Today is Friday and Gunner, Eric & Nate arrives from Bangalore (I ended up not going on that part of the trip because we had decided it would be best for me to stay in Delhi and help get the music ready for the retreat). But it was nice to hear about their trip.

Anyway, not much to update other than I have been having good talks with people here. Our interaction with the locals are more to help the Malakars establish a good name, which they already have.

One more week and then retreat. I’m suppose to get together with the band tomorrow. A lot of scheduling isn’t as concrete as I would prefer so I can’t really rely and anyone’s word. Which is good in the sense that it produces patience. So, I hope to meet up with them tomorrow.

Today we visit the Delhi campus to invite students to Focal Point and Chat Over Coffee.

Tonight we have Core Group where have “book” study with some people from PMI staff and the people who “meet” on Sundays.

Ok, that’s it for now.

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Okay so I’ll update you a bit here (my apologies for bulleted point versions, just seems more convenient, lets be honest 🙂

  • taught my english class
  • saw some Iranians I met last year – these people are very hospitable and kind, makes me want to visit them there
  • took a walk into the neighboring town by myself and got some dinner 
  • was hit by a car (no worries I’m okay) just a little soar…it was quite funny actually and it was more like a bump/hit
  • Mike Gundersen arrived last night, good to see him – its been fun seeing him…funny, we were in Samoa together 6 summers ago doing “work” there, now we’re in India doing “work” again
  • was humbled today by several things today
  • had Chat Over Coffee
  • sang two Phil Wickham songs tonight at Chat over Coffee (played the keyboard and sang…its wierd to do that still, i feel like a celeb….hahah, funny but kind of gross feeling)
  • met up with Ali about music for the retreat next week and set up times to meet up and rehearse with the band (exciting)
  • walked to the Coffee Cafe Day with Mike, Meagan, Heather (not Malakar) and Moelelwa (she’s from So. Africa)…the other two are Master’s alum helping out
  • then now I’m here 
  • tomorrow Gunner, Eric & Nate get back from Bangalore – it’ll be good to see them…
  • tomorrow we’ll be meeting with Ali to talk through song themes and band dynamics and song choices from the bible
  • its been hot here, very drainingly hot 🙂
  • talked with Mike about relationships and such…he’s engaged so that was cool to hear – he had some good thoughts…thinking through a lot about that…
  • oh, i took the metro down a ways to get some groceries, it was fun…
  • that’s it for now

anyway, things are well here…learning tons, and asking God lots of questions about India, direction, etc

DAY 5 & MASALA

July 6, 2009

DAY 5 was really uneventful for me (maybe more so for the Indians around) particularly because Monday is a rest day for PMI.  That means the volunteers, the workers and the Malakars have a day off, as it were.  So, here’s what I did: 

  • Woke up
  • read
  • met up with Peter to have chai
  • called Ali to try and set up a time to meet up about music (he canceled and rescheduled, felt like I was back in the dorm 🙂
  • caught a taxi with Prabin to the mall to meet up with Peter, Heather & Prekash…at Coffee Bean 🙂 
  • had an Extreme Mocha blend 🙂 (oh, I forgot to mention I cooked my own Masala…yeah, don’t be too impressed its basically like Ramen
  • then went to the airport to pick up Jai (he’s a med grad starting his residency here and finishing up in West Virginia, where he grew up – he’s Indian and its his first time here in India…he’s a “worker” also), Meagan and Heather – both grad students in So. Cali and both alumnus(?) from Master’s
  • then that was it…
  • Mike Gundersen arrives tonight

Today: 

We’re headed down the street to the Malakars to have breakfast, then a study in the “book”, then grocery shopping for the new comers, then I have prep time for my english class (thanks Lis for the material – very helpful), and then I’m meeting with Ali to rehearse songs for Chat over Coffee and for Sunday.  I’m excited for today!  It’ll be a good one…I’m hoping to walk down the way to gets some Indian food off the street 🙂  oh its the best – haven’t had any issues yet and I’m not trying to but I love the food here!!!

I’ll keep you posted…

DAY 3, 4 & VISITS

July 5, 2009

Its Sunday evening and I’ll recap DAY 3 and 4 all in one.

