Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Elephants and Ants (Day Twenty One)

     July 1st, 2012 - Chitwan, Nepal
     Happy July! It is so crazy to me that this is July already. My theme for this trip, or at least the Nepal portion, has been intensity. Everything about this trip is intense- stretching, changing me and making me into a new person.
     We left Pokhara and headed out for Chitwan for our free day. The drive was beautiful and I love basking in God's creation! I had a nice talk with Brandi, just sharing about where God has brought us and what we are learning.
     Contentment is on my heart a lot because I want to be joyful where I am, not looking to tomorrow, not looking to going home, but focusing on today and not focusing or worrying about tomorrow.
     When we got to Chitwan it was unbearably hot. We were all dripping sweat and trying to imagine being cold to keep our minds off of it. Marissa told us that we need to think we are freezing and it will help. She told us stories of jumping into freezing rivers- I don't know if it helped, but it made us laugh.
     When we got to our super nice hotel, we ate lunch. We had cold lemonade and french fries! Lunch was amazing! Then we all went to our rooms to get ready for our safari on the elephants. We were told it could rain and that we should bring rain coats, but I decided I could just get wet and I left mine.
     We all got onto this truck that was taking us to the elephants! We took some pictures and videos and then it started sprinkling. Then, like in the movies, the rain started POURING! We were all soaked and none of us could stop laughing. One of the girls (Michelle) jokingly said, 'I guess we know what it means when someone tells us, "It's monsooooon season.".' We really were soaked.
     We all got in under this huge tent and started praying that the rain would stop, and singing worship. Ten minutes later the rain stopped. The heat had even diminished. Jesus was really blessing us!
     My group, Megan, Meg, Rachel and I, got to get on the first elephant. It was a little scary, but once we were on we were grinning and kept saying, 'I'm on an elephant!'
     Our elephant was friends with Sierra, Marissa, Naomi and Amaya's elephant, and we had many adventures together! [Our elephants traveled 'Noah style!' GE appropriate!] We went through the jungle and encountered a TON of bugs. We continued through the beautiful wonders of God's creation. I have never seen anything like it in my life! God is a GREAT artist!
     We saw a lot of deer and even a crocodile! We all went through these trees with ants in them. About fifty red ants got all over Marissa and she started screaming and smacking them off. We were glad she was okay, but our elephant 'driver's were all laughing at us, bust she was really getting bitten up! 
     Then they stopped our elephants and Marissa's driver jumped off, walked away, and left them. We started laughing and asking them what was going on but he didn't speak English and we had no idea!
     Then our elephant started walking the other direction and we went off by ourselves. I will admit that I was a bit scared about the driver taking us alone, but we went to a swamp area alone and saw more deer. Then our elephant kept stopping and making its loud noises, calling out to its friends which called back. It was LOUD!
     Our elephant was going a little crazy and our driver kept hitting it with a stick, which made me sad, but they were okay. We saw a whole bunch of monkeys playing in a tree!
     We met up again with Marissa and her group and they told us about their crazy adventure. After their driver came back, their elephant went a little crazy and started stampeding and calling out to the other elephants. Then their 'box' which is basically like a saddle  started falling off. They all had to lean to one side to keep it from coming off. Their ride was so crazy!
     When Marissa was recounting her story to us while the elephants took us back, I saw a spider on the wood post by where her arms were and I told her. She freaked out, ripped off her shoe and smacked it several times. She makes me laugh so much- none of us could stop laughing when she did that!
     Then we had to dangerously get off the elephant. It was not a safe process, but neither is riding an elephant!
     After we got off and were getting ready to leave, we saw a HUGE python which the Nepali people drug away from the elephants. 
     Today was so crazy, but every part is true. And there was Andy's group, where the elephant crashed to its knees. After our elephant ride, we went down to a river where we could see a rhino on the other side. The sunset was beautiful and we could also see the moon. Everything about today is beautiful. 
     We ate another great meal and had soda before watching a cultural dance. These men in 'skirts' danced around and then the last dance we all got up and danced with them. It was quite a sight for all of us Americans to get up and dance around, but it was fun!
     Then we headed to bed and got to sleep with A/C! I've forgotten what that even feels like! Jesus just really blessed me today! We have been working so hard and today He blessed us with a day of rest.
     Jesus is really the One from whom all blessings flow. Even when I wake up and am terrified because I don't know what is going to happen next, He holds me in His arms and comforts me. I am yours, Jesus, and you are mine. Keep leading, Lord!

     Highlights of the day:
     *Marissa, after saying Chitwan, put her hand to her face and waved her other arm like an elephant. Our dear Mamarissa, she is so great and she keeps us laughing. We decided every sime we said 'Chitwan' we had to act like an elephant.
     *Marissa getting red ants all over her. She started screaming and laughing and she SERIOUSLY considered ripped her shirt off because they were EVERYWHERE! The Nepali, elephant drivers were laughing so hard at us. We are the crazy Americans.
     *It is funny that I get so excited about food, but it is true. We had American style french fries- sort of. They tasted so good and I was so glad to have some type of American food!
     *Driving back to the hotel, Chris dropped his camera. This guy on a motorcycle picked it up and waved at us and we thought he was going to bring it to us, but he never did. Chris handled it really well, but we were all just a little sad when the man never came. 

     I didn't get pictures of when I was on the elephant, but it was so beautiful. That pretty much sums up my day. I loved it so much. No other experience quite like it!

On our elephant!

 Talking on the bus!
Were about to get soaked.

My beautiful MA!

This beautiful girl is awesome!

The dancing men.

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