Jaimie and I are smooth sailing into well into our second month in India. There are plenty of ups and down along the way. Here are a few stories to recap our October experience.
Making Roti (Jaimie)
I have been learning how to make a lot of new recipes since we moved to Nagpur. My friend Sheetal is an excellent cook and has taught me most of the things I know so far. Ben has had to put up with a lot of experimenting, and some instant noodles when I get tired of cooking. One of the most important Indian staples is roti, a thin flatbread served with almost every meal. It’s made with only wheat flour, water, and a bit of oil. You roll the dough (pronounced “dove” here…) very thin and cook it on a pan. Then you toss it right onto the gas burner so it puffs up in the middle. You top the finished product with a little butter.
Making roti is one of those daily tasks that made me crazy at first. It looks so easy, but it’s not. You have to be perfect or else the roti won’t be good. I get an unhealthy amount of satisfaction from such success. Food is kind of a big deal here.
Anyway, I have learned two things from this sometimes maddening, sometimes strangely soothing task: slow down, and be gentle. Strangely enough, I have been learning similar lessons spiritually. God is teaching me to slow down. Mission work in India is proving to be a much slower process than expected. As I’ve shared before, sometimes it feels like we are not accomplishing anything important. My instinct is to force our way through and create our own opportunities, but God is telling us to slow down and do it His way, the right way. Luckily Ben is leading us and has great discernment moving us forward. But it is so hard for me to quiet myself and wait. We could easily make something happen and call it God’s work. But our own efforts will not stand the test on the day of the Lord; we need God’s power behind what we do.
I am learning a lot of discipline here. It takes discipline to wait on the Lord and be content. It takes discipline to not eat an entire box of Honey-O’s just because I’m bored; to exercise when it’s just me and a yoga mat; to roll the roti slowly. I read this passage of scripture this week and have been returning to it daily as a reminder:
“My heart is not proud, Lord, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content. Israel, put your hope in the Lord both now and forevermore.” Psalm 131
Successes in India (Ben)
Yeah, the success section. Let’s do that… Margarita flavored toothpaste, cooler temperature outside, found a video rental store, bought Monopoly, and…. wait for it… our two year anniversary is one week from today!
Day to day, it’s easy to lose focus on the big picture. Things are actually going super smoothly here! We are having meals every day, no sickness, plenty of alone time, and we’re meeting new people all the time. For instance, my buddy Philadelphia (Thats what I call him…or he calls me, we’re not sure), knows how I like my chicken butchered now…and I do too!
I met someone the other day, he said I could call him Paul. (I think word is getting around that I’m bad at pronouncing names). Regardless, there is a certain type of sincerity in the Nagpur people. Jaimie and I are feeling more and more comfortable, and much of that is because of our hosts, new friends, and honest dealings we are having with people.
The Pictures of Nagpur
Now, on to what you have all been really wanting to see – some more photos. You’ll see a festival dance, a lake walk Jaimie and I took a week or so ago, and us shopping at the grocery store; and by grocery store, I mean vegetable place on the side of the road. (It’s really nice).
I Found Ambazari Park in Nagpur! (Ben)
While I’m figuring out the mystery of day to day life, we have been having a few success stories. Last week we made chicken curry with a friend from work. And, on Friday I took a couple hours off and found a park to go to. And let me tell you, navigating there on a scooter is quite a rush. Here are some photos for the folks that like that kind of stuff.
After the park Jaimie and I went to an ice cream place that has the best chocolate brownie ice cream. I should have taken a picture, but just think of ordering a fajitas at a Mexican restaurant. The come out on a sizzling plate, correct? That’s the way our dish was served. It came out on a hot plate of boiling liquid chocolate with a brownie set in the middle and ice cream on top. It cost as much as our dinner the night before…but it was worth it.