Monday, November 26, 2012

Clinging to Thankfulness

More often than I would like to admit I find myself wanting things I don't have.  Or wanting more of the things I do have.  My Mom has left and with her leaving came lots of tears and that nagging feeling of being alone.  Not that I don't have Ryan and not that he isn't pretty much the most kind, genuine, patient, and caring person I have ever met, seriously.  BUT, we are made for community(which means multiple people) and there was something about having my Mom close by that made life a little more comfortable.  Someone else's shoulder to cry on and help me process my craziness/insecurities.  It's not really fair that usually R has to do this alone(poor guy!), so it was awesome having both of my favorites living under the same roof!

The night before my Mom left, I found myself wide awake thinking about our month together.  The thought of waiting another year before being with my Mom again began to weigh heavily on my heart.  I could feel that burning in my throat that comes before the tears so I started praying.  God began to speak to my heart there in that hotel room in Delhi.  I am not sure if I have always been like this, or if just lately I have had the tendency to dwell on the difficult.  Ugh, pessimist!  I dwell on how hard life is, how much I miss my friends and family, how much I miss Mexican food, ect.  I have forgotten to remember(is that a weird sentence..."forgotten to remember") all the good things that God has done.  I guess that is why over and over the scriptures constantly call us to remember the things God has done for his people.  In light of that, I am clinging to thankfulness.  I want to remember! Here are some of the things I am thankful for(some serious, some not so serious).

1.  I am thankful for my Mom being here to help us get our house ready for our home study(cleaning and decorating) and thankful for her presence and comfort when we found out the wait is going to be much longer than we expected.  

2.  I am thankful for the first time my Mom tried on Indian cloths.  It consisted of us both almost on the floor of the dressing room laughing because the pants were so huge on her.  

3.  I am thankful for our hours upon hours of Facebook stalking together.  Ah, Facebook, what would we do without you? 

4.  I am thankful my Mom got to meet all our friends and how special she became to them.  

5.  I am thankful that my Mom has walked the streets we walk, rode the rickshaws we ride, and eaten the food we eat.  She understands where we live now.  

6.  I am thankful she washed our dishes...EVERY day!

7.  I am thankful she was able to stay a whole month.  I mean who really gets to do that and still keep their job??  

8.  I am thankful she got to go to a wedding with us and experience our favorite day with our Indian friends.  

9.  I am thankful that on that same day, when I put her on a motorcycle with some guy that I don't know, she ended up at that wedding in one piece :)

10.  I am thankful she was healthy the whole time she was here...unfortunately she wasn't when she got home.  But, thankful she had her bathroom with her western toilet to be sick in.  Ugh, horrible!

11.  I am thankful that although there were mice in her presence at different times(i.e. in the same room), she was unaware they were close by.  :)

12.  I am thankful she has such an adventurous spirit and is willing to try almost anything.

I could go on and on but most of all:

13.  I am so thankful to have a Mom that loves so unconditionally,  is continuously encouraging, and is one of the best listeners I know. 

Although my emotions tempt me to forget, I am praying God gives me the strength to cling to thankfulness.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The day we went to a wedding in a village

We went to our first village wedding a week or so ago.  Weddings here are a huge undertaking.  Lots of money is spent on food, dowry, cloths, jewelry, ect.  I decided instead of trying to write about it, I would post a photo blog.  So here is the wedding day in pictures:

The girl in the corner is the bride.  Mom got to ride to the village on the back of a motorcycle, while I walked.  This was before I arrived.  For most of the day, the bride sat in this corner as different women came in to see her.  Half way through the day, she turned and faced the wall with her back to all the women.  She told me she was very nervous about the day.  Her eyes were constantly on the verge of tears.

Men cooking lots of tandoori roti(bread that is made in a clay pit type thing).  Hundreds of guests came and ate for the wedding.

Eating buffalo, bread, and rice(so tasty!)  My friends also made me wear this bring lipstick, apparently my make-up was lacking a bit.

The groom arriving on a horse.  He is covered in flowers and surrounded by drums and his family, announcing his coming.

The man with the short beard is our neighbor who invited us to his distant relative's daughter's wedding.

The groom's family and guy friends are wearing the orange scarves.  They meet the bride's family and place flowers around their necks.

Exchanging greetings and flowers.

The groom on his decorated horse.

Everyone eagerly watching the groom's arrival.

Mom and I were given flowers.

The groom.

Our neighbor's son and his cousin.

Some dressed up cuties on the groom's side.

The groom surrounded by women in his family and gifts.

