INDIA UPDATE

May 31, 2008

Just wanted to give a quick update while I’m sitting just outside the courtyard of the guest house we’re staying in.  It’s 9:30pm and about 100 degress (yep, that’s right).  I’m literally sweating – I feel my sweat rolling down my chest (and my back…gross, I know).  But Darshan studies (about India and Hinduism) is over and today we had a break.  So, I’ll do this update in “Ona” fashion just cause I don’t know how else you expected it.  Here you go:

  • I’m not sick anymore (PTL)
  • the weather is hotter than I ever experienced in all my 30 years of life
  • i’ve had to hand wash my clothes (kind of therapeutic) twice now
  • was confronted by a student yesterday that said i ask too many questions (not a master’s kid).  He got over it when he realized that no one had ever asked him questions like that before…”curiousity will spark interest and involvement will spark investment” – Howard Hendricks
  • almost got smashed by a vehicle (twice today) in a auto rickshaw – don’t worry its quite common here “almost” getting hit
  • we had today off and went swimming at a pool of a 5 star hotel (by Varanasi stands) – it was soooooo refreshing
  • talked to some locals about what they thought about Americans – very interesting thoughts – most of which I agreed, some of them were just plain true but sad – “Americans are superficial and think only about themselves” – sounds more like human nature!
  • spent some time with Tom & Katie today – I’d like to do ministry with them!
  • journeled a lot about my thoughts on what I need to work on and grow in
  • leading “singing” tomorrow for Sunday “gathering”  – its cool – we meet outside under a canopy like deal – doesn’t really provide a lot of shade but its about maybe 15 degrees cooler – I’ll expect to be drenched by the ending of our 8 song set (they like to sing alot and for a long time here – its pretty much all that a lot of them have for fellowship and “singing” – makes me appreciate what I have in the states)
  • reading the Bible a lot
  • sweating a lot
  • there are sooooooo many people here – its unbelievable
  • had a session on Muslims in India – 2nd highest population of Muslims in the world (debatable) with Indonesian being the highest.  But the lesson was really good and sparked my interest with working with Muslims again – there are about 500,000 Muslims in Varanasi alone – can you believe that? 

Anyway, that’s it for now – there are tons for us left to do starting tomorrow (VBS [Sunday, Monday & Tuesday], going to Mother Tereasa’s shelter and bathing helpless people and children, going to a children’s home and holding some orphans – that’ll be really eye opening I’m sure)…etc.  and we start our “photograhy” part of the trip – we’re suppose to take some shots of the place (as we have been) of the city, people, rituals, temples, “workers” here etc.  Did I mention my team leader is a film major and there are expert photographers on the team?  Yep, all from our very own TMC – anyway, I’ll be the model I suppose. 

Okay, seriously…that’s it!  Thanks for praying for us! 

I KNEW IT!

May 28, 2008

Today I finally got sick – not something that I really like to parade around town but I guess I kind of had it coming. The last couple of days have been very daunting, sad, happy, hopeful, hot, very hot, encouraging and kind of easier than I anticipated it to be.

Then today my head started to spin, my stomach started to feel weird, I wanted to throw up and go number 2 all at the same time. Thankfully I didn’t. That all happened separately, so I guess I could’ve had it worse. The food here has been amazing and I’ve even had some meals from the streets (not literally from the ground) but eating cooked meals from the locals, fruit (not too much but enough) etc. So, I guess its just now catching up.

I haven’t yet eaten anything today. I’ve been resting in bed most of the time. The girls and guys are out separately for “visitations”. I’m bummed because the guys are with Ken visiting with some guys he knows from town. I was lying down earlier thinking that I hate being sick. Initially it can just put a damper on things but I guess that’s just how it goes.

I was thinking though that it does put things into perspective; that even God is in control of our bodies and orchestrates everything for its proper time and season. The biggest bummer about being sick is that I’m not with people – sure they’re fine. Its just better (a lot of the time) to be with people.

So, I guess i’ll not eat as much from the streets, less fruit and be extra careful about the water I drink. Don’t worry, I’m not trying to be super-missions guy. I’m doing everything everyone else is doing – maybe that’s the problem.

It’s gotten hotter and I was told that I may have gotten heat exhaustion. I was told the high today was 121 degrees. Maybe that’s why I didn’t feel too well.

anyway, I’m feeling a little better so I’m going to walk down the dusty road to a more sanitized shop to get something to eat.

