Sunday, 31 July 2011

Sunday Blessings - A Son 's Sacrifice

(paintings  by  Indian artist Anjolie  Ela  Menon)

Life  takes   such  twists  and  turns.Some  so  poignant  and  agonizing that  one  just  doesn 't  know   how  to  respond.

A few  days  ago  I  read   a  newspaper  report  about  a  11  or  12 year  old  girl  somewhere  in   rural  India who  was  so  deeply  affected  by  the   diseases  her  father  and  brother  were suffering  that  she   went  into  depression.
Her  father had gone  blind  and  her  brother had  an  incurable  kidney  ailment which required a transplant. The  family  was   penury stricken ,unable to  make  ends  meet  because  of  debt and  mounting medical  bills.

Broken   and  downcast   the daughter formulated  a  plan  which she  shared  with her  elder  sister.  But elder  did  not    take  it   seriously. The  child told  her  sister  that   she   would   commit  suicide after  which  her   eyes  and  kidneys should  be  donated  to  her  father  and  brother. She had  heard  of  organ donation.

The  girl  did exactly as  she  had  planned. But the  time  her  act was  discovered  it was  too  late  and  her  organs  could  not  be  used   for  the  purpose she  had  sacrificed  herself. The shocked  and  grieving   family  beat their   breasts  in  vain. Their daughter 's sacrifice was  futile  and  yielded  nothing  but  bereavement , sorrow  and  guilt.

This  is  a  true  story  my  friends.

But  there  is  another  true  story  about   a  greater  sacrifice which  can  be  availed  today  even  after  more  than  2000  years. A Son 's  sacrifice  which  yielded  life and  restoration.  The  spotless,  blameless Lamb of God -  Jesus  who  gave His  life  for  us  on  the  cross.

His  body   was broken,  bruised  and  abused  so   that  we  might have  life  and  the forgiveness  of  our  sins.He  paid  the price  for our  sin.  In today 's  terms  we  can say Jesus  went  to  the  electric chair  in  our  place so  that  we  might  have  life  and  God 's   forgiveness.

We  can have  eternal  life  of  we avail of this  sacrifice.

6For while we were still weak , at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.
7For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
9Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.
10For ifwhile we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.
11More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

(Romans  5) BIBLE

Thursday, 28 July 2011

How Prableen Survived the Utoeya Killings

There  were  two  teenagers  of  Indian  origin on Utoeya  Island  where  the  terrible   carnage  took  place. Both  of  them  miraculously  survived  the  attack'

A  weaver  from  Varanasi  revealed that  in 2008 ,  Anders  (the  shooter)  had  ordered  badges from  his  workshop. The  badges  were  meant  for  his  uniform. The  weaver   and  his   family  are  shocked  and  stunned  to  hear about  the  evil  acts  of  Anders. It  was  the  last  job  they  did, not  they  are  into  power  looms.

These stories  appeared  in the  Hindustan Times  newspaper.

Grief,  tragedy,  loss, even  violence  unites   people  of   distant  lands  together. One  or  two  Swedish  nations  were  killed in  a  train  accident  a few  weeks  ago in our state.

The  people  of  Norway  have   diplayed immeasurable  courage  and   fortitude while  dealing   with  a  catastrophe  of  such  magnitude. Someone  said  in Norway  one  doesn 't   see  heavy  policing. The  citizens  are  so  law  abiding  and   peaceful.

But  there  is  hope   for   all  of   us.  Hope,  if  we  turn  towards  our  Creator. And  look towards Him  for   comfort,  strength  and  protection. I live  in  an  unstable  society.  I  need  it  24/7. Read  about   the  lives  of  minorities (  like  Christians) and  others  in this  article  A NEW  LAW   FOR  AN  OLD  PROBLEM

And  this  is  Prableen 's  story

When the gun fell silent on Norway's Utoeya island, Prableen Kaur, an 18-year-old, found herself lying on top of a dead body in the woods, with two more bodies piled on top of her. She had lay like that for an hour. Minutes earlier, as she played dead, trying not to breath, her mobile phone had rung. The killer, right-wing fanatic Anders Behring Breivik, lurked nearby, stalking his innocent young victims, 93 of whom died.

Now Prableen’s blog about Friday’s massacre has become an Internet sensation. “I had a guardian angel,” writes Prableen, vice chairperson of the Oslo division the Norwegian Labour Party’s youth wing. Hundreds have posted messages comforting her.

On Sunday, Prableen and her family — father Malkeet Singh, a cab driver from Patiala, mother, brother and sister — offered prayers at the local Gurdwara in Oslo. The teenager is at home now, recovering from the nightmare, her father told HT.

In a country that is home to some 5,000 Sikhs, a second Indian-origin teenager, Pratap Singh, 15, also survived the massacre.

When a bomb exploded at the Labour party office in Oslo, killing seven people, Prableen wrote in her blog, “We comforted one another that we were safe on an island. No-one knew that hell would break out among us as well.”

Then shots ran out in Utoeya. “I saw him shoot. Everyone began to run. The first thought was, ‘Why is the police shooting at us? What the hell?!’”

The teenagers ran into a room as Breivik continued to shoot and jumped out of a window. She spotted her best friend through the window but couldn’t get to him. She “saw the fear in his eyes.”

