This week we continued our world tour with a stop in India. A local pastor, Philip Chryst, of Warren’s Grove UMC, came to share with us about his experiences in India as a missionary.
Reverend Chryst brought along this bamboo painting to use as a springboard. He showed the children the style of artwork and pointed out that it was painted on thin strips of bamboo instead of the paper or canvas we might commonly use.
Reverend Chryst shared stories of hiking in remote jungles and being without interpreters. He also told us about what daily life was like for people living in rural India.
We learned about the dung huts that he stayed in for most of his visit, and how the dung was ‘refreshed’ for special guests, as the missionaries were considered to be. He shared that the smell was once so strong that they dragged their beds outside and slept under the stars that night.
At the kids’ request, he told us about the foods he ate most often there – about rice and beans, about using a type of flat bread as a fork, and about the popularity of goat meat and the rarity of beef. He explained that curry is a very popular spice, and that chai tea is prepared with cream and sugar in it – it’s not possible to ever have a cup of ‘plain’ tea.
Pastor Chryst showed us that many many more Indians are Christian than are commonly believed to be, but there are also many Hindus throughout India. His stories challenged my popular beliefs of this country – and the children were wide-eyed at the stories of tigers, wild and free, and goat for dinner.
Every once in a while, it’s good to shake up our ideas and wrap our brains around something new.
Is there anyone in your community who has been someplace ‘exotic?’ How do you teach your children about other cultures?