Kathy's Blog

The light shines in darkness

The power of hope November 1, 2010

Filed under: India trip Raipur — Kathy Morgan @ 12:43 pm

People, cows, dogs and goats crowd the streets.  They share the “lanes” with cars, motorcycles, auto rickshaws, and bicycle rickshaws.  The auto rickshaws look like the three-wheeled US mail carts from the late 1960’s.  They are yellow and green completely covered, and can carry up the 3 people, but many are packed (I keep expecting to see a chinese fire drill).  The bicycle rickshaws are open carriages pulled by a man riding a bike (in place of a horse).  We did not see too many ox carts, though I have been told they are plentiful outside the city.  The street “lanes” really are not lanes….each vehicle makes their own lane – going either direction.  If your car does not have a horn, you are in big trouble.  You must drive fast, and honk your horn constantly to let the next person know they are about to be run over…all are aggressive motorists.  The law states that men riding motorcycles must wear a helmet, so you will see entire families on a motorcycle – husband, wife, 2 kids, with the man wearing a helmet.  Did not see any accidents, which surprized me considering all the traffic.

Another interesting revelation was that Water Buffalo and cows eat trash, or whatever they can find.  They wander the streets and neighborhoods all day then at the end of the day they line up to go home.  When I say home, I do not mean a barn or field, but a house where people live.  I watched them going in and out of homes….like our dogs and cats do.

The three-day Women’s conference was not anything I had expected.  We left Dallas planning for a three-day conference with up to 100 women who would be with us for the entire three days.  On Monday when we met at the OI office, Alicia accidentally discovered that all the women in the area had been invited, and because of the festival the women would only be able to attend one session.  The schools were closed for the week, and many families had out-of-town guests.  Because of the holiday, the women had limited time for the conference.   When ever change occurs, at first it is startling, but we could see that God was the change agent!  This would give us an opportunity to meet more Hindu women, and more would hear the gospel presentation.  On Tuesday morning we had approx. 50 – 80 women and children attend.  After the presentation we are able to tweak our talks to connect with the audience more.  I had to get used to having an interpreter, and realized these ladies like animation and comedy (like Bollywood).  I talked about providing good customer service in a dramatic, animated, and interactive way.  They love to laugh, and have fun.  For many of these women, meeting with their loan groups is the only time they get out of the house.  Several commented that their husbands mistreat and beat them.  At the conference, they would sit together on the same row, with the leader or most senior person on the aisle.  The caste system is very alive today in India.  As I looked into the eyes of these women, I could see they were searching for hope, and a better life.  They came looking for answers, for comfort, for validation, for a Savior.  The eyes are the window to the soul….I saw so many empty souls.  Hinduism is all about works, and not about relationship.  During each session, God’s presence was very strong.  Prayers were being answered, I could feel the light of Christ shining through me.  Alicia shared a bible story  about hope, and Apollos (the local evangelist) shared the gospel too.  At the end of each session, Alicia and I were mobbed by those in attendance.  They were so appreciative, and gracious.  I felt like a rock star, but knew it was not me they were

attracted to, it was the light of Christ.  Jesus was the rock star!  One woman told me she thought a new god had come….the interpreter told her it was Jesus.  Each session grew bigger and bigger.  The chairs came out of the room, so rugs could be put down on the floor to accommodate all who attended.  Most sat on the floor, and we were packed in like sardines.  At the end  750 women and children attended.  The Lord is so good…He knew what these women and children needed to hear, and brought each and everyone to hear about Him.  Please pray for these women, the local church in Raipur, and for those who work for OI in this area.  They can be persecuted for what was done at the conference – presenting the gospel.

 

Alien in a foreign land October 17, 2010

Filed under: India trip Raipur — Kathy Morgan @ 7:38 pm

Church service in RaipurI have now been in India for 2 days, and my days and nights are blurred…it is 4:39am Monday morning.  My body is slowly adjusting to “sleep” time.  My flight from Chicago to Delhi was on time and the flight was good…packed plane (which is normal for all AA flights these days) with many from India including families with small children.  Everyone slept on board including the kids, which is a blessing in itself.  I was lucky to have a 2 seat aisle next to the window.  The Indian man sitting next to me was probably in his early forties, extremely bright, an editor and publisher of technical magazines.  He had just left a convention in Las Vegas, on his way home to Delhi.  We had a great conversation about many things….US politics, culture, Indian politics, culture, and many ways India is similar to the US.  He was extremely helpful with tips and things to do when I am in Delhi.  In a small cramped space, this encounter made my plane ride enjoyable.  I had a very short stay (about 6 hours) in Delhi before it was time to board my flight to Raipur. 

Raipur is the capital of the state of Chhattisgarh located in central India.  Lots of new building, new roads, and “cleanup” for this capital in a fairly new state.  The contrast amongst the people is amazing…extreme poverty and a middle class.  Chhattisgarh is one of the poorest states in India, which is apparent when you see the crowds along the road as we drive by.  Water buffalo and cows mingle on the roads with adults and children eating through piles of trash.  Many are in the streets participating in a Hindu festival that will last several weeks.  Schools are out so families can participate together in worship throughout the day…the air is full of incense, idols the size of large statues are everywhere.  The scene looks like a rock concert at the State Fair…idols on stage ready to perform with rows of seats in front of them, crowds everywhere, bright and colorful decorations, and street vendors selling food.  Yesterday we saw several parades in the streets with idols held up high leading the procession.  In the streets many women are lined up with offering baskets on their heads waiting to present their gifts to these idols.  The most disturbing image was a man lying in the street tormented by a spirit.  At first I thought he was in extreme pain thrashing around…arms and legs convulsing, but I knew it was demon possession.  The people gathered around him were laying down gifts and insence….they were worshipping the spirit that was being channeled.   

I witnessed  this on my way to a small church here in Raipur.  What a great time of worship and prayer I had with the handful of believers.  God’s presence was so strong and so real…The light is brightest when darkness is all around.  The evangelist preached God’s word in a true straightforward way….I was impressed.  These believers do not take their conversion lightly.  The government in this state is not friendly towards Christianity and may persecute them at any time.  Many have been abandoned by their families for turning against Hinduism.  Several of the young girls from the orphanage were there, and so happy to see us.  They are friendly with big smiles and lots of questions.  What a blessing they are…I look forward to seeing them again soon.  After church we went to a large indoor bazaar (like Wal-Mart) to buy things for the upcoming conference.  Back to the hotel which is a good home away from home to discuss upcoming events.  Waiting to see what God does in the next few days….keep me and the team in prayer.