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Well India, it’s been great.

Hello everyone!!!

Katie and I have been having a GREAT time in India. We’ve only been here for 4 days, and we leave tomorrow, so everything has gone super fast! We’re wishing we would have known how great it was so we could have planned to spend more time here! There’s so much to experience, and 4 days definitely doesn’t do Calcutta justice.

These past 2 days, Katie and I have been volunteering at the different Missionaries of Charity homes. In the morning we’ve been working at a home for mentally and physically disabled children, and in the afternoon we’ve been at a home that focuses on palliative care for adults. It’s been really humbling to work with these people and to be able to get to know them a bit.

At the children’s home, we do basic chores, like washing laundry or making the beds. Then there’s a time of physio therapy for the children. Many of them have severe arm or leg contractures and need to be stretched out or massaged each day. Every child has a little booklet that tells a little bit about them and different exercises that you can do with them. It’s really interesting being with these kids, as most can’t walk or speak. You have to pick them up to take them anywhere and you almost feel as if you’re going to break them! During physio therapy time, there’s also a time of singing and listening to music. We all sit in a circle, and it’s really cool to see all of the volunteers there in one room together. We’ve met people from all over the world here, so as we sit in a circle, there will be people from Japan, the Netherlands, France, Norway, Scotland…everywhere! It’s just interesting how the vision and love of one person can bring people from every corner of the world together. But you’re not allowed to take pictures of any of the homes…so don’t be expecting any!!

Getting to know the other volunteers has also been fun! During our lunch break Katie and I usually tag along with some other people and go get lunch, or just walk around the city. They’ve shown us some really great places to eat and have helped us find our way around!

We also seem to be in India during the most exciting time of the year! There’s a HUGE festival that starts tomorrow, called Durga Puja, and it celebrates some strange looking goddess that has 8 arms. Anyways, all the buildings are covered in lights and there’s lots of music and celebrations! Katie and I were walking the streets last night looking for dinner, and we happened to stumble upon a big concert going 0n! We stayed for a while and watched, and let me tell you, there were some pretty awesome acts going on. There was one singer performing, who was apparently pretty well known in the area, but I’ll admit, he was a big hard to take seriously. He was a little bit bigger individual, doing Michael Jackson-like moves on stage, dedicating his songs “to his parents, and to his first love…the audience.” Awesome.

So needless to say, Katie and I are loving India and have been really blessed to see what Jesus is doing here! There are so many opportunities to share your faith with others and learn about theirs as well. We have so many stories that we wish we could share here, but there’s just not enough time to write them all!

So tomorrow we travel back to Thailand for our last stop of the trip! You can pray for safe travels, and that Katie and I will continue to stay healthy and safe. Thanks to all of you who have been praying during the whole duration, we appreciate you so much!

Have a super great day everyone!!!

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Hello from India!

Hello everyone! Sorry we’ve been a bit sporadic in updating all of you these past few weeks. Internet hasn’t been the greatest!

Katie and I are now in Calcutta, India!!! We arrived Sunday night around 6:30, and we have been loving it so far. We were a bit sad to leave Bangladesh, as it was such a great country to visit and provided so many great experiences, but we were excited to keep moving! Calcutta is  such an interesting city, with so many things to experience and learn. We feel like we’re already on overload after only a day! We’re staying at a guesthouse that’s right down the road from the Missionaries of Charity–Mother Teresa’s organization where we plan on volunteering for the next couple of days.

This morning Katie and I ventured out and visited where Mother Teresa lived and her gravesight. It was pretty incredible. It’s hard to explain what it was like being there and seeing all of it, but it was definitely something neither of us will forget soon. They have a whole room with all of her belongings and writings, and it’s interesting to walk through and read her story of how she got to where she did. They also have all of her things on display, like her shoes, her pencils…they even had a piece of tubing labeled, “This is the piece of tube that went right into the lungs of Mother Teresa while she was sick.” I had to laugh to myself and think…did they really have to be that specific?? It was just really incredible to see how available she was to serve Jesus. Katie and I were left thinking about our own lives, and contemplating what it means to suffer for the cause of Christ, or to leave everything we have and follow Him. Sometimes it seems as though Americans (ourselves included) have such a skewed view of what this really means.

