by Barbara Ann Oliver
Monday, October 11, 1:36 am, I struggle to put on my socks and shoes, climb quietly down from the top berth. I sneak quietly past a sleeping J.C., notice that Betty has disappeared somewhere in the night. I pick up the liter bottle that I have been craving for the last two hours and drink greedily, disappointed that the frosty, slushy concoction of earlier in the evening has turned into lukewarm tea.
We said goodbye to the New Delhi brethren at about 7 pm, after the evening worship, drove with our sixteen pieces of luggage to the train station (yes that is more than we left the US with). Francis and Vinay, his son, and Sunny and his wife Nargis came with us. We sat on the train together until 8:30, had a pray and said goodbye to them. And we were underway.
At about 9:00, we had the famous train-food that Betty, Elzy (Francis’s wife) and I had been cooking all afternoon: masala potatoes (fried potatoes with Indian seasoning), fried pork loin with Indian soy sauce (note to self: bring soy sauce from the US next time!), fried chicken strips, and chapatti (Indian bread similar to tortillas).
Ugh! Train sickness. See you later.
Well, it is Thursday evening. We spend Sunday night, Monday, day and night, sleeping. All those good intentions of listening to language CDs and reading were lost to a Dramamine/train-rocking induced sleep. And after the first night, the unrefrigerated train-food lost its appeal!
We arrived in Kakinada on Tuesday, about 12:00 pm and drove to Joshua and Kabita Gootam’s home. Their three boys were all home from college. That evening we went to a village and J.C. preached for about an hour. Since most of the audience were women, after a short break, Joshua Gootam translated as Betty spoke to the women for about 15 minutes.
All was going well until Betty finished and Joshua said, “And now we will hear from sister Barbara.” I leaned over and said, “Joshua, I am not a speaker.” He said, “Come on. Just say a few words.” So before I knew it, I had said a few word and was again seated in my chair, squeezing the plastic arms so tightly they squeeked! The evening ended wonderfully as three were baptized.
Wednesday, I didn’t go with J.C. and Betty to the village because the Indian equivalent of Montezuma caught up with me. Wednesday evening, we met with the brethren at the church building here in Kakinada, and then today, we drove two hours to a village, where once again J.C. spoke. After baptizing seven people and having lunch, Betty spoke to the ladies, again with Joshua translating. I was sure I was safe, but I believe in the saying “once bitten twice shy”, or something like that. Anyway, I was semi-prepared and lived through the experience. The good thing I can say about my little talk – short and sweet!
Tomorrow we board the train again for a 24-hour trip to Bangalore. My standards have really fallen. I am only keeping out two CDs, have my Dramamine handy and don’t really expect to do anything but sleep!