Thursday, February 11, 2010

Back on Base

Team Sherpa is back in New Zealand! Sort of... six of us got in last night (Thursday) and Gabriel and Kaison will be flying in on Sunday night. Their lives for the last few days have consisted of running around between embassies, consulates, police stations and the airport. It is quite the tale. Unfortunately I don't have time to tell it in much detail. We were quite sad to leave them behind at the last minute when we flew out but we have witnessed a succession of mini miracles (mildly supernatural events, as Kaison would call them) since then. They've had some really cool witnessing opportunities while they've been there and Kaison now has the privilege of being the first person that the Mumbai consulate has ever issued an exit stamp to without proof that he entered the country legally. (The funny thing is that we accidentally entered the country illegally the first time and had to cross the border back into Nepal and then back into India again.) It was such a novelty for the Indian government that they even got them to sign the guest book.
As for our half of the team, all of our travels went so smoothly and efficiently. It was great to meet up with two of our other YWAM teams in Bangkok on our 12 hour layover and then all fly back to New Zealand on the same flight.
It's been almost 24 hours since we got back but it still feels kind of surreal. It's like coming home. Everything is so clean and fresh and peaceful. I took a real shower. I washed my laundry. I drank from the tap. I'm breathing air that isn't thick with smog or marijuana. Is this real?
It's Friday afternoon right now and we will be resting all weekend. Monday morning we begin a final week of lectures and preparation for "real" life. I think we're going to need every minute of that.

Monday, February 8, 2010


I just got the latest news from Gabriel. Kaison was able to get his temporary passport but the Indian government will not let Kaison out of the country without a full police report from the station in Hospet. (Which is where he lost his passport.) Hospet is a two day journey from here and not really a feasible option. Also there seems to be some sort of complication with flying out of Mumbai rather than Delhi. Our flight is scheduled to leave in about thirteen hours. Basically, we're praying for a miracle.

Day Fifty Two: Mumbai

Is this seriously our last day in India? According to our plane tickets, yes. But it hasn't quite sunk in yet.
Our travels from Gokarna to Mumbai went about as well as could be expected. We got to try out some new methods of travel that we haven't employed yet. The first, and most exciting by far, was in the back of a jeep to get from Om Beach to the Gokarna train station. From there we caught a general class train to Margao. (Those are the ones you see in the pictures, with all the people hanging off the back. Fortunately it wasn't that crowded.) From there we caught a sixteen hour sleeper bus up to Mumbai. I was pleasantly surprised by how comfortable the bus was. The bunks were several inches too short for me to stretch out fully but they were almost as wide as a twin size bed. I was quite delighted... until I realized that it was meant to be shared by two people and spent the rest of the night squished up against Anthony. (Who's 6'5'', the poor fellow.)
Mumbai is quite a bore. It's big and dirty and somewhat hectic, though it's nothing compared to what we went through up north. We were all glad to only spend one night here. Praise God that Kaison's temporary passport renewal application seems to be going smoothly. (He and Gabriel are still at the consulate right now but last we heard it was going well.) The rest of the crew just took off for a day at the orphanage and I stayed behind to spend my last day in India prayer walking through Mumbai.
We're all going to meet up at the airport at 9:00 pm and fly out at 1:00 am. We have another loooong layover in Bangkok where we will meet up with two of the other YWAM teams and then we will all fly back through Sydney and on to New Zealand together. We should be back in Oxford within the next 48 hours. Please pray for safe travels. (And that no one would get left behind. That always sucks.)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Day Forty Nine: Debrief

Team Sherpa has been reunited! Hurray! The Hampi team surprised us by getting here about eight hours sooner than expected and barging in on our morning devotional time. It was a joyous day and we spent a lot of time sharing stories from the last week and were all very encouraged by the fact that God has so richly blessed our decision to split up last week.
We're still on Om Beach, surprise! (None of the other locations that Nicki, Gabriel and I were checking into worked out so our top-secret debrief location turned out to be right here!)
Today and tomorrow we're having our official "outreach debrief" time. So basically we're attempting to process everything that we've gone through in the last couple of months. It's good to look back over the good times and the bad and see God's hand at work through all of it. Our desire is to see lasting change come out of our time here. Not only in the lives of the people that we've been witnessing to but in our own lives as well.
On Sunday, Lord willing, we'll head up to Mumbai where we'll be spending a little bit more time than expected so that Kaison can figure out his passport details. The rest of us will probably help out at an orphanage that some of Anthony's friends have been working at for a while.
Then, Wednesday at 1:00 am we begin the long journey back to New Zealand for our final week of debrief.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Day Forty Six... ish: Just a Quickie

I'm still alive! Nicki and I have been really busy the last few days working out our final travel and accommodation details. I will try and give more of a full update tomorrow. We're still at Om Beach right now and it has been a really great time. We've been spending lots of time with Roman and Einar. Then, surprise, surprise our friends Lucy and Rachel showed up AGAIN. This time with new friends Jim and Ed from Vancouver. In addition to all that we've gotten word that the other half of our team ran into Sam for the FOURTH time this trip. On my next update I'll try and give more specific details on all these people to pray for. In the meantime, thank God for lots of fruitful ministry and cheap beach huts. Pray that we would be able to work out the travel and accommodation for our final week. (Which has been a huge hassle for the last few days and hasn't quite been resolved yet.)