This afternoon we registered to volunteer for the next 2 days. So tomorrow we’ll head out to the home for the mentally and physically disabled children. We’re looking forward to seeing what this is like and to learn more about what people are doing to serve Jesus here. We’ll let you know how it goes!

Also, Katie and I are having a great time venturing around Calcutta! We have a lot of freedom here to go out and do whatever we want, so Katie and I spent the day today walking around, going into random shops, walking through different churches…And we’ve been having fun fending for ourselves and trying out different restaurants in the area. But don’t worry, we’re not drinking the water!

Well, we should probably get going now otherwise we will owe the computer people at the internet shop an extra 10 rupees. But thanks for keeping us in your prayers and we will try to update you soon on all that is happening!

Have a wonderful day!

Pictures from Bangladesh

                                

এইটি বাংলাতে একটি বাক্য।

Nomashgar from Bangladesh! Sorry it’s been a while since we’ve updated–we’ve been busy! Katie and I have been working in the hospital every day and learning lots about the people and the culture here.

It’s been interesting to see the different types of cases that the hospital here gets. This past week, a 20-year-old girl came in with rice poisoning. Basically, people ingest rice pesticides as a form of suicide. It’s an awful way to go, so it’s not fun to see people suffering from this type of diagnosis, as many don’t survive. This particular girl was also 4 months pregnant, and she comes from an abusive home life, as many of the women here do. She wasn’t able to breathe on her own, so they intubated her because her body was producing a lot of secretions from the poisoning. We were able to observe how the staff handled the situation and sat for a few hours keeping her breathing with the ambu-bag. It definitely made us thankful for ventilators back in the States! One thing that we kept thinking while we were saving this girl was that on one hand, it’s great that we’re saving her, but on the other hand, we’re saving her just to put her back in a potentially harmful situation… It doesn’t really seem fair either way. We’re just hoping that God can use this experience to show her truth and to give her life hope!

Another case we got to see was an 18-year-0ld boy, who was sitting on the side of the road and was hit by a bus. From just below the knee down to the ankle, all of the skin was ripped off, the muscles hanging out, and the bone completely exposed. If any of you have seen the Body Works exhibit, it was kinda like that. It was interesting to see, but we couldn’t help but feel so bad for this boy! They were trying to decide whether or not they would be able to save the leg. Here in Bangladesh, an amputee is usually destined to live as a beggar unless they have good family support. The doctors are doing all that they can, but we’re still not sure if it will be saved yet.

There were also 3 boys that came in having been bitten by a rabid dog. Apparently there were about 20 kids involved, but only 3 of them came to our hospital. This is a pretty common problem in Bangladesh with all the stray dogs, but it’s a terrible diagnosis. If you don’t get treated within a few hours of the bite, there’s no way to reverse the rabies. So we were able to watch them get all stitched up and hopefully they’ll be okay! These few instances give a snapshot of the culture here and what the people here are facing. It’s been interesting to note that for the most part, many of the problems are the same as the States, it’s just the story of how the person got the problem here that is so remarkable.

Outside of the hospital, Katie and I have been having fun! People go to bed around here pretty early, so Katie and I have mastered the art of entertaining ourselves. There’s a pool here that we went swimming in, we finally got the DVD player working…kinda, and we’ve been playing lots of card games, and sometimes, the unexpected happens…

Like last week, for instance. I (Becca) was taking a shower when I noticed a HUGE spider sitting in the corner of the bathroom. It was probably about the size of your palm. So big. I’m not much a spider person, so the first thing I thought of was how we were going to kill this thing. I walked out of the bathroom, and said “Katie, there’s a huge spider in the bathroom! You should kill it.” Unfortunately, Katie is a friend of all creatures of the world, great and small, and she decided that this spider deserved a chance at life. I couldn’t believe it. I was not about to have this thing crawling on my face during the night, so some way or another, it was going to die. Katie knew this too, and she decided that in order to preserve our friendship, she would volunteer to kill it.