Pray for our well being – it is getting hotter but I’m not too sure if that’s the reason for my runs =)

I made it safely to India after traveling to Taipei, Taiwan on a 16 hour flight, stayed in Taiwan (because my flight to New Delhi was canceled) for 24 hours, flew to New Delhi on a 10 hour plane ride and then another 1 hour flight from New Delhi to Varanasi.

The Team is well and the “workers” here are great. Its intense here – very intense. Its been rather cooler here lately – instead of 115 degrees its been 98-100 degrees. It actually just rained (poured) and it brought a really cool breeze with it.

I have much to say but I’ll save it for another time – maybe when I’ll update and blog about Hawaii. I will say this, dealing with discouragement among the “workers” has been more of a reality to listen to and even think about. I have nothing to complain about in So. California and yet I do or have or will. Unfortunately, the discouragement that I have received in “working” with fellow “workers” has proven to be nothing compared to what they receive here. I have been blown away by the humility with which these men and women live by. Not anything different from the “work” I’ve seen in the “workers” there – just different, I suppose.

I talked with a young man who’s been here for 2 years now from Canada. When asked about how he deals with being away from home and the comforts of his western culture he said this, “Well, I’ve thought about asking myself the typical question, that I’m sure most “followers” ask themselves, ‘Is it worth it leaving everything I had, or is it worth it being here?’ Instead of asking those types of questions I’ve been asking myself, ‘Is He worth it?'”

So, I’ve been haunted by that question because too often I’ve asked myself those same self-centered questions and have ended up with answers that only satisfy myself for short worthless moments.  Barry’s right.  I too want to ask myself that question – the only way to determine if something is worth it is asking if ‘He is worth it?’  In light of that question it definitely puts everything else in its appropriate perspective – some things just don’t matter when your faith is being tested – the sign of growth, I suppose is often during times of testing not waiting around of it.  So, yeah I believe He’s worth it and I’m hoping I get to find that out more so while I’m here and when I’m there.

DEAN KELLER & HIS RDs

May 17, 2008

The Guy RD Team!

Here are the guys I’ve ministered and worked with the last 4 years!  With Joe (middle) moving up to “Dean” of Student Life and Gunner (top right) becoming our new “Associate” Dean (the quotations have been inserted for emphasis unknown…so basically, Gunner becomes Joe and Joe becomes Tat).  Me, Dave (bottom right) and Jeff (bottom right) remain Resident Directors of our respective dorms.  So, in other words we’ve done nothing to get any kind of promotion…oh wait, Jeff becomes Gunner – Head RD.  So, correction, just me and Dave are still the same – he’s a way better RD than me.  That’s okay, I have the better dorm =) 

On a more serious note, I really do appreciate all of these godly guys.  They’ve inspired me, encouraged and challenged me (and confronted me – not my favorite part) and loved me.  While in a lot of ways we are different – methodology of ministry, personality, humor, hobbies, style etc.  while all this is true, its been amazing to grow in relationship with the Lord and with each other in the process of working through all of that – life pretty much. 

When it comes down to it I know for certain that these guys love each other and to be included in that is definitely a team worth being a part of. 

Joe led us well and worked hard and loved us hard.  It’ll be exciting and humbling to be a part of the transitions of all involved…very cool!   

INDIA AGAIN

May 17, 2008

Going to India isn’t the same kind of excitement as going to Hawaii but it definitely  has its share of adventures and lessons I’m sure. 

I’m not quite sure how to think of my trip.  The last time I went was two years ago with leaders from my church.  This time around I am going with students (they left already…I stayed back for Rick & Esther’s wedding).  Anyhow, I am interested to see how this time around the Lord will use me and use going to India to change me.  I was quite impacted by the external idolatry there as well as the extreme poverty that was/is everywhere.

People have asked if I’m ready to go and I guess I can answer that in different ways.  I have about 31 hours before my departure and I am not yet packed.  I have tons of errands to run and a couple of loose ends to tie up before I head out.  I definitely haven’t prayed “enough” and I am so exhausted from the semester that my greatest fear is actually feeling fatigue.  I’ve gotten my shots, my meds, my toiletries, my laundry, my bills paid a head of time, my RD end of the year packet was turned in yesterday, one wedding (out of 7 this summer) is out of the way yadi-yadi-ya…  So, yeah, that’s a no for being ready to go. 

