From Mizoram to Delhi

Monday, October 15, 2018
Delhi, Delhi, India
We leave Mizoram today for New Delhi, India. But, it’s not over yet! 
I get up early in the mornings to write and read.  That’s about the only time that I have for concentrated creative work. I went down to the hotel’s reception area thinking that I could sit on one of the comfortable couches and use my laptop.  When I entered the room, I quickly found the hotel overnight staff asleep on the couches!  I quickly exited back to our room. I’m thankful that my laptop has a backlit keyboard making it possible to work in darkness. Then, I went down to the reception area again to find one of the Church of God 7th Day pastors coming by to talk a little more which I really appreciated. Then others came.  One unusual person was a man who wanted to show me his skill of imitating bird sounds and invited me to record him.  The first was the sound of bats, then the common hawk and finally the eagle.  He raised his arms up as he was flying like an eagle.  Interesting.  I recorded this and will put on YouTube.
Then time to check out and eventually get to the airport that is one hour away for our 2:50 pm flight to Calcutta and Delhi.
But!  There is one more important stop and meeting.  The Aizawl church itself that meets in a rented hall in town.  They wanted us to come by to say good-bye to them before heading off for the airport   
I’ll We had breakfast quickly and then got our things together for checking out. 
PC wanted one more meeting, and that was with the smaller Aizawl congregation. He wanted us to say a few things of encouragement to them.
We had to go in different vehicles to the rented meeting place which was supposed to be “close by.” . Dave, Jolinda and Ezekiel took off and we waited for our vehicle to come.  Time was passing, 30 minutes, and no car.  We found it got stuck in horrible gridlocked traffic, had to pull out and start coming our way from a different side. The driver was a Church of God 7th Day elder J. Lalthankima.  Time is closing in because we need to make the meeting and then get out to the airport an hour out of town on the precarious road.  As we stood at the entrance of the hotel, we watched the traffic of cars, two-wheelers, pedestrians, trucks all come by the narrow road.   We took lots of photos.
Finally, the vehicle came and we took a back way to the meeting hall.  We got there through the congestion.  The hall was a room hanging out over the road with hefty climb up stairs.  We got and were warmly welcomed.  David started the meeting.  He and Ezekiel sang a duet of “Blessed and Happy is the Man.”  Jolinda played the big bass drum.  I wish we could have been there for this awesome event.
When we got there was only about 30 minutes to just greet the congregation and get on to the airport in all this hubbub.
It was still wonderful to address the people and hear from them.  One of the people publicly commented that they had been praying for decades to find someone to associate their faith with and finding the United Church of God was an answer to prayer.  I cannot agree more that there is a genuine spirit in these people that has been tested by time.  They have shown true friendship over time in our ministerial visits.  They have been able to discern flaws even in us as some of our ministers left the United Church of God, but they did not. They are about as remote a people as I have gone to visit, yet they are close to us by the bonding of the Spirit of God. 
We took group photos, our ladies were wrapped with a puanlaisen, a skirt wrap also called a "puan."  All fun.
We leave to hurry to the airport. Fortunately the hall is on the road to the airport about an hour away, so we won’t get stuck in traffic. As we wound around the road out of town we saw where a landslide destroyed a large concrete building. 
Here are the people who were present this Monday morning:
P.c Rualtaiona is the pastor of the three United Church of God congregations in Mizoram (Kolosib, Mualkhanga and Aizawl), lives in Aizawl and travels the circuit. There are a total of six elders for UCG Mizoram. Here are some of them that were in attendance at this meeting:
1.     P.c. Rualtaiona, the pastor
2.     Elder V.L. Chhawna – Local chairman and executive vice-Chairman – wife is Lalbiakhluni (Biaken)
3.     Elder K. Thanguluaia, wife is Zahmintthang
4.     Elder Saliana
5.     Kolasib elder P. c. Lavuana
Our drive got us to the airport in good order.  It was hard to say good-bye as we had to part with Ezekiel, too.
The airport is one of the amazing engineering marvels for this area. There was a lot of flattening to put in a runway that could handle 737-type aircraft.  It is the second more dangerous airport in India for landing. We got off just fine on our Air India flight first to Calcutta and then on to Delhi.  I know that the names of certain cities in India have been changed to their previous names.  Bombay became Mumbai, Madras became Chennai and Calcutta became Kokota.  I still like the sound of the old familiar cities that I’ve known and continue to use them. Excuse me.  
We arrived in New Delhi about 8:30 pm, got our luggage right away and were at the nearby Pride Plaza hotel soon after.  The airport is huge for this city of nearly 20 million people.  So many things have worked right for us on this trip.
We stayed at the Pride Plaza hotel near the airport.
As were checking in we found George and Shoba Samuel who came up by train from Agra which is about four hours by train away. This is the first time I’ve met them and feel blessed to get to know them. I’ve heard many good things about them.  He is the pillar member who holds church meetings at his home in Agra. We decided to get something to eat and talk.
George was to come to ABC this academic year, but was not able to because of visa issues.  We’re hoping that that can be rectified and he can come for the second semester starting in January.   George’s wife works as a nurse in a government hospital. They are a lovely couple. 
We got to bed late. On Tuesday is our last day in India. We will tour Old Delhi before leaving for the airport. 
This trip was complex in making all the flight arrangements internally for five people who came from three different directions. Jolinda was primarily responsible for putting it together and did and exacting job. It all played out exactly to plan. Got some really good deals.
Tomorrow we travel to Delhi and the beginning of the journey back to the United States.
Our days are chock full experiences and we are thankful that we are in good health to appreciate them all!
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2018-11-16