Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Colorful Evening

While in India my hostess, Blessy, took me to a fabric shop. We went in, removed our shoes, and sat on a mat on the floor. Through an interpreter I explained my favorite colors and types of material. Those working in the shop began to pull fabric after fabric from the shelves, laying them before, beside and on top of me. It was exhilarating. It was confusing. There were so many and I really wanted to see every single one in the store, but knew this would be too much to ask. Each had its own character, shades of colors, and combinations of textures. I was surrounded by beauty.

In much the same way the Lord weaves each of us with our own distinctive pattern. We show His glory in the hues of our personality and the sound of our voice. He designed and fashioned us and loves what He has created. His love for me is not diminished when he lavishes love on you; His supply is constant and never fluctuates. So I can rejoice in your colors and enjoy the way Jesus shines in your smile and reflects in your life.

Just as His love is perfect and limitless ours is fickle and limited. That’s why He insists that while He loves each of us—all of us— we are to love only Him. He is to be our number one choice. When we look at all the options, we point our desire in His direction and say, “You. I choose you.” Of course, He actually chose us first and so our hearts are warmed toward Him, but that’s another story. This is telling of my night choosing a few lovely fabrics to be made into wonderful clothes.

It was a colorful evening which I’ll always remember.

I give thanks that the Lord God created you as He did. His design is perfect. It is beautiful in every shade and emotion. My life is filled with friends and I’m so glad they are each unique, for together they give me a glimpse of Jesus.

Blessed Thanksgiving to each of you! We’re headed to San Diego to spend time with Craig’s family. Catch you later! Sue

Sunday, November 19, 2006

The Esther Leadership Home

Here is a picture of young ladies who will be allowed to grow up in a loving environment. Their mothers are employed as sex workers, and under normal circumstances their daughters are expected to enter that trade at an early age. Here in The Esther Leadership Home, the girls have a Christian family and trained workers to care for them. These twenty of these girls are safe. They go to school, eat well and learn that they are loved and valued by the Almighty Father. Craig and I have played a small part in establishing this place so it was a great joy to visit and see the results of our investment!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Fitting In in India

Women's conference, over 1,700 ladies.

Some young men who started a converstaion with me (they spoke english)

I think the hardest part about being in India, besides Craig’s illness, was that I just didn’t fit in. My skin is light, my hair is grey and curly (thanks to a perm). People stared at me and giggled and some even laughed, which made me feel really awful. I learned to smile and wave when people gawked, and that really helped, but sometimes I just felt like an outsider.

I wonder if Jesus ever felt like he didn’t fit in? Maybe his man side was comfortable and I guess his God side fully understands humans, so that wasn’t difficult. Yet ‘His own received him not,” so there must have been some feelings of being rejected. Also on earth he endured things that he never faced in heaven, human stuff. I got a tiny taste of how hard it is to be away from the comfort and ease of my life in North America, did Jesus ever long to go back?

I’ve determined one thing and it may be the whole reason I went. Although I felt my teaching and sharing was well received and that the Lord used it to encourage and equip, it was so limited. What I mean is one person spending all that money and time to go just doesn’t have that much impact. Even though there were 1,700 women at the ladies conference, the nation of India has over 1 billion and less than 1% knows Jesus.

But things are changing in India. The young people are being well educated. Many western companies now out source their customer service and accounting needs (to name a few) to India. These beautiful young people know how to use computers and the internet. So, I’m thinking that since I’m a writer the web may be a more effective tool to use when sharing about life and the love of Jesus.

Now, if you’re reading this, you’re proving my point. I may not even know you. If I do, we’re not taking on the phone or face to face at this moment. But we are communicating. What a wonderful blessing!

Jesus came in the flesh-- face to face-- which is perfect but we didn't live then so we've never seen him in the flesh and still we know Him. He also used stories to tell of God’s Kingdom and those stories are still alive and being told and He inspired men like Paul to write and those words bring us closer to the Lord. I’ll be telling you more about the writer’s workshop and the girls home and how each one of us is like a beautiful piece of fabric, but for today, I’m done. Blessings to you and thanks for reading! Sue

Friday, November 17, 2006

Thoughts on India


In our host home.

