Index: Click on the title in red to view the full entry.

June 27, 2011
A poem about saying goodbye to our home in New Delhi. We're moving out this week.

June 22, 2011
A short list that reflects some of our attachments.

June 14, 2011
A poem about leaving.

June 6, 2011
An account of our latest purchase in Delhi and the ride home afterward. Including photos. NOW WITH LINK TO VIDEO VERSION OF THE RIDE.

May 25, 2011
Some reflections on law enforcement in this city.

May 23, 2011
A short poem based on a parable of Jesus.

May 14, 2011
Some reflections on a recent trip to Varanasi and Patna.

May 6, 2011
A poem inspired by the art of biblical narrative.

April 25, 2011
A poem with an accompanying sketch depicting the three people crucified on Good Friday.

April 12, 2011
A short poem/prayer about not wanting to settle for less in life.

April 7, 2011
A few reflections on turning 44, with insights from Morrie Schwartz.

March 28, 2011
Some reflections on buying train tickets and driving in India.

March 15, 2011
A poem for Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent.

March 8, 2011
A poem about trying and not yet succeeding.

February 25, 2011
And now for something completely different. A short video production.

February 14, 2011
A poem about influence.

February 3, 2011
A Personal Response to the Author's Talk at the American Center.

January 25, 2011
Some personal reflections on the Jaipur Literature Festival.

January 19, 2011
A short poem about faithfulness.

January 14, 2011
A new poem for the new year, inspired by Biblical themes.

December 23, 2010
A holiday reflection.

November 27, 2010
A post-monsoon reflection.

November 13, 2010
A poem about faith in the fire.

October 29, 2010
Fiction: An excerpt from The End of Chet, a novel about a young American traveling in India.

October 25, 2010
A poem about the spiritual reality of forgiveness.

September 15, 2010
A poem about courage, and going to battle.

September 7, 2010
Stepping back to reflect on my travels thus far.

August 26, 2010
Some personal reflections on being Mennonite, on singing war poetry, and on travel writing as a peace-making tool.

August 12, 2010
A poem based on an obscure passage in the Bible that features the special relationship between a daughter and her father.

July 31, 2010
Fiction: An excerpt from The End of Chet, a novel about a young American traveling in India.

June 28, 2010
A poem about not getting anywhere quickly.

May 28, 2010
A poem of faith and desire.

May 6, 2010
Some personal and informal reflections on the hit movie.

April 29, 2010
A poem/prayer.

April 13, 2010
A few happenings from another interesting week in Delhi.

March 26, 2010
A poem for my wife, dedicated to the two most amazing and influential couples in our lives: my parents and her parents.

March 16, 2010
Another story about meeting interesting people in Delhi.

March 5, 2010
Another short poem/prayer.

February 18, 2010
A short poem about being fickle.

February 4, 2010
Another global moment in Delhi.

January 29, 2010
A poem inspired by the sky above.

January 19, 2010
A friendly encounter in a Delhi tea shop.

January 12, 2010
A slightly humorous story just in time for... Halloween?!

January 7, 2010
How about starting the new year with a poetic question?

December 17, 2009
A short reflection on cultural learning and the adventure of visa extensions.

December 4, 2009
Fiction: An excerpt from The End of Chet, a novel about a young American traveling in India.

November 14, 2009
A (very) short poem/prayer.

November 5, 2009
A poem about a sacred moment in Delhi traffic.

October 24, 2009
An article about a friend of mine named Amit Dahiyabadshah.

October 13, 2009
A poem about contentment and the treasure of special relationships.

October 2, 2009
A holiday reflection about the surprises we encountered camping on the Ganga.

September 25, 2009
Fiction: An excerpt from The End of Chet, a novel about a young American traveling in India.

September 17, 2009
A poem about hearing from God.

August 31, 2009
A poem about an encounter at an intersection nearby to where we live in Delhi.

August 27, 2009
An article about my limited but cherished experience with the buses of Delhi.

August 21, 2009
An article about some rather random learning on the internet.

July 31, 2009
Another poem. I guess July was poetry month.

July 24, 2009
A poem about moving on from a mistake.

July 17, 2009
A poem about thirst.

