Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Jesus and Ahad

"Those who love want the objects of their love to experience it fully.  Anything less is disappointing, to both the lover and the loved." - Experiencing God's Presence daily devotional

Before heading to Prem Dan for the first time this trip, this morning I prayed "Jesus give me wisdom to experience the depth of your love for me, for those around me, for the unreached, for the unbelieving, for the elderly women you will reach out to today through my hands.

When I began typing this blog earlier today, four of my six dorm roommates were passed out on their beds for a nap after working at Mother Theresa's home this morning. We are all exhausted from the heat, losing energy constantly from sweating so much.  The humidity is unreal.  We walk around with handkerchief's to wipe our face, arms, neck as the water pours out of us.  I can no longer tell when I have been splashed with water because my body is constantly wet.  I gave up on wearing sunscreen because it doesn't last longer than five minutes in this humidity.  Even the locals are having a difficult time with the weather.

While at Prem Dan, the volunteers first wash clothes.  We washed and rinsed, singing hymns and repeating the Our Father and Hail Mary.  Near the end of washing, I had to sit down.  The heat was stifling; the humidity was unreal; I was exhausted. I drank some water and walked into the room of women waiting to be loved on.  There was lots of hand holding, washing, bathing, lathering up with lotion, feeding.  I don't know if she spoke English, but while giving a hand massage I told a woman, "Jesus loves you. He really does." She looked up and smiled.

After Prem Dan, it was nap time. I was pretty set on staying in the rest of the day, getting a bit of relief in my dorm.  We don't have AC, but the fans do a pretty good job of drying us off.  However, God had different plans.

I talked with my roomie, Brandy, about God.  We discussed whether there was one way or multiple ways to reach God.  It was a lovely conversation.  She needed to get some stuff on Sudder Street, so off we went.

Oh, first, I have to tell you about yesterday. Yesterday, as my friend Sam and I were walking along Sudder Street, a man comes up and asks if we want to go see his shop.  On an adventure already, we said yes and followed him through a maze of a mall type area to a small, colorful, air conditioned shop. His nephew was also there, a young guy maybe in his twenties, name Shahib.  They were both related to the owner, Abi, a textile importer who has lived in Japan for the last 18 years (he's totally fluent in Japanese!). Shahib told me about an American girl he had met a few months earlier. We discovered that it was the same American girl I had met on my last trip to India, became friends with, and may be bunking with when she comes back to Kolkata in a few weeks! Strange, small city.  He actually had her number and we called her and talked for a few minutes. After that, we all became immediate friends.  For the next three hours we drank Chai, talked about Japan, India, and Abi's plans for building a school for underprivileged children on a piece of property he owns.

Now I've told you that story, I can continue.

On our way to Abi's store, I stopped to buy a Shalwar (baggy Indian pants which seriously look like pj bottoms).  I've begun introducing myself to shop owners as I find it makes them look at me less as a tourist and more as an acquaintance, so I introduced myself to Ahad.  I forgot how we got to the topic, but Ahad tells me his family is Muslim but he is not, nor is he Hindu or Christian.  He is himself. He seemed lost, confused about his religion, his life, where he lived, where he wanted to move, whether or not he wanted a wife and family. I asked him if I could pray for him to Jesus, the God I follow and pray to. He agreed. I know I will run into him again, as I'm sure I will be going to Sudder St. a bit.

We keep walking and make it to Abi's shop where the ladies I am with are not finding what they want (more interested in buying and going than in building relationships), and the friend I walked with goes with a new family member down the road to their other shop to look.  I sit with Abi and Shahib talking about Abi's plans for the guest house he wants to make in Kolkata, the crazy heat none of us can deal with, and then we talk about about Jesus.  Shahib tells me there was a group that came by and told them about Jesus.  He said he went to mass once because he was invited.  "They gave us wine and sweets.  I didn't drink the wine, but I did take the sweet," he told me.  I laughed and asked if he knew what those two things meant.  He said he did, but I'm not really sure if he did.  We then had to get going because the girl I was with had to catch a train.  Our new friend Shakil (like Shaquil) walked us back the way we needed in order to get to our guest house.

I'm sorry for the lack of pictures.  I've found bringing my camera out gives away a definite "tourist," but keeping it away, wearing the right clothes, dodging cars the right way, and learning the little nuances makes it much easier to befriend the people around, especially if you're willing to give up a few hours to have Chai and chat. This is a culture built on relationships.  The best things take time. I could have quickly bought some shirts from a street vendor for almost half as much as I paid at Abi's shop (I still only paid less than $5 per top), but I would not have developed the relationship. I'm going to be here for five and a half months.  It's good to have connections.

Prayer requests:
- For Ahad's salvation and more chances to talk with him

- For the salvation of Shahib, Abi, Alam, and Shakil (all Muslim) and also more opportunities to talk with them

- For my digestive system! I'm gradually trying to get my system accustomed to Indian water. Slowly slowly. Getting sick is bound to happen in six months, so I figure I'll try and introduce it little by little so maybe my body won't be so angry when I do get sick.

-For my energy levels.  The humidity is really getting to me.  I bought some Gatorade type stuff today and hope that will help, but I really need prayer for strength so I can be the hands and feet of Jesus at Prem Dan with the elderly women.

Thanks for your love and prayers friends!


  1. I am praying for the sweet Indian people you are meeting. Good for you for seeking out real relationships! God is good and He is leading you. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Tarrin,May God be with you as you do His work with the people of India. May God give you the strength to carry on as you bring His word to people that may not know Him. We pray for you daily. Please keep safe. We love you.
    Papa and Grandma