali. However, I’m guessing that for most of you this one might need a little more explaining. Diwali is a festival of lights, which symbolises the spiritual victory of light over darkness in the Hindu religion. If there is one thing you should know about Diwali it is that Indians go big. Also, that you might need earplugs to sleep or you may end up with hearing impairments! We were quite disappointed that we missed the main celebrations as a result of the youth conference, but there were still parties going on when we got back let me tell you all that.
The team has also been exploring a quieter side of Delhi these past two weeks. On the 3rd of November we visited the Garden of Five Senses. Upon arrival at the garden, Cody was outraged to find out that she would have to pay 3000 rupees to take her camera in. This is £31.90 as of today. When asking for tickets she asked for a camera one and the ticket man said, “Where are you from?”. When Cody replied UK, he said “ahh okay 60 rupees” Confused Cody took the ticket, and everyone proceeded to the gate. The security lady let us all through without even checking our bags. Now that was a “jai mesih ki” moment let me tell you that. We spent the day exploring the gardens, eating street food, hand feeding squirrels and enjoying the quiet. One thing we did note though was that this park seemed to be the make out spot that every single couple in Delhi occupies. So, we felt even more out of place than we normally do in Delhi.
On the 10th we visited Lodi gardens, which are dotted with tombs and an old mosque. This garden was a lot more PG and we spent the time roaming around the gardens soaking up the beautiful architecture and history. It is also noteworthy that, as Hannah put it “There’s loads of white people here.” It was nice to just feel like an ordinary tourist for a while.
I don’t want to disillusion you. Team life is far from easy and we have our issues. We each know that we are here in Delhi according to His will, but it is hard when four different people have been put together in a team and find themselves half way across in the world in a new culture. Tempers can run a little high at times and we are trying to figure out how we all fit together, and how we can communicate effectively in order to make our feelings known. This is no easy task, but we are trying to keep God at the centre of all that we do. A few verses that have spoke to Cody through this situation is Matthew 22:36-39 where it says “ ‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the law?’ Jesus replied: ‘ “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: “Love your neighbour as yourself” ’ ”. This passage reminds us to keep God at the forefront of our minds in all we do, because through that loving each other becomes so much easier. We hope to put this into practice as we return to school this week, and we would also really appreciate prayer on this matter.
Thank you so much for taking time to read our blog. Please leave any constructive criticism if you have any and see you in two weeks time!