July 3, 2009
A poem about the gift of repentance.

June 26, 2009
A short reflection.

June 16, 2009
A poem about the Big Dipper and its Creator.

June 1, 2009
A reflection on our recent trip to India's far north.

May 21, 2009
A poem.

May 6, 2009
An article about getting my writing recognized in a small corner of Delhi.

April 24, 2009
A poem.

April 10, 2009
A poem about the Church of Jesus Christ.

March 13, 2009
I read a personal tribute to my Dad at a party for his 80th birthday, but this story is another form of tribute. It's one story among hundreds from that season in our lives and reveals in a small way what kind of man I am privileged to call my Dad.

February 25, 2009
A more traditional, journal-like blog entry about a few of the people, events and happenings of my week in Delhi, particularly those with some literary connection for me.

February 13, 2009
A poem about reading the Bible.

February 9, 2009
A personal response to the Oscar-winning film. A condensed version of this article was published in the April 2009 edition of the "MB Herald," the monthly periodical of the Mennonite Brethren Church in Canada. To view it on their website, follow the link in the sidebar.

January 31, 2009
An article about meeting important people in Delhi.

January 16, 2009
An article about life and writing in Delhi.

January 5, 2009
Google Me, Google You
An article about the intrigue and adventure of life in South Asia.

December 19, 2008
A sermon.

December 16, 2008
An article about life in Delhi, a much shorter version of which was published in the December issue of our neighborhood newsletter, The Samvada, in New Friends Colony, Delhi.

December 4, 2008
An article about cows in Delhi.

November 28, 2008
A personal response.

November 12, 2008
Another reflection on life in Delhi.

October 29, 2008
A poem.

October 16, 2008
An article.

October 1, 2008
A short story: fiction.

September 19, 2008
A personal response.

September 3, 2008
A poem.

August 13, 2008
A reflection.

August 8, 2008
I wrote this poem in 1998 after six tough days in the capital of Nicaragua.

July 24, 2008
A poem.

June 22, 2008
Early Prayers: Part Three.

June 21, 2008
Early Prayers: Part Two.

June 20, 2008
Early Prayers: Part One.

May 30, 2008
A poem.

May 20, 2008
A movie clip of my Bollywood debut.

May 3, 2008
A favorite quote.

April 23, 2008
A wedding sermon based on the words I've spoken at various weddings that I've officiated.

April 11, 2008
A poem.

April 4, 2008
A travel adventure.

March 28, 2008
Some holiday reflections.

March 14, 2008
A sermon.

March 7, 2008
An article.

February 29, 2008
An article.

February 22, 2008
A poetic paraphrase of Luke 11:13.

February 15, 2008
An excerpt from A Beautiful Way (YWAM Publishing 2005), the book that I wrote with my close friend, Dan Baumann. This story is from Dan's time in Afghanistan, and it's one of my favourites from the book.

February 8, 2008
A poem.

February 1, 2008
I was asked to write this article for the new Dictionary of South Asian Christianity.

January 26, 2008
A reflection on Republic Day.

January 18, 2008
A travel experience.

January 11, 2008
Fiction: An excerpt from the novel, The End of Chet, about a young American traveling in India.

January 4, 2008
A poem.

This Flat, A Home

this flat, a home

for six years

four bedrooms filled

with us five, and

countless guests, pilgrims

gratefully received

we recall the painful

waiting, it came slowly

to us from generous hands

then faith found us dancing

wildly in our safe haven

in a crazy city, strange

to us, a cathedral for

our hopes and prayers

with almost an acre of

polished marble for

sophia’s first steps, and

splitting her tender chin

for dania’s dance and her

dramatics, and for skateboards

and balls under alexis’ feet, better

acoustics for her silly songs of

worship and ours, blessed snacks

we called meals, rooms so sparse

soon filled up with finds from

markets, flowers planted, trees

we made it our own, parties and

petitions spilling onto the street

abundant smiles, crowds of kids

coming, going, the guard outside

won us over, the tears of a maid

who knocked first, we believed

we were called, and this flat

a gift, some friends will endure

the breach, so much will

end, leaving our hearts

heavy on the day we

pull the door closed

for the last time

**Dedicated to A-113 Ground Floor, New Friends Colony, New Delhi, 110 025, INDIA,

our home address from October 2005 to July 2011.

