I arrive bleary eyed at breakfast. The previous day our air conditioner decided to leak and fill up Nerida’s bag with water, so we dialled 9. The multi-talented Manuel arrived, fresh from his latest conquest of the mouse. He said he would fix it. We weren’t aware that would mean it would be ‘fixed’ at 120 Decibels when we arrived back at the hotel to sleep! One could have mistaken the noise for having fallen asleep by the side of an airplane runway.
We assemble at 7:30am ready for the bus to the training centre. 7:45…, 8am…, and still no transport. Pastor Benny makes the call to all jump in auto rickshaws (Tuk-Tuk) for the journey (an ‘auto’ is essentially a motorcycle, with more seats loosely attached, seating between three and twenty people…).
Mid highway we stop, and a meeting begins between the drivers. One looks at me, points to the road to the right with a quizzical look on his face, and asks “this way?” Now I know we’re in trouble. We take off again in convoy, still lost, but hopeful. Minutes later a motor bike pulls alongside our traveling caravan of craziness with a familiar figure on board. Pastor Bollywood! Pastor Stephen flashes his pearly whites, and under the shiny black helmet we recognize the familiar stylish curls… He knows the way!
We continue on our journey. This time with a new found confidence of eventual arrival. we approach the last stretch before the training centre. Pastor Benny’s auto rickshaw flys past another to overtake. The move is risky but well calculated. With the novelty of knowing the destination, the drivers have begun arguing over who will arrive first, and decide that the winning driver will receive the largest cut of the fee for our journey! The madness begins (or continues…?) and one auto rickshaw side swipes another to the left. An innocent bystander is clipped by the off balance vehicle. Luckily the victim is OK, and as I look back he gradually regains his composure and continues on his way. We reach the centre in ‘safety’. As we step out of the auto rickshaws and walk towards the centre the frustrated sounds of the drivers arguing about who gets more of the cut fades into the distance. It is not even 9am!
A big day is ahead of us. The day begins with yesterday’s test which has been postponed due to the ongoing lighting issue - let’s just say its a good thing no one here has epilepsy! The test is followed by a truncated testimony from Matt S and a rather devoted devotional from Steve T. Matt L delivers the first lecture, followed by lecture 2 from Steve T, 3 from Steve Y, and 4 from Martin.
A highlight for me today, as each day, has been the time in small groups with our new friends Candrella and Servaj. Servaj came to Jesus after her husband had got the family into more than 20 million rupees debt, and her son had died. Candrella has long known and served The Lord, but has been severely ill for the last 3 years, so much so that she lost her sight for 3 months last year. She says Jesus never left her during this time, and has decided to use every ounce of her strength to reach children and their mothers for God, despite still being very ill. As we read Isaiah chapter 53 during group, Servaj begins to cry. I am reminded of my own hard heart, and how often I read these words without thinking of their true meaning and the price Jesus paid for my freedom.
The day is long, nearly 12 hours, but such a blessing. As I sit and listen to the team teach I think what a privilege it is to have this life changing knowledge. After dinner with our friends, we head back for a debrief at a flash local Western hotel. The stories, ice cream, and Steve Y’s hot chocolate sauce (aka mistakenly ordered hot chocolate) flow, and the night draws to a close.
Please continue to pray as we complete our last day of teaching tomorrow.
Amy W, India Teaching Team 2013.