Starting just like…
We started the day off just like every other day. We had our Bible College classes and taught at the day school. As soon as class got out we rushed home, fried up some dosa’s, finished any last minute packing, and ran out the door. The ride to Coimbatore was gorgeous. At one point, we passed a sign that said “Wildlife ahead, go slow”. My face was glued to the window, searching for animals. I saw one monkey, then two. All of the sudden, they were everywhere as we drove by. Some were walking across the road. Some were hanging in the trees. Some were walking along the guardrail. I was glad to see them, but also glad that there was a car window and the high speed of the car in between us. There were coconut trees everywhere and these massive mountains. Some of the mountains were covered in trees and some of them seemed to be just rock. It was beautiful. It is easy to forget the beauty of creation and the intricate nature of each living thing. “The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship”(Psalms 19:1).
We were met in Coimbatore by Pastor Guru and his family. He has two daughters, Amy (10 years old), and Anna (3 years old). We went out to dinner with them and I got to know the girls a bit before we headed to bed. One thing I found interesting about the hotel here is that you get a real key. Not just a swipe card or a regular house key. It was like an old school treasure chest key.
After lunch the next day, we headed to outreach, and then went to the church to celebrate Pastor Bryan’s birthday. Pastor Guru and his family moved to Coimbatore in August 2017 to start the ministry there. They are still in their pioneer stages and the harvest is plentiful. They are renting out a building to gather in and that is where we met. Gillian and I led the group in worship before we settled down for cake and dinner. Once we got back to the hotel that night, we realized that the electricity and water heater were not working in our bathroom. I did not mind this at all because we were then moved from our tiny room to a suite with a living room and an enormous bed.
Day at a resort
Saturday morning, we ate the hotel’s complimentary buffet breakfast, which included dosa’s, sweet sheera (kind of like cream of wheat, but orange and with cashews), upma (also like cream of wheat, but savory and with some vegetables), vada’s (savory Indian donuts), chutney, and coffee. The whole church then headed up to a resort for the day. This place was beautiful. Once we were all settled in, we headed down to the pool for a baptism. We sang a few songs and three of the Coimbatore church members were baptized. We had a lot of fun after that, swimming in the pool with the kids. Then we went for lunch in the park while Pastor Bryan shared a few words.
God’s constant love
That evening, we met back at the church for a session. Pastor Bryan spoke while Pastor Guru translated into Tamil. He talked about how God knows our capacity. While we may change, and while our circumstances may change, God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. We may choose not to follow God at certain points in our lives, but that will in no way affect the love that He has for us.
On Sunday morning. we had our breakfast and headed to the church. I sang worship with Pastor Anil and P. Guru’s wife Nalini. We sang in English and Nalini sang a few parts of the song in Tamil. After service, we went to lunch and had unlimited biryani. I couldn’t actually fit more in my stomach than the normal portion, but it was nice to know that I could have more if I wanted to. We went to an ice cream shop after that and Pastor Guru told me that I had to try this special drink called “Jigarthanda”. It was an ice cream, milk, and seaweed concoction. Then I went street shopping with Mrs. Coelho and Nalini. I was able to pick up some clothes, some gifts, and some guavas.
More than food and water
That night, we had a get together at Pastor Guru’s house. Throughout the weekend, one thing kept happening that really amazed me. Pastor Bryan would be talking to one person about the Word. Then another person would come near to listen. Then another, and another, until there would be an entire crowd of people gathered together, listening intently to every word he had to say. I talked with Pastor Bryan about it later. I found it interesting that we didn’t have many planned sessions, but more of these informal gatherings. He said that he doesn’t like to keep a strict schedule. He wants people to know that Christianity is not just a religion. He wanted everyone to have fun, relax, and just get to know one another. Fellowship is a very necessary part of the Body life. It is like food is to the physical body. You can scrape by with just water for a while, but you cannot live that way forever. You need both food and water to live. The body needs sustenance.
Back to Bangalore
The next morning, Gillian and I finished our last minute packing to go home. Gillian had speculated earlier that we had not seen any roaches in our room, which both of us were very pleased about. Only five minutes before we left to pack the car, I saw this big fat roach laying on its back, wiggling its legs in the air. I just wish that we had left a few minutes earlier so that I would not have to know that it was there. But, breakfast was good, so we still ended the trip on a high note. The trip home consisted of a lot of sleep, writing this blog, more mountains and monkeys, a car driving on the wrong side of the road, my leg falling asleep and getting all tingly, and KFC.
All in all, the trip was pretty spectacular. Having biryani everyday was great, but I won’t be ordering it again anytime soon. My belly is in need of a biryani break. Anyways, thanks for reading my blog. I’ll keep you updated! – Emma Shibley, MBCS student