Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A few last minute thoughts….

1.   Some of you have gone to my new website and to the blog. I have posted some articles/HIV educational material.  Soon I will be able to comment on my travels.  My brother was kind enough to suggest some instructions:
a.       If you want to send me a comment you have to have a google account
b.      Go to the bottom of the blog and click on “no comment.”  That brings up a window to post a comment but you have to select a profile which offers a drop down of google account, etc.
c.       I would LOVE to hear from some of you just to know I am not forgotten ( there is a good Christian song that says “ I am not forgotten)
d.      I found out the reason it’s good to have a google account to sign in is to avoid spam- google prevents all junk spam.  So thank to web designer Paul, this is good thing.

2.   Yes there has been a heat wave in India and many people are suffering. I am asking you to join me in prayer for those who have little water and no covering to have the Lord intercede to assist them. For me I will be with Sandy in the North near New Delhi for the first 5 days. But by June 8 I pray the heat wave will have passed. We know in the South it will be hot and sticky. Please pray for me.

3.   Finances:  I am covering Sandy’s travel costs as she hasn’t been able to do much fund raising- but her arm while stiff at times and swollen, seems to be good enough that it’s all systems go.
Lastly I couldn’t go on this trip if it weren’t for my friends and my Church.  I have such great support from people like Jen l who is watching my house, Terri W who is lovingly taking my cats into her home, Arlene who provides excellent computer support, John who takes my Esther dog whenever I am gone, and on and on.  I thank you one and all for loving me, and caring about the hurting peoples of this world.
I promise to do my best to stay healthy, not complain (I signed an agreement with God), and to enjoy this great opportunity to grow and stretch myself.  I won’t deny it- I have some concerns.  But I know I am going for a purpose, and serving in God’s army is the best thing I could ever do.

Be blessed and see you soon (home June 20). Love you very much. God bless you all Kathi

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Notes on being a widow in India

Hindus form the majority of the population in India. For a Hindu, widowhood means not only the loss of a husband, but lifelong misery and pain, suffering and agony.  They are the talk of the community. Yes there has been some modernization- i.e.  Women leaders like Indira Gandhi, plus the child marriage age was moved to 14 yrs. Old.

However,  even girls of 5 are married off to 75 years old (no dowry required),  and yet once she is a widow, she is forbidden to remarry.  There is no doubt that widowhood is more scary and painful than death.  Her sinfulness is thought to be the cause of her husband’s death so she has to lead a life of deprivation and misery. 

India women especially become the target of many superstitions and social attitudes. In traditional societies, especially in rural area, widowhood is considered as a curse brought about by some sin.  Even her shadow is considered polluting or offensive to the “cleaner” members of society.  A Hindu widow is not allowed to attend any rituals or celebrations that form an integral part of Indian life. 

The help is to be found in Scriptures for widows and the bereaved.  Works like

PROMISES in Isaiah 54 :4  “Fear not, thou shall not remember the reproach of the widowhood.”

6-7:  “The Lord has called thee as a women forsaken and grieved in spirit- with great mercies I will gather thee”

James 1:28:  “True relation is caring for the widows and orphans. “

Prov.15:25  “The Lord will destroy the house of the proud; but he will establish the border of the widow.”

Jer 49:11:  “Yet leave to me the orphans. I will save  them -your widows too trust me.”

Ps 16:9 “The Lord sustains the fatherless and widow” 

There is a vast difference between being a widow and a widower.  A widower is often economically independent.  He does not face social stigma, nor does this change his very self- identity as it does a woman. Note there is no word widower in the Bible. Very realistically portrayed.