In the darkness of the hours just before dawn the mournful call to prayer, coming from the pagan temple, would pull me from sleep. Slowly others sounds invaded the air, horns blaring, traffic noise even a lone water buffalo welcoming the new day. I became aware of sweeter sounds as those of the house hold splashed water, clanked pots and pans and joined in the singing the morning blessings. In every way the environment in India is different than what is familiar to me. Day and night are not clearly defined and people went about their business in the darkness and in the light.

For several nights, until my roommate, Marion arrived; I shared a room with three others. They all preferred to sleep on the floor while I slept (not very well) and a low wooden platform covered with a thin pad. After a few days my hosts brought in a new thicker pad and my nights became comfortable. When I awoke in the stillness of night to head for the most alien of all territories -- the Indian bathroom-- I had to carefully step around and over legs and heads while imagining the indignation that would arise if I missed.

So, about the bathroom, squatting is the method, and I learned quickly that the lower you squat the better. In the beginning, I often walked across the street to where Scott and Becky stayed in the guest room which has a western style toilet, sort of. I’d asked if the throne was vacant and was welcomed in. But soon I adjusted to the floor toilet. I’ve got to say that I am thankful to be home where I am enjoying the wonders and ease of my life. For everything, from washing hair to eating a meal is labor intensive in India and so life moves at a very busy yet uncomfortably slow pace. Hot water would arrive if requested but it may take an hour or more to show up, since someone had to first heat the water and then pour it into a bucket and carry it to me. Once I tried to help out by getting my own cup of hot water for tea, but my intrusion seemed to cause confusion and complicate an already challenging situation.

The smells where also distinctive with curry dominating. The air had it’s own order, a result of insanity conditions and habits, such as polluted streams and throwing trash on the ground. I couldn’t bring myself to do this, and always went hunting for a trash can. Once I watched a young man load a cardboard box with refuge and simply carry it across the street when he dumped it on the side of the road. What if the wind blows?

This lack of concern for the environment extends to the condition of the buildings and roads and extends to people. I think the lack of compassion for those suffering must stem from a belief system that is based on a lie that you are living today based on how good or bad you lived in your last life. Those who know Jesus must over come a great deal. The culturally accepted mindset that pervades is so opposite of what God says about each person being precious, valued and loved. And living a life that truly obeys Jesus by loving our neighbor is perhaps a greater challenge for our brothers and sisters in India. It is indeed supernatural in any environment. It is the work of the Holy Spirit as He pours His compassion for people out through us. But that is the very reason we went, to encourage the believers in God’s Word; to impart biblical truth to them, to strengthen their faith.

Being in their church was wonderful and convicting. It was not about comfort as the church met in an open room under a roof. Mats were rolled over the cement floor and those of us who were old or western were given plastic chairs. When a young man arrived by using his arms as crutches and swinging his useless legs, which were tucked beneath him, I began to weep. He removed a handkerchief from his pocket to wipe the sweat off his young face. That gesture showed me what it cost him to be there in the Lord’s house, and I asked myself about the dept or shallowness of my own desire to be with God’s people. To what lengths would I go to meet with fellow believers?

I think this is enough sharing today. Maybe it’s been more for me than for you, just so I have a record, of some of my thoughts. Blessings to all, Sue.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


Arriving, Pator Joel gives each of us a garland of flowers (Pastor Scott and his wife Becky)


People. That’s the reason I went to India and that’s what I’ll always remember. People. It’s the reason I came back home.

It’s good to be back and it was good to go. Today my new India friends called me to say they missed me. My husband says he missed me. Being missed is nice because it means there is a relationship and love.

My husband was in the hospital while I was gone. When I learned this it was really hard for me to be so far away. After all I vowed to be with him in sickness and health—and I wasn’t. The Lord carried us, but I am so thankful to be back here beside him. He says he feels better now, just because I’m home. I made breakfast for him this morning, this is very unusual it’s also proof that I missed him too.

So, my husband has hyper-thyroid, Graves disease. The good news is he’s lost weight, the bad news is I didn’t. Also, they’re killing off his thyroid and he’ll be on medicine, for the rest of his life. I’m thankful that there is treatment and that we can afford it.

There’s nothing like being away to make coming back wonderful. Will heaven be like that? Some days I long for that place. I wonder if when they check the book of life and see my name, if it will be like the customs agent looking at my passport and saying, “Welcome home.” Sweet words.

More details on India coming up next time.