Hot India

For the first time in my life I had the good luck to visit the remote India. There are a lot of impressions, thoughts, emotions, dreams and plans for the future. I want to share with you a bit of what i had seen in the world of Asia.

Boryspol – Dubai

Maybe I have not been flying so much and have seen only once a drunken Ukrainians in airliner at Ukrainian airlines. A several young couples have left their children at home to have fun and breathe in a little of "freedom." Despite of the constant complaints of other passengers, the stewardesses have failed to calm down to the bitter end "their own people." And I was "lucky" just to sit there surrounded by this company during grueling 5 hours.

The drama ended up with, that one of them, a young man was trying to fall asleep and for several times he sneezed in my direction so hard that his saliva finally has flown down on my hands. After a few mutual signs of kindness the group has quieted a little bit down.

And once again in my head it has started emerging a century-old issues of justice and the rights of Christians in this world. Is it worth it to use your "Roman citizenship" in this situation? Is it better to hide it? Do i have to argue, keep silent or just to turn to those who are currently in charge? What will reveal the opportunity for testimony? And does anyone really need it while "hangover" at all?

Dubai Airport

Here is a night, and ahead of me10 hours of expectation for the transfer to another plane. At the terminal its life is going on, shops are working, cafes, restaurants, coffee shops. And for someone it – is just a nice sleep. They may drop and sleep wherever they able to find a free space. Beds are occupied, the sofas are from all sides full of people, even the floor covered with carpet is not empty. Here are all equalized, as in some orphanage, it is no matter your nationality and your status, age. If you took the best place first, it means it is yours.

While I was sleeping like that on the round couch and sometimes was waking up, i noticed how at the feet, or at head, were sitting or laying down new people. That's the way it is, a wandering life.

In the morning, as soon as I woke up and sat down next to me appeared a three Nigerians. A short dialogue in English, and they invited me to have a breakfast at their expense. Like manna in the desert! I hope you heard enough about prices at airports, especially in Dubai. The Nigerian fellows have appeared to be very sociable. Moreover, they are politicians, i did not have any idea of their class and they were actually heading to the same India, but to its capital – Delhi.

We were communicating about Ukraine, Russia and European integration; about Israel and Arabs; Islam and Christianity, finally. They are very well aware of the crucial theological difference between Christians and Muslims. They are not attracted by it but rather are driven away because of the immorality of many Western countries. They view all problems of the world in their own way, America's intervention in different countries and so on.

It seemed to me out of this conversation, that it is very critical to know at least anything about Islam and Muhammad in order to communicate with Muslims about Christianity. It's like a bridge into dialogue or discussion which should be used proceeding through it and then you can rely, in fact, to have a dialogue itself.

Welcome to India

The flight to Calcutta took another five hours. But, generally speaking it has taken me to get here from Rivne the entire 24 hours.

Yet, before exiting at the terminal, when we were in the plane one young Hindu had started getting acquainted with me. It turned out that he flew from Scotland on holiday. And, besides, he is a protestant! On the same flight, he met his friend, with whom they have not seen for 5 years. His name – is Sandzhey. Sandzhey? If my new friend from Scotland Hindu is Christian, then is it not Sandzhey a Christian too, that was the person i tried to contact with a few days ago to buy a cheaper ticket for a flight from Delhi to Calcutta? No sooner had I think as i hugged Sandzhey and asked why he did not answer my messages. Showing him a messages in viber, it has appeared that this is not the same Sandzhey. Such a Sandzheys are in India so many as in the former Soviet Union all Sergeys together. Another moment, and we’ve drifted apart...

After the formalities, in one hour later I was heading out of the airport. The Internet did not work and i could not check the e-mail to find out who I have to meet with, or at least remind myself the name of the hotel. Stepping out of the door, I could not go back into the room. This is an order here. Welcomers are standing on the street.
The first cultural shock

...has been waiting for me right by the exit when I saw an incredibly large crowd of people who were like in anthill, moving around and picking up just arrived people as a valuable goods. In the air was soaring smog. It's already an evening but it feels like the heat right on your back. Ukrainian winter was far away behind, i had to take off my jacket, and I would have gladly changed my clothes completely if i could.

