apologies for the length of time that has passed since the end of term and my finally getting in touch. much has been happening, and as i don’t have my laptop here in india, i’ve not been online very much, and have been in even less contact — but for the independence day email a few days ago accidentally declaring that “i am india” (which isn’t entirely true).
but first things first: i have become engaged! — to taryn and last night there was a small gathering at which we sang amazing grace, and her pastor read 1 corinthians 13 and exhorted us to prepare ourselves, and we were asked to say a few sentences, and i ummed and ahhed for a considerable period of time before finally being asked whether i wanted to marry her and so nodded and we continued, and i gave her a ring, and we prayed, — and then we ate biriyani. having sought advice from our parents, and pastors, things have fallen into place, and taryn’s mum was able to fly up to delhi from bangalore. so — praise God!
the plan is to be married sometime next summer, after i have graduated, and she will have finished a year with her church here in delhi. where exactly we will live in the year following is yet to be worked out. perhaps doing something with church in england, perhaps in delhi. there are many details to be worked out — please pray and suggest anything that might be a good idea! i want to be an evangelist, to be a watchman on the walls of jerusalem sounding the trumpet to call people to worship the living God; and the places God has put on my heart are cambridge and india. but i have huge amounts to learn.
last week i was given the chance to preach! i’m staying with the delhi brotherhood, (who are a group of anglican — well, now church of north india — priests started by a group from cambridge with links to westcott house,) who i know because there is a trust in wye (kent) which my grandfather is on whichs supports their work. so father solomon said that as he had preached in wye when he visited england, it would be nice if i preached here. and so i preached to a tiny english-speaking congregation that trickled in late to the 8.30 sunday morning service about the bleeding woman who touched Jesus and was healed, and how she heard about Jesus and reached out in faith to Him and made a public confession and then was confronted by Him face-to-face and fell at His feet and was healed. so that was an unexpected treat.
i had been staying in sunny guest house for ten days, in a tiny room, beautifully cheap, a table-top fan to distract my sleeping skin from the heat. then i read punk monk and decided i needed to be in a community of praying people, to make my own prayer easier, and so moved to the brotherhood two weeks earlier than planned, without much in the way of warning. i arrived on a saturday evening and none of the priestly brethren were there and no one was expecting me, and after a dog came out and barked at me. but! after some attempt at communication i was given a room complete with bed and bathroom, and i have been staying ever since. and praying is much easier, when you have people who you can join to pray with morning and evening. whereas before it was difficult to pray at all, praying with them makes it that much easier to pray on my own as well. o to be a watchman! like that passage in isaiah about watchmen crying out day and night and giving God no peace until he makes jerusalem a praise, like that passage in ezekiel 3 about the watchman who must proclaim the word of God to save the righteous and absolve himself from blame for the death of the wicked.
other than that i have done a four week intensive hindi course, which has improved my language skills. the school at which i was studying was a small christian set-up, and our teacher would tell us tales of coming face-to-face with snow leopards while giving away bibles in rural india (well, that was one tale). my classmates were a mixture of missionaries and tourists.
i’m now about to go travelling for a couple of weeks, to varanasi, rishikesh, and tiruchy, to see some ‘christian ashrams’ (an ashram is sort-of a hindu-style monastery). this might turn into a dissertation on something to do with christian indigenisation in india. pray that i would have wisdom and discernment, that i would see whatever is true and pure and noble, and that this would help me to understand what is involved in mission in india.
and by the grace of God i managed to scrape a first in my tripos exams. so thank God for that.
grace and peace,