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"Visiting India" - by Rev. Weldon Bares

India is the second most populous country in the world, with 1.3 billion people. It is the world’s largest democracy.

I visited India in the early part of last year for a couple of weeks on a tour, pre-COVID. Very simply, India is overwhelming to visit. I experienced sensory overload over and over again. The cities are crowded with people. Animals seem to be everywhere: bulls, sheep, cows. In large towns, I saw elephants, camels, boars, goats, monkeys and uncountable number of dogs. The images are frozen in my mind: smiling faces, the smell of incense, amazing beauty, exotic temples, horns blaring, spicy food.

Let me share with you several quick lessons I learned from traveling to India: (1) I was reminded of the importance of patience. Very few things happened exactly when I wanted them to happen. (2) Good manners and courtesy go a long way. (3) It is a good thing to ask for help. (4) Money is not everything. In the midst of poverty, I found much happiness and peace.

(5) As anywhere, be careful what you eat, especially in India for a westerner. (6) Deep down, most people are searching for God to answer the great mysteries of life. Christianity has not made significant inroads in India, but still has over 28 million followers, and is the third largest religion after Hinduism and Islam. Temples, mosques and churches are found all over the country.

I am so glad that I went. I would go back in a heartbeat. I learned so much. John Steinbeck wrote: “People don’t take trips - trips take people.” True words.

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