Wednesday, 31 March 2010

A trip to the Leprosy Mission Hospital

Yesterday the Leprosy Mission hospital sent a jeep to take us
across the Yamuna(Jamuna) River to its campus.
Our Pastor was invited to speak at their Holy Week
evening service and I went along with his wife.

Here we are crossing over on the New Yamuna
suspension bridge.

Its the best bridge of our city.
Just down river (left)
is the famous Sangam-the confluence of
rivers Ganga and Yamuna and mythical Saraswati,
regarded sacred by the Hindus.

On the right you can see the
British built old Yamuna bridge.

The old bridge has railway tracks on the top.
It makes such a roar when a train is passing on it.
The pictures were taken from a very fast moving jeep
that' s why they are blurry.

You have to pay a toll tax to use the bridge,
at least the 4 wheelers do.
But you can have a monthly pass made.

This is the mission Chapel.

A church elder told us that it is a 100 years old .
Probably as old as the hospital when it was established
by American doctors and missionaries.
It has served the people of North India very well
all these years.
Now leprosy cases are on the decline,
Praise God ,due to early detection , treatment and living conditions.
so they are more involved in General Medicine and surgery.
We had 3 doctor friends here
(one was my cousin 's wife)
but now they all have moved away.
The chapel is a lovely peaceful place
for quiet contemplation and corporate worship.
It was a warm evening.
You can see the fans going at full speed.
There were about 60 people present.
I took this picture at the beginning of the service.

This is our Pastor sharing the Word.

Take a look at the clock on the right.
There is another on facing the speaker
(picture above)
Most churches have at least one clock.
But this one has two.
I found this quite amusing.
The clocks ticking both for the Pastor and congregation.
My Pastor took permission to extend his message by 10 minutes.
I am wondering if churches in other
countries also have clocks on their walls???

On the way back we took
the old Yamuna Bridge.
And I took these blurry photos
of the New bridge.
We had a very pleasant evening.
PS . Sometimes people gift their church
a wall clock.
No double meaning behind it hopefully. LOL
Now you know what to do if
you find church long and boring!

Monday, 29 March 2010

Cooling Off

Today I started my small air convector room coolerIt a relief in the afternoon heat.
I am not running the cooler in the evenings though
to try get used to the heat
and it gets in the way also.
We will fix the window desert water cooler
later on which is more powerful.
Can 't imagine we were shivering in the cold just two and a half months ago.
Today we' ve had intermitent power cuts apart from the routine 3 hours.
The electricity dept. is sending us a veiled SMS -
Be prepared for the heat , dust and darkness. LOL

Just before she left Namrita, my sister got
henna (tattoos) on her hands.
It is a rare thing in the state where she lives,
so it was a special thing to 'take ' back from home.
This is real henna paste.
Its leaves a red / orange mark.
Many women dye their hair with henna.
It is a very good hair conditioner when mixed with
egg white and lemon juice.
You can add methi (fenugreek) paste to it .
I have also used it many times.
Henna has an over all cooling effect on the skin.
Its good for the summer.

Henna tattoos fade after a few days but
there is an engraving that can never fade away.
The names of God 's children
engraved on His hands.

15 "Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!
16 See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;

Isaiah 49 (Old Testament)
What an awesome reality!
My name
is tattooed on God' s palm.
Its OK if the Queen,
Bill Gates or
Barak Obama doesn 't know who I am.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Sunday Blessings - The Wood Cutter 's Story

The Woodcutter's Wisdom by Max Lucado

Once there was an old man who lived in a tiny village. Although poor, he was envied by all, for he owned a beautiful white horse. Even the king coveted his treasure. A horse like this had never been seen before—such was its splendor, its majesty, its strength.

