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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Sights and Sounds of Christmas

We want to give you a glimpse of the sights and sounds here this Christmas. So different in traditions but the same love, the same excitement, the same Saviour's birth we celebrate.

We did a little Christmas shopping this week, and actually heard Christmas music playing in the store.
The Christmas tree set up in a store had a manger scene underneath it, much to our surprise (see photos). Very little is made of Christmas commercially here, unlike in the states. There is a decorated tree outside in "our yard", and a huge star and lights by the road in front of the campus. We have been playing Christmas music and "its beginning to feel alot (a little) like Christmas".

Friday night we celebrated by joining with the other Westerners here and had a feast of traditions from other countries. We had our first taste of Christmas Pudding (Irish Style) which is not pudding at all, but cake, we did not have the brandy sauce, which catapults it over the top they say!
We also had Tiffin - a wonderful chocolate/caramel cookie (English) and coconut fruit balls, (Austrialian) candied almonds(German style) and I made the famous Peanut Butter Chocolate Balls that we love in America. We exchanged secret santa presents and finished the evening with laughing hysterically at the Muppet Christmas Movie, that movie crosses all cultures.

Saturday, the 22nd we joined in remembering the founder of UCCI (United Christian Church of India), John Winston. He passed away seven years ago at Christmas. This man leaves an incredible legacy. He had a vision and a heart for enconomically disadvantaged children to be educated. There are people from nine countries now sponsoring children to attend school. This year the celebration included the adding of a new country, the U.S.A.! See photo of cake and two children who represent the 11 children sponsored by the U.S.A.  Contact us if you also would like to sponsor a child for $40 a month at rsluth.2@gmail.com.
In the afternoon we enjoyed a school Christmas celebration, with lunch, singing, drama(the Christmas story) and cultural dancing. Wow, can they dance!  It makes us Hollanders jealous.

We can't wait to Skype Christmas day with our family, as they celebrate Christmas eve. Our hearts are truly there with them, and we are so thankful for the technology that allows us to enjoy part of this evening with them. We are also thankful this Christmas for the engagement of our daughter Jennifer  to Shaun Griffin earlier this month. We look forward to joining in the pre-marriange festivities when we are back this summer, the wedding will be taking place in September.

Leaving your homeland, family and friends, to live in a different country can bring feelings of ailenation, and loneliness. Words cannot describe how far removed Christmas, as we know it feels..... But it reminds us that Christmas is not about holly, trees, snow, nor traditions.

Jesus was worshipped and adored in heaven, and came to earth for what?...to be ridiculed and mocked, rejected by the people that he came to save. What sacrifice, what humility, what LOVE!  JESUS....Immanuel, God with us!

O come let us adore Him...Christ our Lord!

Merry Christmas to you all!
Randy and Sheryl Luth
rsluth.2@gmail.com



Thursday, November 29, 2012

A well watered garden

Adjusting
 It is winter here. Hmm....we don't know what to make of that. Flies, mosquitoes and palm trees, don't connect with winter for us. Nor do temps in the high 70's. We see babies with knit caps and people wearing hoodie sweat shirts. They say it will get colder...that we will be cold. They don't know of our hardy northern tribe - Michiganders!  :)
We struggled with a bad case of jet lag, then a difficult time getting used  to sleeping with ears stuffed full of ear plugs to keep horn and traffic noise to a minimum. (You can still hear it!)

Hunting
In some ways it felt like coming "home", since we are in the same room as before, but we rearranged the room, and needed some of our own things to warm it up. So, we traveled to town(35 miles) this week... the search(hunt) was on for a lamp(a necessity for Sheryl)...a difficult task in a culture that is content with a florescent light fixture attached to the wall.  The hunt was successful, plus new sheets...feels a little more like "ours".  Just a side note: There was no Christmas decorations in the stores, nor Christmas music, not that it feels like Christmas even though it is "winter".

Randy got to do some "man hunting" for a vehicle. Interesting to find out that air bags are an option.
"But sir", they said "it has a full iron frame, no need for airbags" to which Randy said...that doesn't help much when you plow into a Lorrie(large truck).

