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Saturday, November 2, 2013

Incredible India

There is an ad in Sweden promoting tourism in India. The jingle echoes a haunting chorus, Incredible India. As we prepare to leave, I have to agree. 
 India is incredible for a million different reasons...some very good, some very hard.
Saturday was a day of celebrations!  In the morning we headed back to out to Morbe, the tribal region where the Community Centre is being built.  We arrived to much progress.  We were there to dedicate the building and to celebrate all that God is doing and will do in the village.  The ceremony was short but beautiful.  I was very moved when the plaque was unveiled and our names were present.  It is very humbling because Doug and I are small parts of a very large whole that have joined together to make this happen.  
We returned to town and some went to the church to clean it, others went to the hall that had been rented for the big 25th Anniversary celebration of the Panvel church that night.  In my hour of free time, I snuck over to the salon across the street and had the best pedicure of my life!
The celebration saw many of us in our new Indian finery!  We were a good looking group!  The program, while long, was very touching.  How proud this congregation is of their history and their future.  The children stole the show with their adorable singing and beautiful dancing.  Toward the end of the program, Doug and I were called upon to cut a cake, wedding style!  It was hilarious!  The evening ended with good food, as always!
We returned to the hotel to begin the packing process.  So many feelings and thoughts to sort through.  Saturday in Sweden was All Saint's Saturday, the day people remember in a special way, those who died.  They go to the cemetery and light candles for their loved ones.  Ana, one of our team members, came to my room last night, with this lit candle, in memory of my mom.  It was sweet and special.
It is the Diwali festival here now, a huge Hindu celebration marked by candles, lights, and firecrackers!  We decided to join the fun and got some crackers as they are called!  Doug, Olle and Lalit had a good time setting them aflame and many of us oooed and awed as we watched them explode in the night sky.
This morning we head to the church where I will preach.  We will say our farewells and be on our way to Mumbai.  We will try to see more of the Diwali celebrations and then have to be at the airport at 10.00 p.m. to begin the check-in process for our flight at 2.00 a.m.  We arrive back in Sweden around noon on Monday.  I am looking forward to getting home in many different ways, but I will miss many things about this trip.  This has been an incredible team to work with and I will miss the joyful camaraderie we have shared day after day.  It will take me a long time sort through all that I have experienced over the past 10 days.  I am humbled and so grateful for this experience. May God continue to bless the work of his faithful servants here in India.