Well our first day in Ludhiana. First impressions are a lack of colour with everything in white & grey, lots of pollution, people, chaotic traffic & aggressive horn blowing which was driving some team members spare! The technical meterological term for today was “stinking hot”. It was great for me (K) to finally be with the team & get stuck into some prep for the teaching in Ludhiana. However I’m feeling a little nervous about how it will go.
It was a blessing to spend time together debriefing on the previous week and to realize that we did actually remember the material for Old Testament 1. We then had some time to explore Ludhiana which of course led to some “interesting” experiences!
- Ian needed to exchange some money so headed to the bank near our hotel with Matt L. They were ushered into the Branch Manager’s office, offered a glass of water & given the royal treatment. After lots of grunting and head wobbling they were told it would take at least 45 mins to change $100. So at that moment Ian said thanks but no thanks! Trying again he headed to Thomas Cook Exchange. With trepidation he walked past the uniformed officer holding a double barrel shot gun - but all was well, he successfully exchanged his $100 into rupee & quickly exited.
- Lunch at “Flamme Bois”, an Italian inspired restaurant but no one ate Pizzas. Had great trouble ordering drinks without ice! The food was tasty but we missed Benny’s “cooking”.
- Crossed crazy busy roads to wander through the vast array of little street shops.
- Two men on a motor bike with really long white beards & turbans randomly stop & ask us if we live in Sydney Australia!
- We decide to return to the hotel after making some purchases. Ian & Steve wuss out & catch a Tuk-Tuk. We threaten to tell Ian’s trainer but are secretly regretting our decision to walk in the ever increasing heat! We later feel completely justified eating ice cream.
That afternoon we hop back on the bus to travel to a small town not too far from the Pakistan border. As we arrive the first thing we notice is bright big smiles & lots of colorful clothes & decorations. The recently completed Life Centre was a hive of activity & excitement. Everyone gathered outside the front door to the point of blocking the traffic, mind you the front door is all of a meter from the road!
Several bikes turn off their engines & watch as Matt L cuts the ribbon & declares the new Life Centre OPEN! Everyone enters the building and it is filled to the brim including many children all dressed in what looks like brand new clothes which they proudly show to each other. We enjoy listening to awesome singing accompanied by bongo style drums & a harmonium (a type of miniature piano accordion). The music has a distinct Pakistani influence we haven’t heard before.
Matt L then preached & as time goes on the building becomes a hot sauna. We are very thankful for the regular drinks supplied to us, despite us siting at the front of the church. Sweat is dripping off Matt’s nose and at one point I thought he might faint.
We were overwhelmed by the joy and kindness of these amazing people - we share a meal together. They are just so excited & keen to share Jesus with their village & see God’s kingdom grow. In addition to dedicating the life centre we are also asked to dedicate a truck for a water carrying business.
A trip with IGL never fails to make us question and reprioritise what is important. It was such a privilege to be part of the life centre opening. Words can’t express how we all felt.
Jamaseeki (Praise The Lord).
Kylie and Jane, India Teaching Team 2013.