DAY 3:

  • Woke up – sometimes that’s hard to do when you’re in a different time zone, or for some, just hard to do period :)…so it was worth mentioning
  • had breakfast in the hotel with Gunner, Eric & Nate
  • our driver, don’t remember his name because sometimes Hindi names are difficult to pick up which is a bummer because Indian names are really cool to say sometimes.  
  • arrived at TJ’s, then went to visit some “workers” in the village (now this is not the typical village, but more like people in the outsets of the city).  these workers were more of the dalit’s (outcast of the cast system) people.  They’re hospitality and respect was humbling…people who have nothing giving out of their poverty – how do you respond to that?  I’ve read it, heard of it, believe in the principle but when its literally done to you, when these men who are studying and training others to do the “work” it just makes you feel overwhelmed.  I felt ashamed, humbled and thankful all at the same time.  It was beautiful and challenging.  
  • after spending about 3 hours there, listening mainly (on my part) to the translation going on, we set out back to the Smith’s to have lunch.  Karren cooked us authentic Indian (veggie style) food…so good!
  • Then we just hung out and talked with them for hours.  
  • Went to the mall in town, which was 5 stories high, really nice (and A/C), and they took us to the best indian food in town….yeah, it was in the mall – and boy was it spicy.  My stomach was having its own independence day celebration going on 🙂
  • Came back to our hotel and had a really good talked with Gunner about things – man, can I just say that I have some of the best counselors are friends?  I’m so blessed!
  • then enjoyed some bantering with the gusy (Gun, Eric & Nate) before getting to bed

DAY 4: 

  • Woke up (again)
  • TJ, Karren & Chaya came by to our hotel and had breakfast with us.  
  • packed our bags and headed back to the Smiths for some singing and “talking”
  • said good bye to them and took our taxi back to the airport and got on our plane headed towards Delhi – it was so good to see the Smith’s again – I’m excited for them – there’s going to be a lot of work being done there – TJ gave me some sweet indian CDs; can’t wait to listen to them when I get back.  
  • got back to Delhi, Eric, Gunner & Nate continued their trip on to Bangalore (they’ll be back to Delhi with me on Thursday). 
  • I took a taxi home (to Mike’s – Gunner’s brother), showered up and went to PMI for Focal Point.  My driver didn’t speak a lick of English and didn’t have any clue where he was going – he stopped 5 times asking where “King’s Camp” (the district we’re in)….so imagine being in a foreign country by yourself and not knowing where the heck you’re going for 45 mins….ha!  It was actually quite exciting and adventurous.  
  • After the discussion about a Solid Foundation (there were about 35 people there…Peter said that wasn’t bad considering their 6 week break)
  • I sang a song following the discussion – it was funny.  Apparently I’m doing another concert on Wednesday…
  • After that, met some young guys studying for their Master’s Degrees (Indian guys) who faithfully come to PMI – they were very good conversationalists – they invited me to go with them to dinner but I went with the Peter & Heather (and Prakash, their son) to Subway for dinner.  
  • Came back and here I am…

Now I’m beat.  Tomorrow I meet with Ali to work through songs for the retreat and catch up.  Ali is the guitarist from last year that I did music with.  It’ll be fun to meet up again and talk through music – he’s really, really good on the guitar.  

Let’s see – something I thought about today…sometimes people just need a visit.  Even if you don’t have anything to bring or give, your visit means way more than you will ever know.  Those who are being visited, don’t expect much more than that.  Be grateful for their presence and their kindness – embrace it for what it is, company.  Let it grow if it does and if it doesn’t, then it doesn’t.  Now, if its someone you don’t really enjoy that much, then…I can’t help you with that one 🙂  All in all, think about others and make time to visit people as its fitting for the moment.  Don’t make people feel guilty when they don’t, that’s unbecoming, but if you haven’t see someone in a while, just let them know you miss them, if you do.  

Okay, see ya later!

DAY 1

July 2, 2009

I arrived to New Delhi yesterday, Thursday morning at around 7am. Prabin & Sandib, two guys I met last year picked me up from the airport. It was good meeting up with people I knew. Strange that is. I know people across the globe.

I’m staying at Mike Gundersen’s (Gunner’s brother, who has been living here for the last year). Mike’s actually in the states. The Malakars actually arrived early this morning from the states.

All in all, I had a full day to myself here at PMI. I met some new staff memebers and were welcomed very kindly by them.

I came back to the empty apartment and read, watched some hind TV and thought about what to do with the music I’ll be doing here.

