The Artwork of Henna…. (Part 6)

Tuesday October 12, 2010
Last night was first good night sleep I’ve had, and I’m feeling much better this morning, praise God!!

David (JD’s brother-in-law) picked Deb and me up this morning, and took us sight-seeing while Ruth (his sister) had an appointment in town.   He took us around Bangalore, and we stopped at the botanical gardens.   It was a beautiful day to stroll the gardens.  We talked a bit about politics, India’s view of the US, and our involvement in the Middle East.

I took our group to lunch, and let David and Ruth pick where to go.  They decided on Pizza Hut (who knew they had one in India)!  It was pretty similar to back home, with a few strange additions on the menu… oh, and it was more expensive : )  As we were leaving, I decided to buy a personal pan pizza to take back to dad for a surprise for dinner,  so he could eat something besides peanut butter and jelly!

We returned to meet up with the men after the sessions.  JD had planned for us to go to another house church that evening, but it was decided that we would go the next night, as the pastors needed to get rest for the next day.  While we waited for the conference to finish for the day, Ruth and Hannah (her 15 year old daughter) decided that I needed a little Indian make-over.  After making sure it wasn’t a Hindu practice I’d be aligning myself with… I offered my arm and allowed myself to be painted with henna.   Henna is a temporary tattoo which was used by Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and Christians for any joyous celebration.   In particular, brides were decorated for their husbands.  What I didn’t anticipate is how it would be a bridge over the next several days in the many villages we would visit.  The children, in particular, wanted to check out my artwork.   They’d turn my hand over, smile, and sometimes show me fading designs on their own hands and arms.

We had another fabulous dinner prepared by Ruth and the girls. David often helps serve us, but he puts way too much food on your plate.  We have to watch him all the time or he sneaks more food on your plate when you’re not looking.

We were told that in the morning, Deb and I would be going to a village to meet with local women at a house church and for a prayer meeting with them.  I had a hard time falling asleep and was overcome with the realization of the seriousness of the work here.  As I prayed for these Christians who are counting the cost to follow Christ, the pastors who are leading them, the untold number of villages who have never heard of Jesus and the demonic forces who are holding them captive, I realized that perhaps the reason I could not sleep was that prayer was more necessary for what lie ahead.  I kept praying until I drifted off to sleep.

I woke up at 2AM with a crawling feeling from head to toe.  I wasn’t sure what was happening, but then I realized I was shivering, which turned feverish.  I thought, “Ugghhh… those pesky mosquitoes! “   I earnestly requested of God that if I was going to get malaria that it would wait until I got home so I could be sick in my own bed, if He was willing.  It sounds crazy even now as I write this, but it was a sincere request at the time.  I felt sick off and on, and I never fell back asleep.  This provided me even more opportunities to pray and meditate.  I began to question whether I had truly approached this trip properly.   The evil and oppression here is so real; in many ways I was feeling so unprepared.

By Sherri Stocker

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