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Thoughts and Observations from India

The conditions in the villages seems to have progressed little for thousands of years. Our minds are often taken back to word pictures in the Bible.
          • As we walked through the villages, they really seem similar to villages in the time of Jesus. So many things we see, from the well in the village from which people draw water, to being taken to the sick in their homes to pray for them echoes and enriches Bible stories in ways even visiting Israel hasn't done. Jesus obviously spent much time reaching out to the poorest of the poor.
          • herds of goats/cattle/water buffalo filling the roads, being driven by bare-footed shepherds with sticks or staffs even thru the narrow dirt/mud streets of the villages, going to and from streams and areas where they graze.
          • ox-drawn carts going through the rutted streets of villages
          • a woman doubled over  (A woman came to the meetings that was doubled over, using thongs on her hands as she walked along on feet and hands.)
          • children crowding around Jesus, causing the disciples to feel that they needed to send them away. Jesus replied, "Suffer the little children to come unto Me, for of such is the Kingdom of God." In our western culture, children rarely crowd around like they do here. They're very respectful and obedient, but curious and playful.
          • crowds gathering around Jesus to receive His blessing and hear His words.
These indian people want to be prayed for and blessed. It is often hard to leave a place because they crowd around us and want us to lay hands on their heads, pray for them and bless them. (In our western culture, the concept of 'speaking a blessing' to others has been reinterpreted to mean 'being a blessing to others' and thus 'speaking blessings' has largely been lost, although common in Bible stories and eastern cultures.)

• Stunning Beauty Contrasted with Dirty Conditions of Poverty
           The indian women dress in beautiful dresses and saraies that always appear fresh and unwrinkled, yet live in huts and open-front, brick shed-row shelters with cows and goats in their front yards and often in their homes. They pick up manure, (something I observed) often with their hand, and collect it to burn for fuel in their brick ovens. Their floors are often dirt, concrete or brick. They make their brooms from bushy stems, and were often observed sweeping the loose dirt from their homes and yards to keep dust down. Because they use manure for fuel, their fly population isn't too bad. While there is lots of dust and dirt, odor and filth are often kept to a minimum.
          The women are always seen wearing these beautifully ornate dresses, even to work in the fields or while washing their clothes in the river. Why? The contrast between their princess-like attire and the dirty living conditions is stark.

          Indian women are often quite beautiful in their features and are well-groomed. Add these fine dresses and saraies to the picture and you have women who could be taken from their humble living conditions and put in a palace, and look quite appropriate.