Saturday, May 30, 2009

Learning & Growing (AND the Taj Mahal!)

It has been an exciting 2 1/2 weeks so far! Scott and I were talking yesterday in the car ride home from the Taj Mahal about how much we have been learning from just BEING here-- let alone how much Dr. Thom and the other believers have been teaching us, etc. I have observed how we are all being challenged in different ways- especially this past week. Whether struggling with doubt, daily prayer, supporting each other, loving this culture and people, or just plain missing home-- we appreciate prayer through these battles.
I appreciate the struggles and strengths of each of our team members. You know that feeling of putting yourself on a pedestal?? Well, maybe it is just me-- but I struggle-- and being here is reminding me of how much we ALL struggle and also contribute to the Kingdom. When you might not agree on everything, you do agree on loving God, giving of yourself and sharing the gospel. What a beautiful thing. Being away from the distractions of daily life that seem so important at the time. Cranky because the chicken isn't defrosting fast enough to make dinner, upset because life is busy and there's no time for my quiet time...oh my. When did I forget and begin justifying all of my little busy tasks?
I feel like there's so much more I should be writing here. All of our funny, terrifying, and interesting stories...but too much to share at once. However, a brief recap: Sam, Scott and I (Steph) almost died several times on the way back from the Taj Mahal thanks to a suspiciously-crazy driver, John was offered marijuana, we continuously fit our whole team of 6 into a rickshaw meant for 3, we have fallen in love with a few Indians, been asked to take a LOT of picures with Indians (apparently we are famous here!), have encouraged an Indian believer to tears b/c of the love and attention we showed her, been asked to simply hold a baby because we're white, was called a Barbie, had monkeys do back flips for us, and have gotten "loose motion" to top it off.
Whoever is reading this-- know that we love and miss you-- and pray hard alongside us-- even though we are far away.
Stephanie & Scott Rendel

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Haps...

We have done quite a bit this last week. Friday we got back from Hisar and did laundry and rested.  Saturday morning, 10-12 or so pastors and church leaders came over and we learned about telling Bible stories. At first I was a little hesitant but the reality in India is that the people here respond to stories more than theological debates or apologetic conversations.  We told our life stories to each other and I got to hear some really interesting things.  Our team had a great conversation because it has seemed that there has been a break down in communication. We discussed the fact that there are 5 introverts and me, an extrovert.  I was extremely blessed by my teams ability to show immense sincerity when it comes to listening.  A few of us have talked about coming out of our comfort zones to be vulnerable with each other to better love one another. 
Saturday afternoon we traveled to Lotus Temple which is of the B'hai faith.  It was so beautiful, we will try to get pictures up soon.  We had an interesting experience.  As we went in to sit down, it had to be completely silent.  There were ushers there shushing anyone that made a sound. After about 5 minutes of praying for the people we decided to get up and leave but were quickly ushered to sit back down. 5 more minutes passed and we tried to leave again.  We had to sit back down. I thought we would never get out!  Just then a girl sang this beautiful song in the temple with a beautiful echo. (We talked about how cool it would be to sing praises all alone.)  Then they read some things in different languages from all the different books and then we were taken aback when they read John 15 in English.  As we were walking out we were asked if we wanted to go to the information center so we did.  As we were reading all the signs a white girl dressed in a kurta asked us if we would like a tour.  Turns out that she is from Canada and she is just volunteering here for the summer. We had some really cool talks with her. Please pray that we could hang out with here and share truth. We are going back to the temple on Thursday night. B'hai's believe that truth is relative and all religions are correct. 
This week so far, the girls have been going to an orphanage telling bible stories and sharing that these girls are created in the image of God.  The boys are teaching English at a Hindu boys school. In the afternoons we have been feeling out different areas so that we can place ourselves in the most effective spot to meet locals.  Already we have met some believers that we get a chance to encourage and some different workers. I am excited to build relationships and share truth in a place that is so extremely dark. 
We have quite a few things that you can be lifting up for us.  We ask that you continue to be faithful in prayer. 1.) For our team: that we might love each other better and that we will be more diligent in prayer. 2.) For the relationships that we have started, that He would soften their hearts to hear truth. 3.) Continued joy in the heat and through battling personal struggles. 
We love and miss the body more than you know! 

--Sam Hauser--  
(John and I stayed home sick today, so please lift that up)  

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Our Team...

The beautiful Laura Moore took pictures of us before we left. Our hope is that it gives you a visual as you pray for us... We love and miss you guys.

We got hops... 
Sam Hauser
Sarah Lopez
Stephanie Rendel
Scott Rendel
John Sachs
Ryan Christie

Train Trip

We just got back from our trip to the girls hostel and school in Hisar. It was a great trip. We got the opportunity to stay at an amazing home that is over 120 years old and is on the same property as the girls hostel and the school. We were treated like royalty and had our best Indian food yet! We spent a lot of time hanging out with the girls from the hostel and playing games with them; we taught Bible stories and basic english in pairs of two in their classes.

