Sunday, February 19, 2012

Mahendra's Sunday

Saturday we dined at our hotel with a full Indian breakfast and celebrated my birthday with a birthday card from my mother before heading to the airport.  Once at the airport, we manuevered through the booths to receive boarding passes, pay extra baggage fees, experience varied inspections and wind our way to the gate.  Mahendra picked us up at the Bagdogra airport and helped us get settled in at the Hotel Sinclair.  Then he helped me find a location to purchase a SIM card for a cell phone to keep in touch with family and friends.  We enjoyed lunch with him in the hotel restaurant and reviewed the schedule for the next four days.

Jonnie was full of surprises!  She delivered a birthday card from my care group, presented me with a lovely scarf and card from her.  Later I opened the door to find a Happy Birthday banner and birthday cake awaiting me.  She had brought the cake from her own kitchen in Midland 10,000+ miles around the world!  She even had a very unique birthday candle with dancing candles, sparkles and a lotus flower in bloom that played "Happy Birthday".

Sunday morning we left Siliguri early for a Taxi adventure back past Bagdogra to Mahendra's area.  We first attended Sunday School with 40 children in a remote area.  Uma and Mahendra led class with songs prepared by Jonnie.  Elizabeth enjoyed Sunday School and then headed back to her house on bicycle.  The children were very attentive and enjoyed the activities thoroughly.  They were thrilled to receive pencils and hairclips at the end of the class.
Then we travelled to Mahendra's home where Jyoti was preparing breakfast for us.  Grace came running to meet her daddy when she heard us approach!  She shied away when she saw two strangers enter the yard with him, but quickly became my best friend.  Abay is his four year old nephew who has come to live with them and attend school.  He was already at Sunday School waiting for us there.  We enjoyed fried eggs, Indian chipati (tortillas) and vegies.  Elizabeth came in and was formally introduced.  Tabita is Mahendra's mother who is now living with them as well.  She was a delightful woman with whom we enjoyed sharing the day.

After breakfast we attended Sunday School and worship services with their local congregation.  The children are very well mannered and enjoyed showing off their memory verses and singing along with Bullfrogs and Butterflies.  They are darling to see as their bright eyes dance with each new activity.

Each man in the congregation had a part leading the worship service.  They sang with enthusiasm and listened attentively during the teaching and testimony times.  They were glad to welcome us over and over.  The service was uplifting and humbling.

After worship, Mahendra gave us a tour of the school where he and Jyoti once lived and where he is now principal and teacher and Jyoti serves as teacher as well.  The school is leased for a ten year period.  He has purcahsed land to build his own school as the community has rallied around him and come to love him.  It is easy to love Mahendra and Jyoti, his mother Tabita and their three children.  What a beautiful family they are!

Jyoti served us a delicious lunch of fish, rice, curried vegetables and pork rinds.  We are certainly eating well here in West Bengal!

Then in the afternoon, the ladies of the church gathered in the upper room for Mothers' Class.  Seven of us looked into the Proverbs 31 woman with Jyoti translating for the very first time!  It was a wonderful experience of Bible study, songs, testimonies and prayer followed by tea and cookies.

We made the taxi trip back to Siliguri with Mahendra accompanying us halfway.  The sights and sounds of India are very similar to those of Kenya.  The British influence can still be seen in much of the culture here as it is there.  The cuisine is similar as well.

Monday we will enjoy a field day at school and help with staff development in the afternoon!

My luggage remains in the custody of American Airlines in Newark!

1 comment:

  1. They have kept you mighty busy the last couple days!! It is good to see how God is working through this beautiful Christian family.