July 9, 2008

The Other Side of Earth

[Delhi, India]

The four days we spent in Delhi were a compulsory brain shift for us all,
blowing up our “world-view” and forcibly surfacing the ignorance we jointly share. While the excitement and optimisms remain they are now coupled with the reality that weather we want to admit it or not, WE LIVE IN A BROKEN WORLD.

The streets of Delhi are a circus of acrobatic disarray as cars, trucks, buses, rickshaws, bicycles, tractors, cows, pushcart vendors, stray dogs, horse-drawn thingies, and 25 million people from all walks of life jockey for position at 40 MPH. As our team left the airport we piled the 9 of us, plus our contact, plus the driver into a single taxi with our bags piled about 10 feet high on the roof. My lovely wife soon coined the phrase “Assume the Spoon” as we entered the “Big Top”. 

The extreme poverty of India is unavoidable. It doesn’t matter where you look because it pours into the streets from every direction. Street kids and beggars see our white skin from miles away & encompass our team, making me ponder what Jesus really meant when we said, “Give to those who ask”. The entire time we spent in India I couldn’t stop thinking about the Parable of the Good Samaritan. It was almost prophetic how much my thoughts drifted continually back to this story…

Ok so a Jewish man is robed, beaten and left for dead on the road to Damascus. Members of the Religious Right pass on by ignoring his desperate cry for help. Only the Samaritan man stops, loves the man and gives selflessly of himself, not just saving the man’s life, but paying for his entire recovery. Thus we have yet another peculiar insight to what we believers are meant to live like. 

…but as we spent our days in Delhi wandering the streets I had some questions for Jesus. I want to radically love people. I want to be the Good Samaritan, but what if there is more than one man dying in the street? What if the entire road to Damascus is littered with bodies? What if the entire city were? Country? I realized how ignorant my idealism was in India, but regardless if you were to ask me where Jesus lives today…
I would say He lives in Delhi. 

Probably the most notable instance from our time in India was being asked to join a gathering of all the various “M” workers throughout Delhi. There is nothing really comparable to fellowship with like-minded believers in a far away land, singing Hindi songs and breaking bread together. To pray for Delhi with local believers makes you realize how incredibly beautiful The Way really is.

We did have a few amazing opportunities to shoot photography. One afternoon we visited the largest Mosque in India and shot street kids playing on the steps. After a few minutes we had a hundred kids not begging for money but for their pictures to be taken, their faces glowing as we show them their pictures on the display. Joy in a joyless place. Jubilee erupts in the streets. Hallelujah.

So beyond anything spending 4 days in India got our heads on straight. We left Delhi full of questions, excitement, and hope for the months ahead. Honolulu, Tokyo, Delhi, Kabul, 20 plus hours of flights, 8 plus hours of cross desert driving, a few questionable mountain passes, various scary military check points & one suicide bomber later we are finally in Mazar-e Sharif…more to come…

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