I turned in about 8pm, I was exhausted from all the traveling (met up with Jeff Lewis in Munich Germany who is visiting his brother in the military – we had a blast roaming around Munich). Anyway, I slept for what I thought was a full 8-9 hours but woke up at about 11:40pm. It was disappoint because I wad ready to start the next day.

Finally, I woke up well rested and I am now off to the Malakars to see about my taxi to the domestic airport where I will meet up with Gunner, Eric and the rest of the crew on our way to Lucknow, India for the weekend. We will be visiting friends who are doing “work” there. We hope to encourage them as they face opposition there.

I’ll post again when I have time.

Btw, I already had some real India food…I LOVE it!!!

NOW IS ENOUGH

June 29, 2009

It’s 1:58am Florida time and I wanted to highlight some things about today:

-got to see the Hulets’ (Dave & Tricia) new home…beautiful area!
-Dave showing me around their town
-having lunch with Dave, Ryan, Andrae (another dear friend from college), Haron (a student from Master’s who’s here on a missions trip) & Garret (a friend of Andrae’s
-went to the beach with Dave
-ate at Barbara Jeans on the river
-had a really challenging, encouraging, honest talk with Dave about things in my life I need to work on…I treasure that about my friendship with Dave…no pretense there just mutual God-fearing love…wish I had more of that.
-drove out to visit with Andrae and see where he lives in the inner city of Jacksonville (it felt like going back un time in some parts) and talked about life, lessons and the challeneges of life here…I valued time with Andrae as well

I am definitely blessed with a really wonderful family, there’s no doubt about that. But I’m just as blessed with the friendships the Lord has allowed me throught my lifetime and they are all too many to name on here. However, they are not valued any less…I truly am thankful for all the people in my life, past and present.

The value of people is something I definitely take for granted on so many different levels but something I want to grow in.

I realize I don’t value people the way God does and so I minimize valuing them where ever He wants me to or where He already has me to. I’m always wanting to look ‘out there’ rather than right ‘here’, or ‘now’, y’know?

I don’t think the value is in the ‘where’, that’s neither good nor bad. It’s in the who…something I’m still trying to think through, as you can tell.

Anyway, if tomorrow comes then that will be enough but for now…now is enough. And now is what I’m called to.

Well, it’s been a blast driving through the country with life-long friends. I’ve seen some very dry areas with nothing more than fields and a few billboards to accompany them. More than that the conversations that were shared between both Tricia & Dave and Ibid worth any long distance drive. I will miss my friends deeply but I now have another good reason to visit the East Coast.

Tomorrow I leave Jacksonville FL, fly to Washington D.C., then to Munich Germany where I’ll meet up with another life long friend, Jeff Lewis, meander around that German city for a couple of hours (I have a 12 hour layover) then fly to my final destination to New Delhi, India where I will be for 3 weeks.

So it’ll actually take me two days to get to get to India with time difference and travel.

I’ll update you all when I get the chance in India.

CHEVRON ALABAMA

June 27, 2009

I’m at a Chevron in the outskirts of Birmingham Alabama. It’s very green here and lush. But the greenery can’t hide everything.

A young woman, a beautiful black woman asked me for some money as we were getting some gas. I could smell her poverty, see her desperation and feel the same heat and humidity she lives in. She was homely dressed, hair pinned up with some sort of rag wrapped around it. She was very darker skinned with very light brown eyes. She seemed no older than 22. She told me she had a 7 year old and that they were both hungry and that they lived in a tent and said “that’s all I have to say”. My first thought was ‘In this heat, you live in a tent?”, then my next thought was ‘I’m not in India, yet’.

I didn’t have any cash and told her I was sorry. After Dave finished pumping gas into the enduring Metro (his car), I saw the young lady getting into a vehicle with a man she had just met at the gas station. It was pretty daunting to watch. I don’t know exactly what was going on but it didn’t appear to be very promising.

Please pray for her and many others who are homeless here in our very own country.

I know this is silly and very immature on my part but I’m not even in India and the heartach for the least of these is weighing heavily on me. I guess the question I’ve been asking myself about the needs of some place like India is the same question that is applicable here, ‘Who is helping these people?’

THE TRAVELING BEGINS

June 21, 2009

My summer adventure begins tomorrow.  Well, I guess it begins now since I’m packing up for it.  Man, can I just tell you that I never seem to know what to pack, even if I’ve been to where I’m going?  Actually, I’m taking a detour so I suppose this time is different. 

