You know you are REALLY learning a language when you start to think in the other language. The prodigal son makes me cry even in Hindi. There are also tears of laughter when my one year old cousin is lifting up her dress in front of the whole audience during the drama. I miss English. I think about Greece way too much. My body and flesh misses the US, but my soul has never been more nourished.
My family. Here and in the states. I love to walk here. It is my daily exhilaration and my adventure. But recently, I have been experiencing some pain in my legs.
1. Aching from my femur bone to my toes. Not unbearable (don't worry Gram), but annoying.
2. A surprising feeling from time to time as if someone is throwing scalding hot water on different parts of my legs.
Pray for my Karuna Kids: Zarina, Gideon, Dinesh, Pranav, Real, Pushpa, Robin, Dena, Hetal, Kanta, Princey, Snehal, Stella, Maryum, Caleb, Lukesh, Ashish, Naresh, Rueben, Rahul, Kusha, Keshia, Mukesh, Pooja, Sumitra, Joshua, Asha.
A prayer of thanksgiving:
I have a friend here. We are very close. I shared with her my spiritual gift a few weeks ago, and she confided with me about her family. She told me that her dad had been struggling with alcohol since she was a little girl and it had affected her entire family. So every morning in my prayers I had been including my friend's dad. We woke up at 5 AM yesterday morning and prayed for him. A few hours later, she disappeared and I couldn't find her. She eventually came downstairs and had tears in her eyes. She said, "Natalie! I'm so sorry to keep you waiting! That was my family! My dad woke up this morning and wanted to go to church! He went and gave 5,000 rupies for offering and said he wanted to give up drinking! My mom and sister were just on the phone crying with joy because for once he didn't scold them for going to church! He's changed!"
We both laughed and cried and just kept saying, "Praise Jesus!"
I said to her, "See, our God, He answers, and He's still performing miracles today!"
Lately, my inbox has been filling up with praises and compliments about my blog. Some say I'm inspiring them, I'm a hero to them, I fill their eyes with tears, and change their hearts. This is so beautiful to hear. But often times, I feel like the antonym of all of those things. This week, I'd like to devote a blog everyday to the REAL heroes. The ones that have stories that should not be kept silent. THEY are the ones, deserving and worthy of praise, not I.
"The First Jesus Freak
Across the courtroom, the young man on trial continued preaching. The jury fidgeted nervously as he told of their religious heritage and forefathers. What did Abraham and Moses have to do with this Jesus? Another young man in the audience, about the same age as the defendant, seemed not to be listening. His mind was already made up on the matter of this Jesus follower. The crowd of Jewish leaders however, grew more agitated at every word from the young defendant.
Suddenly the preacher turned to the audience, "You stubborn and hard-headed people! You're always fighting against the Holy Spirit, just like your ancestors did They killed the prophets who told about the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have turned against Him and killed Him. You have received the law of God, but you have not kept it."
When the crowd heard this, they were even more furious, but the defendant ignored their growing anger. His face glowed like that of an angel, and he stopped talking and pointed at the ceiling. "Look! I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!"
This was too much. Yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him. They dragged him out of the city to stone him. He continued preaching all the way.
The young man who had been in the audience, one Saul of Tarsus, followed after them. He stood a short distance away from the defendant, looking steadily at the sky as the mob grew larger. The cries grew more heated now. A man handed Saul his coat, then stopped to pick up a stone as though waiting for a signal from Saul. Saul lowered his gaze, then looked directly into the man's eyes and nodded. It was time to silence the young preacher.
Stephen, the defendant, continued despite the crowd's jeers, because the Man he was telling them about was so important to him. He couldn't stop talking about Him. Several more men had now removed their coats, handed them to Saul, and began gathering rocks, many of them so large that the men had to lift them with two hands.
"We don't want to hear about your Jesus anymore!"
A rock sailed past Stephen's head. He stopped speaking long enough to duck it, dazed for a moment, then he stood to continue. The second rock caught him near his temple, and he fell to his knees. Another hit his shoulder. Then there were too many to count.
"Let this be a lesson to all who would proclaim this Jesus!"
Another stone found it's mark. Then another. He couldn't open his eyes for the sting of the blood. His clothes were torn by the blows and blood dripped freely from the tatters. He began to pray, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." Then he scanned the crowd until his eyes locked with the young man who held the bundle of coats.
"And Lord," he continued,"do not hold this sin against them."
When he said those words, Stephen died.
Slowly men gathered their coats from young Saul, who was soon alone with the body of the young preacher. Saul had come to Jerusalem to help silence the growing craze about Jesus of Nazareth. despite his hatred, he could not shake the young man's words and how fearlessly he had faced death.
Saul did not persecute men like Stephen for much longer...Eventually he became Paul and wrote a good part of the New Testament."
Talk, Dc. Jesus Freaks: DC Talk and The Voice of the Martyrs - Stories of Those Who Stood for Jesus, the Ultimate Jesus Freaks. Minneapolis: Bethany House Publishers, 1999. Print.