Well, it seems like being home kind of swept me up and consumed me with family, friends, work, and vacations! I need to work on consistency! Here's day two...
Day 2 was such an adventure! First, we visited a special needs school which happens to be directly across from J.'s house. We walked over to meet Mrs. James, the head of the school(like a principal, but they dont use that word). She was such a sweet woman, and had such a heart for God, and a compassion for special needs children. Although the school is not labeled a Christian school, Mrs. James incorporates her faith into every aspect of the school. Under the name of the school is the verse 2 Corinthians 12:9 "My power is made perfect in weakness..."
Being at the school was one of my favorite parts of the trip. J left to work on some things. First we toured the school, all 4 floors! Each class has only 4-5 children and most of them had 2 teachers in the class rooms. On the very top floor, which was basically a roof with a covering and open air windows was where children who are not able to learn scholastically, are taught social skills, and life lessons. All of the children lit up when we walked into the room. They dropped the craft they were working on and all said hello about 20 times each. It was the warmest welcome I've ever received!It was so obvious that the teachers here were standing firmly in the grace of God by the way they taught and loved the children. On the roof classroom Laura and I also found the most beautiful view of Bangalore. It was breath taking! These pictures don't do any justice...
Then, we were left alone to explore the school more, and to find a bathroom! We ended up asking a student who sent us to the basement. There we found a lunch/tea room, a kitchen, and a little boy who immediately clung to us! He also encouraged his class mates to join him. By this point we were standing outside the bathroom but were scared that the kids would want to follow us in so we waited until they ran off and entered our first public Indian bathroom. This is what we
We survived though, and moved on to sit in on a class. There were two older women teaching 6 little boys. I instantly fell in love with them! The boys were so funny, and full of joy. Their ages ranged from 4 to 9 years old but were around the same learning level. One boy politely greeted us with a hand shake and sweet "hello", and continued to shake our hands through out the rest of our stay. The music teacher came in with his guitar and we got to sing songs with the kids and do fun hand motions. Most of the songs are the same that kids sing here in pre-school. The teacher found out that we were staying with Jaideep, and he quickly started playing worship songs, and we entered into an amazing time of worshiping God together through song. There was such an amazing sense of God's presence in that tiny room, even though only 2 nationalities were represented (American, and Indian) it was such an awesome picture of every tongue from every nation singing praises to God.
Around 12:30 J. picked us up, and took us to visit his good friend Albert. He and his wife run a drug rehab center, Abhayam. They provide housing and meals for young men and women who are struggling with drug/alcohol addiction. This center is different in that each person must come willingly, not forced by family or friends. They also require daily Bible study attendance, along with going to church on Sundays. They also don't allow smoking, which is different than every other rehab in India. They have separate campuses for Men and Women. There were around 7 Men, but they didn't have any Women living with them during our stay.
While we were there, Laura and I joined in their afternoon Bible study, and were able to share part of our testimonies. J. asked us only 5 minutes before so I felt a little un prepared, but with my shaky voice I made it through. J. was laughing later that evening while he told me how red my face got. I tend to blush easily, and he said they never see someone's face do that since their faces are all so dark. He noticed everyone looking at me strangely as I was talking, and assumed that was it. I'm glad J. got a couple laughs from me during the trip!We shared a meal after Bible study. It was really spicy, and we were served huge portions! We struggled to get it all down, we didn't want to be rude by not finishing...
This is Rocky the dog. He was given to Albert, and lives at the center. The men also built a duck house, at the center. The guys took so much pride in it. They also spend their time making things to sell to support the center.
After the Center, J. took us to meet Yam and Aiyana for ice cream, then to his old friend's house to get mehendi! You might recognize the more familliar term, Henna. It was on both mine, and Laura's "to do while in India" list. Lucky for us, this woman was the best in Bangalore. She was incredibly artistic, and had a very steady hand.
We rushed home after our appointments because J. and Yam were having a young adult Bible study at their house that night. Laura and I shared what it was like being a Christian, and attending college in America that night, and with the help of J's preparations, led the discussion. The common idea is that America is one big Hollywood, and that Christians have very easy lives. They were shocked to hear that we are persecuted, and sometimes are looked at differently by our classmates, teammates, and teachers because of our faith.
Our visit was celebrated with an Indian barbecue after Bible study. I loved getting to know some college students, and exchanging stories. There are so many similarities, yet huge differences between us. It was a really fun night, and a great end to an exhausting day!