Tuesday, March 9, 2010


HEy you all...I have not forgotten you, but I can't get my usb to work on this computer with my blogpoast and I don't have long enough to write them while online...so I have not been able to post although I have a few on my laptop waiting...waiting.

Love ya.

Thursday, February 4, 2010


Let me introduce to you a few of my favorite little girls. Of course there are to many to tell you about, but I will start with a few.

This is Montice. She is 8 years old and takes very good care of her 6 year old sister
Selvi (pictured below) who is in her first year at boarding school.

Hindu and Selvi. Hindu is a hillarious, bouncy carefree girl who enjoys small thing in life.She loves to play "the rock game" with me and CHEERS well when I win.

Monju and Blessing with Amanda.

This is Camela. She's the smallest girl here, but 6 years old. She's beatiful but usually pretty laid back. She creams everyone on "the rock game".

Satia is an adorable 9 year old with a 6 year olds body. She was sad the day I met her, but normally a very cheery girl. Her father has dad, but her mother is still living. She's very smiley but not very touchy. She is a PRO at jump-roping.

We dont know her name. We call her Teddybear. She is the GIGGLIEST more cuddliest teddy bear like 7 year old ever. She's to ticklish you just look at her and she giggles. Of course we giggle to, it's that adorable.

This is a new girl. I do not know her name but she is 6 years old. Her mother died and with her father caring for her alone she was brought to live at CMML home. She's a bright child, but often looks sad. She'll be sitting in the corner just watching the kids play. She doesn't cry but she doesnt smile either. I'll pick her up plop on her on my lap say a bunch of things she doesn't understnad, sing to her, and all I can think of. Usually in 30 minutes or so she's laughing and goes to play with the kids. We say goodnight and she's all smiles, but the next day she's all sad again. I can't imagion being 6 and being left to live with another 100 girls. She's doing so well and being so brave. I am proud of her:-)
Hello!!! January 27th

There is not a lot knew today. I am sure there are a lot of things that I have not thought to tell you about, it seems that every day we are seeing something knew, learning something we never even thought about before. But our schedule is pretty much consistant right now.

It looks like this.

6:00 Wake up.
6:30 Tea Time.
7:15 Help the little girls to bathe and get ready for school.
8:00 Serve breakfast.
8:30 Eat breakfast.
9:30 - 11:00 teach 1-2 grade english.
11:30 - 12:30 (starting next week) tutor the kids who are behind in school.
12:30 Eat lunch.
Free time.
3:00-4:00 Tamil Class for us. (Mon, Wed, Fri.)
4:30 Tea Time.
5:00-6:30 Play with the children.
7:00 Girls devotions. (we can watch or we can teach if we want.)
8:00 Serve girls dinner.
8:30 Eat Dinner
9:00 Bed time. (only we never really get to bed:-P)

Saturdays and Sundays are different of course because the children don't have any school.

There are Indian woman who teach the English classes, but we help out in the 1-2nd grade classes. Different of the children are at different levels in english, so she seperates them into groups. They don't have school desks, we all sit on mats on the floor. She tries to keep me with the same group each day so I don't get confused. She has cards and books that we go through with them, so it's pretty easy. I have one student who is very smart and loves to learn, but the other three don't really care. I read them the card "BUG" and Kavia says "B, sister?" then if I sound out the word for her she can say "B, U, G" She knows her alphabet so if I tell her the letters she can spell. The other three like to peak at my card or at Kavias chalk board and copy. They really don't understand or care to understand what is going on.
When they ask questions I try to make them think, I try to get them to learn not just copy what I've written, but some of them don't like that:-P. It's hard to because even though they are learning spelling already they don't know to much english and I can't explain to them the strategy I am using, or tell them what to do really. It's easy, yet it's hard. One problem too, is that when we are doing reading they memorize the order of the words in the list, or the photo that goes with the word and don't really see the letters. There is one card that is "hut", all of them are SURE that it's a HOUSE. They all say "no sister, no sister, HOUSE" Well I tried to explain, that yes it looks like a house, but actually H.U.T. spells, hut. oh well, maybe they will understand one day.

One of the first days I met the children Kavia caught my attention right away. She was the first girl whose name I learned. And yes, I finally got her straite with her sister, Manju (sp?). To me she seems maybe 6, but you never know with the kids here. Her bright eyes seemed to bounce around her face as she bounced around the yard. She's super hyper, and if she wasn't in a skirt, I would have for sure thought her a boy at first. She's got short cut hair and as much mischief in her as any boy could have. A complete camera hog, but as cute as cute can be. I never would have thought her to be an attentive student, but she's my best one.

