SIM Canada Out & About | SIM Canada

SIM Canada Out & About is a platform to informally and creatively share the work of SIM Canada.
 
If you would like to submit a guest post about missions in Canada or 
overseas, please e-mail erica.mair@sim.org.  Guest posts can be in the 
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Date Night Part Three
This is part three of a four-part fictional story about a couple in South Asia written by Sarah. Each part will be released on the Tuesday of each week.  Here we go - Part Two of "Date Night". 



"Thank you guys so, so much,” Emily said, hugging Lydia again "No worries,” she smiled. "You guys deserve a night out and we didn’t have anything planned!”

The other four girls were already upstairs in the guest portion of the house, stripping beds and sweeping marble floors.

"I’m so glad it was just Sunita at the door again! I was worried it was something else!” Emily rolled her eyes.

"Yeah, well, she got Ranu’s other shoe so hopefully that’s all they forgot!”

"Aunty Rashmi sure pulled them out of here fast! Sometimes I won-"

Lydia held up a hand, "Eric’s waiting downstairs and we didn’t come over to hang out with you. Go!” she commanded, waving her hand in a shooing motion.

"Right, okay. Well, there’s soda in the fridge and a big pot of curried vegetables. Help yourselves, please,” said Emily.

"Don’t worry about us!” Lydia said, pushing Emily towards the door. "Get out of here!”

Emily sighed and smiled before spinning towards the stairs and hurrying down where Eric waited. He was just closing his phone when she reached the car.

"You are amazing! What made you think to call the girls?” she felt like her voice was dangerously close to squealing.

He smiled into her eyes, "Desperate times,” he said, grabbing her hand as they started to walk down the street towards the metro stop near their home. For large groups, it was easier to drive – but when it was just the two of them, using the efficient, modern metro system let them avoid the stress of traffic.


"I just got an email from Ryan,” Eric said, tapping his pocket.

"You mean Ryan from last summer?” Emily asked, surprised. He’d been a short termer the previous year from England who spent four months of his gap year exploring mission opportunities in India. At the end of his time, during most of which he’d been sick, he confessed to Eric they’d been the most miserable months of his life. It had been discouraging to spend so much time encouraging, praying for and nursing him only to hear him talk like he’d never set foot here again!

"He wants to come back for a full two-year internship. He thinks God is calling him here long-term,” Eric’s said excitedly.

Emily squeezed Eric’s hand, "That’s…” she struggled for the word. "Amazing!”

There were some short-termers who, at the end of their time, declared their India experience the best of their life – but who were never heard from again. Always hoping short termers would make long term commitments, this was discouraging. But then there were people like Ryan…

 "Yeah,” Eric whispered, suddenly waving and smiling broadly at some of the neighborhood boys who were loudly calling him, "Bhaiya” – older brother in Hindi. They ran over to vie for his attention; Emily and Eric stopped to chat with them.

"Bhaiya, will you play cricket with us?”

"Bhaiya, my father wants to know when you are coming to our home again!”

"Bhaiya,look at Mukul’s arm – he scraped it yesterday!”

"Bhaiya, where are you going?”

"Bhaiya, bhaiya, bhaiya…

Most of the boys had good, caring fathers – but a few of them, Emily knew, struggled in families without a father or with a father who was too drunk or working too much to care about them. It was these boys, she noticed, who seemed to cling most tightly to Eric.

Even though their main job was to encourage and disciple short termers – Emily and Eric had decided at the beginning they wanted to make the most of their relationships with Indian friends as well. A pang of guilt sent a hot stab through Emily’s stomach as she thought of Aunty Rashmi and Sunita. It had been too long since, instead of just enduring their visits, she’d taken the time to really talk with her neighbor or try to move the conversation onto spiritual topics.

Oh dear Lord, she breathed as the group of boys parted to let them continue down the road, why is balance so difficult sometimes?



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Date Night Part Two

This is part two of a four-part fictional story about a couple in South Asia written by Sarah. Each part will be released on the Tuesday of each week.  Here we go - Part Two of "Date Night". 


 

A whole package of cookies later and half an hour of forcing laughter at Ranu’s cute, but very naughty, antics, Emily’s fake smile made her face ache. Sunita was flashing her apologetic, pleading glances but even those couldn’t assuage Emily’s growing irritation. Eric would be home any minute and that made her even more anxious to be rid of her house guest. With only half her attention on the fast, harsh Hindi of Aunty Rashmi, Emily was having trouble following the topics of conversation.

Laughter floated up the stairs of the apartment building and slipped into Emily’s living room. She looked at the door where, a second later, a knock froze Aunty Rashmi’s lecture on the necessity of having children very soon after the wedding. Emily heard this indictment of her and Eric’s lack of children often. Sunita and Aunty Rashmi’s son Anil had their son exactly eleven months after the wedding.

Emily flashed an apologetic smile and hurried curiously for the door. A wall of giggles and chatter washed over Emily as she swung open the door. Lydia, Jessica, Tess, Vanessa and Bekki streamed into the house, stifling giggles and greeting Aunty Rashmi properly with a solemn "Namaste” spoken with hands folded in front of chest. The five girls had all arrived in India three months ago and were a part of the group of short termers Emily was responsible to mentor and disciple through their two years spent exploring India.

In their best Hindi, they conversed cheerfully with Aunty Rashmi until the older woman decided it was time to go home. Despite her perchance for visiting Emily every day, Aunty Rashmi seemed to dislike all other foreigners. She swept up Ranu in one arm and gripped Sunita’s thin forearm in her other hand and pulled every one towards the door with her.

