Hello all. This will be my last update from India.
It’s my last night in Delhi, which also happens to be my birthday. I don’t pretend to have some deep musing about turning 24 today. After all, I did just drink 3 RedBulls, lose horribly at a game of Risk, and it’s after midnight here. So I’m a little too tired and pissed off to do good writing! Anyway, the last week has been great and I thought I’d share a little of it with you.
Most of this week our team spent debriefing our experience here over the last two months. We were able to take a train 350 km north to Shimla. Shimla is a Hill-Station at the foothills of the Himalayas. Until 1947 it was the British summer capital of India. It is a city built onto the sides of mountains with people living very literally in the clouds. Our team was so excited to get out of the 115-degree weather in Delhi to breathe some fresh, cool air surrounded by mountains and lush forest.
Our time in Shimla was great. We tried to find the perfect balance between doing activities to have some good memories together as a team before we all split up, and providing enough time and counseling to fully process the events we’ve participated in over the last two months. One of the highlights of the week for me was when we spent a few hours, probably 3 or 4, “calling out Jesus” in each other. We went around the room, picking one person at a time, and would speak words of affirmation about that person and about the way God has worked in and through their life over the summer. It was a great time to reassure people that the changes God has made in their lives are real and visible to others.
Another thing I loved about debrief was the sheer amount of adventure. The scenery was breathtaking, beginning with the train ride. After a 4 hour stint to Kalka, we jumped on the train to Shimla from Kalka. Our engine was red and the cars were all green and yellow– it felt like a toy train. We climbed 96 km for over 5 hours, upward into the clouds…. the best train ride I’ve ever been on; not that I’ve been on many.
Anyway, we were able to do a bit of hiking in Shimla. Our tour guide the first day led us on a 10 km trek to Chadwick Falls, stopping several times on the way to ask locals for directions, which by the way was very unnerving. On the hike back up the from falls, it began to rain, and at first I freaked out a little big. I had no waterproof clothing, and was wearing a backpack with expensive electronics and other important documents. After a while though, I realized the what a great experience it was to be hiking through the rain in the Himilayas, and I took my glasses off and just enjoyed the walk.
The bus ride up the mountain was noteworthy as well. I supposed I’m fading too quickly to write about that now, but maybe later.
As for being 24, I don’t really feel older… isn’t that what everyone asks at birthdays? It’s mid-twenties. I graduated high school 6 years ago. Crazy thought. Anyway, I’m trying not to make a bigger deal of the day than it is. I think after some sleep the team all going to KFC to celebrate my b-day on our last day in Delhi. Then tomorrow night we’re headed to the airport to head back to the states. My time here in India is up for now. It’s definitely been eye-opening, and I thank God for the opportunity to have come here and to have been stretched. See you on the stateside.