John Denver in Delhi

 


 

If you live more than a hundred kilometers away from Dehli, Leela is a nickname for the universe.  Leela means “playground” and in good Hindu thought, our solar system was the leela to which the gods escaped for fun.  But if you live in a city like Delhi, Leela refers to the opulent hotel that is a playground not for the gods, but for the very, very wealthy.  And me.  At least last Tuesday morning.

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Pastors Without Borders

I knew it was a mistake the exact moment after I punched the “Buy” button. Lee Ann was not obligated to fly back to Sacramento via Tokyo while I would go back through Jordan then to Israel to pick up all the clothes and assorted things we had left in Israel.   Never mind that I had tacked on a few extra days on my own for a little extra filming.  All in the name of saving a few extra dollars.  That’s when the guilt began.

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A Parable of Grace

In the world of crossing borders we often get it a little wrong.  A passport certifies where you come from; where you belong.  In other words, passports get you home after you’ve been gone.  The visa, on the other hand, is the permission to sojourn temporarily in a different country.

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Bill Gates and Me

What do Bill Gates and I (Lee Ann) have in common?  Something really moving….toilets.  In the news lately, his foundation is searching for the world’s best one, and I recently visited the place to learn all about them.  Delhi’s Museum of Toilets.  I kid you not.  My very funny Canadian friend and her two well-museumed kids wanted to see it, so I tagged along.  On the same street was the Divinity School of Finance.  I think Jesus would have had a riff on that.

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A Common, Uncommon Man

        My driver’s name is Aslam. His quarters are in the backside of what will be our flat when and if we get to Delhi. He’s simply a remarkable man whose village and family (wife, 3 teenage kids, and aunt) are 24 hours away by train and 2 additional hours by a green and yellow tuk-tuk. He, like so many men in India, lives and works in Delhi so his family can eat. Forced to leave school to support his parents when he was still in the 7th grade, he speaks and reads most of five languages or dialects. He reads as he’s waiting.  This man is really smart.

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On the Road to the Pullman

     The Pullman Hotel is where Delhi International Christian Fellowship meets on Sundays since the tired British School auditorium needed reconstructive surgery. Unfortunately, it is about 20 minutes in the other direction. And for the folks living in the compounds of Embassy Row who used to walk to church, the move has added to the frustration of constructing a workable life for themselves while in Delhi. As many of them don’t have cars or drivers, it means hailing taxis both to and from. So we’re working on finding busses or vans to rent. Perhaps there are churches in the States who used to bus kids to Sunday School who have 48 passenger Fords and Chevy’s resting in their parking lots just waiting for some exercise. The other popular idea is to rent a fleet of little green Tuk-Tuk scooter taxis each Sunday. Couldn’t that be a cool parade each Sunday?

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Give A Nun A Second Chance

Delhi called and asked us to quickly hop over to India since we still had a few weeks available on our Tourist Visa. Could we could come for a short time, have a few meetings that might spring things open for our visa and, at the same time, encourage an international church family that is wondering if we are really real? It was an offer we couldn’t refuse. But how do you get from Jerusalem to Delhi with just a few days notice? Option #1 is to fly west to Brussels and then east to Delhi. Mind numbingly long trip, outrageous price. Only slightly shorter, but more expensive yet was to fly north to Istanbul and then east to Delhi.

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