They ran into the woods, stopping only to help the injured as they made their way down to the lake Tyrifjorden that surrounds the island, 40 km from Oslo. Crouching behind a brick wall along with others, she prayed, cried and called her family and friends from her mobile phone.

“A man came. ‘I am from the police’.” Someone shouted back that he had to prove it, and the killer started to shoot. “He reloaded. Shot more. He shot those around me. I remained lying. I thought: ‘Now it is over. He is here.”
Prableen lay there for an hour, buried under dead bodies.

Then she ran for the lake and, tearing off her jumper, began to swim, heading for a rubber boat several children were clinging on to.
She became so tired she turned on her back, using only her feet to paddle.

Rescued by police, the children were taken to a hotel, where she was reunited with her best friend.
“I don’t manage to sleep any more,” Prableen writes.

Please  visit  my  Norwegian  friend FELISOL 'S  BLOG
to read  a  personal  account  of   this  tragedy

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Birthday House

This year  God is  giving  opportunities of  celebrating the  birthdays  of  some  of  our  family  members and friends.

In April  we invited  my  mother 's   friend Miss  Jha to  celebrate her  birthday. She  is  a  retired teacher. She  tried very   hard   to  find  a  post  retirement  job , but  was  not  successful, so  she  is  returning  home   mid-August.

In May  we  celebrated  10  year  old  Simran 's  birthday. She  is  my   cousin' s   daughter. They  have  a dysfunctional  family. Her father  was  not  even  home  for  her  birthday.  We   are  praying  for  this  family  to  be  saved.

Last  week  on July 21st we celebrated  Auntie  Maya 's  73rd  birthday. For  lunch  I  made  a dumpling  curry  called   KADHI.  We  were  expecting  her  family  and  friends to  visit   in  the evening  so  I  got  the  house   ready  and arranged  for   snacks  and   cold  drinks. Auntie is  suffering  from 5  kinds  of  medical  problems   and  is  on  a  restricted  diet.

It was  a very  hot  and   humid  day (like   today)  and  I  was  extremely   exhausted.
Her  son   said  they  would   bring a home made  packed  dinner   eat  with  us, so  I  also  made   CHOLE  PANEER (with  cottage  cheese). And  kheer  or  rice  pudding  for  dessert. (Check   out  the  recipe  links)

It rained  heavily  that  afternoon.  Out   first  visitors  were  Diana   and  her  son  Ben. They  are  Americans. Di  is  married  to  the  brother  of  Auntie 's   son-in-law. Lovely   Christians. I  meet  them  occasionally. Di  brought  Auntie  a  lovely  eggless  cake  and  sugar free  cookies  and  a bouquet. They  sat   for   an  hour  and  a  half while  it  poured  outside. We  had  a good   time.

It  rained  so  hard   the  streets  got  flooded and  so  for a  while  we   thought    Auntie 's  son  and daughter and  their  families  would   not  be  able  to  come.  But   they  did  come  a  bit  late  after   the  downpour  abated  and  we  had  a  second  round   of  celebration. Her  daughter  brought  steamed   savoury  snack  called  DHOKLA

Auntie' s daughter-in-law  brought   us   dinner,  but   i was disappointed  that  they  did  not   eat  with  us. I  had   cooked  lots of   food.It  sort of  hurt  me   too. But  they  are  known   to decline eating outside  their  home. Strange  behaviour.

In  all  cultures   eating  together  has   great  value  and it  brings  friends  and families   together. One   feels  hurt  when  a meal  is  rejected. Remember  the  parable  of  Jesus  .   Luke 14:12 -24   A  rich  nobleman invited  his  friends   for  a banquet and all   of them made  lame  excuses not  to  attend. So  he  directed  his  servants  to  bring  in   the  lame, lost  and   poor  from  the  streets . These  so called  rejects  of  society became  his  honored   guests.

This  story   is  interpreted in  various  ways.
God  invites  us  to  be   part  of  his  family  and have  fellowship with him, but   if  we  reject  his   invite, he  will  call  others, maybe those whom we  don 't deem  worthy.

God   gave  the  nation  of  Israel a  special status of  being  his chosen people,  they  spurned  the Messiah, Jesus  ,his Son,   and  now  the invitation is  open  to  all  people  of  the  earth. They  are other  deeper interpretations  of  this   story  , but  I won 't  go  into  those. You  can  share   your  views  on  this  if  you  like ,  I am interested  in  knowing them.

The  birthday  girl  with  her  eldest 
grand daughter Alisha
Auntie, Diana,  Ben  and  Mama

I  wanted  to  take  some pictures 
but  as  I  was  getting up  to  it,  a
friend  called  me  and while  I was talking  to her 
all  the guests  left.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Sunday Blessings - Ezekiel 3;15

 Living  in  a  broken  fragmented  and  bleeding  world  I  want  to  be  an Ezekiel  3;15  person. Read  this  story  from  Joni  Eareskson Tada

Sit Where Others Sit

"I came to the exiles who lived at Tel Abib near the Kebar Rivers. And there, where
they were living, I sat among them for seven days - overwhelmed."
- Ezekiel 3:15

After a recent speaking engagement, a mentally handicapped man who was wearing thick
glasses and baggy trousers trotted up and gave me a big hug. We talked as he stood
next to me, twisting his necktie with his finger. I asked about his church and his
friends. Out of nowhere, he smiled, stuck out his chest and said, "Ezekiel 3:15...
that's what I like about my friends!"

