Our arrival and first day in India… (Part 3)

Friday, October 8, 2010

While I had such a blessed time sharing with Gautum, I did experience some difficulty on the flight.  Although I have flown many times before, my longest flight had been 8 hours.  About 10 hours into this 14 hour flight,  my surroundings began to spin furiously.  I sat for a few minutes trying to fight the feeling, and praying that I would not pass out.   As it turned out, having bulkhead seating and the extra space in front of our feet became a real blessing to me!  When I could not battle the spinning any longer, I nudged my dad and told him I was feeling sick and needed to lie on my side.  So, I spent most of the next four hours lying on the floor with my pillow and blanket, only getting up to go to the bathroom a number of times.  There were usually lines for the bathroom, and I’d have to stand and wait.  Several times, I thought I was not going to make it, but I’d pray and ask God to give me strength and to see me through.  On one trip to the bathroom, I grabbed the little white bag and thought “Gee, I hope I don’t have to use this while sitting between my dad and Gautum.”   Now that would make for an unpleasant flight for my new friend.

Perhaps my body was reacting to being in such high altitude for a long period of time because I started feeling better as we descended and, except for the pounding headache that had crept on me… I felt LOTS better!

After collecting our bags, we looked for our “driver”.  I had decided in the Chicago Airport to use my new phone to call India and try to make arrangements for transportation and a hotel for us for the 10 hour layover in New Delhi.  We thought we’d be much better rested than staying the airport overnight.  It was funny to see this 90 lb. Indian man holding a sign that said “tstocker.”  I guess he got that from the email that I sent him from my phone, so he thought that was my name.

The air in New Delhi was unpleasant to say the least; it was heavy and full of pollution that you could literally feel on your face.  Thankfully, we were not in the city long and, while no one got much sleep, it was nice to be able to rest.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Our driver came back at 4AM to return us to the airport to catch our 6:30AM flight.  The two hour flight to Bangalore seemed brief compared to the last one!

We were picked up by Pastor JD and his wife Ruth from the airport in Bangalore. What a sweet couple.  JD’s smile is contagious, and his love of Christ is evident almost immediately!  We managed to get all of our bags in and on top of his vehicle, and they drove us to our hotel.  After getting us checked in, they told us they would return at 3PM to take us for a bit of sight-seeing to the house where Gandhi completed an extended fast, and then back to JD’s house for our first traditional Indian meal.

Idolatry is everywhere here.  Even the lobby of our hotel had a shrine with incense being offered regularly.   I unpacked in stages, as I kept lying on the rock hard bed and falling asleep.  I’d only slept perhaps 2-3 hours in the past two days… all in short snippets.  However, they told us to try to not sleep much, as we would get our body adjusted to the new time zone faster that way.

At 3PM, a very sleepy group headed out to see the city of Bangalore and the surrounding area.   The traffic is unlike anything I’ve seen.  Not only do they drive on the opposite side of the road, but it’s not unlikely to see 6 or 7 “lanes” of traffic on a 3 lane road.  Lots of honking and weaving in and out… yet there are not many accidents and surprisingly no apparent road rage.  The drivers don’t get angry when someone cuts them off or swerves into their lane.  It’s definitely different from the States.

The city was crowded and dirty, with litter everywhere you look.  Among the hopelessness, there are idols all around.  One huge shrine was being built to the “monkey god”.   Temples and shrines for the various gods are built on mountains, as they believe “high places” are closer to god and are spiritual.  We walked up to see the high place where many people go to worship.   The monkey is thought to be a god, and they roam everywhere.   No doubt, JD was trying to give us our first glimpse of the realities in India.

Ruth met us back at their home and had dinner prepared for us.  It was chicken curry and it was delicious!  Their flat bread is kind of like a tortilla, but thicker.  It is wonderful.  They rip it and use it for pinching bites of their food… and of course, they use no utensils.  The wives do not eat with their husbands or the men, but rather serve them, and then eat later.  Not that I mind serving food, but I think of the wonderful times Tim and I have had over dinner together.  I enjoy sharing that with him, and treasure our conversations that happen then.

Tomorrow is the church service at JD’s church, Faith Baptist Church in Devenhali.  JD told us to expect at least a 3 hour service!  (Pastor Matt would love it here 🙂  Also, we are planning on visiting the orphanage in the afternoon, and a house church in the evening.  Looks like it’s going to be a full day!

By Sherri Stocker

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