The worship services today were long, but interesting. St. Matthew's Lutheran Church in Guntar, where we were at 7:00 a.m., has over 15,000 members. We were graciously greeted by the Bishop. Our names were listed on a giant banner at the entrance. I was asked to bring greetings on behalf of the MNYS and our travel group. Pr. Brenda Jack was the preacher. All were presented with flowers and a gift and treated like celebrities.
Later we traveled a short distance to another branch of St. Matthew's. The church itself was built in 1906 in European style. One of the pastors had studied at Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus and at Princeton. She was among the first 14 women ordained in the Indian Lutheran Church. After the worship dozens of parishioners stayed behind seeking individual prayer and blessing.
Because we had a rather grueling travel day yesterday, we are taking this afternoon off. I had a nap after only five hours of sleep the night before. This evening we are traveling into the countryside to visit a village church where the Lutheran Laity Movement is conducting a renewal service.
Our hotel here in Guntar isn't as fancy as the other five star hotels we've stayed in to date, but it is located on church owned property next to St. Matthew's Lutheran Church. One great thing about this hotel is that our room is located right on the main market street. One bad thing about the hotel is that it is very noisy because it is located where it is -- the streets are very narrow and the drivers of the cars, trucks and motor bikes honk their horns whenever they need to clear the right of way, which is constant.
The hotel will be a test for some: the hot water is lukewarm, there are no wash cloths in the bathroom, and in some cases. the showers don't work very well. The Wifi link works, however! My roommate, Paul Block, is graciously letting me use his laptop computer, which is a great step up from trying to hunt and peck type on Camy's iPad.
Wish you were here to experience all this. The people are very friendly and curious about this strange group of people (black, white, Asian, Indian, African, tall, short, slender, fat) who have showed up in the middle of their city. We get lots of stares wherever we go, but then we are usually staring back, so all is equal.
We are enjoying lots of Indian food! I am taking some photos, but will rely on Camy to provide most of them, he is a great photographer, which I'm learning, I am not.