It seemed a strange thing to say, so I asked him what is so special about the verse.
He proudly quoted it:
"I came to the exiles who lived at Tel Abib near the Kebar Rivers. And there, where
they were living, I sat among them for seven days - overwhelmed" (Ezekiel 3:15).

I gave him a strange look. He explained, "Don't you get it? 'I sat among them.'
And, wow, for seven days!"
A light dawned. "O-o-o-o-h," I said. "I get it. You are pleased that your friends
sit with you and get down on your level, right? And they try to see things from
your perspective, the way you see them." He nodded enthusiastically and went on
to remind me that the captives in Ezekiel's time must have really appreciated friends
who would sit down with them seven whole days. That was a long time to be feeling
someone else's hurts.

As that mentally handicapped man walked away, I gained a new appreciation for how
much the smallest of verses can help. Who would have dreamed that Ezekiel 3:15 would
have anything to do with instructing friends on the fine art of compassion and empathy.

Lord, help me to get down on the level of those who hurt today. Help me to show
a little empathy for those in need. You did it... Ezekiel did it... the friends
of that handicapped man do it every day. And I can do it, too.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Wisdom From India- Buddhism

Just  like  eating  pizza  with a  tandoori chicken topping,  post  modernism offers  a mish  mash mix  of  all  kinds  of  philosophies  served  in  a  viable and  attractive   form,  just  take   what  suits  you  and leave  the rest  sort  of   format. Here  east meets  west and  creates a new  color or  genre which  is  almost  foreign to  the  east  where  the  thinking  or  philosophy  might  have  originated.

Take  for  example the post modern  yoga  which  is  being marketed  to the  West by  techno  and  business savvy  gurus.It is  very  different  from  the  classic  yoga  as  it  is  known in India. And  so  it  is  with  the  other  religions   and  philosophies being  exported  for  western  consumption.

Noted  Indian philosopher,  author and speaker  of International  acclaim, Vishal  Mangalwadi , discusses  some  of  these  topics . I  will  share   some  of  his   short  videos.

I  am reading his  book called  The  book that   Changed  Your  World (see side bar).

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Sunday Blessings -He Is At My Right Hand

My   boast is  in  the Lord.  He  helped  me overcome  the  unpleasant  conflict  I  wrote  about  in  my  last  post.
I  could   not  sleep  that  night  and  spent  time   reading  Scripture  verses  and  praying, in which  I  found  solace.  Past  midnight  I  emailed  a  friend  and  received  a  comforting  reply from her. In  times   like  these  one  is  in  need  of  just  one  person  who  says  they  understand what  you  are  going  through.
Jesus  is  our  Wonderful Counsellor. He  is  our  Prince  of  Peace.  This  I  experienced in  those  troublesome hours.

The  next  morning my devotional  from Experiencing God  Day by Day   by Henry  and Richard  Blackaby was  written  just   for  me. I want  to  share  it  with  you

He Is at Your Right Hand

Daily Devotional for Friday, July 15th, 2011

I have set the LORD always before me; Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved. Psalm 16:8

What does it mean to set the Lord always before you? It means that you choose to relate everything you encounter to your trust in God. What you choose to focus on becomes the dominant influence in your life. You may be a Christian, but if your focus is always on your problems, your problems will determine the direction of your life. If your focus is on people, then people will determine what you think and do. In biblical times, the right hand was the most distinguished position, reserved for one’s chief adviser and supporter. When you choose to focus on Christ, you invite Him to take the most important position in your life as Counselor and Defender. Every time you face a new experience, you should turn to Christ for His interpretation and strength. When people insult you and mistreat you, you should seek direction from your Counselor regarding the right response. When you face a crisis, you should receive strength from the One at your right hand. When you experience need, you should consult your Counselor before you react. When you face a fearful situation, you should take courage from the Advocate at your right hand. Everything you do is in the context of your relationship to Christ. What an incredible act of God’s grace that Christ should stand beside you to guide you and counsel you and defend you! How could you ever become dismayed over your situation with Christ at your right hand? What confidence this should give you!

On  July 15th  Aunt  Maya went  to  her  son 's  place
for  dinner  to  celebrate  her  daughter in law 's  birthday. She  spent  the  night   there and  returned  the next day.Her  son  and DIL   came  to  drop her  off and the  first words  my  cousin said to  me  were,  'Congratulations my  mother  is  a  different  person
since she  has  started  living   with you."
The  said  they all noticed   how  happy  and relaxed  Auntie  seems, her   grand daughters said  ; Dadi has
become  disciplined and  more  conscious of  her  health   needs.
This  family  was  estranged  from  us   for  several years for no fault  of ours.We  tried  to  communicate with  them, but  never  got a  proper  response.But  Auntie always stood  by us.Her  presence  here is  refreshing  our relationship too. And  Auntie  is  specially  pleased about  it.
Again  I  am  so  humbled by  this. My boast is  in  the  Lord. To God be  the  glory.