Some highlights of the trip were a day excursion with the hostel girls to a water park. This was an adventure in itself but it was also a real treat because it has been extremely hot. The girls loved it!

Some things to pray for: the expansion of the school in adding 11th and 12th grades, the discipleship of the girls, and the leadership of the school.

Saturday, May 16, 2009


Scott and I agree that we officially love going on adventures together- and this certainly is one!
So much of New Delhi is reminiscent of Niger (West Africa- where we both grew up!). The intense heat, the sweat pouring down your back and face, the overpowering smell of trash and urine, the crippled beggars... We feel at home, and yet in a foreign land at the same time. Does that make sense? It is a frustrating feeling as we feel at home in this third-world country, and yet don't because we do not speak the language and know that culture. Pray that we all transition well and learn the language quickly. We will certainly need it as we travel about this MASSIVE city in the local auto rickshaw taxis (a.k.a. "little tin cans" ).
We went to Hindu and Sikh temples yesterday. It was an overwhelming and emotional day. The Hindu temple was so much to handle all at once. It was much dirtier, busier, and heavier spiritually than I (Steph) expected. Wow. I cried as my heart began to break a little more. I am expecting to cry often. Growing up in Niger, my heart was empathetic and loving-- but I became very immune to the reality of their poverty. I love that this is breaking my heart again. I don't ever want to become desensitized again. How would He feel about looking past a beggar and feeling nothing?
So, please pray for this next week as we are traveling to another city to work with orphan girls. We are getting over our jetlag, and so are soaking in more now. Pray we fall in love with these people and our hearts break for India.
Pray also for flexible and extremely loving hearts.
So very much love,
Scott and Steph

Temples, Traffic, and Trash

Today was the first day we, as a team, had the opportunity to venture deeper into the city, experiencing to a much greater degree its array of colors, the food, the heat, the beggars, the chaotic traffic, and the powerful presence of poverty and religion. After breakfast and a brief class on Hinduism as well as on the caste system, we made our way in taxis to go see the Hindu temple of Hanuman (the monkey god), which is one of the oldest temples in north India, and the Sikh temple. 
The impressions associated with the Hindu temple is difficult to describe. Upon entering, you are instantly transported into something ancient and eerily sacred. The air was thick with worship and the overwhelming presence of the gods depicted in the idols. Bells constantly being tolled by the temple's worshipers to wake the gods filled our ears. Priests chanted, sprinkled petals and offered food to the idols, and marked the foreheads of the Hindu followers that gathered around them for blessings. Overall, the experience was intense and left you feeling confused and broken. 
The Sikh temple, on the other hand, couldn't have been any more different; and the Sikh religion in general, I found, is a very peculiar and intriguing one to learn about. Its adherents believe their living Guru to be a book. And in so doing, we discovered that in the center of the temple rests their sacred text, which two men periodically fan to keep cool. When the day is over, the book is retired and put to bed for it be woken in the morning. And if it couldn't get any more interesting, we also learned that their sacred text is only sung, which was something rather beautiful to observe. 
Although I knew these Sikh men, women and children to be lost, I sensed a degree of peace and joy there altogether absent in the Hindu temple. In Sikhism, men and women are considered equal, and it was very evident that the Sikh's upheld this conviction. Smiles were everywhere to be found, children played and bathed in the temple's pool, and a large crew of people diligently labored to cook and feed for the needy. Coming straight from the Hindu temple, a place of spiritual oppression, this place was like a breath of fresh air and even gave off some light. 
We ask that you lift up the Hindus and Sikhs of this city - that God would make himself known to them and liberate them from their sin; that the veil over their eyes would be lifted so that the Hindus could clearly see the lifelessness of their idols and experience the life-giving power of the Almighty, and that the Sikhs could come to see and experience the true living Word, Christ. 
Tomorrow we travel by train to a school five hours away. We will be there for three days. I doubt we will have internet access during our stay, so don't be dismayed by our sudden web-silence (kind of a joke). We ask that you continue to think of us and pray that God would enable us to do His will. Be back in a few days.

Signing out,
John and the rest of the team.

P.S. My right elbow was taken to town by some diabolical mosquito last night. Death to mosquitos! is my new canticle. 


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Long Travel

After some long hours of travel, we finally arrived safely at our destination.  The six of us are a bit groggy and have to be up at 6:30 am.  We met 5 other students from a school in Florida who will be with us for the next 3 weeks. Keep us lifted up as we go through orientation these next couple days and leave for a trip on Sunday.

-Sam Hauser