Amanda did a 7th grade english class one day and taught the children all about snowmen and different things. They were so facinated. She had a lot of fun, but the younger children are where they most need us because they have 20 children maybe in one class with one teacher, and these kids go wild.

Well I must go now because it is not long until we leave for the internet cafe.

My Dear Friends and Family, 2-3-10

Yes, I am indeed still alive and I have an even more lively story to tell you.

In the small village of Vadamalapuram somewhere amidst the buffillo and chickens, there rested a woman on the steps of a very tiny hut. Her face was filled with wrinkles and showed the signs of many many years, but her eyes shone with the curiosity of youth. On this particular day as the sun shone down so brightly, she sat more heavily on her crossed legs and resting her head in her hand, it appeared she was thinking quite deeply. She'd heard the stories of the white people that came from afar, and taught amazing things, but she'd never seen one. What were they like? Why did they come? Their thoughts must be profound to travel so far. As she sat thus she heard a great noise in the distance. Jumping awake from her thoughts and stretching herself to see the ruckas she startled a few crows who flew to their safety in a nearby gooseberry tree.
Far far away she could see hundreds of children marching down the road. As they made their way closer her excitment grew. In the front of the parade was a tall white girl. A blue bandana was pulled loosly over her hair, which still seemed to flow everywhere as it brushed against her sun-burned cheeks. A black blouse was followed by smooth denim skirt. Her feet were dirty and slipped into a pair of small, black, foam sandles. She didn't appear to be much more then the hundreds of school children that were following her down the road, but it seemed they must have an important message. The children were shouting and banners were being held high. As she cocked her head and listened once more she heard exactly what the foreigners have to say "SAVE THE FROGS!"

Thats the exciting story. Heres what really happened. I was sitting outside spending some time with God when I heard a huge ruckas and going to see what was the matter, I saw all the children walking by the road on a protest. They called to me and I went to join them in their walk. I was put in the front of the line. I then realized what I was on a protest for, Frogs. I felt somewhat silly to be honest. I couldn't care less about a frog, and I'm still not sure what the point of the whole thing was, but I laughed the rest of the day. It was kinda sad too though, I imagioned that the town would remember it as the american girl leading the school on a parade to save frogs. Thats the message that missionaries bring? I guess I learned something too.

Otherwise life has been good. I've played silly games with the kids, played silly games WITHOUT the kids, had to be the "doctor" when a girl fell and gauged her head, ate fresh coconut right from the tree, rode in the autos, comforted crying children, gone for evening walks, ate rice, wrote lots of letters, attempted teaching english in the 2nd grade class to a slew of boys who really don't care and just beat each other up, served hundreds and hundreds of plates of rice, ate rice, failed at jump-roping, taken lots of cold showers, washed clothes by hand, prayed with the children, craved sugar, gone to the store and bought some strange chewy candy, ate it, ate more rice, written more letters, dreamed about home, broken up fights, taken pictures, eaten chicken, corrected the 10th grade english papers, played "jacks" with rocks, gotten dirty, taken more cold showers, eaten more rice, had fun, laughed, cried, and over all had a good time. I love you all. Sorry I can't post more often. Love, Lydia

Saturday, January 23, 2010

pictures are here.

