Why are the most exciting things always-happening at the most unexpected times? Sunday was a day we experienced the most extreme contrasts of India. Due to Diwali celebrations it has been constant barrage of fireworks and “crackers, plus invitations for meals. Loren is feeling so much better we finally consented to attend a “Dosa Party” (A South Indian bread). The people present were part of the huge extended Hindu Family of which we have relationships. The tables had white cloths to the ground, a large white pendaul (tent) and each chair was also covered and decorated. The food was “out of this world good.” The men were talking of their businesses in nine countries, new Jaguar and Mercedes. (Wanting Loren to drive them) It was such an exclusive world of wealth.
Then later that evening we made a MOST UNUSUAL trek to the tribal village. Never before have we taken the arduous trip at night to a village. Not a jaunt for the coward. In fact, we don’t like to be on any road at night. On our last trip out to the village the Chief a had asked Loren, ” Do you know about this kind of torch (flashlight) that is so good that you can see far, far away?” Well, as God would have it, Loren had one in our room. We made arrangements to deliver it.
After the “Dosa Party” I was not feeling great so took a nap and when Loren woke me, I said, “I don’t think I want to go to the village.” BUT God had other plans. With a cup of tea and a little coxing to wake-up I finally consented to go.
Like I said before, these roads were not made for a vehicle, just humans and bullock carts. So at night it becomes a true adventure in just staying out of the ditch. We arrived at the village where their total of three lights was on—one being a strand of flashing colored Diwali lights. The Chief meets the car and grabs Loren’s arm, leaving me to fend for myself. At the risk of life and limb I attach myself to Suresh, and say, “If you let me step in Golden Fertilizer or cow dung, I’M GOING TO BE MAD!” Stepping carefully on a path between a battered mishmash of mud-brick huts and shacks we made it to the front of Vasentha’s house.
I stand next to a pile of broken brick hinting at the hut’s future ambitions surrounded by dirty little children as the “ceremony” of giving the torch begins. The Chief is smiling from ear to ear.
Now he can have night adventures. In the future he dreams we can have a meal with him. Someday— someway—somehow we will have to make that happen. Staying in good health is the trick. He said, “No one has ever loved us like you do.”
We were getting ready to return to the car when I said, “Vasentha, I saw the books you wrote as a translation of the Book of John. It is beautifully done.”
He said, “My wife did the writing. She is here to see YOU.” What??? She is pregnant and was 100kms away with her mother. (The custom in India—daughters stay with their mother during pregnancy) I was so shocked that I ran and hugged her, to her utter embarrassment. It is so typical of God, who delights in doing things in ways we would never dream of, to make sure I was there to see her and compliment HER.
The Chief has a daughter, one of eight, who is completely blind due to an untreated fever. Loren and I sent money for her to be taken to the fantastic eye doctor here in Nagpur. Dr. Suresh had the x-rays to give the Chief. We are trying to convince them to let us send her to a school for the blind. His wife has been the holdout in doing so. Well I, silly me, thought we were ready to go back to Prakash. BUT with a lot of jabber I find we are off in the car to yet another village. (As is the custom on the last day of Diwali, brothers and sisters stay together.) The Chief with his “torch” on his motorcycle is directing us. For a second time, he grabs Loren’s hand and I again grab Suresh. This time we at least had a little light but it was muddy and sticky underfoot. We arrive at a mud house and a man quickly comes and gives Loren a bear hug and then to my absolute amazement gives me one too, leaving red “holy kumkum” (powder) all over my cheek. NEVER in all the years I have been in India has a strange man given me a hug. Even the few men that I do hug—it is a stiff, ridged hug. He was the brother of the Chief’s wife. Whatever gave him the notion he was to hug us I have NO IDEA!
Proceeding to the inside of the diminutive dwelling they scurry to find a chair for me. Then we try to talk to the mother about sending the daughter to a blind school. In the course of the conversation something came up about the new baby daughter. I asked, “Where is the baby?” Once more, I drop my teeth, as the mother goes over to the corner and picks the tiniest baby I have ever seen off the FLOOR. I motion that I want to hold the baby, all five pounds of her.
They let me—not the norm. She fit perfectly on my lap, with my hands cradling her head when all of a sudden there was this warm flow between my legs.
OH GOSH!!! I have just been initiated. Loren said, “Well, at least it was filtered water.” They were mortified and wanted to take her immediately away. I said, “No, No, her bladder is empty so no more damage, well hopefully, no more.” Suresh said, “She has welcomed you wholeheartedly.”
I did have to waddle back to the car with all the men laughing, but I HAD the experience and the story to tell. Don’t ever say that I do not go ALL OUT to give you a good story. God uses all of these experiences to further His love and grace.