So we got out a broom, and a shoe, and multiple other objects of torture, and Katie, after several tries, swiftly swatted the spider into the tub. She then proceeded to whack it until we were SURE it was dead. Thankfully, it was, but we noticed something was amiss. Little did we know that there was a HUGE SACK OF BABY SPIDERS on the back of this thing, and with all of Katie’s whacking it broke open. So crawling all over the tub were hundreds of little baby monster spiders!! We quick turned on the shower to put them all down the drain, and I looked over at Katie and noticed she was very sad. “Not only are we killing the mama spider, we’re killing hundreds of potential spider lives!” “GET OVER IT KATIE WE’RE KILLING THEM ALL,” I said. (As I’m typing this Katie is telling me that she’s a true pro-life advocate and that I am completely heartless.)

So anyways, that was our spider experience, and since then occassionally I will go into the bathroom and see a baby spider sitting on the wall. I was killing them all, until Katie made me promise to her that I wouldn’t kill any more baby spiders. Sheesh Katie. As I took the spider outside to dispose of it, one of the guards on the compound came over to see what was going on. He didn’t speak any English, and kept trying to explain about the spider in Bengali. But when I asked him if it was poisonous, he got a big smile and said, “Yes, Yes!” Sweet.

Life here is exciting, as you can tell, and we only have one week left to soak it all in! Tomorrow we’re going to Cox’s Bazar, which is the longest natural beach in the world! So that should be fun. Thanks to all of you who having been keeping up with us and praying for us, we appreciate it tons and tons! Please be praying for the people we mentioned in the hospital, and that they would recover quickly, and also that Katie and I would be able to show them compassion despite huge cultural and language barriers. Also, you can pray for my health…I have a cold! I’m not sure how I caught a cold in Bangladesh, but I think it’ll pass soon.

And we were going to try an upload some pictures tonight but they’re taking forever so we’ll try to get some up tomorrow! Have a wonderful day!

Some Pics! Hong Kong and Thailand

blood, babies, Bangladesh.

Hello! Well, Katie and I have been having a great time here in Bangladesh! These last 2 days we’ve been able to get in on some of the excitement of the hospital, so that has been nice! Today I was able to observe in the female ward, and Katie was with some of the medics, who assess people when they first come into the hospital. It was very interesting to see how things are run here! It’s definitely not like any sort of hospital in the States, so it’s been cool to learn the different ways that medicine is practiced here. It’s nice, too, because Katie and I can move easily from one area to the other depending on where the excitement is! Along with our regular assignments, we were both able to observe a spinal fusion surgery, and Katie got to see a c-section. Nice.

While we were in the operating room we somehow got on the topics of blood types, and they were saying there was a man coming into surgery with B type blood. So I mentioned that my blood type was B negative. “B Negative?” they said. “Can you give us your blood?” Apparently, B negative is very rare in Bangladesh, so they said that I should give some blood so that this man could have some during his surgery. They don’t have a blood bank here, so they just take blood from people as they need it! While giving the blood, they showed me the list of donors, and out of all the hundreds of donors not one person had B negative blood! So that was pretty crazy. It was really cool, because as soon as I gave it, half an hour I walked into the male ward and saw a man lying there, being infused with my blood. It made me feel like I had actually made a difference!

Other than that, we are just enjoying the little things about being here. The people here are super nice, and tonight the other missionaries here even invited Katie and I to a baby shower for one of the ladies here. We look forward to getting to know them better in these next couple of weeks!

Another interesting thing about being here is that the power doesn’t always work. It kinda goes in and out, and when it does, everything gets absolutely pitch black. You’d think that when this happens people would stop their conversations or that things would lull a bit, but no. People just keep right on going with their conversations, even though you can’t see anyone or anything! It’s interesting, and a little awkward, but we’re getting used to it. Katie had the great idea that when the power goes out, we should sneak out of the room and then scare people…or just be lying on the floor pretending like we’ve passed out or something for when the power comes on. We didn’t know if that would go over too well here, but maybe we’ll give it a try sometime. Okay, maybe not.

Thanks to all of you who have been praying for us, and supporting us, and writing comments on our blogs! We appreciate it very much! Please continue to pray for our health (which thankfully we haven’t had too big of problems with so far!), and that God would continue to use us to be His hands and feet to the people here in Bangladesh. We’ve been given such a great opportunity to be here, so we really want to make the most of it and learn about what God wants to do in the hearts of people here!

Thanks and have a super great day!!!!