I couldn't find my name on the welcomer’s posters. About the possible common phrases and hints i heard nothing. In a short while I was noticed by a taxi driver who offered his service. I was saying that i needed the Internet. There was no way back to the airport. He led me to the “booth” which had a different communication services. In a situation like that, you feel yourself as a fish that has gotten on the hook. People there willing to charge you for any “goodness” they rendered to you. It does not matter that you are from Ukraine, you're white man and this is their opportunity to make some money. I hesitated to pay a few dollars for a 5-minute connection, that's why i went back to the exit from the terminal. Wow!, and right away then i noticed my new friend – Sandzheya !!! I began to ask him about the Internet and he immediately responded to help. It turned out that he came to his homeland from the Czech Republic, where he works at the university so that to celebrate the marriage of his younger brother. “This is my city and I must help you. So, do not worry!” – He assured me, although he was in a hurry to get home.

At first, we went to the same cabin for the Internet. Thankfully to him, 5 minutes in the "space" on this time cost me about 5 hryvnas. Then he offered me to go to his home to stay there, but I only agreed to take a taxi to go with him, and then to find the place of my destination. But, still i had to step into the house of his relatives anyways.

While driving, I continued to wonder looking at the furious crowd of people who were on the streets. The density is just very unusual. And how else could it be? In Calcutta are living about 16 million people (!!!)

Driving style

The traffic of vehicles on the road has also startled me. How could they drive safely? Almost every car had its dents or scratches. They almost haven't used the side mirrors. There were many cars with a signs, "Please horn" (though in English). So they honk, honk continuously. The traffic in one direction is just chaotic. The problem is not in the English left-hand rule of traffic with the right-handed wheel. But this is because of lack of adjacent lines which would have divided the road to be with shared lanes. It seems that there is only a direction to get as quickly as possible to the main point, but surely not the safety of life and property.

Sometimes, the wide roads were changing to the narrow ones and then driving in general seemed fantastic, on the verge with reality :). Beside are walking people, cyclists and motorcyclists are riding, standing petty hucksters, walking calves and still even two cars can pass by successfully.

Hospitality of Indians

Before I could get into my apartment, i had to overcome carrying my suitcases an unusual concrete structures and to bend over so that to get passed into the elevator. For the first time i saw the elevator with metal doors which you should fold together and unfold them back by hands like an accordion.

The apartments have the same look as an average Ukrainian's apartment. Men are allowed me to use the Internet, to find the name of the hotel and the hotel itself as well as to get a hold of my friends in that hotel, they have ordered a taxi and even invited me at the wedding party in a few days. Afterwards they sent me together with God to "path-way." The price for a cab appeared to be almost in 3 times less for Indians than it was at the airport for “European.”

Hotel

The “Indismart” is located in sector 5 it is a part of one of the best areas of the city. Their food is just like a "fire" burning right in the mouth. Buffet or, as we say: “Swedish table” was generally almost with the same dishes or stuff every day. Rice – is an Indian bread. The variety of meat products – were chicken and fish. Other prohibited on religious basis. Many millions of Indians are vegetarians in their religion. Therefore the artistry had to be used it on vegetables. They exist in a different forms. Once we even had a salad so-called “Russian.” There is something look like a bread rather like thin tortillas or pita bread.

The staff at the hotel is always ready to render service, to help with a baggage. All people there are calling guests by the word "Sir" and hurry to fulfill the request.

When you are trying to make friends with them, it turns out, that they are very friendly in return. To have a picture with men from the West for them are a joy. Some of workers are renting apartments in slums a 5-minute away from there, although most of them from the villages around Calcutta. By their behavior and clothing it is clear that each of them has a certain rank at work and ready to comply before a senior “in rank.”

One of the staff person has asked me to give him a Ukrainian currency as a gift, when he learned that I was from Ukraine. Actually, there is not too much known there about the Ukraine. “Where is it? Who is this? Ukraine?” – people are asking. We are in the shadow of “older brother.” Even once at the airport on my way back home people were staring at my passport as unique one, unprecedented, as a museum exhibit.