People offered fabulous prices for the steed, but the old man always refused. “This horse is not a horse to me,” he would tell them. “It is a person. How could you sell a person? He is a friend, not a possession. How could you sell a friend?” The man was poor and the temptation was great. But he never sold the horse.One morning he found that the horse was not in the stable. All the village came to see him. “You old fool,” they scoffed, “we told you that someone would steal your horse. We warned you that you would be robbed. You are so poor. How could you ever hope to protect such a valuable animal? It would have been better to have sold him. You could have gotten whatever price you wanted. No amount would have been too high. Now the horse is gone, and you’ve been cursed with misfortune.”The old man responded, “Don’t speak too quickly. Say only that the horse is not in the stable. That is all we know; the rest is judgment. If I’ve been cursed or not, how can you know? How can you judge?”The people contested, “Don’t make us out to be fools! We may not be philosophers, but great philosophy is not needed. The simple fact that your horse is gone is a curse.”The old man spoke again. “All I know is that the stable is empty, and the horse is gone. The rest I don’t know. Whether it be a curse or a blessing, I can’t say. All we can see is a fragment. Who can say what will come next?”The people of the village laughed. They thought that the man was crazy. They had always thought he was a fool; if he wasn’t, he would have sold the horse and lived off the money. But instead, he was a poor woodcutter, an old man still cutting firewood and dragging it out of the forest and selling it. He lived hand to mouth in the misery of poverty. Now he had proven that he was, indeed, a fool.After fifteen days, the horse returned. He hadn’t been stolen; he had run away into the forest. Not only had he returned, he had brought a dozen wild horses with him. Once again the village people gathered around the woodcutter and spoke. “Old man, you were right and we were wrong. What we thought was a curse was a blessing. Please forgive us.”The man responded, “Once again, you go too far. Say only that the horse is back. State only that a dozen horses returned with him, but don’t judge. How do you know if this is a blessing or not? You see only a fragment. Unless you know the whole story, how can you judge? You read only one page of a book. Can you judge the whole book? You read only one word of a phrase. Can you understand the entire phrase?“Life is so vast, yet you judge all of life with one page or one word. All you have is a fragment! Don’t say that this is a blessing. No one knows. I am content with what I know. I am not perturbed by what I don’t.”“Maybe the old man is right,” they said to one another. So they said little. But down deep, they knew he was wrong. They knew it was a blessing. Twelve wild horses had returned with one horse. With a little bit of work, the animals could be broken and trained and sold for much money.The old man had a son, an only son. The young man began to break the wild horses. After a few days, he fell from one of the horses and broke both legs. Once again the villagers gathered around the old man and cast their judgments.“You were right,” they said. “You proved you were right. The dozen horses were not a blessing. They were a curse. Your only son has broken his legs, and now in your old age you have no one to help you. Now you are poorer than ever.”The old man spoke again. “You people are obsessed with judging. Don’t go so far. Say only that my son broke his legs. Who knows if it is a blessing or a curse? No one knows. We only have a fragment. Life comes in fragments.”It so happened that a few weeks later the country engaged in war against a neighboring country. All the young men of the village were required to join the army. Only the son of the old man was excluded, because he was injured. Once again the people gathered around the old man, crying and screaming because their sons had been taken. There was little chance that they would return. The enemy was strong, and the war would be a losing struggle. They would never see their sons again.“You were right, old man,” they wept. “God knows you were right. This proves it. Your son’s accident was a blessing. His legs may be broken, but at least he is with you. Our sons are gone forever.”The old man spoke again. “It is impossible to talk with you. You always draw conclusions. No one knows. Say only this: Your sons had to go to war, and mine did not. No one knows if it is a blessing or a curse. No one is wise enough to know. Only God knows.”The old man was right. We only have a fragment. Life’s mishaps and horrors are only a page out of a grand book. We must be slow about drawing conclusions. We must reserve judgment on life’s storms until we know the whole story.I don’t know where the woodcutter learned his patience. Perhaps from another woodcutter in Galilee. For it was the Carpenter who said it best: Don 't worry a bout tomorrow, for tomorrowDo not will worry about itself.” (Mt. 6:34)He should know. He is the Author of our story. And he has already writtn the final chapter

Max Lucado

I want to really Live Matthew 6;34 in my life daily.
Let 's make it our prayer.