As mentioned previously, the  word “widow” is derived from Latin: Vidua means divider or separator.  A widow is set apart- To be a widow is pure humiliation, and there is no preparation for what is the biggest most difficult and most challenging of life’s tasks.  There is a dress code that widows are forced to accept that aims to “ de-sex” the widow, and even some are required to disfigure her head by removing all her hair and is made to look ugly. They can’t even eat good food – in some cases they are allowed to eat only once a day and survive on a simple diet. In some cases she is allowed no spices, only bland food.  She has to eat before sunset. She must never sing or dance. She is to remain in seclusion and avoid all social gatherings such as weddings.  For the remainder of her life, she must remain an ascetic, even sleeping on a mat on the floor. 

Widowhood brings into its territory a number of socio-economic, emotional, and health problems. On the social front she faces a total change in her relationships. Some people act as if they are afraid the widow’s misfortune will somehow be transferred to them if they offer assistance.   A widow is shunned and ostracized as inauspicious.  She is considered as a bad omen. People perceive her very differently. There is  pure isolationionism. Loneliness is evasive. Because they don’t socialize nor eat well nor sleep comfortably, she gets ill often and dies early.

Mainly the widow’s condition gets aggravated due to a sudden stoppage of her husband’s income.  This is why microfinance could help to free them from the bondage of poverty living. 

Prayer requests for India

  1. For safety, protection, and health throughout the trip and when I get home.
  2. For God’s divine touch for me to preach His gospel in an effective way
  3. For gratitude for this opportunity that he provided me through you all.
  4. For Sandy, my travelling companion, and her arm to heal totally with no more pain.
  5. For doors to open for micro – finance to help some women start businesses.
  6. For me to not  be affected by the vision or smell  of the poverty  with no judgement of the people’s cultural way of caste system
  7. For God to lead, and me to follow
  8. For friends at home who are suffering with life defining situations i.e. Shirley trying to find housing for Sister Sue, living with Stage 4 Cancer, and Maria whose husband is still in coma from the medicine to avoid a stroke and for all the others I know who need your touch Lord.
  9. For those who don’t pray often, reading this request, to not discard the list but to send good wishes and good thoughts- for these things. This does help. Of course asking God to intervene is best.
  10. For miracles to occur for healing in the hearts of the widows and those with HIV to know they matter to God and that we are all equal in His eyes so hope is available to rise above the stigma. 
  11. Pray that I stay in the Word and meditate on God’s teachings throughout the time I am in Africa and upon my return.
  12. Pray that my body will stop screaming when I want something to eat, or want hot water or some other comfort. Let me walk in the spirit with strength and rise above my cravings. It seems there is always a time of adjustment once I arrive overseas. Let this adjustment be short as I remember to Praise Him for this time to serve.
  13. Pray that I may flow daily in the Love of God, having compassion and giving mercy to those around me who aren’t doing it “right” but are just trying to do the best they can. I pray for compassion and love TO GUIDE MY INTERACTIONS.
  14. Pray that my HIV preventions be impactful and fruitful; that many may come to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. And please pray that during the pastors’ conferences all are blessed to hear my testimony and to learn what actions can be taken.
  15. Pray that my home and pets and friends be kept safe and enjoy their time together.
  16. Pray that the funds raised will grow abundantly and multiply to meet the needs we see daily.
  17. Pray for relationships  that they grow in love and faith in Christ and that I serve as a good friend looking to see what I can give and not get.
  18. Pray that I enjoy each day, giving thanks to the Lord for the opportunity to teach and preach, and may those who listen have open hearts to be touched and changed by something we share.
  19. Pray for health and strength and stamina for myself and all the team members so our service for the glory of God will not be stopped.
  20. Pray that I truly approach my tasks overseas with humility and a willingness to hear God’s voice; leaning not on my own understanding.
We trust you hear us, Oh Lord, and that we are acting according to Your will and we give You all the glory and honor for successes. Thank You in advance for victory over the enemy in every area because we have said, “…Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” We love you Lord. Thank you!

See my new card and new ministry name.  I love the logo created by Pro-Advantage
Thank you Paul!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Wycliffe Fact Sheet - Please Review

My travelling companion and her husband have worked in India for two terms ( 2.5 yrs) with Wycliffe. I will speak at a conference at their campus in Dehradun India in two weeks. Here are their stats.  