The reality is, I’m going to this foreign country to first help in anyway that I can, second to see if there is a realistic possibility for me to do further ministry there in the future.  I’ve been through the conversations about staying or going and frankly I’m no longer interested in hashing through anymore motives or ideas or wasted philosophies about ministry here or ministry there that just keep me from doing anything or going anywhere.  All that I am left with is a pile of excuses for my comfort and my laziness.  I’ve noticed in myself as well as in some friends of mine (who I love dearly) that “calling” seems tailored to each individual.  I don’t know if I agree with that.  The Lord didn’t call me to do what I want to do.  So, sometimes I move the extreme opposite and make up my calling because what I want to do is easier than what God wants me to do.  And while I agree that I can do ministry here, and I have been (and I love it) I don’t want to be convinced by others what my calling is if its here or somewhere else. 

I don’t know what the Lord has for me in a year or two – neither does anyone else.  I may die in India (that would be great).  However, I do know that I must plan and plan well and work harder than I have been about it.  So, going to India is a part of looking into that.  So has staying in the states or going to Hawaii or Samoa or anywhere else in the world. 

All that to say, I have come full circle and have decided that with my prep (in the next 3o hours) to India, I am looking forward to trusting Jesus and asking Him to reveal Himself to me like never before.  I am looking forward to depending upon His Word and meditating on it.  I’m looking forward to serving people and learning more about doing that more selflessly.  I guess I’m looking forward to living there the next 4 weeks and doing what I do here, there. 

If you want to pray for me and my team, please do so.  If not then don’t worry about it – and if I so happen to die well, throw a party and dance a lot and only invite people who will party it up like there’s no tomorrow!       

Until next time!  See you later!

Okay, here’s the deal – I’d love to write more but I just don’t have the time.  Also, I purchased a new camera last week and have updated a lot of pics.  So, the the link below is an album of pics of this spring’s dorm apparel and our annual Hotchkiss Lu’au (I actually don’t know how long its been going on – it was an annual event before my time as an RD).  Also there are pics here from graduation and even the lunch on the lawn of In-N-Out of all the peeps that stayed after to clean up the dorm (mind you, school is over at this point and they still didn’t want to leave the dorm) and other pics. 

Anyway, a part of my enjoyment as the RD of Hotchkiss are the events – there’s no place like Hotchkiss and when this dorm does something, there’s no comparison – we do things the right way here in Hotchkiss and that’s namely due to the students who love it here.  One student said “Ona, the best part about living in Hotchkiss is actually living it…living in the dorm is only part of it! Hotchkiss isn’t just a dorm, its a way of life”  Haha…well put ! 

Here you go – enjoy the pics! 

So, today Josh (Beakley) came by and asked if I wanted to go to the park and we did.  But when we were pulling out of the parking lot to leave, I saw Adam Dickson walk by and I rolled down my window and said, “Hey, where are you going?”  Adam said, “To my room.  Where are you going?”  I said, “To the park”  He said, “Who are you with?”  I said, “Beaks!  You wanna go?”  Then Adam said, “okay”.  So, we went to the park on Lyons.  We walked to a shaded spot while little leagues of all sorts started to fill in all throughout the park.  Then we sat down with our Bibles and journals and talked.  It was a nice Friday afternoon to end a really exhausting week.  It was relaxing, chill, no pressure, easy conversation about the Lord, home, siblings and whatever.  We occasionally just watched all the little leaguers and laughed. 

Later that night, I had dinner with Team 20 Seconds (well, Ben wasn’t there and Becca wasn’t there either).  We had great food, always great laughter and developed more hillarious material to laugh at.  We decided to have an aniversery for our Team in October back in San Diego!  Man, laughter is such a gift from the Lord and to laugh really hard with good friends is like chocolate brownies with chocolate ice cream…just double goodness! 

Then I watched Caleb and Adam play in their intramural basketball championship game – I was actually quite impressed with their playing and their attitudes.  They definitely were more mature on the court than the other team.  It’s interesting to see what comes out on the court (or the field).  Anyway, Adam and Caleb’s team won – with some class…that was worth watching!