Sunday, July 26, 2009
Calcutta is a place that defies explanation. We left their at 10 p.m. last night. It was an amazing time. Some things to remember about Calcutta: the sounds--honking horns. Traffic is a mystery. It seems like horn honking is a necessary part of getting anywhere. You honk the horn to warn people like pedestrians, to let other drivers that you're overtaking them, and to tell others to move over and make room. I don't think there are any lines on the road. You just squeeze as many cars, buses, rickshaws, bicycle rickshaws, tooktooks, and motorcycles together as possible.
the smells--undescribable. We smelled rotting flesh on our walk out to a new village school. We also smelled stephanotus from the leis that we got at every place we visited, and of course there was incense and sweat.
the sights--Wow!! The way people live is totally unbelievable to us. Little makeshift huts with 5 different pieces of ragged tarp to keep the rain out line the streets. Last night we had to walk a little ways from the mall where we ate to our bus. It was about 9 p.m. You wouldn't have known it. It seemed like people were just gearing up...There's so much that I saw there that I can't describe; you'll have to ask to see my pictures.
We went there to see and be part of the ministry of Subir and Eunok Roy. They have a ministry to people who live in the slums and even on the garbage dump in Calcutta. It's amazing what they do. They start by taking slum kids to mobile schools; they wash them, feed them, and teach them--first they teach them about Jesus; then they teach reading/writing skills. The kids who want to can move on to live in hostels and go to other schools. It's too much to explain all here.
My favorite part was when we went out to a village that had no Christian presence until Subir built a church/school there. We went there on Sat to help dedicate a new school that they were finishing. The parents gladly send their children to the school, and many of the mothers were at this celebration. I'm not sure how many of them are part of the church, but Rob shared the gospel with a wonderful story about how God loves us like muddy children who need to be washed off before they can come into his house. Then we did our doubting THomas bible story too. I was very aware that most of those people probably had never heard that story before... pray for Subir and Eunok, and I'd love to share more about their ministry when I get home.
Today and tomorrow we spend in Chiang Mai, and then on Wednesday we head to the refugee camp. Maybe I'll post tomorrow also.