Friday, January 8, 2016

Day 2: New Hope & Sari Bari

I hate to sound like a broken record but what can I say?  It was another amazing day in India.  Today's plan was exactly like yesterday's with a slight change in location.

We started out the morning at New Hope School.  If you are a Google Earth nerd like me you can look up New Town (near Salt Lake) in Kolkata and find the slum village of Udayan Pally.  We have worked with New Hope School for many years.  You can read more about their story in my earlier blogs.  For those of you that have been there you know it is impossible to go to New Hope School and NOT fall in love with these kids.  How I end up leaving them all here is beyond me.

Our theme for school the three days that we are here is Science Camp.  It has been so much fun.  We have taught basic concepts from Biology and Chemistry and on Monday we will learn about about Magnets.  If you see the pictures on my Facebook page you can see that they are all wearing little scientist lab coats.  It was so cute that we could hardly stand it!

We left New Hope School and headed to our favorite lunch spot...KFC.  Y'all I'm not even kidding; Indian KFC is SO MUCH BETTER than American KFC.  It is spicy and crunchy and just hits the spot.

After lunch we had a full afternoon with two different units of Sari Bari planned but weren't sure how we would manage the sheer number of women that come from all over the red light area for our Spa Day that we hold every year.  We were expecting around 60 women but with only 7 of us there was really no way we could do pedicures for all of them in one afternoon.  We were so blessed by our friends here from the local Assembly of God Church as they were able to send 3 young girls to help us!  It was such a sweet picture of the body working together across the globe to accomplish one mission.  We had never met these girls but yet they INSTANTLY became a part of our team.  Besides the pedicures we also set up a photo booth with funny props.  We brought a photo printer so they could take it home with them and they loved that.  Having photos of yourself is a rare deal so they thought that was really cool.  We never take pictures of the ladies or in the red light district for obvious reasons so the fact that they trusted us with a camera in our hands was also signs that we have built so many relationships over the years that we have been coming.  Score one for the "short term missionary" that always gets a bad rap!

I know many of you wonder exactly what it is that we do over here.  Due to the sensitive nature of the women we are working with I am mostly quiet about the part of the trip that involves working with trafficking victims and women that have left the red light area work.  We also never photograph anything or anyone in the red light district.  All the pictures that I post are of sights around the city and of course the adorable kids at New Hope but that is just one part of the many ministries we are involved in.  I know many of you wonder but I just don't say much or blog much about that part of the trip.  I want to honor their lives by storing these things in my heart and I just can't really share much and do it justice anyway.  Suffice it to say that these women and girls have experienced the unspeakable and have been given new life.  Seriously I have retyped this paragraph numerous times and there really is no other way to say it so I'll just stop.

Love to all and thank you for your prayers!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Welcome to Adventures in the Silver Bullet blog for India 2016!  We had probably the easiest travel to Kolkata that we have ever had.  No issues or delays for 36 hours of travel is really amazing.  We have one member struggling with a little bit of car sickness (if you ever been to India and seen how they drive here you can relate!) but other than that we are all feeling 100% and so excited for the next 10 days.
If you aren't convinced that God is still in the miracle business then I have a story for you.  I have been sick since December 23 with congestion, cold, and asthma issues.  I was in denial that it was getting worse instead of better so I kept pressing on and ignoring.  Finally on Sunday afternoon (the day before I left for India) I went to Urgent Care where I learned that I had a touch of bronchitis and a double ear infection.  Ear infection?  What am I....2?  I have never had an adult ear infection.  I was surprised because my ears didn't hurt or even feel clogged.  When I told her I was getting on a plane the next day she made a face that seemed to say, "Are you sure you want to do that?"  She told me that there was a risk of rupturing my ear drums on the plane.  Anyone that knows me knows that I am not a worrier and can generally take things in stride.  But the thought of rupturing my ear drums on a plane at that high altitude just about put me over the edge. 
Instead of turning my worry inward I texted friends, family, and asked my Sunday School (shout out to my Joshua House family!) to please pray for my eardrums!  Within hours I had heard from dozens of people that said things like, "I am praying specifically for your ears!"
As the plane took off from Houston I prayed and just told God that I am letting it ears were in His hands, that I trusted in Him, and that I would not be afraid of whatever would happen.  Can I just tell you that not only did I NOT have problems with my ears but after 8 trips between Houston/Dubai it was probably the easiest flight I have ever had.  I started out with 2 empty seats next to me but when Kay found out that I had an empty seat she "felt badly for me" and didn't want me to "be lonely" so she came to sit next to me.  LOL
So here we are: Day One and ready to hit the ground running!  We've been up since 4 am and are headed out to New Hope and Sari Bari today.  Gotta run....we are leaving soon!
Love to all and thank you for the prayers for my ears!

Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.  I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy,
For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.
Philippians 1:2-6

Thursday, November 5, 2015

January 4-17, 2016

Here we go again!  I am heading to Kolkata, India for my 5th trip on January 4 and I couldn't be more excited.  The only bummer about this trip is that my trusty travel partner Lauren will not be with me.  She will be starting her own blog soon about her plans for 2016 but suffice it to say she will be doing some world travels of her own after graduation.  This is the first trip to India that I have made without her but I know she will be holding down the home front for me as well as praying specifically for the team.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


Today we spent the day with our friends at Destiny Foundation.  They have 2 locations in Kidderpore and Lake Gardens.  One is a prevention unit in a red light area for girls that have been able to get out of the life and the other is a training center for girls hoping for a new life.  We gave all of the girls pedicures, manicures, Satin Hands hand treatment, and told the story of Rachel and Leah.  Seriously y'all if you don't have this book:

The Jesus Storybook Bible

please RUN to the nearest Christian bookstore and purchase it TODAY.  I LOVE the way this book tells the story of Jesus.  We have read this story in several safe houses that we have visited and it has opened up so much conversation.  If you are involved in childrens ministry at all you should really consider it.

