We awoke this morning in Hotel Pankaj, Chandigarh, the Indian Fawlty Towers.
We were all told that if you need any assistance, dial 9. So when Craig went downstairs and asked for the hot water to be turned on, he was shooed away by a short Indian man, complete with waist coat and turban bobble head, saying “You dial 9, dial 9.”
This trip so far, it seems that the team, or at least I am, constantly saying “I just don’t get it.” The way a bus goes headlong into a full roundabout and nothing gets scraped. The way the Indians take extreme pride in the cleanliness of some things but none in others. The way shop attendants can serve more than half a dozen people at once and still have better customer service than home. The way honking replaces indicating. The way a training course planned more than 5 months in advance gets postponed a day, the day before…
Since we were now starting teaching on Wednesday, the team spent the unexpected extra time debriefing on what we had seen so far and preparing for the now even more jampacked schedule. We discussed some of the theology of the Indians showcased so far. The team concluded that our aim, while teaching the PTC courses, was to “change the root, not the fruit.”
Afterwards, we had a reasonably uneventful afternoon. Some of the team went into the markets, others relaxed, Matt and I tried to sort out the Internet issues… Apparently 3G is down in Punjab, satellite down or something like that.
Jane continued her familiarisation with Indian wildlife, while showering with an unwanted mouse visitor. So she dialed 9 and an Indian man came up to assist. He hunkered down. His prey was cornered. A deadly toilet brush was raised above his head. The room held its breath in anticipation. The mouse bolted. With whiplike speed, the brush came down and the mouse was dead. He swept it into a little box and left. Clearly he was a seasoned veteran.
The food so far has been excellent. Rice, roti, butter chicken, rogan josh, rice and many other curries. Tonight Pastor Benni wanted to truly show us the Indian delicacies at a place called “Torminowes.” Turns out Indians have a sense of humour and it was actually Dominos. With a more relaxed night, we were ready for the week to come.
As I have talked to the Indians, I have realized we just don’t get it.
Why does a man give up his livelihood and go to a town he doesn’t know anyone in, to preach the gospel to a hostile audience? Why after 7 years is he still so happy and enthused for Gospel ministry, with only a church of 45? What kind of 15 year old boy says his favourite subject is church and when he finishes school is going to become a pastor?
We just don’t get it.
With our so-called deeper and greater understanding, we have failed to realise the urgency of the gospel?
Failed to realise God’s sovereign control?
Failed to realise God’s plan?
Please keep praying for the pastors as we begin to teach them and for us as we teach.
Jaymersiekhee (Praise The Lord),
Matt S, India Teaching Team 2013.