Thursday, October 18, 2012

Some prayer requests

Pray for the sick.  There is still so much sickness here.  Dengue fever is the main problem now.  The hospitals are literally overflowing. Brian visited in a hospital last night, and there were literally no beds available.  The new patients are using metal trolleys, that they use in the emergency room, to lay on.  Some of our church members are very sick.  Ethan has had a low fever for a couple days.  It went up to 102.5 today so we did the blood test for dengue, just as a precaution.  He doesn't seem overly sick, but he did say today that he felt weak, and he has been laying around a lot, which is unusual for him. 

Pray for our church building.  We have been renting the same rooms for the past few years to hold our services.  The owner of the building now wants to raise the rent by 64% in December.  We are just not able to bear this increase, so are praying and searching for other options.  Pray that we find the right place, or that God changes the owner's heart.

Pray for a new ministry.  A group of young people from the North East of India (Manipur), has been meeting for fellowship in Chandigarh for a couple years.  Brian met them through a mutual friend and preached for them a few times.  They have asked him to be interim pastor for them.  They want help in forming a church, strengthening the believers, evangelizing the unbelievers in their midst, and calling a pastor when they are ready.  The group meets near the campus of Punjab University, and a lot of those that attend are college students.  This will mean a greater responsibility and ministry load for all of us.  Pray for strength for the work.

Pray for our furlough plan.  We are praying and planning to take a furlough next year, starting in April or May.  Pray for the finances to fly our family of seven to the US.

Thank you to all that read our updates and pray for us.  It is so important for missionaries to have the support of the believers.  We cannot do it alone, please keep us in your prayers. 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

What's your name?

This past August marks 11 years of ministry in India for us!  Wow!  Doesn't that sound like forever?  It feels like forever at times too!  After living in a culture this many years, parts of everyday life that may have seemed strange and weird to us when we first arrived, have become a part everyday life.  We used to stare at families of four riding on a bicycle together, but now we don't give them a passing glance.  So many things I could share like that, but the fact is, you live, you adjust, you become accustomed.  I say all that to say this, if there is any one who has a question about Indian life and culture, or about our life specifically, that they would be like me to address on this blog, please leave a comment here on the blog, on my Facebook page, or send me a message or email.  If possible I will answer your questions. 
A bride and groom with extended family

 Now for a part of Indian culture that still amuses me, at times.  What is your name?  What do people call you, refer to you as?  Here in India, most people are in the habit of using respectful titles and language, when referring to others.  Some people are very strict about it, and would become offended if they felt you were talking down to them, by not using the proper titles of respect.  So, what does that mean?  Let me try to make it simple (if possible).

Family relations:
Each relationship in the family has a name, and it is not as simple as our English "Aunt and Uncle" or "Grandmother and Grandfather".  Your father's parents are called "Dada and Dadi" while your mother's parents are "Nana and Nani".  Your father's brothers are called "Chacha" while your mother's brothers are called "Mama". This can get confusing when you throw in your father's brother's wife, your mother's sisters, and your in-laws!    Getting the picture?  I still get confused about what to call some family relations, but if you could master this system, you would instantly know how someone is related by the name they use for that person.  You wouldn't have to ask if it was mother's side, father's side, elder or younger.  But, a title, like "Chacha" can be used for someone who is not your actual relative, but an older man who is close to the family.

First name:
It is considered disrespectful to call someone by their first name.  The only people you would call by their first names, would be children, a close friend, who is close in age to you, or someone who is considered in a lower position than you such as, a servant, employee, or student.  So, you have to be careful about using first names.  So, what do you call someone?  Many people use the terms for sister and brother (didi and bhai).  Or, you can refer to someone by the job they do.  We have a neighbor who is a mason, so people call him the Hindi word for "mason".  A man in our church sells vegetables for a living, so everyone calls him the vegetable seller.  A lot of husbands and wives don't refer to each other by their first names, and it's not because they use a term of endearment.  It is not considered polite by some to call your husband or wife by name.  A lot of times they will say "my husband" or "my wife".   Another way to refer to someone, which always amuses me, is to refer to them by the name of their child.  Our neighbor always to refers to her husband as "Sanjeev's father" (her son's name is Sanjeev).  It is very common, especially for mothers, to be referred to like this.  Sunil's mother, Prem's mother, Guddu's mother. 

So, what about us..the strangers, the foreigners...what are we called?  Since, we are considered teachers, as well as my husband being a pastor, besides our foreigner status, we are referred to by most people as "Sir" and "Madame".  Other pastors many times call my husband "Pastor Brian", and to some I am "Mrs. Brian".  There are a small handful of people in India that call me "Angela".   One family that does is our landlord and his wife.  Their children are our age, and they lived for many years in Western countries, so are accustomed to our way of speech.   Sometimes I miss having a name, but that's just me, I guess. 
Brian was talking on skype to his mom one day, and referred to me as "my wife".  His mom was indignant on  my behalf..."My wife?" "Don't you know what her name is?"   Ha Ha!  That made me laugh!  Just another way that we have adjusted to life here.

Post written by:  Madame...Mrs. Brian...Alyssa's mother...Angela