Tomorrow afternoon, I’m helping my college, former co-RD’s/laborers in ministry, and life long friends (Dave & Tricia) drive out to Florida.  I’m not too sure what the actual game plan is but last I heard, we’re going to stop at the Grand Canyon for the evening, then make drive out to Texas, spend a few days there where Tricia’s parents live.  Dave and I will then drive only one of the cars (there’s 2 cars between the 3 of us – they’re having a moving company move there stuff) from Texas to Florida.  So, our plan is to pull into Jacksonville, Florida (final destination) by Sunday, June 28th.  Then I’ll spend that evening, Monday and Tuesday morning with Dave and help get their stuff settled in.  Tricia will stay in Texas and wait for Dave to fly back and then he’ll make that drive again with Tricia and the other car.  I’ll fly out from Jacksonville on my way to New Delhi India. 

I fly from Florida to DC, then to Munich, Germany Wednesday morning, spend 12 hours there (and explore – ideas anyone?), then fly out Wednesday evening and arrive into New Delhi 7am, July 2nd, Thursday morning where I’ll be the following 3 weeks. 

Until then please be mindful of my visa/passport that’s still in process.  I’m hoping to get it by the end of this week, here at Master’s, then it’ll be overnight to some friends already living in Florida.  I hope I get it by the 29th of June…

Anyway, I gotta get some more packing finished, then some little logistical things going here. 

We’ll see you soon!

MIX #1 FOR SUMMER ’09

June 19, 2009

Here you go…just a few songs for my summer listening: 

  1. Live Your Life by T.I. (feat. Rihanna)
  2. Radio by Beyonce
  3. Save Yourself by James Morrison
  4. Chasing Pavements by Adele
  5. Love Lockdown by Kanye West
  6. Everybody Knows by John Legend
  7. I’m a Fighter by Aaradhna
  8. Glass of Water by Coldplay
  9. Getting Stronger by Adeaze (feat. Aradhna)
  10. Lesson Learned by Alicia Keys (feat. John Mayer)
  11. Beautiful by Akon (that one’s for you Hazel)  🙂
  12. If You Leave Me Now by Chicago
  13. Reason by Earth, Wind & Fire
  14. Fire Burning by Sean Kingston
  15. Three Little Birds by Bob Marley
  16. Shout Out Loud by Amos Lee
  17. Freeze by T-Pain (feat. Chris Brown)
  18. Dreamer by Chris Brown
  19. Moment of Surrender by U2
  20. Therapy by India Arie
  21. In the Ayer by Flo Rida (feat Will.I.am)
  22. Latika’s Theme Slumdog Millionaire sound track
  23. Halo by Beyonce
  24. Homecoming by Kanye West (feat. Chris Martin)
  25. Roots Before Branches by Room For Two
  26. Precious Love by James Morrison
  27. Redemption Song by Bob Marley
  28. Too Much Heaven by Bee Gees
  29. There’s Hope by India Arie
  30. I Love, You Love by John Legend

Here are more “inspirational” songs (why do they call it that?)…don’t mean to dichotomize my listening…that’s just the way I decided to do it…

  1. Again by Jon Foreman
  2. King of Wonders by Matt Redman (feat. Tim Houston & Joel Houston)
  3. Jesus Lord of Heaven by Phil Wickham
  4. Oh You Bring by Hillsong United
  5. Bloodstained Pages by Crystal Lewis
  6. The Love of God traditional hymn
  7. King of the Broken by Darlene Zschech (feat. Israel Houghton, Leeland Mooring & Lakewood Choir)
  8. There Is Always a Song by Martin Smith (feat. Watoto Choir)
  9. Still My God by Avalon
  10. The Stand by Hillsong United
  11. Song of My Heart by Generation Unleashed
  12. The Cure For Pain by Jon Foreman
  13. Hymn by Brooke Fraser
  14. Oh Love That Will Not Let Me Go traditional hymn by Chris Rice
  15. Rock of Ages You Will Stand by Paul Baloche
  16. Sailing On a Ship by Phil Wickham
  17. When I First Trusted You by Keith Green
  18. Your Love Is Strong by Jon Foreman
  19. I Will Not Take My Love Away by Matt Wertz
  20. Soon by Hillsong United

I am really thankful to God for good music – there are some really good stuff out there…stay tuned for another summer ’09 mix!