Enjoyable news

I was really pleasantly surprised of the fact that so many people speak English, or at least can communicate by it (even in the slums we could meet those who understand English!!!) British colonization for 200 years has made a big impact on Indians and left a great imprint on India in general. This is knowledge of English, and this is a traffic on the roads (drive on the left with right- hand wheel), and elements of culture (way of dressing, vogue, which they are tended to) and the respect for white people (such as “sir” and generally respectful attitude in behavior) and certain technological and economic development. India is really rich in good enough cybernetics, “IT people.” One of the most popular sports, again thanks to Great Britain, cricket (i say this is – English baseball). Although, of course, it is difficult to make competition for soccer anywhere.

Our friend and evening stroll

One evening we decided to walk with one Indian guy, which has become already our friend. His name is Trisha. Until 10 years of age he lived in some tribe / village and was walking there barefoot without clothing with the hip bandage. When he suddenly drove a thorn in the foot, he was just banging his foot against the ground to trample it more deeply in his foot so that it does not bother him anymore to run around and he kept on running. Then, after a month later, those thorns would come out of his feet somewhere near the knee. Before he has finished the high school he never knew and never taught English. And then he came to believe, ended up in OM India, he ministered as evangelist, received a biblical and secular professions, learned English, traveled a lot, had taught others theology and even could have been a teacher of English for Indian emigrants (i hope later on we will put out on our website his testimony).

So, this time we went out together of our decent area in order to touch more to a local miracles.

Around the modern buildings where at night is working the computer geeks of the world, there is a lot of trash, also there are walking the “sacred deities” – cows and calves. On the streets there are stalls where you can buy sweet-stuff and salt-stuff “hand made” right on the same street and made by the same hands. And beside, quite calmly, males are stopping to relieve themselves and they are doing it without any remorse.

So, if you will breathe an air through your nose, you can... sorry for the details. Just imagine 300 million of people who do not have a concept of toilet in their mind. It is not to mention about the standards of clean hands, feet and the environment.

They say that for Europeans are generally better not to take anything from the street. It is dangerous for health. There are extraordinary organisms, local unsanitary conditions, spicy food and so on. It is not so pleasant, unusual sensations are awaiting for your stomach.

However, thanks to our friend, we were still able to taste something like a stuffed with cooked egg white something in batter and remain alive :).

Caste

According to what our friend said, precisely the Brahmans (lips, the highest caste in India) have divided society into castes through mercantile interests. Among the Indians there are so-called “untouchables.” The higher castes should not sit with them on the same bench and it should not even allowed that someone from the “untouchables” set foot in their shadow. You can imagine how many more of different situations may occur when the distance between castes is obvious. The various external signs (different colors of dots on the forehead, for example) help for the local people to distinguish who is who.

Sadly, even among Christians there are those who practice the caste division of people inside the church.

01

Botanical Garden

Since we did not have a guide who could’ve explained to us all the names and nature of all the trees, and bushes, but we were happy just to feel ourselves like in the jungle or in a movie about the jungle. And likewise, to see one of the largest trees in the world. Essentially, the biggest, but by the volume of the krone. It has one root, but the branches grow in all directions and at some stage they germinate their "footings" right to the ground, they are getting rooted and continue the growth of a branches. This is amazing system of the growth.

Mother Teresa

Here is almost everyone familiar with her name. She was a simple nun until she decided to leave the walls of the monastery to serve the poor, the wretched and the sick of this world. Unfortunately, when we got to the place of her life and ministry, the doors were closed and the tour did not happen. But, it was just enough for us to look at the inscription under the cross of Christ on the roof of the building. There was written: “I thirst”, which means “to have passionate desire.” My companion, who have visited more than 100 countries have marked that he has never seen a key symbol of Christianity with such words.

But do we understand its meaning in relation with context of ministry the Mother Teresa?

“Then the King will say to those on his right: Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in... I tell you, whatever you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it for me” (Matt. 25:34-35, 40b).