My dear friends and family, January 20th 2010.
I suppose you are all shivering in the cold and I'm sitting on my bed in the coolest clothes that I have, sweating.
It's "winter" here, but it's still hotter than half our summer. When I left I was imagioning myself blogging all my profound
thoughts, pictures, and stories. Dreaming of blogging like my Aunt Mindy, but you all know thats not going to happen.:-P I
would love to blog more but we don't have internet where we are staying. Even Uncle Sonaraj (sp?) does not have internet on
his computer right now, so my only chance to post is when I get into town which is a few minutes drive from here. Course,
I can't drive here so I'm dependant on other people. I do have my laptop so I'm writing to you now, but I don't know how long
it will be before I can actually post this online.
This week (starting today in half an hour) is a conference. John Bjorlie, Steve Rusk and some men from another state in
India are going to be speaking. Even the Indian men from the neighboring state have to speak in English because they don't
know Tamil. Each state has it's own indian language. Us american kids are excited to go to church, cuz this will probably
be our only chance when it will be in English. We've decided today that we'll have to have our own "church" together to hold
each other up. At least do some devotions together.
There are a lot of interesting things here that we are trying to learn. We're having fun eating with our fingers. They
don't know what a fork is.(well, almost anyways.) In the resteraunts you get your food served on a banana leaf. No dishes to wash that way! Here
we have tin plates but thats it. The first time it was really hard, it felt strange to just dive your fingers into the
gooey food, and all the natives were laughing at us, but now we are pretty used to it. We're trying to live as they live,
and get over all the silly things...but one thing we refuse to neglet. We WILL use toilet paper!!!
Ben, Amanda, Sarah, and I live in a house with Sonaraj, and Sonacamarie. I have no clue the spelling of there names but
that is how it sounds to me. The children live in the same grounds in other buildings. There are 200 boys and 100 girls that
live here, and 200 hundred more that come for school during the day.Every single child is screaming their names to us and
trying to get us to remember them. *sigh* it feels impossible to me. I remember 1 name with a face. Melody. She is just
precious. One girl told me her name was Kavia. She has the most michevious smile. I remembered her well, but the next day
when I called her kavia she shook her head "NO sister!" and told me another name. I was very confused. Today when we were
helping the girls bathe, I discovered two girls that looked the same...hmm, I think there must be twins. The children work
together so beautifully. I didn't know it was possible to have this many children so well behaved. After being in Mexico
I was expecting chaos with this many kids. Everything moves so smoothly it almost feels like there is nothing for us to do!
Well not quite, we have been keeping quite busy, and will be more so once we settle in. Right now things are a bit different
with the conference and everyone else who is staying here.
Yesterday We had some shopping we needed to do and needed to get our money exchanged. A guy named William drove us and
Spurgeon came to be our guide. He had fun seeing how excited we got about the "simple every day things of life" and how
confused we got too! EVERYTHING is so different here, but I feel I could never explain it and I certainly could never capture
it on photo. We've been trying...but it's so vast, so impossible.
When I came here one of my greatest fears was never having quiet, never having alone time, but I don't think it will be a
problem. I pictured my life in the city, but we live in the country. Last night Ben, Sarah, Amanda, and I went for a walk in
the evening to unwind. the sun was setting and you could just look out over the wide fields and here and there a coconut tree.
I have to say, I had no idea how beautiful India could be.
There is so much more to say, but I can't explain it. God bless you all.

Hey there! January 22nd.

I don't know what you all were praying would happen to me when I got here, but they have deffenatly been pulling me out of
my confort zone! Nancy vollunteered Ben, Sarah, Amanda and I to sing together for the conference. Of course all the men
thought it was a great Idea. We weren't give a choice. So we sang. Sonaraj keeps pressing us to teach the children sometimes
or to give devotions with them. Ben came up with a skit he wanted to do. 20 minutes before it was to be preformed we were
told that the kids had already seen it a couple times so we should give them something new. Suddenly the pressure was on,
we had 20 minutes to decide what else to do, what to talk about...everyone seemed to leave it up to me;-P thanks guys. I
ended up giving my testimony. I was shy, which was kinda silly, it was only children (and the interpretor.) but it felt
like some huge audiance, then again, there are a LOT of children living here. It turned out for the Good. I think I'm
going to learn more being here than the children are learning from me.
With the conference going on we have actually not been spending that much time with the kids. we were told to focus on
the meetings and take this time off. Also some of us (not me.) are still trying to adjust to the time change. Poor Amanda
keeps waking up at 2:00 in the morning and not being able to sleep.
All of the young people around here are boys, so Ben is making all the friends.The culture here is so different and boys
and girls are so seperate, it's hard to get used to, but they invited us to play volley ball, so we gladly joined them.
I don't want to have all my posts so long by the time I get to the computer that you won't even be able to read them,
but I want to keep you well posted. I am hoping to soon post some pictures as well.
I love you all!!!!!! Love, Lydia

Jan 23
I wrote you today and it all got lost, so it's gone, but here's some random pictures.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


Please excuse the bad grammar and layout of this post. I wrote it all in a hurry previous to this, and I don't have the time to fix it all now...here goes.

When I started my blog as Celestial Journey, I knew it would be a Journey, but I'm not sure if I would call our
experiances thus far heavenly. We certainly had the heavenly one looking out for us though.

