Susan and I have been touched by the people of Mahab, old friends and new. On our first day here, we walked to the Golden Palate restaurant for lunch, as we did frequently last year. The head waiter held the door for us with a large smile and a greeting of, “yesterday?” His English comprehension might be a little weak but the welcome was warm and genuine. We knew we had been remembered.
The second morning, we left the Mahab Hotel and walked to W. Raja street beside the city park. This park is a major tourist .....
version of balanced rock, named Krishna’s Butterball. Such an attraction has
vendors of many and varied items including idols, beads, postcards, soda, fruit
and even ice cream. As we walked by, an ice cream vendor asked if we were with
Achiever Academy. When we asked him if he had a child there, he said, “Maybe
next year”. Another reminder that people are forming opinions about us, Achiever
Academy, and the Lord we serve. It makes me wonder how many more people notice
us, even when we don’t interact.
Another day, when I went to get
copies at the Xerox shop, the clerks greeted me with a warm smile, indicating
that they too remembered me from last year. Later, we were greeted with broad
smiles of recognition by a waiter at the Nautilus restaurant, a TukTuk driver
and the owner of the metal and housewares shop we affectionately refer to as
Walmart. We are amazed at the number of people who recognize our affiliation
with Achiever Academy throughout the village.
I’m not sure why we
have never attempted it before, but Susan asked the teachers at Achiever Academy
to teach us a few words in Tamil, their tribal language. The first two words
were Vanakkam (hello) and Nantre (thank you). The next morning, when I made a
quick trip down the street to the office supply store, I was served quite
politely, but with little enthusiasm. When the transaction was complete, I
remembered to use my Tamil “Nantre” and you should have seen the smiles. Here in
India, as in the Kentucky hills, people want to know you care.
Walking to the market one afternoon we noticed a large golden idol of Ganesh
(the god with an Elephant head). While trying to video it, a man named Moorgan
approached us, explaining that the idol was actually poured concrete, not
carved, and that the garden belonged to an art professor at the University
nearby where artists are taught carve idols. The man spoke so clearly we
complemented him on his English. He wanted to know how long we would be in Mahab
and was amazed that we had been here before and he had not met us. Mahab is a
small town and just like small towns everywhere, people like to know what is
going on in their community.
When we go to the grocery market the
manager escorts us personally through the aisles, recommending items and serving
us at the same time. After a few visits, we thanked him with “Nantre” and of
course, he smiled. Then, he offered to teach us a few Arabic words and explained
that the 3 ladies helping in the market were his sisters and they were all
Muslim. We are constantly amazed at the number of different opportunities God is
providing for us to witness on His behalf.
Each day God provides more opportunities to represent Him. Some we recognize. How many did we
“So we are Christ's ambassadors, God making His appeal as it were
through us. We [as Christ's personal representatives] beg you for His sake to
lay hold of the divine favor [now offered you] and be reconciled to God.” 2
Each personal encounter reminds us of the
opportunity and responsibility to represent Jesus, Acts of Mercy, and you, while
here in India. We cannot blend in. If we must stand out, let us to stand for
Sittin’ a spell in India,