The paintings I have posted have been done by Maqbool Fida Hussain, (born September 17, 1915, Pandharpur, Maharashtra, India) popularly known as M F Hussain, is a Qatari artist of Indian origin, and has produced a large collection of works over a career spanning seven decades.
According to Forbes magazine, he has been called the "Picasso of India".[2] After there was some controversy regarding his paintings, he was on a self imposed exile from 2006.In January, 2010 he was offered citizenship of Qatar,[3] which he accepted, thus relinquishing his Indian citizenship (As the laws of India does not allow dual citizenship

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Earth Hour - This Little light of Mine

Today is being marked as Earth Day in 125 countries all over the globe and people are being asked to switch off their lights etc between 8.30 and 9.30 pm local time. There is a huge media campaign going on in India. And I do appreciate the efforts of people trying to reduce their carbon imprint and conserve energy.
But if you look at the other side of the coin or globe then you will find that in India and other less developed countries we are natural conservators of energy and resources and these green shenanigans are passe for us.
We are already facing severe power shortages. Everyday we have power outage lasting 3 to 4 hours maybe more. The voltage is so bad that our household appliances are affected. With voltage fluctuation my fridge makes such a horrible noise, one would think there are a dozen rattle snakes living inside it. My microwave oven blew out in Jan. I have not been able to get it fixed.

Horrible as it may sound but we are natural conservators due to power, water and food shortages , unequal distribution of wealth and technology and illiteracy.
The area where my sister Namrita lives (Meghalaya) is facing severe drought. They get a meagre water supply for half an hour morning and evening. Even doing her laundry is a struggle.
I don 't need my newspaper to tell me that in India people are not dying of starvation they are living in it.
What we need is to educate people to conserve forests, manage garbage disposal and industrial waste, and harvest wind and solar energy. Work is being done in these areas but it is just a drop in the ocean. I would like to see solar powered appliances made available to us.
You can read about Earth Day HERE
So I am not switching off my little bulb. And if I could I would watch
this video as it has no stars in it.
I have not played safe in this post. Go on flail me.

Friday, 26 March 2010

Know Yer (Noah 's) Ark

I got this amazing story from my friend SITA

Man Builds Noah's Ark (exact scale given in Bible).
Working Replica of Noah's Ark Opened In SCHAGEN, Netherlands.
The massive central door in the side of Noah's Ark was opened the first crowd of curious townsfolk to behold the wonder.
Of course, it's only a replica of the Biblical Ark , built by Dutch Creationist Johan Huibers as a testament to his faith in the literal truth of the Bible.

The ark is 150 cubits long, 30 cubits high and 20 cubits wide. That's two-thirds the length of a football field and as high as a three-story house.
Life-size models of giraffes, elephants, lions, crocodiles, zebras, bison and other animals greet visitors as they arrive in the main hold.
A contractor by trade, Huibers built the ark of cedar and pine. Biblical Scholars debate exactly what the wood used by Noah would have been.
Huibers did the work mostly with his own hands, using modern tools and with occasional help from his son Roy. Construction began in May 2005. On the uncovered top - deck not quite ready in time for the opening - will come a petting zoo, with baby lambs and chickens, and goats, and one camel.
Visitors on the first day were stunned. "It's past comprehension", said Mary Louise Starosciak, who happened to be bicycling by with her husband while on vacation when they saw the ark looming over the local landscape.
"I knew the story of Noah, but I had no idea the boat would have been so big." There is enough space near the keel for a 50-seat film theater where kids can watch a video that tells the story of Noah and his ark. Huibers, a Christian man, said he hopes the project will renew interest in Christianity in the Netherlands, where church going has fallen dramatically in the past 50 years.

If you are visiting the Netherlands keep this on your MUST SEE list.

In India many people have built small sized Taj Mahals. If fact a man has built a life size Taj Mahal in Bangla Desh using the same kind of marble and materials India is not pleased about it. You simply must not duplicate an existing national monument which is a tourist attraction and a world heritage site.

BTW in Dehra Doon, the capital of Uttrakhand state there is a hotel called The White House, but it does not look like "the" White House. And one can safely brag and say,"Oh I was a guest at The White House. And I wasn 't gate crashing."

This got me thinking. Which Biblical site would I like to reconstruct if I had the means and expertise?

A garden would be my choice. Mount of Olives,the Garden of Gethsemane -Prayer Garden. And 6 years ago I claimed a promise from God to make my church and campus like a flourishing land pictured in Ezekiel 36.

In Central India, (outside Hyderabad) a Christian man who is a retired geologist has constructed a replica of the Old Testament Tabernacle , but not to scale, or building material .It is a concrete structure. Its used as a church . He plans on building a Noah ' s Ark too. They get many visitors throughout the year.

