Friday, September 10, 2010

Tree House

We recently visited some friends in Bangalore, which is a large city about an overnight train ride away from Chennai, most well known for being the headquarters of Microsoft in India. We went because our friends there are practicing the kind of devotion to Christ that we are interested in learning about here in India. I came into the weekend thinking that I would walk away with some great spiritual encounter and a lot of informed theology. I thought I would leave with a deeper sense of our purpose here and an action plan of how to move forward.

Instead, I helped build a tree house.

There are 4 kids in this family and the two youngest are boys aged 12 and 8. They had already kind of started the tree house, but soon decided to start over. So, most of the day on Saturday we moved limbs around and tried to tie things together to make it more stable. As always, you have to add on some cool amenities like a climbing rope to the top, and a swing made out of small limbs (which I very proudly designed and built), and mats made of weaved palm leaves. All the while, the father of this family was helping the kids along and getting them whatever supplies they needed. He had no other agenda that weekend, just there to be with his family.

It really got me thinking about God. I've been trying to learn more to see him as my Papa and the one who has no other agenda than to hang out with me and all his other kids. In this dad, I saw a good glimpse of our Papa. It made me think that when the world gets redeemed and Christ comes back, we may be looking for all of our theological questions to be answered and to come to a greater understanding of the world and how things work. It's easy to think that we will sit around all day and be taught by God about all these deep philosophical questions.

I hope some of that happens, but I think we might end up spending a decent amount of our time building tree houses with really cool rope swings.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Time to brag

Last week, Neil told me that there was a function going on at Cognizant (the company where he does accent modification/customer service/corporate etiquette trainings) and that I was invited to come. I wasn't sure why I was invited since I don't do regular trainings, but I figured it was just a matter of providing as many people as possible to represent our company. This morning, we arrive at the function and I slowly start piecing together that this is not what I expected it to be. My suspicions are confirmed when they begin giving out awards. Lo and behold, about 15 minutes in they call Neil's name and he is awarded the "Top Trainer" award in his division. Later, I discovered that this was especially awesome because they determined the winners by going through trainee evaluations and the results they see coming from the trainings. I was (am) so proud! Neil has taken his role as a trainer very seriously. He has a lot of natural gifts in the area, but he has also been faithful to develop what God has already given him. He spends days off working through curriculum, seeks to know each trainee individually, loves getting to spend time with trainees outside of the classroom, frequently shares lunch with them to learn more about their culture and who they are as individuals and most of all he is faithful to pray for each group that comes through. He really cares for each person who comes into his classroom. I'm sure it's obvious by now, but this is one proud wife!

I'm thankful that we serve a God who wants us to draw satisfaction from our work. I'm also thankful that we serve a God who loves us and blesses us with great husbands!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Rotary Club & Starstruck

I (Neil) joined the Rotary Club of Thiruvanmiyur last week. Rotary is actually very international with clubs in over 200 countries. A 'Rotarian' friend from New Albany suggested I look into it. For those unfamiliar, Rotary is a service organization for business men and women, which encourages them to be active in their communities.

I found the club closest to me and go on Tuesday nights when I get back from work. I've found it to be a great place to meet other businessmen and also be aware of what is going on in the community. I had my induction ceremony last week were I got my "Rotary Pin" along with some other goodies. Already, we've been able to connect with some of these guys who definitely have service at their heart and are eager to invite me in.

Here in Chennai, the Rotary Club is very active and always has some sort of event or project going on. Recently, they organized a 6km run for cancer research, and Courtney and I went to it. We got there a bit late (which was actually on time), but found a large gathering going on at the starting gate. There were a bunch of people frantically gathering around someone and cheering loudly. Then, we found out that Vikram was there.

Movie stars are big in the States, but they are crazy huge here. Vikram is a "hero" (leading man) in Tamil and Hindi films, and is also the star of a movie we saw twice called Ravanan. He's pretty much the only celebrity we have any connection to. While I thought it was cool, Courtney thought it was amazing that the one movie star we know was right in front of us and she kept trying to get us closer and closer to him.

I finally asked her, "What are you going to say if we get up to the front?". She said, "I'll say, 'I loved you in Ravanan!', and then leave." It's good to know that India is getting deeper into us and touching that inner 13 year old in us all.