We’re not in Thailand anymore…

Nope. We’re definitely not. We’ve finally made it to our next stop of our journey: Bangladesh! But first, we’ll update you on our last few days in Thailand…

The last couple of days in Thailand were bittersweet. We began making good relationship with the people, we finally were starting to breakthrough to some of the kids, and then…goodbye! It was so great to be there and to spend time with the people, but it was definitely sad to leave.

We didn’t have a lot of big activities in the last couple of days, but we got to spend some quality time with Ricky and Karen, some of the kids, and another couple there, Walter and Judy. We’ve decided that were we to spend more time in Thailand, Walter and Judy would be our honorary dad and mom. So thanks for making our time special!

Our time in Thailand was a humbling experience. Being only there for 10 days, it’s hard to really feel like you’ve accomplished much, and you just hope that you’re time there was one that was able to be a blessing to others. But God desires of us to be obedient in every aspect–even in the little ways we were able to help during our time there. We were so encouraged by the people we were able to meet and the stories of the children at the orphanage. It’s just amazing how God can take a life that to the world, is completely worthless, and turn it into something that is so beautiful. We’re really thankful for our time in Thailand and were blessed that everything went so well.

After Thailand, we made the long, long journey to Malumghat, Bangladesh. Let me just say, at points during our flights I for sure thought we were going to crash straight into the Indian Ocean. But praise the Lord, we are still alive. 🙂 Our first flight was to Kolkata (Calcutta), India, and then another flight from there to Dhaka, Bangladesh. We were a little nervous that SOMEthing during the journey would go awry, being in countries where we couldn’t understand the language, but we were blessed that everything went as smoothly as it did! Arriving in Bangladesh, there was a man from the hospital, Priyotam, who was there waiting for Katie and I, holding a placard with our names on it. We were SO relieved to see him!! We drove with him to our guesthouse in Dhaka, and spent the night there, enjoying some AC for the first time in a long time! We also got to know Priyotam a little better, and we taught him how to play Dutch Blitz, and he taught us some Bengali card games!

The next day, we made the treacherous bus-ride down to Malumghat. What was supposed to be an 8-9 hour trip ended up being almost 12. And let me tell you…this was not just your normal bus ride. The only thing I can rightly compare it to is that of a Mario Kart game. The whole time, you’re dodging people, animals, carts, and other oncoming traffic. Seriously, the whole bus ride is just swerving around the road, narrowing escaping head-on collisions. For instance, on just a small 2-lane highway, our bus driver would try to pass people even when there was traffic coming the other way. Pretend like you’re playing chicken with cars, and that was kinda what it was like. Most of the time we’d be driving on the wrong side of the road and the other traffic would be forced to drive off the road to get out of our way. Awesome. And not just this, but people LOVE to honk their horn in Bangladesh! It’s like their favorite thing to do! When passing cars, when passing people, when there’s no one around–all the time. So needless to say, it was a little difficult to sleep when the horn was blaring every 5 seconds. ON THE UPSIDE…the seats were very comfy (they even lounged!..and they were massage chairs!…but the massage part didn’t work), lots of leg room, free water, and nice people. We made frequent stops along the way, and Katie almost got left one of the times, but that’s beside the point. Katie wants me to add that I also almost got left…which is also beside the point. But thankfully good 0l’ Priyotam was there to save the day. Seriously, without him we never would have made it. He was like our little bodyguard, telling us to “sit here,” or “get on the bus now,” even buying us a bag of potato chips…what a nice guy.

So now we are here in Bangladesh, safe and sound in our little guesthouse  here at Malumghat. It is very nice here! In fact, it is beautiful. If you want a visual picture of what it’s like, you can think Jurassic Park style. Minus the dinosaurs. Sheesh, I need to wrap this up. It’s really great here though and we will definitely give you guys some pictures soon because it really is like a paradise jungle! We’ll also post some pictures of our new clothing ensembles! You can google shalwar kameez  to get a good idea of what we have to wear here. Let’s just say, we look good.

Tomorrow Katie and I get a tour of the hospital, and on Monday we start observing! Pumped! We’re both very excited to jump in and see what working in the hospital here is like, so we’ll write about that soon I’m sure!

Okay, sorry this post was so long, there was just a lot to update on! Hope you all are having a great day!