Please pray for little Chandi

This  6  year old  child  is  the  daughter of a  couple
who  attends  our  church.  They  were  baptize d in  March. Chandi won the  first prize in  her  Vacation Bible  classes  in May.
These  days  a  spirit  of  fear  has  taken  hold  of this  lively little  girl  who  is  so   full  of  life   and  energy and  I"ve  never  seen  she  back  out  from  anything.
These days  she  is scared  of  stepping  out  of  her  house  and at  night  she  says  she  sees  someone standing at  the  door  of their  house.
This is  the work of  the enemy of  our  souls.
A spiritual battle.
Please  pray  for Chandi and her parents  Rajendra
and  Anu-raada.
God  bless you.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Haters of Good

We  are  living  in  a  very  violent  world. Hatred, like  garbage is  strewn across the  earth  invading  our  lives  and consciousness with its  stench  and disruption.

I  awoke to  news  of  different  kinds  of  violence.
Three  serial  bomb  blasts  in Mumbai , yesterday July 13th and a  news report of  an innocent  Pastor and  his  wife  being  beaten up and persecuted  for the  sake  of  Christ, in  the western part of  my  state.

In  the  evening I had  to  stand  up  to verbal resistance  from  Jags who is  our  church helper. He  is  a  good   man  but   suffers  bad  moods . I  try to overlook this  as he  does   a  lot  of  good.

All  this   disturbed  me  quite  a  bit  but   along   came  Milka (Pastor 's  daughter) who  wanted  my  help  with  her  English  assignments, letter  writing  and  a news  report. That  eased  my  mind.

She  told  me  something which  really  amused   me. Two  days  ago I  helped  her  with another  English  assignment. Her teacher was  so  pleased  with it  that  she  dictated it  to  the  entire   class  to  note  down. Har-har!
Coming back to what  I  was   writing  about .The  devil  is  not  at  rest  my  friends. He is  assaulting  the  earth in many  forms be  it terrorism,   angry  blood thirsty  mobs or  a  subordinate whom  you  have  to  deal  with  everyday.

The  Bible  gives a very  accurate  account to  today' s  world .

1But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money,proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. 2  Timothy 3;1-5

Read  these  2  news  reports.  The  first one  is  from  the  BBC

Three near-simultaneous explosions have shaken India's commercial capital

Mumbai (Bombay), police say,
Twenty-one people were killed and 113 injured, said Maharashtra state's Chief Minister, Prithviraj Chavan
He called the explosions, during Mumbai's busy evening rush-hour, "a co-ordinated attack by terrorists"
One explosion was reported in the Zaveri Bazaar, another in the Opera House business district and a third in Dadar district in the city centre.

Police sources were reported as saying the explosions were caused by home-made bombs.

The attacks are the deadliest in Mumbai since November 2008 when 10 gunmen launched a three-day co-ordinated raid in which 166 people were killed  

At the scene
Zubair Ahmed
BBC News, Mumbai

Dadar is one of the old areas of Mumbai, in the middle of the city. The blast here happened in a very crowded area with lots of shops and residential buildings.
The blast here was not powerful. Police have said the explosion in Zaveri Bazaar was stronger.

Police say the timing of the blast - 1900 - is significant. This was the height of the evening rush hour - it was designed to cause maximum panic and casualties.
One person asked why Mumbai is always the target of attacks.
However, many of the people gathered here now are merely onlookers curious to see what has happened. People have come from nearby areas to see what is going on.
There is no evidence of real panic here
But in other parts of the city, the story is grimmer. There is panic and people are rushing back home.

Anger and curiosity in Mumbai

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh denounced the bombings and appealed to Mumbai residents "to remain calm and show a united face".

US President Barack Obama strongly condemned the "outrageous" attacks, and offered "support to India's efforts to bring the perpetrators of these terrible crimes to justice".

High alert

The latest explosions hit the city as workers were making their way home.

The first struck the Zaveri Bazaar at 1854 (1324 GMT), tearing through the famed jewellery market, according to police. A minute later, a second blast hit the busy business district of Opera House, in the south of the city. At 1905, the third bomb exploded in the Dadar area of central Mumbai.

Because the explosions occurred within minutes of each other, "we infer that this was a co-ordinated attack by terrorists", Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram told reporters.

Mumbai had been put on a state of high alert and a commando team was standing by, he said. Delhi, the capital, Calcutta and several other cities have also been put on alert.

Forensics teams have been sent from Delhi and Hyderabad to examine the explosion sites.

The majority of Mumbai's people live in slums, and millions live on the streets. This cannot make for a very happy place and the city's 'resilient spirit' has now become the cruellest Indian cliche

Soutik Biswas
BBC News, Delhi
The authorities have not yet said who they believe might be behind the explosions and no group has said it carried them out.

In Zaveri Bazaar, witnesses described a motorcycle exploding next to a jewellery shop. Mumbai Police Commissioner Arup Patnaik said a bomb had been left in an abandoned umbrella.

Photographer Rutavi Mehta told the BBC he was shopping nearby and heard the explosion. He grabbed his camera and ran to the scene.

"I took a couple of photographs. I think they might be too graphic for broadcast," he said.

"Bodies and limbs were strewn everywhere. People were crying and screaming. The area was packed with shoppers at the time of the blast. A few offered assistance to the blood-soaked victims, while others looked on in a state of shock," he said.

"It was totally chaos. There were pools of blood everywhere."

The second and most powerful blast was in the nearby Opera House district. Local media said it was planted inside the two-storey Prasad Chamber building.

