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Hopestill Pillow

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Today we made the journey to Hopestill Pillow’s grave. Tucked away in the rear back corner of the graveyard under a tree, is her grave.

We heard her obitury and a brief biographical account of her life and works from the Baptist 2002 article. Its amazing that the second missionary from Nz and from our church to make such a commitmemt to service knowing that there was always a possibilty of never coming back. Communiction is made in months not seconds, no electricity, no modern medicine, none of the usual support from close ones around you.

But yet this lady put in 6 yrs more than what some will do in their lifetime. And has a legacy we still talk about to this day.

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Newmarket

Saturday, only a few more days to go… How can time go so quickly?

This afternoon, after we had arrived back at BMS in KolKota, we went off to Newmarket in several motorised rickshaws (Put-Puts). Off we went defying death, destruction and mayhem ( well would you believe scrapes and bangs) as we sped down narrow congested street to find this place called ‘Newmarket’. It covers quite a few blocks of the city and is jam-packed with traders, little shops, money changers, ice cream and food shops, etc, etc. It was not a nice stroll in the park on a Sunday afternoon. Oh no, it was wall to wall people with cars trying to go through the throng.

What would you like to buy – well there were twenty shops of the same sort all selling the same thing (or so it seemed). We changed some US$ and as we came out Wendy, Anthony, Estella and I were accosted by this man wanting to sell us stuff.

Well we went with him. Down this alley, round that corner, deeper into the bowels of a shopping complex. Round that corner, along this passage then….the door to his shop. About 2 — 3 metres wide and 10 meters long with a set of stairs going upward to another floor.

Then he began to overwhelm our senses with this scarf, that scarf, silk, cotton, fine sheeps wool, in a dozen different colours. Reds, blues, greens, purples…

Never ay time to think, just the next offering…

“Do you like this…that…the other…” never anytime to think and consider.

“You

want this, is it the right colour, I have others… it comes from my factory…”

So after about half an hour we made our choices. The price seemed exhoribant in Indian Rupees, but happily not too many in $NZ. Eventually he brought out bed spreads, with pillows & cushion,.. I said this is enough, we could not use them. So he began to give us smaller scarves as a momento of our stay in India.. don’t ask how much, later Rachel said that it was a good price for all we got. So I am happy about that.

Then the jewellery, I got one piece for wendy for later..

Then back down this passage, round that corner… and into the fresh air on the street. Only to be confronted by this seething mass of humanity. No European faces (later on I did see a couple). Then a trek back to where we arrived and caught a motorised rickshaw and went back to the BMS centre.

Did I mention that we most of this just the 4 of us, adrift in a sea of humanity. And we lived to tell the tail, or is it tale?? Oh yes, the guy spoke good English and had two other ‘relatives’ helping him.

I’m glad I did not have to clean up the mess of maybe 40 or 50 different scalves and things..

We went out to tea this evening. The place was call “One Step Up” great service and great noche ( Kai, food)

Ah well, to bed and to sleep, to dream a little, then off tomorrow to the second item on my ‘bucket list’, afterchurch at the Carey Baptist church in the morning.

God bless you one and all,

Shalom,Peter

Day 5 in India

Today was another early start, going to the railway station at 6.00am in the morning for a 6.30am train.  As the train stop was midway along the railway network, we had to calculate precisely where the carriage steps would be.  also, the train only stops for a short while, so it was a challenge trying to get on board.

As usual, there were more and more people as the train moved along the rail network.  By the time we arrived at Kolkata, it was about 11.00am and there were swarms of people at the station.

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It was so crowded when we got off the train that we nearly lost a team member as he continued to walk on towards the exit when the rest of us were waiting at the platform.  One of the local team members had to run after him to bring him back.   van

We were picked up by the guesthouse van and rested for a while after checking in before we headed out for a meal and some shopping.

We spent the evening together having a quiet meal and reflection.

Sickness

I spent first 3 days in india not eating and sleeping most of the time I didn’t see much of India in those days but it did give me time to think.

Particularly about being sick and what’s the difference between a sick and healthy church. While I was well for first week I was able to learn so much and was open to the world around me. I could help others and others could help me. There was so much going on and I could just be a part of it eyes wide open.

However when I became sick I became dormant eyes shut closed off from the world around me. This did not change the fact that everything was still going on outside my front door. But as I was sick I could take no part I was of no help to others and just needed to be left alone.

I feel like we need to always be careful to remain a healthy church through prayer, following Jesus and the Bible so that our eyes can stay open to the world around us so the we can properly engage with our comunities.

Ramblings of a sick man

Things you see on the road around Berhampour

Wendy has told you where we went today, and others will no doubt show pictures.