Routine/New friends
We are back to a somewhat familiar routine, up at 6 a.m. to exercise, 7 a.m. devotions, 8 a.m. breakfast of porridge, bananas, and coffee. We are enjoying  the three girls who are students in the India Quest program. Fiona is from England, Caroline from Germany, and Emily from Australia. We go to great lengths sorting out the differences in our English words and there meanings.
Like: Boots/Bonnet mean trunk/hood of a car. They say a trunk is a suitcase or even a storage unit.
But they call boots...boots too, meaning a shoe/foot covering. We have great fun..teasing each other about our silly expressions and accents. They are wonderful girls with lovely singing voices, they are always singing or humming. Caroline played her saxophone in church Sunday, I am sure it is the first time most of the people ever saw or heard a saxophone.

Surprises
  • construction has been taking place which includes an addition being added to the main house for team housing and dining facilities. (see photo) Still processing how this affects our guest house plans, it may mean changes.
  • much fabric has been purchased for purses/pillow cushions, closets full of which we had no idea nor did we initiate. Any ideas for distributing/selling these would be welcomed. Our website is almost ready to launch and we will add some there. We are open to any ideas for marketing these...they really are very beautiful. (See photos) They keep getting better.
  • found out that at Christmas everyone leaves....everyone. School children go home. Teachers leave for their hometowns to visit family, India Quest team is going to Goa. The Winston's to Kerala. We are trying to decide what to do. We may go to Visak by train, a beach town on the Indian Bay for a few days. It will be a quiet Christmas with an opportunity to focus on Jesus and His great gift to us.
Our training is now being put to the test, and we get to use the strength we both scored highest on adaptability, and the learning curve of trusting in Him who is faithful. "Jesus Calling" today highlighted Isaiah 58:11-12.  The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well watered garden, like  a spring whose waters never fail.  :) Somehow I like the sound of being a well watered garden.





Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Evening for the Chickens

Saturday October 27, 2012 is a Fundraiser/Silent Auction at Sunshine Community Church.
To raise money for chickens and a chicken farm in India.
Many items have already been donated. A beautiful blue bed from The Custom Cottage. A
whimsical dog mirror from Nancy DeYoung Studio, A "Embellish your story" magnet board from Carol Roeda Studio, and a wonderful Fruits of the Spirit Bowl from Heather Lane Pottery. For the guys there will be a cordless power drill and a gift card to Modern Hardware, or how about 8 hours worth of Basic Home Repair! Then you don't have to do the work.

Either way come and join us for an evening of music, desserts, games, and auction items and
SEND CHICKENS TO
INDIA!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Were Back and Celebrating

We are roommates with our daughter in her two bedroom apartment. What a role reversal for all of us! Talk about culture shock! She informed us of the rules when we arrived: 1st rule: There are no rules. 2nd rule: refer back to the 1st rule. :))
I think she is trying to show us up or something - maybe (she thinks) she grew up with too many rules?

One of our sons; Justin was married June 2 to his beautiful bride Cecelia, we are privileged to welcome her to the Luth family. We are eagerly anticipating a wedding this Sat. of our son Joshua, and to officially welcome Kari into our family too! Our love is expanding!
Is there any event more fun than a wedding? What a festive and happy time, and such a blessing as parents!

Lest you think all we do is party and live with no rules...we have been working from our "rule-less" apartment on project data sheets, emails, meetings, etc. There are four businesses that have been birthed out of the time we spent in India. We are very excited to take the next steps in walking alongside our friends overseas to implement those, and involving those from the U.S. that God has called to walk alongside them as well.
We will be traveling this month to North Carolina, South Carolina, and Alabama to meet with churches, sponsors, family, and a potential business partner. We will be sharing the experiences and love that we felt for 3 months while living with our brothers and sisters in Christ overseas, and also how God is moving to bring community transformation in a village there.

God Bless all of you, thanks for all your prayers and support of us!



Sunday, April 22, 2012

Thoughts from the other side....

Cultural shock? or Cultural adjustment?....BOTH. Things we have learned:

  • A "shower"can be taken in less than a bucket of water. 
  • A ceiling fan at high speed works as a hair dryer. 
  • When the power fails: a light and a fan are really the only things necessary, actually only a fan becomes essential.
  • It is possible to brush your teeth with just one swallows worth of water. 
  • You can coexist with bugs, geckos and ants.
  • Still not sure why God created mosquitoes.  
  • Motorcycle = transportation for a family of four
  • We have a better understanding of why the disciples cringed with the thought of washing others feet..... feet get really dirty here.