Mumbai has been targeted many times in recent years, most notably in 2008 In the central Dadar district, the bomb tore apart a taxi that was parked next to a bus stop, witnesses told the BBC. It was unclear whether the explosives were planted inside the vehicle or in a nearby electricity meter box.

"I heard a loud explosion. And then I saw people with serious injuries lying in pools of blood," another person told the Times of India.

An unexploded bomb was also reportedly been found in Dadar.

The choice of locations makes it clear that the blasts were intended to cause maximum casualties, says the BBC's Soutik Biswas in Delhi.
But footage of one of the blast sites - a ripped-off cover of a bus shelter and a car with its glass shattered - points to a medium-level and possibly crude explosion, adds our correspondent.

According to some reports, the blasts came on the birthday of Mohammad Ajmal Amir Qasab, the sole surviving gunman from the 2008 attacks. But court records show his birthday to be in September.

Those attacks, which targeted two high-end hotels, a busy train station, a Jewish centre and other sites frequented by foreigners, were blamed on the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group.

Pakistan was quick to condemn the latest explosions, in a statement issued by the foreign ministry.
Peace talks between Pakistan and India have only recently resumed since they were broken off after the 2008 attacks.
Mumbai has been targeted many times in recent years.

As well as the 2008 attacks, co-ordinated blasts on seven of the city's trains on 11 July 2006 caused massive loss of life. More than 180 people were killed and hundreds wounded in those bombings, which were blamed on Islamist militants.

The city suffered four bomb attacks during 2003, including twin blasts on 25 August 2003 which killed 52 people.

In 1993, 257 people were killed and 700 injured in a series of 12 bomb blasts across the city. The attacks were allegedly ordered by the Muslim-dominated underworld in retaliation for Hindu-Muslim riots.

July 13, 2011:

Pastor, Wife Beaten in Uttar Pradesh

On 3 July, an angry mob accused Pastor John C.V Samuel from Assembly of
God's Church (AGC) of forceful conversion, beat him up and his wife in
Manpuri, Uttar Pradesh
The incident took place when Pastor Samuel, his wife and some believers went
to attend the burial service of Anil Saxena, who attended Pastor Samuel's
church for the past two years. Saxena committed suicide on Saturday night
after he had an argument with his father, reported our correspondent.
The angry mob suddenly rushed on the pastor and his wife, mercilessly beat
them up and falsely accused them of forceful conversion and of being the
cause of Saxena's death.

Saxena's wife intervened and told the mob that they went to the church by
their own free will and nobody has forced them.
The pastor's wife called the police by phone. The police arrived at the
scene and rescued the couple from the angry mob and took them to the
Pushpanjali Hospital, Agra where they were admitted.

Area Christian leaders submitted a police complaint but no actions have been
taken at press time.

Kindly pray for Pastor Samuel and his family and for peace in the area

An Appeal to write to Authorities

As concerned people, kindly write to the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh
appealing to them to safe guard the rights of the minority communities and
to give protection to churches against attacks and to take immediate action
against the perpetrators of violence.

Kumari Mayawati
Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh
(O) Tel: (522) 2239296
(O) Fax: (522) 2239234
(R) Tel: (522) 221122
(R) Fax: (522) 220550

Issued By:
Rev. Dr. Richard Howell,
General Secretary
Evangelical Fellowship of India
New Delhi, India
Evangelical Fellowship of India (established 1951) is a charter member of
World Evangelical Alliance, an accredited NGO with the Economic and Social
Council of the United Nations
Please  pray  for  me.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Street Food in a North Indian City

I  saw  this  video featuring  street  food  in  the  old  and  very  congested  part  of my  city (Allahabad) I  come  here   sometimes  to  buy  spices  and  groceries.  These  two  guys  from  the  TV  show,  Highway On  My Platter are  travelling  all over  India  exploring  all  kinds of   eating  places  from  roadside  dhabas  (kiosks) to  moderately  priced   restaurants. They  have  published  a  very  delectable   book by  the  same  name which I  wish  to  buy.
 This   is  the  famous  Loke-Nath  street.

Today' s newspaper  tells  me  that   eating  hot  spicy  curries can  help  one  lose weight.  Scientists   say  that  cayenne  pepper,  the   key  ingredient  in  hot  curries  raises    body  temperature which helps  burn  calories (Daily  Express). They   also  found  that  appetite  levels  decreased in  subsequent  meals.
Well  , I  like  a   hot  green  chili  or  two  with  my food.
Hope   that  helps me  shed  a  few pounds.
But  too   much  spicy  and hot   food  can  give  you   stomach  ulcers ,  moderation  should  be  exercised.

We' ve  had  rain showers  now  and  then with stretches of  hot  and  humid  days.
Our   garden  and   church campus   is  sprouting wild  grass  and  shrubs.  Its  a  struggle  to  keep  it   clean and  under  control.

Sin  and  short comings  sprout  up  in  our  hearts  and  we  have to  spot  them  and  root  them out  before  they  take  root.

We  have   a promise  in the  BIBLE

For  sin  shall   not have dominion over  you;  for you  are  not  under  the  law  but  under  grace.