As I was thinking about today I was struck (happily not literally) by the many things that were on the roads we travelled.

Yes there were the tricycles- rickshaws, the motor bikes, the others cars and vans/mini buses, the trucks and the buses. But there so many other strange thins there too.

The roads seemed to be used as a warehouse. If there was not enough space on your place then you used the road to store truck loads of sand, shingle, shooks of rice,.. the fact that itimpared the traffic flow was no problem. The other vehicles on the road treaded them like pot-holes, things to be driven round no matter how much traffic was coming the other way.

Then there was rice stalks strewn over the road. This was touse the traffic to ‘thresh’ the grains of rice from the stalks. But not only that, because the road was nice and warm or hot, then the rice was laid out on the road in lines for upto 15 to 20 metres. The rice needed to be dried and the warm seal did a great job of it. That you swept  up dirt later made no difference, all you did was use the breeze to separate the grainby throwing in the air – albeit in a controlled manner.

Then there were the goats eating the rice straw, the odd bullock, oxen or cow, maybe even the calves too. Then too the occassional dog as well. I must say that all the animals I have seen have been quite docile.

There lines of truck, not judt 3 or 4 in a row, but thirty or fourty!! So what did our intrepid driver do? Sit there quietly? No, rather sounding the horn, turned on the wrong side ot the road, born blaring, drove up the line of truck. What haooens when a bus comes the other way? Barrelling towards us at a great rate of knotts!!, well, use squeeeze as tight as you can beside the truck line and pray!! Then the bus slide by tooting its own horn!!

We did get stuck in a real traffic jamb, we were told to get out and walk to the place we were to eat lunch at. Happily it was in Berhampour and only a few mins walka way. We saw the press of vehicles causing the jamb – an intersetion were 4 streams of traffic confronted each other, and no one humbling themselves to allow another driver to go first. I should say that we were in a vehicle somewhat like a ‘Defender Land Rover”. But quite wide and noisy…. Enough of that..

Looking out the back of the vehicle I was able to observe the country side. It was like a patchwork quilt. Endless narrow green path-ways  separated by a myriad different sized rice paddyfields. The rice harvest was in full swing. So there were lots of people tying the cut, dried rice, into shooks. Then piling them up – just like bales or shooks of hay – waiting for others to come and loadthen on to richshaw type flat-decked tricycles or trucks or trailers, or even oxen pulled carts.

Talk about going backin time some 3 or 4 hundred years…

Then too I saw quite a few white Herons, even a Kingfisher or two., as well as the of shag or two…

The countryside was live with people looking like ants gathering fod for the winter. It was a little monochrome in colour due to the haze in the air and the dust that settled on everything. The only real colours I saw was the violet of some lilies and the painted sides of house, and these had mainly political slogans on them I was told.

I did have two things on my “Bucket List”. One was to see a property given to Freeserve – well some buildings and the property. I felt strangely warmed whenwe specially droveto see it and stopped for a few mins. We did not get out, but I felt like I had seen something special, the other will come on Sunday, I’ll tell you about that then.

I haven’t mentioned the road works, the new concrete bridges(about 10 in all) the potholes, the earth moving equipement, the oxen pulling plows, and many other sights, people walking on the roadside the funeral we passed, etc, etc.

Looking out the back window of the van I found it hard to pull into focus the things that were near as we whizzed passed. Only when we slowed could I do that, rather I had to look at the things in the middle to far distance, otherwise it was all a blur. Somehow, this trip is like that. The more I seek to see the immediate, the more blurred it becomes and the more I loose focus on the big picture. Yet what is more important?, the micro or the macro? It is both /and… Lord, help me to see what You see…

Time to finish, only a few more days then back to kiwiland and a ‘normal’ life, if onee can ever be ‘normal again. Somehow the virus of mission, once it is in your blood, never leaves you. There is no cure, only a sort of heart-ache till you see more and follow the ‘Star O Bethlehem’ till you find peace in the mangerof God’s presence……..

Shalom, peace be with your spirits…….

A Fellow Traveller, Peter

Day 4 in India

We started out today with a drive out to Freeset new premises now under renovation to accommodate the move of Freeset Fabrics from their current premises.

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Currently, there are only 4 looms running and the plan is to have 20 looms running by then end of January 2015.

After a tour of the renovation site, we took a drive through about 7 kilometers of rough roads to visit some of the villages that Freeset recruited their women from.  We also had the opportunity to have look at the way of life of the villages and the going on in the villages.

After traveling through the villages, we were caught in the lunch time traffic and decided to walk a short distance to the local restaurant.

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After lunch, we returned to our hotel and we took a walk around the hotel area to get a feel of the area.

In the evening,we had a meal with the team when we had an informal interaction with the team members.