We have the first report in from the team that left for India last week on a nearly three-week-long mission! Below, Anne Martin (Ralph’s wife) shares her perspective on the team’s time there so far. This report arrived late Monday evening.
What a busy time . . . non-stop until this afternoon!
We are staying at Archbishop Felix’s house. The day begins with a beautiful Mass in the little chapel with the archbishop and two young priests who live here. Then we’re swept away to different venues for a full day of talks and meeting people, shaking hands, and praying. The folks love Ralph. They’ve heard of him and have read his books. There are many requests to be prayed with. And they’re so hospitable, offering tea, snacks and meals, and lots of Indian food.
There’s always a pot with stew-like chicken, a pot with stew-like fish, vegetables, beans, rice, chapati bread (warm, flat crepe). Everything is very densely flavored and colorful; the chicken often is red. There are also tiny bananas and deliciously ripe papaya as well as sweet, exotically flavored desserts that are very different from anything I’ve had—a yellow disc of something floating in a similar colored liquid or little red balls that look like doughnut holes but taste like cloves. Every meal is like this. One night a family invited us to their restaurant for dinner. There were multiple little courses. At a certain point when I thought it was time for dessert, they asked us what we’d like for dinner, Chinese food or Indian food!
Last night, a priest we met invited us to an Indian wedding. It was an incredible and memorable experience that even included fireworks! The ladies invited me to dance. Indian weddings go on for days.
Ralph gave three talks to a Charismatic community where we have friends; the next day, he gave three talks to Charismatic leaders at a large rally; today, he gave three talks to the priests in the diocese; and tonight, there’s a youth rally. There are still talks for nuns, a large rally with 5,000 expected to attend, and a trip to speak in the country, where the poor live and work. Renewal Ministries’ Board Chairman Deacon Dan Foley and his wife, Dolly, are with us, and Dan has given excellent talks and sharings at each of the events too. It has been really nice being with them. Another highlight has been very interesting conversations with the archbishop at the meals here at his house.
We haven’t done any sightseeing. We took a couple short walks in the neighborhood, which consists of densely spaced concrete apartment buildings; rutted roads; litter-filled ditches; stray, barking dogs; ladies in their saris; and laundry hanging from the iron lattice in the windows. The main road is a busy, dusty street with honking cars, motorcycles that somehow often seat a family of three (I haven’t seen any helmets), rickshaws, and bicyclists. The driving would be “white knuckle” for me, but our Indian hosts drive with great confidence in the chaos. And there are countless little shops and food stands.
The weather has been in the cool season for them—the low 80s.
Thanks so much for your prayers! Ralph’s stamina is amazing and one of the graces of prayer. Also, I’m sad to be missing Fr. Mike Scanlan’s funeral, but I have a feeling he’s happy we’re here doing what we’re doing.