6:30 A.m. on January 15th me and my parents set out ? the car for Minneapolis St. Paul where my starting flight was. It
didn't quite seem to have me yet that I was leavning...my home, my family, my loved ones, everything I knew. I'd said
goodbye to more people than I'd care to count, yet never cried. Somehow I couldn't. But as I neared the airport I started
to feel that pounding in my chest, that feeling of anticipation, excitement, and maybe just a little bit of nervousness.
11:15 my parents dropped me off at the gate and bid me goodbye. I've flown before so I think that I know what I'm doing.
I head right to the checkout line and do just what everyone else is doing. My turn comes. I slid my debit card through
the machine for identification. Gary Bernard. GRR. I am NOT Gary. Slide my passport, nothing comes up. One of the men at
the desk comes to help me. "Your name is wrong on the E-ticket. You first and last names are switched.You name is not in
our machine. There is nothing we can do. You have to get ahold of Mr. Bensen or buy a new ticket." wow. I didn't even know
what to think. I walked away, pulling two huge suitcases, my laptop, my caryon and my purse. I don't have a cellphone. I've
never talked to this Mr. Bensen guy (he's the travel agent and Steve Rusk worked all that out for me.) I don't know if the
rest of my team is still coming or if they already checked in and are far ahead of me, no way for me to contact them. It
was a very deep feeling of lonliness. For the first time, I was ready to cry. My parents were already on there way home. I
was worse than lost for ideas of what the next step would be. "God please help me!" was all I could say. I walked away
aimlessly, struggling to keep all my luggage. I glanced over at the checkin line, there was, Steve and Nancy Rusk, Amanda,
and Sarah!!! I walked over to my group, and mumbled "hi steve, I have a major problem. My name is mixed up, the airline
says there is nothing they can do. we have to get ahold of Mr. Bensen." Praise God Steve had his cellphone on him still and
he got to buisness right away. 2 hours later, much running back and forth, some arguring to crazy people, talking to people in
India that speak to fast and leave you on hold forever, we got my ticket replaced. With a big sigh we say "PRAISE YOU God!"
ran through security and got on our flight. Only GOd knew that we seriously DID need that never needed 3 hours that you're
supposed to have before your flight. From There we flew to Chicago where we finally had some time to breath, relax, get
something to eat and board our flight to Abu Dhaube. It's now nearly 1:00 in the morning, I've been traveling for 16 hours
and we have at least 10 more hours before we land in Abu Dhaube...then we have another flight to India and from there a 4
hour car ride to our final destination. I'll be posting this late because I obveusly don't have internet on the airplane,
I'm just taking the time to write now, while I can.

Well well, I guess I don't have anything else terribly exciting to write to you about right now, and I'm super super tired
so I'm going to see how I can sleep on this plane. God bless you all, and remember I love you and miss you tons!

Later ~

Well it's me again. It's about 1:00 Sunday afternoon here, I guess that means it's about 1:30 a.m. on Sunday for you.
It's been about 43 hours since I left home, and I've not yet had the chance to sleep. I'm ZONKED, but waiting to go to
bed, cuz I'm determaned to get onto the time schedule here. I might not be able to resist falling asleep for a short time,
but we have tea at 4:30 and bible study at 5:30. The headmaster's wife (I have no clue how to pernounce or spell her name.
We just call her Auntie.) is taking us girls shoping, she's sure that we each need to have a Sahri. Mostly the older and
married women weare Sahris all the same so we'll be wearing sahwors (sp?) most of the time. I guess thats ok with me,
because they are more practical for an active girl like me.

So after I wrote you all yesterday, we hours and hours more in the airplane where we TRIED to sleep, and then we finally
arrived in Abu Dahbi. I never dreamed of an airport where they would have special rooms to pray. I never saw so many muslems,
or whatever they are called either. All the men in long white robes and white vails (of what do you call them for guys?). All
these women who wear black and cover their entire face but their eyes. It was deffinatly a new experiance.Then from Abu
Dahbi, we flew into Tervandrum (sp?) where we arrived about 6:00 A.M.and a few guys from the church came to pick us up.
They rented a bus (with a driver.) It was about a 5 hour drive, with a beautiful view. We saw Water buffilo, 3 monkeys,
a peacock, and of course cows, goats, and chickens. AND more people than you could ever count, thousands of people...
everywhere. I think there were more people in ONE block of some of those villages than in the whole town of Rhinelander,
well maybe not litteraly, but hey...it seemed like it.

One of the guys that came along to pick us up (Paul Sam) seemed to really enjoy himself watching us freak out about all
the things that were "normal" to him. He made the bus driver stop and he got us some Palm fruit. I never even knew that
palm trees HAD fruit.

And oh, after all the crazy stuff that happened to us with my ticket, we get to Abu Dahbi where we were supposed to
meet up with John and Ben. We don't see them, and we don't see them and it seems they are just never showing up, and we
finally had to go on without them. It turned out that somehow the tickets had been figured all wrong and they showed up in
Abu Dahbi at the time we had thought, but the day before so they were already in India waiting for us!!! Nice.

So today FINALLY around 11:00 or something we got in and us three girls (Sarah, Amanda, and I) got shown our room where
we came and put everything away. It's really a nice room...we even have a REAL toilet, thats pretty awesome. Well For now
thats all, and I still don't have a chance to post this, but I'll get it to you as soon as I can.

Sorry this is chopping and mixed up. I have not slept more than a couple unsettled house in 43 hours...I gotta run now.
God be with you all.