Monday, February 26, 2007

My husband and I are sneaking away for a couple days...

We'll be in touch soon.


While we are gone, you have an assignment. Check out this photo and make up your own version of what is going on. When we get back we will post the real story.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

They say it's because I kiss kids. I say they're from the Devil.

Moments after asking Savita (a local hero at head lice) to check my head for lice, she parted my hair and these were the words I heard from come from her lips, "Oh, this is very bad."

For the following five hours I have had my hair combed though, oiled up and washed out. Our bed sheets and matress have all been changed as well as all of the clothes I have worn since moving here (good thing I really only wear 7-10 shirts and two pairs of pants). Nasty little living, breathing things they are. Nasty.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Not that I am usurping Jess, but she is in bed sleeping so she can't stop me. Here is the run-down on what happened, what is happening, and what will happen (or at least we hope so).

1. What happened:
So the Delhi Government branch that deals with snatching and destroying other people's land (Delhi Development Authority) issued orders that will acquire this whole neighborhood, level it, and turn it into a strip mall, high rise apartments, and other such nonsense. The truth is, we are loosing this land. This haven will be a parking lot. Now the question is when. The reason we were in such a state of panic the past few weeks is that we thought the bulldozers were going to be rolling through our front door any day. That was not totally unfounded, but it was based on some less than perfect information. (Requests for security help posted in the police office, bulldozers wrecking walls directly behind our Ashram, on and on...).

2. What is happening:
All kinds of things are buzzing now. A local tabloid ran this AWESOME little inflammatory story on us here in Delhi, making Jessica 2nd page news in India's capital city. (Not bad for a Michigan girl who had never been overseas before, huh?)

In other news (laugh), a Delhi branch of CNN is looking into doing a story on us as well. Not too shabby.

UNAIDS, with whom we are working on some case studies, got us a great meeting with the right people to help us fix our problems with the land. At this point, God willing, we have a 1 year stay to keep the bulldozers at bay until we can come up with a solution to get out of here.

What is that solution you might be asking you self, well the solution is actually #3 on the list, in chronological order, of course.

3. What will happen:
We don't know.

But we have an idea of what we would like to have happen. We need, in the next week, about $250,000 USD to put a down payment on the land. Now about $150,000 of that is already raised for that down payment, so we need just $100k more in one week.

After we have that, we need the rest of the $750,000 to purchase the land pretty soon, probably within a few months. Then we will need another huge sum to start putting buildings on the land. A clinic, Tuberculosis wards, living quarters, meeting hall, vocational training area, physical rehabilitation area, etc... But all of that can come with time.


But in the mean time, people are still dying. On the way to an important meeting on Saturday Ton spotted, in the high rise and high life part of town, a 16 year old boy laying on the sidewalk next to the road. Naked, totally emaciated, sick with TB, had drug himself across the pavement to come to rest at that spot to wait to die or be rescued. They picked him up, rushed him to the hospital, and today he died.

A 16 year old boy died because thousands of people who passed him on the sidewalk looked the other way.

A 16 year old boy died.

But death is commonplace here. We respect its limited power, choose life instead, make a face like this and say...
Boogeda! Boogeda!

Life goes on. Some make it to tomorrow, others don't. But today is what counts.

My main area of stretching these past few weeks: how do I make today count more. That's it. Today, the moment, right now, what can I do (or not do) to make this moment have real value.

Just thoughts...

My hair may be full of lice and my head full of green snot, but at least I'm famous in Delhi. This photo was published in "Metro Now," a new metro magazine who put the story of Sewa Ashram on the front page.

P.S. I think we may have received a year stay order!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

I'm married to an Alpha.

But he has one heck of a Beta if I say so myself.

- Jess

P.S. I'm still planning to write more one day. Thanks for praying with us, laughing beside us and enjoying the beauty surrounding us. We are grateful!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Jessica and I are busy today, like normal.

But we all send greetings.

Our brothers send wishes of Peace.

Our brothers send wishes of Love.

Our brothers send wishes of Valentines greetings if you like, but what meaning does that really have?



Sunday, February 11, 2007

Appeal to Delay the Demolition of Destitute Sanctuary

The future of a haven that grants refuge to New Delhi's destitute is at stake. Due to new land developments by the Delhi Development Authority, there is a possibility that Sewa Ashram Rehabilitation Centre and its buildings will be demolished.

The unique community of Sewa Ashram, located in Narela, offers free health care and long-term rehabilitation for those who cannot access services offered through the public health system. The centre is staffed by a team of ex-patients who are guided, trained and facilitated by on-site professionals; offering hospitality to the sick, poor, mentally ill and those abandoned on the roadsides of Delhi.

Sewa Ashram has been notified that the demolition process could begin anywhere between today and two months from now. The new city development put on by the DDA is said to include developments such as high-rise dwellings and a shopping district, while 120 of Delhi’s poorest will end up homeless and stripped of basic human privileges such as receiving free medical care and living in an atmosphere geared toward enriching others' lives with compassion and hope.

Professional partners and lawyers representing the property rights of the residential community have teamed up with Sewa Ashram staff in the quest for an extension of time to allow for a suitable transition off their current land. Out of all potential sites scouted, the management claims that the most suitable land for relocation is in the district of Burari, which is 30 minutes away from Yamuna Bazaar, one of New Delhi's most poverty-stricken areas.

Sewa Ashram will receive insufficient re-imbursement from the DDA due to sky-rocketing land prices over the past years. Therefore, Sewa Ashram is in the process of submitting appeals to Delhi government officials in the hope of obtaining a sufficient delay of the demolition, giving them time to raise funds to purchase new land and begin building a new home for the destitute of Delhi.

