Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Parting ways...

We've all made it through customs fine and have parted ways as we head to Wichita, Memphis, and Phoenix. The last flight clocked in a bit shy of 14.5 hours so needless to say we're all looking forward to sleeping in our own beds tonight.

In the past two weeks we have sat on ridiculously long flights, eaten new foods, seen a different healthcare system, been immerses in a new language and culture, and most importantly built relationships across all these barriers. We've got a lot o stories to share, some are similar, and many unique.

This will be my last update for the trip, I'm not sure if there will be any further reflections posted but thank you for following us and for keeping us in your thoughts and prayers over the last two weeks. I would encourage you to not hesitate in asking one or more of us about the trip, we'd love to share... And stories are much better in person anyhow :)

Well it's been a long Tuesday already and still one flight left so keep us in your prayers. We're looking forward to seeing friends and family!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Arrived in Abu Dhabi!

With the first leg of the trip done and behind us we have arrived and are relaxing for a bit in Abu Dhabi before the longest leg of our trip.

Mixed feelings as we travel home, excited to see friends and family while at the same time sad to leave new friends at Menno-Clinic. Keep us in your prayers as we travel and as we begin to process our experience over the last two weeks.

Wedding Ceremony

Home visit

Sunday School Pictures

Back in Hyderabad

We are back in Hyderabad. We checked into "sleeping and shower" rooms at the airport. VERY small rooms, but a good place to rest and catch a shower before the flight home.

This is the first internet for a few days so you are getting multiple posts in a short period of time.

Sunday morning we had "Sunday school" at the church for neighborhood kids. We told everyone to come at 11. At 10:30 there were about 15 kids there. This was amazing to us since most things we have experienced here have started late instead of early. By 11 there were about 25 by 10 after there were about 50. By the time we were done there were close to 60 kids there. We sang some songs for them. They sang some songs for us. Anna showed pictures from the Sunday school at her home church, Sycamore Grove in Missouri and I showed picutres from Hesston Mennonite. Then the kids there all drew pictures. Some will go to Missouri, some to Hesston and some to Mississippi (where Chelley Wenger is currently located). We passed out a pens and balloons to the kids afterward.

Sunday evening we were invited to a wedding in Vijayawada. We all dressed in the Indian clothes that we had purchased. It was an amazing experience of an elaborrate and long ritual. Some of us joined the wedding feast, while others stayed tuned in to the entire ritual. Before we left we were invited to pose for a special picture with the bride and groom. Another amazing expeience.

Monday morning Nagesh, the hospital administrator, presented certificates to each of the nursing students for their participation in this experience. It was a special idea that Nagesh had to honor them for coming being present in India. They were signed by Nagesh, Dr. Chandrama Rao, and Jean Rodgers. We presented them in simple kind of "graduation" ceremony in the chapel.

We made some last minute visits around the village. This included several going to the Catholic priests pasonage and Logan becoming a celebrity with the kids in the street "blowing bubbles" with them. As I was loading my bag into the van as we were ready to leave, one of the kids came up to me and asked me my name. I told him my name was John, Then he asked me if I know Logan.

We endured the chaotic traffic one last time on our way back to Hyderabad and checked into some REALLY small rooms here at the airport for a brief rest and shower.  The rest of the group will check in about 2 am on Tuesday morning for a 4 a.m. flight. They should be back in the states yet Tuesday evening.

I will be departing for Chennai about noon on Tuesday to visit friends at the Gurukul Lutheran Theological Seminary, visit the St. Thomas martyrdom and burial site, and some of the Mar Thoma churches. This is a side trip for me. I am a little disappointed that I don't get to share the trip back with the group. This is an awesome group and we have shared an amazing experience.

John Nathan may update the blog from Abu Dhabi and Chicago on the way home, but I will sign off after adding a few more pictures of the last couple days.

Thanks for following our journey.

House Visits