40 Years in America
Everyday Living is a Challenge in India
New Delhi, India
During the course of a business conversation at headquarters, I heard my friend casually say, "And would you like to know your chosen city for the 40-day witnessing condition?" I eagerly said, "Yes!" and then quickly, internally, braced myself! "Delhi, India" came the reply. INDIA! What a surprise. Both before and after joining the Church, I had desired to travel and work in other countries, but somehow India was never a country that beckoned to me.
Although the actuality of going to this far-away land at first seemed very difficult, I felt deep in my heart that I must go, no matter what. With the support of my husband and children, I proceeded to make preparations. Even my physical father, who was somewhat surprised, said to me, "Well, we know you are in Godís hands." After some briefing from long-time missionaries to India, Robert and Theresa Kittel, I packed my bags, filling up the last bit of space with warm used clothing that could be given away, and was on my way.
The plane arrived in the airport in the early morning hours and I was happy to be welcomed by David McLackland, the husband of the new Regional Director for the South Asia region.
Welcome to India!
We piled into a taxi and headed for the center. After just a short distance, the engine sputtered and died. The taxi driver lit a match to check the fuel gauge which must have been on empty, as he flagged down another taxi and borrowed a bottle of petrol from him. We continued on to the nearest gas station, most of the time without headlights in order to economize on gas or something! A shortcut to the gas station meant going the wrong way on a divided street, with headlights coming towards us and horns honking! I got out a traffic complaint card and started waving it around, even though no one could see it in the dark, and knew that only by Godís grace would we ever make it to the center. David, luckily, kept his composure, saying with a chuckle, "Welcome to India!í
That evening, David and his wife Ursela, were invited to a reception at the Soviet Embassy to celebrate the anniversary of the "Glorious Revolution." I went with them and joined in the festivities there, shaking hands with the Soviet ambassador to India.
Thus began a very interesting pioneer experience. Probably the first realization I had was how much pioneering had already taken place, and the many difficulties the missionaries must have faced. In addition, there are such a myriad of details that one automatically deals with in everyday life, but which are complicated by being a foreigner.
Secondly, as a foreigner, and especially as a woman alone, I received many stares in what appeared to be a manís world. As I write this, I have been in Delhi for almost 40 days -- during this time having gotten used to the stares -- and have met many warmly hospitable Indian families. As I go door to door, inviting people to our German language class, or just over to the center, I am often invited in for tea, which gives opportunities for more conversation. It is always a challenge to know what to say to touch the hearts of these people whose religions are not so familiar, but itís quite easy to have friendly conversation.
Since I arrived here, the McLacklands found a larger house that will accommodate their family plus a Japanese family and a video center, so we moved! They had worked in Thailand where video centers have been very effective in conveying our message. Entertaining films such as "Oh God" and Biblical movies also drew much attention. The Indian people love videos, so we have great hope for this medium here.
It has been almost overwhelming for me to see the many problems in a developing country, and to fight the anger and tears that overcome one at times at seeing the difficulties of the suffering multitudes. (The population in India is increasing by one million per month!) Working here has also been inspiring and I feel Iím receiving so much more than I am able to give; I am very grateful to God and True Parents for this experience. I pray that this very small condition can help in some way to bring this nation and the world one step closer to restoration and help relieve Godís suffering heart.
Download entire page and pages related to it in ZIP format
Table of Contents