As our days have gotten zooier, and my time alone for introspection scarcer, I've gotten a little behind on my blogging. I may be able to rectify that, but I can't make any promises.
Right now I'm running on the proverbial fumes. One of the only things I don't love about Northeastern India is the 4:00 a.m. sunrises at this time of year. It's been playing havoc with me sleep, and I'm almost always tired. Wah. Okay. I'm almost finished complaining: our hotel also lacks light-blocking curtains, so if I wake up at 4:00 am as I did this morning, there's no chance of me getting back to sleep.
At any rate, the first part of our trip was really about maintaining and deepening my family's and my relationship with Nandu, his wife and two kids. With more than 150 staff, it's impossible for me to have deep personal frienships with all of them, my affection for each of them notwithstanding. But it's essential that I stay close with my top guys in each country.
As you may know, relational equity and social capital are of infinitely greater value in Asian business and ministry than in Western. In the U.S., for example, you can fly into Boise, walk into a conference room at a Holiday Inn, be introduced to your new regional manager at 8:00 in the morning and launch into a frank and open S.W.O.T. analysis before you've finished you first cream cheese danish. Not so in Asia, where interconnected -- and to me often-incomprehensible -- systems of personal and quasi-familial relationships underly every interaction, business, ministry or otherwise. So for me, sharing a meal is a part of my job whether or not we "talk shop" or explain to each other the differences between cricket and baseball.
Nevertheless, there's quite a lot of work work that we need to get done in the remaining time in India. And that time is slipping by, tick-tick-tick. Addison Smith, my colleage and project manager, and Jared Heveron, a videographer from Scarlet City, one of our partnering churches in Columbus, Ohio, arrived on Monday, and Nandu and I spent the day driving from Kalimpong to Siliguri, and then after we picked them up at Bagdogra Airport, from Siliguri to Darjeeling to Kalimpong.
Yesterday, Tuesday, we spent the entire morning and most of the afternoon at a dance and music recital that our kids had been preparing for the last few weeks. It was wonderful -- we have some unbelievably cute and talented kids -- but it was very long. Five hours long if you include the lunch. Jared got some great video, and I got a couple good photos as well. In the evening, we met with our Indian lawyer, who is helping us navigate India's byzantine bureaucracy.
We leave India next Monday, so we've still got a lot to do. We have four videos to produce. Thankfully, Jared's sticking around for our Cambodia trip as well and then returning to India with another shooter and some storytellers afterwards. I'm sure we'll get them all "in the can," but right now I don't see how. So today we're meeting with Nandu to go over the shot list and make a plan to get rolling.
We also have at least one more meeting with our lawyer, budget and fundraising discussions, photos of all our staff and kids, various documentation projects and other miscellanea. Not only that, I want to spend more time playing with the kids, chatting with the staff and hanging out at each of our 4 homes. Oh, and we need to look at land for a future capital campaign. So, yeah.
But things are going well. I really do believe not only in Asia's Hope's overall philosophy and strategy, but in Asia's Hope India specifically. Our location is fascinating, complex and of extreme strategic importance. We border China, Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh, and are not far at all from Myanmar. We are at one of the world's great crossroads for migration, a dubious distinction given the illicit and exploitative nature of much of that transnational travel. We are in the nation with the world's greatest number of slaves, the most orphans, and much of the worst labor and sex trafficking. I could spend the rest of my life just focusing on India, expand Asia's Hope to 100 times its current size and impact and still have only scratched the surface.
But God and his people are on the move in India, this vast, diverse country, home to five times as many people as were alive on the planet in the time of Christ. Our ministry is a tiny one, only a bubble on a great sea of need. But we're willing. And we're trying to move ahead with purpose and integrity. And that's what we've been called to do. And I'm so grateful to have all of you along for emotional, moral and financial support. This is all very good.