Romans 6:14

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Sunday Blessings - Because YOU Prayed

Because YOU Prayed

God  touched  our  weary  bodies  with  His  power
And gave  us strength for many a  trying  hour
In which we  might have faltered ,had not you,
Our  intercessors  faithful been  and true.

God touched our eager  fingers  with skill,
Enabling us to do His  blessed will.
With scalpel,suture, bandage;better still
He healed  the  sick,the wounded, cured  the ill.

God  touched our lips with coal from altar fire,
Gave Spirit fullness,and did so  inspire,
That when we spoke , sin blinded souls did see;
Sins chains were broken,captives were made free.

The "dwellers in the dark" have found the  Light
The glad Good News  has   banished  heathen  night.
The message  of the cross  so long delayed
Has brought  them life  at   last- because  you prayed.

(author unknown)
 Such  a  beautiful poem from  an  old Back to  the  Bible  publication I rediscovered. Don' t  underestimate  the  power  and  reach  of  prayer.

(standing) Ameeta,& Indraish, Benalin and Barun
(seated) My  mother and Aunt Maya
This  weekend  we  had  many  visitors.
Saturday  morning my Dad 's   colleague  and  friend, Mr  Panday  dropped  by  after ages. He  78 years old  and doesn' t  get around  too  much because  of arthritris. He  is  a Hindu  man but never  forgets  to  phone  at  Christmas  and New Years. When my  phone number  changed , he   could not   contact  us and  I  didn' t have   his  number  too. Now  we  have  exchanged  numbers  so  we  can  call up  once in a while. We had  a good  time  recalling old  times, catching up  on  news   and  just  chatting.

After Panday Uncle  left a  group  of  4  young  people  came. Ameeta and  her  husband  work at the  Christian  University  and  Benalin and Barun are  missionaries  among collge  students. Aunt  Maya  is my  Mom 's  widowed  sister in law. She had  to  vacate   her  rented  apartment.

Her  son and daughter' s  homes are  too small and their life  style too  busy so  she  has requested   if she  can  stay  with  us   till she   finds  a suitable  place   for herself.  I have already  stored some  of  her  stuff  in my   storeroom. The type  of  housing  she  is  looking  for is  cheap  and close to  her  son  and daughter ( both  married with families) because  she  has  many medical  problems  and  illnesses.
I  could  not  turn  down her request because  she   says  she  feels  more  free  and  relaxed  in  our  home  than anywhere  else. We  embrace  her  with  the love  of  Christ. Although  having  another  ailing person in the  house  is  not  easy for me.
But I  want  to  continue our family  tradition of opening our  humble home  as  a  haven and  oasis for  whoever  needs  it. Do pray for us.

Coming  back to our  weekend  visitors.
Today  while  I   was in church I  got  news  that  my  friend  Poonam  had  arrived  by  train  from  another   city. She  comes   occasionally   on  weekends for a  business  meeting. I  came home  home  to  find   she  had  already showered  and had  a cold drink. She  didn 't  want  breakfast  as  she  was in  a   hurry  for  her  appointment and  then  catch  a  train back,  although I  saved lunch for her.

Just  as we  started  making   lunch ( a  paneer  -cottage cheese curry and  lentil  and rice) when  family came  by. Thomas  is   a  professor   at the Christian Univeristy and  Annie  is  a  housewife at   the  moment.  It  was  so  good   to  see  them  .  I  was  specially  over joyed  when  Annie   remarked  that   she  noticed   I  ha d lost   quite  a  bit   of  weight  since she last  saw  me  in  March....about   6  or  7  kigs or  12 to  14  pounds. That 's  a  huge   compliment   for   me. I  am  working  on losing  more  weight.

 They told   us  that their  church  is  interested  in renting our  church  hall  for their  services. Sounds   good  to us  and  we  will be  working  on  that.
A lot  more   happened  but these  are  the  highlights.
These  flowers   are  blooming   in  a corner  of  our   rose  bed. I  don 't   know   what  they  are  called  and
how  they came up.

Have   a  good  day.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Dress Up Your Pets as Celebrities

I  found  these  photos  on  the Amusing  Planet  website.
Can  you  identify  who they  are?
I  think I  can  guess the  first  one. I  can  sniff  Lady  Gaga and  Che  Guevara in  there,or  maybe  a  royal  face  or  two.

Hats  off  to  creative  artists  everywhere.
In  today 's  Hindustan  Times  newspaper I  read  an  article  about an Indian film maker called  Mani Kaul. He  has  been   described  as  an iconoclastic, uncompromising, individualistic  filmmaker. He  was  not  found  in the  glitzy  world  of  Bollywood.

He said (the  newspaper quotes)
“A new thought — that is the purpose of my films,” he said. “If the film is to show you something that is already known, not only by the filmmaker but also by the audience, where will it lead us?” Television for him was anathema. “The world we are exposed to on television is killing the capacity of wanting to understand. It feeds you… as if you have no capacity for chewing … What food is to the stomach, thought is to the mind.” What would he have to say about the world today and the information overload that leaves no time for boredom, boredom out of which imagination takes wing?

The  electronic  entertainment is  dulling  our  senses and  whitewashing   our   imagination.  I  want   enough  boredom to  fire   my  imagination.