Lauren and Allie also showed the girls how to do the cup song from Pitch Perfect.  The girls all thought it was really neat and they were able to teach them how to do it as well.  Then the girls did a dance for us and sang us some songs.  We had a time of prayer and then sadly it was time to leave.  We were able to do a little bit of shopping at Destiny's production/training unit.  Their products are beautiful and all made from recycled saris.  If you have seen my Destiny blanket and makeup bag you know what I mean!

Then we returned home to the BMS.  If you are curious about where we are staying here is their website:

Baptist Missionary Society Kolkata

BMS is a lovely oasis from the busy streets of Kolkata.  It is in a gated area with high walls with barbed wire at the top.  We feel very safe and comfortable here.  It is not a 5 star hotel but it is "clean enough".  Your standards lower just a smidge on a mission trip.  :)  By the way if you have ever stayed at the BMS you will be shocked to learn that THEY NOW HAVE AN ELEVATOR!  No more dragging suitcases up 4 flights of stairs!

We ate dinner at the BMS (it was Chinese noodle night and we don't want to miss that!) and then headed out for a little bit of shopping at Maleek Bazaar.  It was a fun, crazy adventure as everything else is in India.  One thing I will never get used to here is the MASSIVE AMOUNT OF PEOPLE.  I know people say that New York City is the city that never sleeps but seriously....I have been to New York and Kolkata makes NYC look like a daycare.  I have never seen so many people in my life.  The streets are always busy and crowded and full of such interesting people.  Never.  A.  Dull.  Moment.  Never.

Good night from Kolkata!

Monday, January 12, 2015


We just returned home from the Mukti Network Retreat.  We had such an amazing time!

What is MNR?  Mukti Network is basically a conglomeration of some of the biggest heroes in Kolkata.  All of the counselors, house mothers, trainers, etc that work with girls that have been rescued are part of a large network.  They meet monthly to fellowship, talk about what is going on in their safe house, share stories about the successes of their girls, etc.  Some of the ministries are not houses but more like training centers (ie sewing centers, jewelry making training, etc) that are housed at the safe houses.

The retreat is held every year in January when we come and we have the HONOR of being the host! To treat these women to a fun weekend is our absolute pleasure.  They deserve so much more than what we can give but if we can help them relax and unwind for 2 days we feel like we have done our jobs.  We provide everything from ziplining, bible training, prayer time, pedicures, etc.  It is SO MUCH FUN to watch them relax!  Many of the women took their very first bubble bath ever!  I love this retreat! 

I couldn't be prouder of my girl Lauren.  She wrote a series of monologues for us to use during one of our breakout sessions.  They were titled "One but Not Alone".  Basically she took 7 bible stories and turned them into monologues.  She used people like Rahab, Moses, David, etc that felt inadequate to fulfill God's plan and purpose and then told the stories of how God used them.  It was beautiful and in my humble opinion one of the highlights of the retreat.  She was amazing.  Proud Mom moment!

After we got home from the retreat we took auto rickshaws to Park Street and ate at a place simply titled "Barbeque".  It was Chinese food.  LOL  Yummy!

Tomorrow we head out to see our friends at Destiny.  For more information about Destiny visit  Can't wait to spend the day with the girls there!

Oh and we were in a car accident on the way home from the retreat.  Not a big deal here but it made for an exciting drive home! 

Friday, January 9, 2015


Another amazing day in Kolkata!  I love this city, love these people, love the amazing ministry partners we have here. 

We spent the morning at New Hope School in Udayan Pally in the New Town/Salt Lake area.  Today was our 3rd and final day to work with New Hope.  My friends Pastor Rudra and Didi Mita are the real deal, y'all.  They have dedicated their lives to serving the children at New Hope.  Talk about pouring your whole self out to serve.  They wrote the book on pouring yourself out. 

We had a great morning at the school.  We continued our lessons on the Fruit of the Spirit.  Our chapel time was led mostly by the children.  Have you heard 50 little Indian accents reciting the Lord's Prayer?  You are missing out.  "May your (may your) holy name (holy name) be honored (be honored." (the younger kids repeat after the older about the Titus teaching!

We left the school and headed to another one of our favorite places, an amazing aftercare home that is an amazing place for trafficking victims to begin rebuilding their lives.  We visited here last year when the home was under construction and we wrote scriptures on all of the walls before it was painted.  The walls are now covered with a fresh coat of paint but we all remembered where we had written the scriptures that claimed peace, protection, healing, rest, and hope for the girls that now reside here.  It was so refreshing to see the girls laughing and enjoying the day with the crazy ladies from Texas.  Our partners at this aftercare home are so innovative and give their whole heart to this life changing ministry.

The ministry partners at this aftercare home tell us that the girls struggle with conflict resolutions skills. Today's lesson was about identifying your personality and then processing through how different personality types get along (or not). I had them identify with different candies (Red Hot - fiery personality that is fun to be around but sometime says too much, Good and Plenty - hard to get to know and don't let people see your heart easily but then very sweet on the inside, Hershey Kiss - very sweet but avoids difficult conversation that sometimes need to be had, etc.) There was 6 different candies and they had to choose 1 - 2 that described their personality. It was so much fun! Thanks Barry Debor for the great descriptions of the candies! They were spot on! Have I mentioned that my hubby is just as much of our team as I am? I couldn't travel halfway around the world without him on my side and without all of his help with prep.