It is May. Jaimie and I plan to leave in the middle of August to go to India and live for the first time alone – away from all friends, family, familiar language, American rules, etc. Below is a recap through the lenses of each Ben & Jaimie.
New Priorities (Jaimie)
For about a year now, my husband and I have been scheming and looking for a way to move to India. Most of our family and friends think we have suffered some sort of brain damage. Why, they ask, would you want to move to India? When most people think of India, they think about blistering heat, packed streets, spicy food and restrooms without our coveted TP. They assume India is sub-par in luxury and convenience. Frankly, they are right. But there are certain aspects of India that we lack in all our luxury, like variety, community, vibrant color and sound. Also in India are 1.27 billion people, most of whom have never heard the gospel. That last reason is more than enough for Ben and me to pack our bags! We long to share the good news with people who are hungry for hope.
Anyway, a few months ago we got the opportunity to work with an orphanage in central India we helped establish in 2012. We decided to pursue the opportunity. Two months later, there’s still a wide open door for us to move, so barring any precluding factors – it’s a go!
We have been working hard saving money, applying for our visas, and selling things to raise funds. I am starting this blog to update friends and family, and also to attempt to record all the little pieces of our journey. Let the adventure begin!
I have dedicated myself to completing the Rosetta Stone Hindi lessons by the end of August. I believe I can do it and it might provide a decent foundation for learning the language once we arrive in-country, but so far I am not convinced that what I’m learning will help me share God’s Word in India. As of yesterday, I can say “The red fish is swimming” and “I am a teacher.” I can also say “That girl is not driving the car.” Hmm..
Cost Items (Ben)
As Jaimie and I go through our things a thought keeps popping into my mind.
“How did I become like this?”
As I sit and type, I can barely move because of the clutter. I have so much stuff. I have a 5’x3′ desk, and it’s completely covered. I have accumulated so many things. The kitchen, by far, is the most organized distater in our home. It’s a whole room of storage cabinets. One of the smallest rooms in our home holds the most. It’s incredible. I counted the other day, we have 8 frying pans. How could this be? I had 6 guitars (for sale now), two cars, three couches, 2 beds, 5 dressers…and the list goes on. How did I become like this?
False Teachings & Giving it All
I believe it’s because that I have been taught that since I live in a “christian nation” that I can have my cake and eat it too. When Jesus says things like sell your things and give to the poor, or go and make disciples… He wasn’t really talking to me, right? What he meant to say is, stay where you are, work hard and make a lot of money, and then you can give a measly 10% to the local church and feel good about yourself. That’s what Jesus meant to say, right? I look around, and shameful to admit, I must have believed that.
So I have to admit, I have no idea what it means to give it all. But could it mean what I’ve believed it to mean for so many years? Save my things and write a small check once a week? I don’t think so. This is why going through all of my things and either throwing them out or selling them is so hard. Not because it’s hard to get rid of things. It’s because every day I see another item, I realize how much I failed Jesus in the past by collecting these things and holding onto them so dearly.
American Perspectives (Jaimie)
Today I reflect on American culture and how it influences our thoughts and decisions. This reflection was prompted by a conversation I had with a friend in which I explained our reasons for moving to India. I said, “We are going to build relationships with other disciples and encourage them. We are going to spend time with the orphans. We are also going to try to qualify our non-profit as a certified adoption agency.” Of the three reasons I listed, only the last one is quantifiable in the short term. None of them are grandiose. Worst of all, none of them seem sufficient to justify our move, at least through the American cultural lens.
I got to thinking: are we really going to accomplish anything? Is it worth it, if we do not come home with big “results” to share with those who support us? What results are we hoping for, realistically? The nine boys in our orphanage will not have been adopted by the end of one year. We will not have built wells or churches. We will not have conducted mass revivals or evangelistic campaigns. When we return, America will shake its head and say, “what a waste of time.”
But then, should American values be my standard by which to measure success? As Christians, our measuring stick is God’s Word.
Buying Plane Tickets is the Worst (Ben)
Purchasing tickets for me is one of the most difficult things that I ever do. I know that once I make the purchase, my view shifts quickly from “what a fun idea” to “there is no going back.” Even on short trips it is so difficult because so much money disappears all at once. I selfishly wish that I was going to Haiti, Puerto Rico, or any place where the cost of getting there wasn’t $1,000’s. But apparently there is no place for selfishness in God’s plan – which is another thing I struggle with.
If you have read this far, your assumptions are correct: Jaimie and I purchased our plane tickets to India this past Saturday. I’m not entirely sure how long we will stay in India. I’m planning on around one year. We just purchased one-way tickets at this time. We will be leaving the comfort of the American dream on August 14th. We’re going to a place where the beds (I’m pretty sure) are made out of straw, the water is unsafe to drink and we are pretty much guaranteed sickness… and toilet paper is a foreign concept.