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Dear Well Family,
If you’ve ever walked into a bathroom after the hot shower has been running, you may understand the kind of humidity you crash into while leaving the New Delhi airport. After leaving the morning of Monday, July 3, we arrived in New Delhi late on Tuesday, July 4. Happy to be off the plane, we were greeted by our Extended Family (I’m leaving their name out, because as a “closed country,” India is actively removing Christian missionaries and ministries). With some quick haggling in Hindi, soon we were caravanning through the night to where we would be staying for our first week in New Delhi.
It was a unanimous decision to jump in with both feet for our first day. We took “autos” to go visit and pray around the Indian Parliament building. These autos are motorized rickshaws that zip through New Delhi’s chaotic and crowded traffic. In India, we learned, traffic is a perpetual “game of chicken,” in which honking a horn happens with greater frequency than using a turn signal, lanes are forgotten suggestions, and a five-way intersection might have traffic going through it in each direction simultaneously. Somehow, it all works, but to our American eyes it continues to blow our minds.
Very quickly, we drew attention from some locals and other Indians visiting New Delhi. Locals call out to us to ask which state we are from because they are so eager to speak to Americans and practice their English. Two young men walked around the city with us, haggling on our behalf and translating as tour guides simply because they wanted Americans as company. One of the young men, Rahul, eagerly showed us around a significant Sikh temple, helping us select head coverings, showing us where to stow our shoes, helping us take pictures, and explaining to us the significance of the food served to guests.
Rahul enjoyed asking about politics, what Americans thought of India on the world stage, and even asked us whether we thought he was “interesting or boring.” Rahul asked one of us whether we were “religious,” particularly after the females in our group drew out scarves to cover their heads in respect while entering the Sikh temple. Our response was, “We aren’t religious; we follow and love Jesus.” Rahul pulled out an image of Jesus on the cross and explained “I’m Hindu and I like Jesus a lot too.” After spending a few hours with Rahul, one of the guys on the team pulled Rahul aside to explain, “I know you say you ‘respect Jesus.’ Let me explain the changes He made in my life and why I think He is the only God.”
As a team we have been tremendously blessed by the leadership of our Extended Family in India. This family of Americans have committed to bringing the gospel through their ministry and have been incredibly helpful in navigating and acclimating to a totally different world. It has been a great joy to talk, fellowship and play with these members of our Extended Family; it is also our hope that we have likewise been a blessing to them as guests.
Today we traveled to a notable mosque in New Delhi as well as to a Bh’jai temple called the Lotus Temple. These beautiful and remarkable buildings are a testament to the beauty of India, but also the tremendous spiritual longing of people who are waiting for Jesus to enter their lives.
There is so much more to come in this exciting adventure. Please continue to pray for our team and for all of our Extended Family, even beyond India. Their lives are a wonderful example of faithfulness and self-sacrifice in the name of Christ.
- Team India