And a parting thought that we are learning to live by: "Where you lead I will follow, and what you serve I will swallow."     H. Tully







Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Simple things

Such a simple thing gives much joy, and today I had the chance to give to the 9th grade girls from Emmanuel School some fun flower hair clips.(see photos) They were made by Joy at Sunshine Church. But I got the joy of being blessed by seeing the girls excitement in receiving the flowers.
We have been teaching for 6 weeks at Emmanuel School and the Janet English School. We have taught flannel graph stories of Jesus, and life lessons - what it means to be a follower of Jesus. Praise God over 40 girls and boys this past week indicated there desire to follow Jesus.

One girl in particular has caught our hearts, because her name is Cecelia. She always has a great smile (which reminds us of our future daughter-in-law Cecelia's great smile) and comes to find us each Monday and Tuesday when we teach at Emmanuel. We also have been teaching (and learning) Rounders (English baseball) and completed the final competition games this past week. In both schools the 7th grade won the playoffs and competed with the 10th grade, and in both schools the 7th grade won the tournament! The school year ends here the end of April, so the children are studying a lot and getting ready to take exams.

Simple things - a kiss

A Hug -- Cecelia is on the right-oops caught her not looking!

Randy on the bottom of a Pyramid - we likened it to the church working together



Flannel Graph stories



Teaching with translator - Buji Mis


10th class Rounders Team

Randy with 7th class Rounders Team-before the game- they look worried!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


                   Adjusting.... 

We turned the computer on and were blown away…we have an icon on our desktop that shows the temperature here, and it is at 99 degrees today! That temperature here also morphs into a problem with the electricity going out more frequently. Oh well, we are learning of the “joys” of living here.

It looks like we will be spending our next 3 weeks, teaching classes in the school each morning. We assist David and Janet and Erika, with our “talents” in drama, storytelling, and Phys. Ed classes. Ok… don’t laugh…God is equipping us…..If he can make a donkey talk……..we are trusting Him.

 We have dinner at lunch time- often followed by personal time- which we call nap timeJ, and  "tea” at supper time- lighter fare such as soup, pancakes, or sandwiches.

Saturday we go to town for shopping…and supper out. What an experience, it takes about an hour to get to town, which is 35 miles away, traffic, traffic!!!! It is a hair raising, pants peeing journey....it is a good time
to play I spy...to take your mind off what is happening just inches away from you.
               
       Randy has been bothered with his left foot – there is a bump on the top of his foot, and two toes turned black and blue, and it has been swollen since we got here. There is a nurse on staff here, and he decided Randy should go to a hospital in Vijayawada to have it check out. The foot is almost 100% now, but he was in and out of there in 40 minutes!  He had it examined, 2 x-rays, and a prescription –total cost, 762 Rupees – that’s $15.24!!!!  That is cheaper than a large deluxe pizza!
     
    Yesterday afternoon we walked the campus and the school girls that live on campus shared with us their afternoon snack “Googolu Nuts” Now, we can’t tell you what kind of nut they were, but similar to boiled peanuts, warm, soft, salty…mmm…mmm....we gingerly ate them at first, but we soon found our selves loving them and the girls were laughing at us as we tried to shell them before putting them in our mouths.
    
    They are such good kids here on campus, they study very hard and many hours. The minute we step out the door, they swarm to us, and ask us their name, because you see, they tell us all the time,(their names) and want us to remember….but we can’t remember, or pronounce them. Is that one Swatamo….Lakish….Calaca…? Once in a while we hear a familiar one, like for instance we have met a Cecelia (same as our future daughter-in-laws name) you can bet we remember that girl, and she is very pleased that we do!!
    
  Sunday we worshipped in a small  church, in a poor village.  A group of us learned “As a Deer Panted for the Water”in Telegu to sing at the service. Everyone smiled and “nodded” as we sang it, but we are not sure we got a straight answer on if they understood any of it.  After the service the pastor showed us the wooden doors on the front of the church that are falling apart….60 dollars or so to fix, but the church does not have the money for it....hard life for churches and pastors here.

We miss you all….more on the journey coming later!
Randy and Sheryl