Regardless of the final outcome of this process those who will either benefit or suffer the most by these decisions will be Delhis’ most vulnerable citizens, the destitute.

For more information on the centre and its fight to delay the demolition project or to request Sewa Ashrams financial information, please contact Jessica at 98 106 204 52 or go to Sewa Ashram.

Sewa Ashram is registered as a charitable society under the name ‘Delhi House Society’, which is a registered charitable society under the government of N.C.T Delhi, Reg. No. S-35565. Delhi House was the name of the original house for the destitute founded in 1997.

Friday, February 09, 2007

the good news is that feet are still ticklish, smiles are still present, bandages are still being changed, the onions in the garden are still growing, chai still is served two times a day, laughter is still being heard all over, old men are still crazy, children are still even more insane and the men... well, they're still men.

the bad news is, there isn't any yet.

Thursday, February 08, 2007


Daniel, Jake and I are getting a press release ready and making numerous numerous contacts with various media outlets. Up-dating the web-site with New Ashram info. Tomorrow the rubber will hit the road. Will publish press release on here tomorrow.

Ton is doing what he does best and is caring for the patients.

Court is tomorrow. We'll see.

Does anyone know any powerful people? How about high rollin' philanthropists?


I need to remind myself.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

destruction has begun.
tearing down surrounding walls.
i don't know what to do.
i'm tired of watching.
we are His alone.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Well, here it is, the moment I have been dreading for 3 years. Ever since my first visit to the Ashram I knew that there had been an ongoing struggle with the legal authorities over the ownership of the land on which the Ashram sits. There have been struggles and legal action, lawyers and community action meetings, on and on and on.

For years there has been the threat of demolition, bulldozers coming through this garden, this place of healing, to make way for shopping malls and apartment high rises. They want to level this verdant land of healing to make room for a place of glass and steel and money.

That day is today. Sneakily and underhandedly, the DDA (land development people) have issued the decree that tomorrow we shall be bulldozed. Tomorrow will be the end of this Ashram.

Or will it. Two things come to mind.

The first is that these threats have come before, this is only more serious because we have a date and a court order. More paperwork, more officialness, more chance it will actually happen.

The second is a common theme among angry-ex-church goers. The church is a building. The Church is the people, collectively, as a creative, loving, compassionate body. That is the Church, and what the church should be. Not cathedrals and paintings, buildings and alters, but living people.

The Ashram is much in the same. It is not this compound, these luscious gardens, the beds, medical wards, or medicines. It is the people. We will be homeless, but still and Ashram of healing. We will move away from this quiet environment, but still be the Ashram of peace.

So what are our other options?
  • Someone very high up could intervene on our behalf and get a "stay of execution" from the high courts.

  • One of our lawyers efforts could be effective and receive the same "stay".

  • We could miraculously receive all $718,000 we need to purchase new land that we have been eyeing. While perfect and permanent, it is very expensive.

Right now we just don't know.

But someone just came into the office and handed me a $50 bill. One time my Grandma gave me a $50 bill and told me to "keep it hidden in your wallet. You just never know when you will need it in an emergency."

That memory lifts my heart. Help always comes in time of need.

Jake and Jess

Monday, February 05, 2007

Mohammed dies this morning.
Three small children are now without a father.

Salma & Roxanna, along with their little brother showed up this morning with clean shaven heads. What else is one to do with three children who have lice and live in a one room home.

The DDA issued us papers yesterday saying that we have one day until our home is to be demolished for city development. This is not the first threat, but it is the first one which has come with papers. We're waiting for the lawyer to call us back this morning. Waiting to take action. Feel helpless once again.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Tonight I took two girls to kiss their dad for the last time. We anticipate that Mohammed will die tomorrow.

Friday, February 02, 2007

A note from the past...

Some of you were propositioned by Jessica and I a few months ago about shipping some English reading materials to some schools in Midelt, Morocco where we were previously living. Well, a few of you (specifically BLynn that I know of) came through BIG TIME on that request, and to see the results of your efforts, please visit the blog of Cory Driver who acted as courier, organizer, distributor, and muscle-man for this venture.

Thanks to everyone who made this happen.

Jake and Jess

Thursday, February 01, 2007

My heart is ushered into transparent beauty and awe when I look into their eyes and touch their hands, truly listening to the voice within each one which speaks volumes of mercy, divinity and pain.

I wish I could somehow explain what it feels like to experience the touch of ones callous, dry hands to the breathing flesh which designs my face... a synergistic pulse between two people - restored. A united understanding resurrected. A trust which can only be communicated through the willingness and desire to become one with each other... to search out the light and life of God in each others soft tissues... to be willing to look beyond missing legs, dirty hair, clothes speckled with holes, voices with an auditory wave... between the labored gasps of painful longing memories and the steady breath of accepted loss, he touches my face, his fingers move through my hair, our lips culing upward with delight... we are becoming one. We receive life from one another... we are able to love from the energy transfered between our no longer foreign eyes...

For the first time in my life, I don't struggle here. I don't feel as though I am compromising that which I feel God has asked me to do and be. I feel as though I am free to look forward with hope and excitement. These men, women, and children are my family. Greeted each morning as their sister, they have become my brothers and sisters. It would be faulty of me to not speak of the hardships which occur here on a daily basis. But for some reason, they don't hold as much weight here as I have experienced in the past. What matters here is that synergistic pulse... the pulse which speaks love, acceptance, and truth of heaven on earth.

Thank you for being willing to come alongside us and experience this pulse of life with us... we are so grateful.