We  have  crossed  the  mid way  point  of  2011
A  good  time to  review  the  past  and  pray  an d plan  for  the  future.
We  may  look  back with  anger, regret  and  sorrow.
Or satisfaction, joy and  nostalgia.
Whatever  it  is  remember  God is  in  control no  matter how  careless and  disorganized  the  course  of  life  may appear  to  be.
There  is  a  short  prayer  in the   Bible which says,
"Teach us  to number our  days that  we  may  apply our  hearts  unto wisdom. Psalm 90;12
I always  wondered  what  is  the need  to  number  or  count  our days. And  why  do  we  need   God 's help  for  that. I found  the  answer.
We  need to know  the  course , life  is  taking  us  through , and accept  the  seasons  of  life, and also appreciate the  changing colors  of  life. This  can be  only done  by  wisdom from above.
This  reminds  me  of a  telephonic  conversation my brother in law  Prem had  ,a few  years  ago with  a relative who is younger  than  him.
The 30 something man finding himself  brimming   with vitality and  the exilir of  youth asked Prem his  age. Prem said he  was in  his  early  40s.
"Oh",said  the ticklish  thirties,'  Your  days  are   numbered. You must  be  growing  bald and  weak and  your  eye sight  must  be   dimming, and  your teeth  falling  out?"
No sir , he  was  not joking this Benjamin Button in the   making.
But we  all had  a  good  laugh at him after Prem put the phone down.
After a few  years  later  Mr Benjamin Button suffered  a slipped  disc from  which  he has never  recovered  fully. He was  bed ridden for a long time and his  poor wife  had to  nurse  him like  a child. He  also  turned  his  back to God and  his  family  suffered  immensely.
Whereas my  brother  Prem, never  had any major health problem. He has  progressed  in his  job  and  career and  is  greatly  loved  by all who  know  him. People  see Christ  in him.
So, self assurance, arrogance  and  smugness did not  lead  this  man  anywhere.
You may be  surprised   but there are  people  like  that
in our  world today.
Vegetable  prices  have  jumped  up in  the past  few  days. I have  to number/count  my  pennies  too. Ha-Ha!
Have  a  good  weekend  everyone.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

India ranks 4th among the world most dangerous countries for women in the world

The  litany of perils for  Indian women  runs long.Murder,  rape, trafficking, abuse female foetuses  are  aborted   and  the  girl child  is   either  killed  or abandoned. Women in India  are  living  very  insecure  lives more so  single  women like  me.
Although India  has  made phenomenal progress  in the  field of  economic growth, education and  technology the  Indian  women has  been left  to  hide  her  face  in a  tattered  sari fearing  for  her  life.
All  this  in  a  country which  has  produced  outstanding women statesmen (if  I  may  say  so). Our  President  is  a  woman,  we  have several  women state  governors (chief  ministers) diplomats,   scientists  ,   fighter  pilots and  athletes etc.
The answer lies in  the  social-religious  world view of  my  countrymen. The  century old traditions incarcerate  women within  the  courtyard of  the  house.

The  status of   women improved with  the advent  of  Christianity and  western  influence. This  we  owe  to  our  colonists.

Crime  against  women  is  on   the  rise  in my  state  of Uttar Pradesh.  Women are  feeling  more  and more insecure  unsafe and vulnerable. It  is  worse for  a  single  woman  like  me. The  police  had  turned  rogue  in  my  state and  many  times  they  are  the  perpetrators  of crimes  against society. We  are  a very  ill-governed  state.  God 's  mercy  is  upon  us.
Here  are  2  stories  from the  news
STORY  # 1

(These  paintings are  by MF Hussain 's
India 's  Picasso who recently died  in London
at the  age  of  95.
The last  painting is  entitled Mother Theresa)
Here  is   a report  from  The  Hindustan Times
Female foeticide, infanticide and human trafficking make India the world's 4th most dangerous country for women, with Afghanistan's violence and poverty taking it to the top spot, followed by Congo due to horrific levels of rape, a Thomson Reuters Foundation expert poll said on Wednesday.

Pakistan and Somalia ranked third and fifth, respectively, in the global survey of perceptions of threats ranging from domestic abuse and economic discrimination to female foeticide, genital mutilation and acid attacks.

"Ongoing conflict, NATO airstrikes and cultural practices combined make Afghanistan a very dangerous place for women," said Antonella Notari, head of Women Change Makers, a group that supports women social entrepreneurs around the world. "In addition, women who do attempt to speak out or take on public roles that challenge ingrained gender stereotypes of what's acceptable for women to do or not, such as working as policewomen or news broadcasters, are often intimidated or killed."

The poll by TrustLaw (, a legal news service run by Thomson Reuters Foundation, marked the launch of its new TrustLaw Women section, a global hub of news and information on women's legal rights. TrustLaw asked 213 gender experts from five continents to rank countries by overall perceptions of danger as well as by six risks.

The risks were health threats, sexual violence, non-sexual violence, cultural or religious factors, lack of access to resources and trafficking.

Some experts said the poll showed that subtle dangers such as discrimination that don't grab headlines are sometimes just as significant risks for women as bombs, bullets, stonings and systematic rape in conflict zones. "I think you have to look at all the dangers to women, all the risks women and girls face," said Elisabeth Roesch, who works on gender-based violence for the International Rescue Committee in Washington.

"If a woman can't access healthcare because her healthcare isn't prioritised, that can be a very dangerous situation as well."