Did you know that many people today are still hungry, naked, thirsty, unfairly / unreasonably imprisoned? It is a challenge for me and for you so that not to be self-righteous priests and Levites who are very busy with their parish, with their profession and many other things, and avoid the poor of this world. (Unfortunately, we couldn't get to the place of residence and of ministry the William Carey, the founder of modern missions, 100 km away from Calcutta. He is also remembered and revered here for his contribution to the development of education, for translation of the Bible into different languages and dialects, for his battle against sacrificing of children, and burning of widows).

Visiting slums

In general, in a multimillion Calcutta you can count around 1,000 slum settlements, in each one of them live more than 1,000 people. Let's count: this is a little more than a million people (!!!). Slums are expanding approximately up to 3km in length. There, where we have ended up were installed pipelines of drinking water. There is a place of worship of the goddess Kali and Lingam (phallus). For an European eye it is difficult to discern and in slums live also Roma people, as well as people from tribes or rural areas.

Living area is very small and simple. However, some people already have cell phones. Some of them know the soccer team of Barcelona. And some have more or less decent jobs for this region.

Along with our jungle there is something like a river or lake, and it rather reminds a little marsh. On summer time children are gladly not only dipping their feet, but also splashing in water.

We took out candies that we have stocked in advance when we were in Ukraine and began to distribute them. Maybe not like this. I gave one candy to a boy is standing nearby, and immediately around us had gathered about 10-15 children and some adults, who have controlled that distribution of these candies would have occurred fairly. While we were going through Slum behind us was stretching a huge crowd of children and adolescents. And it was like that, until we have ran out of candies.

There are left behind echoes of communism, agitation and symbols on the walls. And against the backdrop of those shacks the communism looks like just straight to the point. Where do blind leaders of the blind, who rejected the Chief Vigilant Creator and Savior of the world may get to?

In general in Calcutta is visually striking combination of rich and poor, of modern and ancient, of dirty and clean, of reasonable (at least at this age) and foolish, of hardworking and lazy people.

 

After all, whatever the culture of the people is, their greatest need is always the same – it is the Gospel. You can bring the humanitarian aid, “a wizard in a blue helicopter”, wash people, clothe them, give them a pens and set them behind desks. It is possible to build a good houses instead of slums, to sit behind the wheel of a car and teach them how to entertain. But, the most precious thing what man does have, this is the soul and it remains neglected. None of the people have found yet, and is unlikely will find at all a remedy, which will be able to “wash” the soul of sin, of false worship, of hopelessness, of bottomless darkness of the flaw. Only the blood of Christ, as of the Lamb without blemish, it is sufficient to clean the one who will believe and repent.

"How then can they call on the one in they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? "- Apostle asks (Romans 10:14).
That's why, we are dreaming about reaching the unreached (in India there are 130 tribes, each has a population up to 1 million of people, they have not heard about the first coming of Christ, not to mention of a second). We invite you to become an active participant in this great cause. “Do great for the Lord and expect great of Him” - William Carey, shoemaker, who became the father of modern missions precisely at “fields” of India.

How? Firstly, pray! Pray always! Pray with weeping hearts! Pray thankfully for what you have! Pray and be ready to get to work! Perhaps this is my voice like the one shouting in the desert, but I know that it's worth shouting about it. It's worth it! God's work will take place!

Please get involved through the donations for another trip of young people who could become partakers of the ministry in India, collaboration with local Christians to reach many more destitute.

Artem Prystupa

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Горячая Индия

Pray for:


Pray about the situation in eastern Ukraine;

Pray for wisdom and fear of God for the new government in Ukraine;

• Pray for God's mercy for the whole Ukrainian people;

Pray for the situation in Ukraine to solve the conflict in a peaceful way;

• Thank God for the blessings of holding Christian camps, excursions, and trips throughout the summer in different cities of Ukraine (Crimea, Carpathian Mountains, Rivne region, etc.).Read more

 
Pray for the follow up work with children, youth and married couples;
 

• About missionary work among Muslims in Central Asia and among Crimean Tatars in Ukraine;

• About the orphans ministry and graduates of orphanages in Rivne region;

• About preaching the gospel to the Christian teachers through the pedagogical magazine “Word to the Teacher”;

• About the students of Rivne Bible College and the School of Biblical preaching “Word of Grace” so that they can apply their knowledge in their churches.


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