I think its a very good way of evangelism in a place where visual experience makes a strong impact.

There is one Biblical structure each Christian is a part of.


I am just wondering which Biblical site or building would you re-construct if you could? Any ideas?

Thursday, 25 March 2010

The Annunciation

Today is the day of the Annunciation.
Exactly 9 months untill Christmas.

Do you think its good to remember special events in the Christian calender?

Wanted : Seaweed

ScienceDaily (Mar. 22, 2010) — Seaweed could hold the key to tackling obesity after it was found it reduces fat uptake by more than 75 per cent, new research has shown.
Now the team at Newcastle University are adding seaweed fibre to bread to see if they can develop foods that help you lose weight while you eat them.
A team of scientists led by Dr Iain Brownlee and Prof Jeff Pearson have found that dietary fibre in one of the world's largest commercially-used seaweed could reduce the amount of fat absorbed by the body by around 75 per cent.
The Newcastle University team found that Alginate -- a natural fibre found in sea kelp -- stops the body from absorbing fat better than most anti-obesity treatments currently available over the counter.
Using an artificial gut, they tested the effectiveness of more than 60 different natural fibres by measuring the amount of fat that was digested and absorbed with each treatment.
Presenting their findings at the American Chemical Society Spring meeting in San Francisco, Dr Brownlee said the next step was to recruit volunteers and study whether the effects they have modelled in the lab can be reproduced in real people, and whether such foods are truly acceptable in a normal diet.
"The aim of this study was to put these products to the test and our initial findings are that alginates significantly reduce fat digestion," explains Dr Brownlee.
"This suggests that if we can add the natural fibre to products commonly eaten daily -- such as bread, biscuits and yoghurts -- up to three quarters of the fat contained in that meal could simply pass through the body.
"We have already added the alginate to bread and initial taste tests have been extremely encouraging. Now the next step to to carry out clinical trials to find out how effective they are when eaten as part of a normal diet."
The research is part of a three year project being funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. It addresses the new regulations set out by the European Food Safety Authority that any health claims made on a food label should be substantiated by scientific evidence.
"There are countless claims about miracle cures for weight loss but only a few cases offer any sound scientific evidence to back up these claims," explains Dr Brownlee.
Alginates are already commonly used at a very low level in many foods as thickeners and stabilisers and when added to bread as part of a blind taste test, Dr Brownlee said the alginate bread actually scored higher for texture and richness than a standard white loaf.
"Obesity is an ever-growing problem and many people find it difficult to stick to diet and exercise plans in order to lose weight," explained Dr Brownlee.
"Alginates not only have great potential for weight management -- adding them to food also has the added advantage of boosting overall fibre content."
What is a dietary fibre?
Dietary fibre would be scientifically classified as a group of carbohydrates of plant origin that escape digestion by the human gut.
"Actually, there's still quite a lot of confusion about fibre," says Dr Brownlee. "I think most people would describe it as roughage -- the bit of your food that keeps you regular and is vital for a healthy gut.
"Both of these facts are true but the notion that all fibre is the same and that it simply goes through your system without having an effect is wrong."
Fibre is made up of a wide range of different molecules called polysaccharides and although it is not digested by the human gut, it both directly and indirectly affects a number of bodily processes.
Dr Brownlee adds: "These initial findings suggest alginates could offer a very real solution in the battle against obesity."

But this knowledge will cerainly reduce a big man.

I am not obese but want to shed some pounds and increase my fibre intake. I don 't know if seaweed is available here. Can we buy it in India?

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Sunny Tales

Our temperatures are climbing steadily.
Yesterday recorded 41.5*C up in the 100s F
its 6* above normal for March.
I have to confess that Easter is not my
favorite season of the year -physically speaking
because it is the harbinger of heat.
Strange thought - but I wish Easter took place
in Oct/Nov or even Feb.
But keeping weather aside I rejoice in
the power and glory of
Christ' s resurrection.
That is the foundation of our faith.
Don 't get me wrong.
Easter is the glory of our faith.

