READY TO RETURN, BUT…
PRAYER REQUEST (from Jerry): We are scheduled to leave here 7:25 Sunday morning (8:55 PM Saturday your time), but the last two days that flight has been significantly delayed – 2 ½ hours today. We only have 1:25 between landing in London and our flight to Charlotte, including a bus ride to another terminal and a thorough security check. If we miss that light we will miss the Charlotte to Philadelphia as well and won’t arrive home until Monday morning, 9 hours later. Of curse there are worse problems in the world, but that would make the travel, door to door, about 40 hours. Pray for God to have mercy on us!
Hello friends and family (from Nancy),
We have been on a treadmill since we arrived. We had early start times and late getting back to the hotel. We had just enough time to make lunches for the next day, shower, reorganize lesson plans and get to bed. Either we are slower 4 yrs. later or the schedule really is busier. Maybe both.
The conferences have gone really well. Jerry has nailed a perfect 10 and feels like a mission accomplished. There have been a ton of glitches, distractions, delays and hiccups but staying flexible is the key. Neither of us are especially flexible.
Today was Republic Day celebrating 75 yrs. of independence from Britian. The country has come so far in just 2 generations. There are still people alive here that remember the Brits. As I realize that, it has helped me adjust to some of the frustrating parts of the culture. There was a conference scheduled for today and surprisingly there were still around 55 people there. The school children were all in uniforms lined up to parade with their school drum bands. Many military units paraded and there was a flag raising at the stadium. Jerry & I wore little Indian flag pins.
Some observation’s the in last 8 yrs since I first came:
No open sewers in the city. WAY fewer mosquitoes and lizards. No monkeys YEAH !!!
42% of the Indian population is now middle class’. By comparison, the USA has 52 % in our middle class. The gap here is quickly narrowing.
Additionally, 77% of India’s total wealth is held by just 10% of the population verses 99 % of USA wealth is held by less than 1% of our population.
Poverty level in India is 14%, significantly lower than just 5 yrs ago at 24%. USA poverty rate is 11%.
The definition of poverty is not the same and stats can be poorly reported.
I will say that food/starvation seems to be less of an issue. Now there are epidemic numbers of Indians with Type ll Diabetes. There is a huge educational issue with how to eat balanced meals. Rice is the favorite choice despite fresh fruits and vegetables being plentiful and cheap
Transportation: Mostly there are cars and many motorcycles. No bikes and very few walkers. This is the opposite of 6-8 yrs ago.
Tech cities have skyscrapers of towering shiny glass with water fountain entrances, uniformed valet attendants, marble floors and fabulous gardens.
Just a few blocks away are slum tents with mounds of piled trash and garbage with roaming wild dogs.
What’s the same in India:
Indian people tend to appear expressionless. But when you smile at them, suddenly the sweetest broad white array of white teeth welcomes you like no other!
The bobble head response still baffles me. Does it mean yes, no or maybe?
All of the above and all at the same time.
Goats are often straddled across the lap of a motorcycle driver with 2 more people sitting behind the driver.
A random horned cow strolls through the city streets in rush hour traffic ignoring all the beeping horns
Indian music defies any regular meter. But everyone seems to be able to follow beautifully. The drummer does his own different beat/meter but miraculously ends at the exact moment the singer stops.
5 yrs. ago Indian married women wore saris. 40 feet of fabric wrapped and pinned
Younger non married women wore salvars. A midcalf tunic like dress with leggings and a neck/shoulder scarf
Now the younger women are trending jeans and shirts and there are more married women wearing salvars.
A lady’s Sari dress is 40 feet of gorgeous linen, cotton or even silk fabric. They cost from $15 to several $100 dollars depending on how ornate, jeweled or sequined they are. Still an amazing bargain for all that fabric.
The best and brightest of India’s young adults are exiting to the US, UK, Australia, Canada and Europe. Parents that cannot afford to get them there are taking out loans. Credit has recently become “loose lending practices”. Remember the subprime debacle in 2007 in the USA? Not good!
The driving here is beyond chaotic but somehow it works. My new superpower is that my eyes are now open while traveling in the car.
Thanks for praying. Packing tonight and thanking God for His provision and protection and strength (January 27, 2024 Hyderabad, India)
cto Rev. Dr. JERRY SCHMOYER
Christian Training Organization
(India Outreach, Spiritual Warfare, Family Ministries, Counseling, World View)