When Emily had closed the door behind the trio, she spun merrily to the five girls, "How did you plan this visit so perfectly?”

"Emily, you have to hear what happened to Tess,” giggled Lydia.

"What happened?” Emily asked, giggling too when she saw Tess’ bright red face.

"I was practicing Hindi at Alima’s house,” Tess had befriended Alima at the university where she took Hindi classes. "We wanted to make chai, but she was out of tea leaves. So we went next door to ask her neighbor and Alima said I should practice asking to borrow something…”

The whole group broke out into giggles. Tess’ whole body shook as she tried to recover her voice.

"So I went over to the neighbor’s house with her, but instead of asking to borrow her puttee – tea leaves – I asked to borrow her putee – husband!” This last word was long and shaking, lost in a fresh eruption of laughter.

Horrified, Emily threw her hand over her mouth, "What did the neighbor say?”

"Alima jumped right in to correct me,” Tess said. "I was so embarrassed! We took the tea leaves and hurried home. A few minutes later, the neighbor’s aunt came over and – very seriously – asked if she should try to arrange my marriage!”

"Oh no!” Emily cried.

The front door behind her clicked open and Eric walked into the room of laughter.

"Sounds like you are having a good time,” he said, tossing the car keys on the door-side table. His green eyes were twinkling, but he didn’t look surprised to see the five visitors.

"Girls, actually, Eric and I were planning on going out toni-,” Emily began.

"Oh, we know. That’s why we came over,” interrupted Lydia.

"What?” Emily looked from the suddenly mischievous faces of the girls to Eric.

"We heard you might need a little help getting out of the house tonight and that things around here might need a good scrubbing,” explained Lydia. Emily thought she caught a mouthed "Thank you” from Eric to the girls.

The sight of the three guest rooms upstairs that were still disheveled after hosting the team flashed through Emily’s mind.

"You guys shouldn’t have to do my housework,” she said slowly.

"Not yours,” Vanessa shook her head. "Just helping out with the team.”

Tears sprung to Emily’s eyes for the second time that day as Eric wrapped his arm around her waist, "You wanna go put on some date night clothes?” he whispered in her ear.

"You guys are the best!” Emily said, dashing to hug each of her girls.

As Emily hurried down the hallway towards the bedroom, she heard a tap on the front door.

What now? She grumbled, hoping Eric could handle it quickly.



Come back next Tuesday for Part Three! 

 

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Date Night
For the next four weeks on Out & About, we will be featuring a four-part fictional story about a couple in South Asia written by Sarah. Each part will be released on the Tuesday of each week.  Here we go - Part One of "Date Night". 

Emily bit her lower lip, trying to keep the tears behind her eyelids. She jammed the phone between ear and shoulder as she measured out water, tea leaves, sugar and ginger to make chai.

"Hey babe, I’m on my way back right now,” Eric answered. The connection crackled crankily.

"Don’t worry about hurrying back now, Eric. Aunty Rashmi and Sunita just showed up,” Emily could hear a faint feedback of her voice. It sounded hollow and flat.

Eric’s sigh echoed the one Emily had breathed a few minutes before when Aunty Rashmi had dragged her daughter-in-law Sunita through the front door.

"Well, serve chai right away. That’s supposed to be the sign you don’t have a lot of time and she should go, right?” Eric offered.

"Yeah,” Emily replied. Supposed to be."I’ll try.”

Somehow the subtle ways suitable in South Asian culture to signal to guests they should leave sooner rather than later never worked on staunch Aunty Rashmi.

"I’ll be home in about an hour if this traffic h-" a line of static and the call dropped.

Emily cupped the phone in her hand dangling by her side and leaned back against the plaster wall of the kitchen. The pot of chai was working itself up to a boil on the stovetop; she could just smell the ginger. In the next room, Aunty Rashmi was talking in high, loud tones to Sunita’s son, Ranu. She was showing him the strange foreigner items from Canada. A family photo taken at Emily & Eric’s wedding. Their laptop - both mystery and magic to the neighbors.  A coffee table book of beautiful natural forests and lakes.

Emily carefully added an equal amount of milk to the chai which had begun boiling in the pot. The tea turned a creamy tan. She turned the heat down and waited for it to begin bubbling again.

When she and Eric had decided to move to South Asia, they’d known it would be a long transition full of bumps along the way. Orientation and the stories from other workers had prepared them to adjust to another culture. Or so they thought.

It had been a long two years.

Their role as Missionary Coordinators for the field meant investing time in college students trying to discern if God was leading them to serve long-term in South Asia. They also hosted two-week vision teams – groups from churches, businessmen, pastors. Each in their own way, trying to discern what their role in reaching South Asia’s unreached people groups might be.

Eric had just finished dropping off a team at the airport. And after two weeks of spending nearly all of their time with 15 people from a US church, Emily had been looking forward to a long evening alone with Eric. A stroll around the local gardens and then a cold coffee at their favorite cafe. It was their South Asian version of what date nights had been in Canada – a movie and coffee at Tim Hortons.

But now Aunty Rashmi had situated her ample girth in the middle of the living room’s loveseat. The woman’s visits were never under two hours – no matter how early Emily served chai or how many hints she dropped about how much housework there was.

"Emily?” called Aunty Rashmi from the other room. The Indian pronunciation of her name sounded more like "Imly” which – incidentally – was also the name of a small, round fruit. "Do you have any biscuits for Ranu?”

Say goodbye to date night, Emily muttered.


Come back next Tuesday to read part two! 

 


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