Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Travel from Raipur to Bilaspur

Traffic Trouble from C Church on Vimeo.

The highlight of our last couple days has been the adventure of driving - or shall we say being a passenger while our cabs drive us.  Above is a video Kevin put together, but there is nothing like being in it for 3+ hours!

Truthfully, the powerful moments came from being with the leaders and some members of the Raipur church.  And from hearing the testimony of our host and guide Sanjeev Lambert (who was at Roanoke Christian Camp over the summer with some of the kids from FIF).   And this morning, our itinerary has been changed due to road conditions, so we will instead get to meet with several of the area preachers.

Let me say, we feel a bit guilty about staying in such nice accommodations.  So far, we have stayed in 3 nice hotels, because our Christian brothers here want to show us hospitality.  They are always careful about our safety, and it doesn't go unnoticed (especially with two teenage girls being on our team - their father Tim is grateful!).  But where we sleep every evening doesn't keep us from noticing the living conditions surrounding us.  We are all having trouble putting into words the overwhelming poverty, the dilapidated buildings, the mud houses, the people living in the dirt.   In every city there are hundreds of  street-side restaurants that are essentially a camping stove, a pot, and a table set up in the gutter of the road.  I've seen roads that are like the worst gravel parking lot I've driven in go on for 30 miles (although the roads in the cities are pretty well paved, just poorly drained).

Yet people make it work.  Just like the traffic, they find a way.  I saw a man carrying about 100 dozen eggs strapped to a bicycle.  I saw a woman washing clothes in a small metal bucket outside her home of a blue tarp and some pieces of wood.  I see families of 4 all seated on the same moped driving down the street.

The other night I saw over 200 Christians, who walked through the rain and the mud, to be with our team for about 2 hours on a Monday night.  And they shower us with good cheer, and they put hand-made flower leis around our necks, and they smile and shake our hands.

You'll notice in the video, there is an elephant god on the taxi dashboard.  There are huge, life-size elephant statues all over the towns, made from clay and hand painted, and enshrined with colorful fabrics and a tent of meeting.  There is a festival going on until September 9th to this Hindu god, and every night there is celebration.  Yet, as my brother Sanjeev mentioned, many of the people KNOW it is just a mud statue.  They know it's not really God, but they are too steeped in their tradition and culture to be willing to change.  And that is what makes the Gospel of Jesus so powerful to them.

I know we don't have elephant statues back home.  But we have other seasons of colorful lights and celebrations where we give presents to each other.  We have flat screen idols that we sit in front of for hours every day.  We have a god called dollars that often gets our heart and attention.  We know those things don't provide salvation or even true happiness.  But I've often bowed to them.

Like Gill said last night in our devotion, I don't want to go home and go "back to normal."  God has blessed us with so much!  What are we doing with it?  I just know today, I want to be a blessing to those I meet.  And I think that's the awesome thing about God's grace, is that all my sins and failures have been forgotten, and He just asks me to serve Him today.

God is using us, and your prayers are empowering us.  Keep up the good work.

1 comment:

  1. Sanjeev's testimony may be heard here: