There have been lots of Indian happenings in our corner of Wisconsin. First, my cousin Dale's daughter Bonnie was married in fine Hindu style this weekend -- they literally stopped traffic on the main street of our city as Vipin led a baraat, a traditional horseback procession to greet his bride. Their wedding was photographed and written up in the newspaper:
My cousin Dale and his wife Marcia are in the photo to the left of the groom. One fun thing that the newspaper didn't say was that the horse belongs to Dale's brother, Chuck. My mom and dad attended, and gave me the lowdown afterward. (Dale is one of over 40 of my first cousins on my dad's side -- my Dad is one of 11 children!). :o)
Last week, our church welcomed 13 boys from Mumbai, India. They led worship at our services, and are all learning music from a Wisconsin native who left a promising New York music career to serve with Bombay Teen Challenge. One young man shared his story in front of the church, and it left us all in awe of how he survived, and how God longs to draw each of us to Himself.
All of the boys come from harrowing backgrounds, and ended up in the loving care Mr. K.K. Devaraj, the director of Bombay Teen Challenge. In one evening, I was able to hear the stories of two boys -- they both fled abusive homes, only to face danger, hunger, and drugs on the streets of Mumbai.
One of the young men poured out his amazing story to me . . . just one small part of it was being healed of deafness. He'd previously had an unsuccessful surgery on his ear, and after he was healed, he went back to tell his doctor that Christ had restored his hearing. The doctor became a Christian because of this young man's testimony -- he saw the impossible became possible. I had goosebumps as he showed me the scar from his ear surgery -- he was positively glowing with joy as he shared his story.
On Saturday evening, we had the privilege of providing dinner for them, including Chicken Makhani and jasmine rice. It was truly astonishing to see how quickly the food disappeared -- all the rumors about the appetites of teenage boys are true!
They were all very interested in Anya Rashi, and depending on their degree of proficiency in English, asked or commented about her. My heart broke a little bit as they asked how old she was when we adopted her -- I know how difficult it is to find adoptive families for older children, and I wondered if they were asking because they wished they had a family to call their own. It made me grateful to have the chance to "mother" them for one day at least. She was a little overwhelmed by all the attention, not to mention the houseful of boys, and spent most of the time glued to my side.
Please keep these wonderful young men in your prayers. Several of them want to spend their lives serving and sharing the Good News in India. I keep remembering singing "Yeshu" together . . . that's Hindi for "Jesus."