The Mullah(a muslim man educated in Islamic law and theology) performing the Nikah(the wedding ceremony) with the groom.

Mom and me :)

The Mullah performs the Nikah separately with the bride.  She is behind the sheet.

Men in with the groom.

The Mullah recited the Quran in the groom's room.

Men listening to the Mullah reciting the Quran.

There is a huge break here (maybe 2 hours), in which we went to the Ganges river with the family who invited us.  That is a blog post all on it's own.  Ryan and I would both rate that experience as the most fun we have had with an Indian family here.  Such a fun time.  So after playing at the river for a while, we returned as the bride was getting ready to leave.  I think the bride was getting ready during the time we were gone.  

In Indian culture almost all weddings are arranged.  This means that a girl is leaving her family to join a new family that she usually doesn't know.  She has grown up surrounded by her family, many times sleeping in the same room with her sisters and so leaving is a very sad time for her.  The bride here is sobbing as she says good-bye to her family members.  It was so sad.

The groom is standing in the middle with the black outfit on.  He waits as his new bride clings to her family.

After a while, the bride was sobbing so hard one of her relatives picked her up to take her and put her in the car.  

The bride and groom are both in the car, but at this point have still not spoken or seen one another.  They will return to the groom's parent's home, where they will meet for the first time as husband and wife.

The car is packed full of the groom's family.

There they go, my heart broke a little for this young bride and she left everything she has ever known.  She will visit her family in a few days, but everything will change for her.  She will now spend her days as a wife and most of her time with be spent with her new mother-in-law and sisters....

I pray God blesses their marriage and their family and makes them a blessing to those with whom they live.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The day we went to our neighbors house to watch a sacrifice

Last weekend in between having our home study interviews, we were busy visiting our friends as they celebrated one of the biggest holidays in the Muslim world, Eid al Adha.  In India it is called Buckra Eid.(Buckra means Goat).

  During Buckra Eid, animals are sacrificed in rememberance of God providing a sacrifice for Abraham(Ibrahim)'s son.

  During the days leading up to Buckra Eid, the streets of our city where filled with goats and buffalo.  In India(or at least in our state) it is illegal to kill cows so no cows are sacrificed here.  We also heard about camels being sacrificed, but we didn't see any in our area.

  While Rhett was visiting in August we met a family that lives across the street from us, and have begun to spend time with them.  They are so kind and generous and invited us to come over when they sacrificed their buffalo.

  They told us they were going to sacrifice around 9am and so we set our alarms and planned to shower and get ready to be there by 9.  Well, around 7:30am the daughter called and excitedly told us to come at 8am.  We scrambled to get ready as she called every 10 minutes or so telling us to hurry up!  We walked into their courtyard around 9 just seconds after the sacrifice.  R was pretty bummed.  I was a little relieved that I had missed seeing this huge animal sacrificed as the blood ran around my feet.  (Have I mentioned my Mom is here??)  Yeah, I think she was a little relieved as well.  Mom and I went upstairs to watch as the butchers cut up the buffalo, while R stayed downstairs with the men.  The animal is divided into 3 parts:  one for the family, one for friends or relatives, and one for the poor.  By around 10:30am we were eating some of the buffalo.

  I am an East Texas girl and have many close friends who are hunters, however, my Dad was not a hunter and I wasn't really exposed that much to skinning and cleaning of animals.  It was a little overwhelming for me.  Everywhere we went for three days there were buffalo and goats on the sides of the streets being sacrificed and goat skins for sale.

  We did have many good conversations with friends about the meaning of Buckra Eid and we long to understand even more what this sacrifice means for our friends and neighbors.  Many of  wondered if we would sacrifice a goat.  We tried to explain that we don't do Qurbani (sacrifice) because Jesus was and is our ultimate sacrifice.

  One thing I really love about the holidays around here is all the hugging.  In this culture, hugging is not an everyday thing(which makes me pretty sad), but during both the Eid after Ramadan and Buckra Eid everyone greets each other with a hug and greeting.  I love it!

  There are so many more things to say about Buckra Eid and our friends and neighbors, but I will leave you with some pictures....

  Oh, btw R did get to see a total sacrifice the next day.  He even has video if you want to is extremely graphic.  The head of the family makes the first cut while reciting a blessing, then the butchers finish everything.


Buffalo and goats for sale

Our neighbors courtyard after they had sacrificed the buffalo(see my Mom in the back ground?)

watching from upstairs

All the kids of the family(this house has 3 brothers and their families that all live together)

This is on the street in front of our language nurturers home

There is a tent set up where people can buy a buffalo and have it sacrificed there in the tent