Please click this link to download the Wycliffe Face Sheet

Thanks for all , 

Friday, May 15, 2015

What's It Like To Prepare To Go To India

What’s going on for me as I prepare to go…..?

What it’s like to get ready to go to India for three weeks- for my first time!

Just found out I can only check 32 pounds on the airline within India. So I am sorting out and choosing carefully what gifts not to take, and which clothes I can’t re-wear 10 times.  It’s a challenge for me who likes to have lots of stuff with me.  Not this time.

I am controlling my emotions:  Exuberance, fear, anticipation, expectations, and feelings of gratitude. I pray a lot more lately, realizing that I need God to be in control, and not figure things out on my own.

My travelling partner has had a set back with a bone growing back the wrong way (from her motorcycle accident when she put up her arms to protect her face) so she has had pain and we keep her in prayer. Also she hasn’t had time to raise money so I will share what little I have to help cover her costs. This means I won’t have much for Micro Finance, but God knows who needs what and I have two more weeks before I leave. We’ll see what more comes in.

I am finishing my house prep for being gone with a house sitter (girlfriend Jen came to my rescue) and the pets going to two different houses to be loved on while I am gone. This is so important to me to know my babies are safe and happy. Many thanks to Terri and John for taking my pets.

I listened to a three hour webinar yesterday on how to create interesting oral presentations (sermons). It was very helpful and I am excited to do the necessary prep work to plan to speak to large groups of HIV+ persons and widows. 

Lastly I want to keep the blog email list up to date. So if you aren’t able to access the blog through - please do let me know.  I have to learn yet how to upload photos but Paul, the man who designed the website, gave me a pictorial to teach me how.  I hate being technologically challenged.

I am excited that friends Jerry and Brenda will be loaning me a video camera so hope to come home with good photos to share with you all.

I   promised not to make these blogs too long- so let me know what you want to hear about. I need your prayers for peace and comfort in the Lord. Thank you for being in my life.

Love Kathi

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Women's Abuse

It has been said, “The oppression of women and girls is the most critical moral challenge of our time (Sheryl Wu Dunn, Pulitzer Prize winner).

It’s been 35 years since the UN adopted the equal rights law (CEDAW).  Yet women and girls in communities least reached by the gospel, suffer injustice i.e. rape, child bride, prostitution, genocide.

 It is like wholesale abuse and exploitation is in effect worldwide.

Women not know they are equal in God’s eye to boys.  We must equip them to participate within the whole gospel.  We are a global church and we can work to empower rescue and restore women and girls from exploitation.

Fact: 2010 survey UNICEO study of sub Sab-Saharan women ages 15-21 are EIGHT TIMES MORE LIKELY TO BE HIV+.

CHILD MARRIAGES- A form of modern day slavery, occurred for 14.2 million girls yearly.  It halts their education; deprives them of childhood, and they suffer injuries. Sex is a result of demand, not love.

Poverty and fear is what parents many of the children under age. If man does not demand a dowry, it’s a time of gratitude to the men. He can have her.

Solution is to equip with income, generating skills and the good news of the gospel.
There is an organization called “She is Safe” which brings women out of trafficking, puts them in small groups, called transformational groups (there is safety in number).  The women meet weekly to learn new skills and literacy, read the bible and learn nutrition and health, plus study business investment in a “common loan fund.”

Exploitation at its highest is through trafficking- 98% of the women become sex slaves.

In India, an average age girl becomes a sex worker between 9-12 years old in Delhi for example.  The National Human Rights commission in India reported that the sex trafficking industry is over 4 billion dollars.   The efforts of the police are poor.  I am preparing to see the most difficult of situations in India this June, and I ask for your prayers. Jesus can give these women dignity. We are a Global church; we must take the journey of justice.  Through Christ, the girls can learn of their royal identity and purpose.