Independent Day

Today I had a great morning visiting with my [new] friends at the Hindustan Bible Institute here in Chennai. Their office is about 7 miles from the hotel so I had to take a car over there but was easily able to get breakfast, talk with my family (evening there in Michigan where they’re visiting) and make it there before their 9:30am chapel service.

The chapel was a special blessing to me today on two counts. First, because I missed worship this past Sunday I hadn’t gathered with the saints to sing, pray, and hear God’s Word since coming to India. Also the devotional at chapel was from 1 Corinthians 12 on differing gifts coming from one spirit. As I gathered with brothers and sisters in the faith who have lives and cultures thousands of miles from my comfort zone being reminded of what we have in common was especially helpful.

I got to spend some good time with the principal of the college (Dr. Varghese Thomas, who got his PhD at Trinity Evangelical in my home state) and Dr. Samuel Meshack, the director of higher education for HBI. We talked through the history of HBI, the current challenges they’re facing, and got some personal history on the folks who are managing the next phase of development for the organization. Both the president and the Vice President of HBI were out of town so I missed meeting them, but I was well cared for.

They have a goal of moving from a theological institute to a full University, which would involve starting three more schools of study under their umbrella. One of them is a school of business, which they hope to include an MBA in. We talked a bit about the Bradley program and what I like about it and its structure and we’re going to Skype in a month or two about how I could possibly be helpful in advising them as they work on spinning this up. Some possibility that I’d get to come back as a guest lecturer later, even…and after falling in love with their mission today I would love to come back to visit.

The three of us went out to lunch and had a wonderful Indian buffet and they encouraged me to try some specific items on it. I had some amazing (and spicy!) mutton meatballs among other items there, and left quite full. I wasn’t ready to eat supper at my normal time I was so full and so delayed eating.

I had a challenging trip back to the hotel. They called me a private cab since being so far away made a rickshaw a challenge…they don’t tend to travel that far or know as many areas of the city. I opened up google maps, just to watch our route, and was able to make sure the driver knew when he got lost at least twice. There was a language barrier, but he would pull over and ask for directions after I challenged whether we’d made a wrong turn, and we eventually made it back to my hotel. Thankfully while we were getting “lost” I at least was in an air-conditioned car rather than an open-air rickshaw.

When I got back I was able to relax for a little bit, which was nice (I was afraid to try to nap) and then went out with several others to price and be measured for custom fit suits. I opted for dress shirts instead, because I didn’t want to invest in a tailored suit while I’m still holding out hope that I can lose some more weight.

Oh, and I can’t forget my three interesting items:

1. I saw a myna bird. They’re here and wild. These are birds that can learn to talk. Not bright colored like parrots, but black and dark colored. I’ve been interested in myna birds since I read the Three Investigators book, the Mystery of the Stuttering Parrot when I was a boy.
2. I saw a tricycle with the two wheels in the front. It was hauling propane (or CNG…not sure) in a basket on the front. Hadn’t seen one of those yet.
3. I saw side by side PSAs on a sign: WEAR A HELMET and SAVE RAIN WATER. The juxtaposition made me chuckle.
4. BONUS: I saw a bunch of greenery in the median on several roads. I think I figured out (watching a cow munch his breakfast) why that’s there. It’s not cosmetic. It’s so the cows, which are the highest life form here, have food to eat. At least that’s my working theory.

Tomorrow we have a visit to Apollo Hospital in the morning and then check out and head to Tirupur. Then back here Saturday. Halfway through the trip now!

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