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My team and I have finally made it to India! I have heard so much about this place that it seems unreal that we are actually here. There are so many cultural differences to explore; although, the first difference is the climate.  You can feel the humidity here.  I have come to accept that I shall remain soaked in sweat until my returning flight.  It completely drains you of energy and I have been praying that God will give me and my team strength to carry out His work without complaining and with a joyful heart!

Today we went into Malikipuram, the local town, in order for the women to purchase Indian clothing and a snack or souvenir. For the women on our team, it is important to immerse in our surroundings by wearing the clothing of the area.  In India, women need to have nothing exposed.  From waist to ankle, we are to be covered including our chest, except ironically, our mid-section or stomach area is fine to be seen.  Modesty is important here with some exceptions.  

The clothing in the shops mainly involve two types of outfits for women. One is called a punjabi and is more modern, basically a dress with leggings and a scarf.  The other outfit is very traditional and is called a saree. Remarkably, it is a large piece of material that often has beautiful embroidery which is elegantly wrapped around the entire body.  It includes leggings and a top section that it is pinned down to hold in place. From floor to ceiling, the store had walls lined with colorful clothes.  Upstairs were the punjabis with men’s clothing, which consisted of casual attire similar to America. Downstairs were the sarees. Tables were also in the store and piled high, mountains of fabric of every design.  Most amazingly, no two outfits were the same, each punjabis or saree was completely unique or still had subtle differences.  The women at the store were so helpful, eager to pair our choices with leggings and a scarf.  Filled with excitement, the women put on our outfits immediately, once we returned from town.

The Indian culture is in complete contrast from the western world back in California. Despite the differences, it is beautiful. Like every design in the mountains of fabric, God has made us all unique. No outfit is the same even though we are each made in His own image.  We are beautiful in His eyes and I am looking forward to encountering His beautiful children here. To serve and to love.

So God made man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:2-7