Afghanistan emerged as the most dangerous country for women overall and worst in three of the six risk categories: health, non-sexual violence and lack of access to economic resources. Respondents cited sky-high maternal mortality rates, limited access to doctors and a near total lack of economic rights.

Afghan women have a one in 11 chance of dying in childbirth, according to UNICEF.

Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), still reeling from a 1998-2003 war and accompanying humanitarian disaster that killed 5.4 million people, came second mainly due to staggering levels of sexual violence in the lawless east. More than 400,000 women are raped in the country each year, according to a recent study by US researchers.

The United Nations has called Congo the rape capital of the world. "Statistics from DRC are very revealing on this: ongoing war, use of rape as a weapon, recruitment of females as soldiers who are also used as sex slaves," said Clementina Cantoni, a Pakistan-based aid worker with ECHO, the European Commission's humanitarian aid department.

"The fact that the government is corrupt and that female rights are very low on the agenda means that there is little or no recourse to justice." Rights activists say militia groups and soldiers target all ages, including girls as young as three and elderly women. They are gang-raped, raped with bayonets and have guns shot into their vaginas.

Pakistan ranked third largely on the basis of cultural, tribal and religious practices harmful to women. These include acid attacks, child and forced marriage and punishment or retribution by stoning or other physical abuse. "Pakistan has some of the highest rates of dowry murder, so-called honour killings and early marriage," said Divya Bajpai, reproductive health advisor at the International HIV/AIDS Alliance.

Some 1,000 women and girls die in honour killings annually, according to Pakistan's Human Rights Commission.

India ranked fourth primarily due to female foeticide, infanticide and human trafficking. In 2009, India's then home secretary Madhukar Gupta estimated that 100 million people, mostly women and girls, were involved in trafficking in India that year.

"The practice is common but lucrative so it goes untouched by government and police," said Cristi Hegranes, founder of the Global Press institute, which trains women in developing countries to be journalists.

India's Central Bureau of Investigation estimated that in 2009 about 90% of trafficking took place within the country and that there were some 3 million prostitutes, of which about 40% were children.

In addition to sex slavery, other forms of trafficking include forced labour and forced marriage, according to a US State Department report on trafficking in 2010. The report also found slow progress in criminal prosecutions of traffickers.

Up to 50 million girls are thought to be "missing" over the past century due to female infanticide and foeticide, the UN Population Fund says. Some experts said the world's largest democracy was relatively forthcoming about describing its problems, possibly casting it in a darker light than if other countries were equally transparent about trafficking.

Somalia ranked fifth due to a catalogue of dangers including high maternal mortality, rape and female genital mutilation, along with limited access to education, healthcare and economic resources.

"I'm completely surprised because I thought Somalia would be first on the list, not fifth," Somali women's minister Maryan Qasim told TrustLaw. "The most dangerous thing a woman in Somalia can do is to become pregnant. When a woman becomes pregnant her life is 50-50 because there is no antenatal care at all. There are no hospitals, no healthcare, no nothing."

"Add to that the rape cases that happen on a daily basis, the female genital mutilation that is being done to every single girl in Somalia. Add to that the famine and the drought. Add to that the fighting (which means) you can die any minute, any day."

Poll respondents included aid professionals, academics, health workers, policymakers, journalists and development specialists.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Sunday Blessings - I Thirst

In  March I  had  the  privilege to  visiting  
the  Mother  Teresa Home  in  our  city. I  have  been  there  before and this  time  I had my
nephew Ashish and  his  friend  Megan  with  me.

In Mother Teresa  Homes  all over  the  world
the  chapel altar is  adorned  by  the 
words  of  Jesus, "I  thirst".
Mary Poplin in her book Finding  Calcutta writes,
"to me, the letters (Mother  Teresa 's)
matched  the  fathomless otherworldly  longing
always present in her  eyes even when she was smiling.
When I was there,  I felt the thing most revealed
the secret behind that look was the
phrase emblazoned on the wall  next to the  crucifix
in everyone of her order 's chapels world-wide.
I thirst.  Jesus was  thirsting for  the  souls  of the poorest of the  poor. Mother  was thirsting for more  of him."

What  a heart-stopping  thought.
Am I thirsty for  Jesus?
Do I long to bring people  to  the Master 's feet.
What  am I  doing to quench
the Lord 's  thirst?

The courtyard

I love this  beautiful sheltering  tree
in  the  courtyard.
So symbolic of the shelter and shade
needy and abandoned children receive
in this house.

People are  generally  not  allowed  to
take photos inside the  house.
But I personally   know the 
sister in-charge. She  has come
to my church for children 's
programs, so she graciously
permitted me to take a few  snaps.
We could not photograph the children
so I  took  photos of their posters on the wall.
We had  taken some cookies  and candy  for  the  children
Sister told us  there were about  150 children housed
in this facility. The older  ones  were away at  school.
But  we saw the babies  and  tiny tots many of them  very  ill  and  disabled being taken care of.
My heart was  filled  with reverence  and wonder
at the compassion and service  of this
 hallowed  house.

Mother 's  Memorial

Ashish and Megan

The entrance of the  Home.

This  is the  St Peter 's Church
We  have  many relatives  and  friends  here.

Have  a  lovely  week  everybody.
I want to wish my American friends 
a very Happy  4th of July