Journal entries from week 1 in India / by rebecca keating

The main road through Sielmat that leads to Prayer Mountain

The main road through Sielmat that leads to Prayer Mountain

May 24, Munich Airport

I am so thankful for all the prayers that have been prayed over me and this trip. It is so uplifting—entering into this adventure knowing that I am not alone in spirit. Physically and mentally, a lot of this trip I’ll learn to be alone in ways I’ve never had to experience before. It’s going to be wildly challenging and hopefully transformational. But, being alone in spirit is something I am so thankful I will never had to experience. With the Holy Spirit as my constant companion, and the prayers of friends, family, and even some strangers, I have all that I need. 

May 27, Sielmat

In a previous post about coming to India, I asked that people would pray “for the Lord to show up in ways that I could not plan on my own in the church services and times of fellowship with the Hmar community”. I’m on my third full day here and I can already declare that that prayer is being answered! I’m here to study lament in the Hmar evangelical church, and on my first Sunday here, the English worship service’s sermon was on Job! I couldn’t have planned this myself! I couldn’t have known that the speaker today would be led to speak about suffering on one of my first days here! I asked God to take this discipline of anthropology and make it Spirit-led. He’s got me for sure. 

May 29, Sielmat

God showed up again in a way that I could not plan for on my own! One of the things I have heard my mom and grandmother talk a lot about is how it would be really good to experience a funeral here in the village. They said how we grieve a person's death is so unique here, and I could learn a lot from observing and participating in a funeral service. 

It's probs not the best idea to hope that someone dies just so I can get research done, or celebrate death, but someone died this morning at 8:30am. By 10:30, people were clothed in black, deciding to take the day off of work to participate in the funeral. Getting to observe this today is going to be so fruitful for my work. Instead of simply interviewing people about funerals and how they grieve a person's death, I get to observe it firsthand. 

On another note, I'm dealing with a lot of loneliness. Culture shock hit me hard--I think I've already gone through all four stages. I'm homesick, and adjusting to a totally different way of living is stressful! I don't have the same kind of control over my day to day that I do at home. I don't have a schedule. I don't speak the language and when I'm feeling sad or alone, I don't have close friends to comfort and encourage me. 

I'm realizing the things I take for granted and the things that are second nature to me. I'm praying the most desperate prayers I've had to pray in a long time. I asked God to prepare me for this trip and all that was in store, and I have faith that He has given me all that I need to be present, to work well, and to love well. 

There is so much to learn about and grow in while I'm out here. These days, though they're long and sometimes exhausting, have so much to teach me. In my most angsty moments of wanting to quit and give up, the Lord is faithful to encourage and empower my spirit. I abide in Him, and I have all that I need. 

Outside our flat in Delhi, where I stayed for two nights

Outside our flat in Delhi, where I stayed for two nights

Papaya tree next to our house in Sielmat!

Papaya tree next to our house in Sielmat!