Sheeba needed a cooling bath,
so she got one today.
Although she can' t understand what all the fuss is about.
My Jimmy hated baths
and used to cry softly
when I washed him.
By the way the Japanese have invented a washing machine for dogs.
I saw it on TV.
Maybe its on YouTube.
Sheeba sunning her tail on the porch (veranda).
I don 't know if people in hot/tropical countries
have noticed this phenomenon.
If you have a dog of European descent, he/she
will like to sun themselves during spring
and summer, no matter how hot
it is. Its their inbuilt instinct
passed on to them from their forefathers.
My Judy (German Spitz) used to sun
herself in the baking front yard in
the blistering June sun.

We harvested aubergine/eggplant and beans.
Mama is setting them aside to distribute
to needy people.
Like this poor goat lady
who comes to collect grass and greens
for her goats.

Fresh mulberry from our tree.
They are very juicy and sweet.
I avoid sugary things otherwise
I would have made mulberry jam.
Fantasy- could rear silk workms on the

Like humans nature also has
its highs and lows.
Some tress are drying up
and littering the ground below them
with dead leaves and dry pods and seeds.

While other vegetation is thriving

Our Easter Lillie's are coming up.

In the highs and lows of life its good to remember

17 Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior.
Habakkuk 3 (Old Testament)

Encouragement I received from Joni Erickson Tada today

Your spiritual life must not hinge on your commitment to Christ. That only sets you up for defeat. Rather, glory in his commitment to you. Daily come to him in spiritual want and leanness. Acknowledge moment by moment that he is the one whose arms are underneath you as you rise to the mountaintop, and he is the one who preserves you as you descend the other side.* * *

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Sunday Blessings; The Miracle of the Carpenter

I got this beautiful true story in a Max Lucado newsletter I am sure it will bless your heart.
The Miracle of the Carpenter
by Max Lucado
Loretto Chapel took five years to complete. Modeled after the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris, its delicate sanctuary contains an altar, a rose window, and a choir loft.The choir loft is the reason for wonder.Were you to stand in the newly built chapel in 1878, you might see the Sisters of Loretto looking forlornly at the balcony. Everything else was complete: the doors had been hung, the pews had been placed, the floor had been laid. Everything was finished. Even the choir loft. Except for one thing. No stairs.The chapel was too small to accommodate a conventional stairway. The best builders and designers in the region shook their heads when consulted. “Impossible,” they murmured. There simply wasn’t enough room. A ladder would serve the purpose, but mar the ambiance.The Sisters of Loretto, whose determination had led them from Kentucky to Santa Fe, now faced a challenge greater than their journey: a stairway that couldn’t be built.What they had dreamed of and what they could do were separated by fifteen impossible feet.So what did they do? The only thing they could do. They ascended the mountain. Not the high mountains near Santa Fe. No, they climbed even higher. They climbed the same mountain that Jesus climbed 1,800 years earlier in Bethsaida. They climbed the mountain of prayer.As the story goes, the nuns prayed for nine days. On the last day of the novena, a Mexican carpenter with a beard and a wind-burned face appeared at the convent. He explained that he had heard they needed a stairway to a chapel loft. He thought he could help.The mother superior had nothing to lose, so she gave him permission.He went to work with crude tools, painstaking patience, and uncanny skill. For eight months he worked.One morning the Sisters of Loretto entered the chapel to find their prayers had been answered. A masterpiece of carpentry spiraled from the floor to the loft. Two complete three-hundred-sixty-degree turns. Thirty-three steps held together with wooden pegs and no central support. The wood is said to be a variety of hard fir, one nonexistent in New Mexico!When the sisters turned to thank the craftsman, he was gone. He was never seen again. He never asked for money. He never asked for praise. He was a simple carpenter who did what no one else could do so singers could enter a choir loft and sing.See the stairway for yourself, if you like. Journey into the land of Enchantment. Step into this chapel of amazement and witness the fruit of prayer.Or, if you prefer, talk to the Master Carpenter yourself. He has already performed one impossible feat in your world. He, like the Santa Fe carpenter, built a stairway no one else could build. He, like the nameless craftsman, used material from another place. He, like the visitor to Loretto, came to span the gap between where you are and where you long to be.Each year of his life is a step. Thirty-three paces. Each step of the stair is an answered prayer. He built it so you can climb it.And sing.
Wouldn 't it be a wonderful place to visit? If you are near the area do go to the Chapel.