Things are going well here. Yes there are still a lot of challenges, but for the most part I can't complain. As I mentioned to a friend, my biggest worry is swallowing a fishbone at dinner (or lunch, or maybe even breakfast). It's still hot and humid, but the mornings are cooler. Haha so cool everyone wears hats and sweaters. :-p
Teaching is going well. It's challenging as we are still trying to figure out how things work and how to communicate well with our fellow teachers. Every day we make mistakes and there are always lots of misunderstandings, which is hard. But as time goes on, I hope it will get better. We're going through the ABC's in our play school class and with the lower kindergarteners. So far it's been going well, but our teaching content is limited mostly to "repeat after me" or "lets sing a song!" Other than that their English comprehension is pretty low. The older kids in 1st and 2nd grade are very sharp, they catch on to everything we present to them and it's always a joy to work with them :-) I'm so thankful for my 2nd graders!
Yesterday we celebrated the first birthday of the youngest member of our home, Steven, we call him Abi or Abishy for short. We celebrated with a big cake, which is something special here because everyone cooks with gas stoves and not many people have ovens. Haha, the catch was, we cut the cake at 6:30 AM. My initial response is "who does that??" Haha, who wants to eat a frosting covered cake at 6:30??? Let alone decorate the house with balloons at that hour? Haha, but that's how we do it here! It was nice, despite the fact that the event took place so early in the morning. Later in the evening we had a prayer meeting to celebrate his birth as well. Everyone was so happy for the little guy!
The day before yesterday Sydney and I ventured into Kottayam, the big city nearby. We bought a few pieces of fabric to make some more clothes. At one point Pappa Joseph went into another store, leaving Sydney and I in the car to watch all the passersby. It was a very busy street, many people walking in all directions, many cars driving in all directions. It was complete over stimulation! So much motion and color and smells and new sights. At one point a man on a little motor bike drove right into the middle of the street, stopped for a second and looked around. He was dressed in a red and white striped shirt. Where's a camera when you need one!? I finally found Waldo! He's been here in Kottayam all along!
On Sunday we were invited to a prayer meeting by Lovis, one of the girls who sings in the choir. I didn't really know what to expect, but when Tuesday night rolled around, I found out! We all (about 40 of us) walked down the street to a small cement house. The whole place was empty, there was no furniture except for the kitchen table which was pushed under the stairs and 4 chairs which were reserved for Pappa, Pastor Matthew (our church's pastor) and two of the elderly women from the church. The entire house was packed! Every inch of space on the floor was taken up by someone. We all sat together and prayed. Some read scripture, some sang songs. Of course there was a lot of clapping (what would a prayer meeting be without clapping??) I understood very little of what was said, but everyone was praying loudly. I remembered other prayer meetings or bible studies I've been to in the States. They are nothing like this meeting. Usually it's a small group of people gathered around a table or sitting on the couches in the family room. There's and opening prayer, some discussion and some prayer at the end. This was nearly two hours of praying, singing and scripture reading. I'm excited to learn more Malayalam and understand what's being said. :-) I am almost shamed by my brothers and sisters here, yet likewise, encouraged. Their desire for God and faith that He will provide for their needs is very different than what I've typically experienced. It is a good thing. I'm glad we went and I look forward to next week's meeting.
Lastly, I will leave you with a few photos from the wedding Sydney described in her last post.
Sydney and I
This picture is of Sydney and I with some of the younger girls. Lekshmi and Krishna are the twins on the left. Chinnu is the girl in red in the front. Sunduri is behind her, and Beena is to the right. Sreeja is in the back with Sydney and I.
Eating with our hands!
Notice how, in both pictures, Sydney and I are the only ones smiling... We must have missed the memo!
Above we are standing with Thomas and Cuña-Mol, some of our friends who help us learn Malayalam.
Ok, that's all for now!
Peace and Blessings,