Ten Things We'll Miss About India

10) The Chaos - Though at times it was hard to handle, we will miss the craziness that defines India, the chaos that has charmed us so thoroughly during these past six years.

9) The Heat - Delhi does have a brief winter, but it is known more for its heat. Though it was downright oppressive when it approached 50 degrees Celsius, we will miss the excessive sunshine that dominates Delhi weather for much of the year. In general, our family prefers to sweat than to shiver.

8) The Traffic - We will miss the Indian roadways, the perennial stage of the weird, wild and wonderful. It is pure magic and madness. Unfortunately, the skills we have learned here will be totally lost in Canada and, if we value our safety on its orderly (and boring) roads, we will have to thoroughly unlearn them.

7) The Deliveries - we will miss the convenience of being able to order, by phone, almost anything from groceries to medicine to train tickets to light bulbs to McDonald's french fries, and have it delivered to our door at no extra cost.

6) The Pampering - we will miss the shaves and waxing and massages and all the other very affordable luxuries that we have gladly become accustomed to here.

5) The Notoriety - there's something very special about the way Indians treat foreigners. Even after years in India, we often feel like celebrities with the attention we get. In addition to that general feeling, we will also miss the unique opportunities that came to us. We have modeled for national clothing brands, acted in TV commercials and in Bollywood films, and even had our flat featured as a filming location for a recent movie. Not to mention all the interesting and important people that we've been able to meet.

4) The Big Chill - we all love Indian food, especially home-cooked, but we will also miss the best of the myriad of Delhi establishments that cater to the taste buds of the emerging globalized culture. The Big Chill is the unanimous pick for our family's favorite restaurant in Delhi.

3) The Chai - We will miss the beverage itself but more the value that people in India put on slowing down and sharing a hot drink together. It is a very relational and hospitable culture, which is seen clearly in the ritual of chai.

2) The Friendships - we will never forget the people who welcomed us to India with open arms and quickly became our friends. More than anything else, it was our friendships that made it possible for us to love living here.

1) The People - more than a billion of them. Beyond our close friends, we will miss the acquaintances and strangers who offered their smiles so freely and who reminded us over and over again that God has deposited his precious image in abundance here in India.


Bittersweet departure

Our once upon a time

And once again

Pulling on the heart

Embracing the joy and pain

Of moving away

And letting go

Of the experience

Of somewhere

We called home.

Myriad of emotions

Our hearts overflow

So much in store

So many uncertainties

Leaving nothing behind

Except precious friends

And burgeoning dreams

And every expectation

Of something

We called life.

Beautiful mysteries

Our eyes have seen

Amidst risks taken

Sacrifices celebrated

Obeying the gentle voice

And forging ahead

Into the truth of trust

And the wisdom

Of someone

We called Lord.

The Rickshaw Ride

When we move back to Canada in another month or so, we will take a lot of India with us in our hearts, a lot of strong friendships and special experiences. We'll also take back some of our stuff, including our most recent purchase, a cycle rickshaw.
Yesterday morning, I drove down to the bicycle market in Jhandewalan near Connaught Place and picked up our special piece of nostalgia. I had ordered it a couple weeks earlier and hoped that it would be ready. Thankfully, when we arrived at the shop, my hope was fulfilled. My kids were excited. Instead of having the rickshaw delivered by truck back to our place in South Delhi, I decided to ride it myself the 16 kilometers with my daughters on the back and my wife close by in the car. I had mapped out my route so as to avoid areas where rickshaws were not allowed. I had also planned for a couple rest stops on the way, including lunch at our favorite restaurant, The Big Chill, in Khan Market, which was exactly halfway between the bicycle shop and our home in New Friends Colony.
We settled the bill with our new friends at Durga Cycle Mart (contact details below) and set out from the shop at 11 a.m. As I began peddling, we immediately noticed that people were amused to see a rickshaw being ridden by a foreigner. Adding to the impact, of course, were three blonde girls riding on the back seat. We expected the attention, but we were amazed to see how much joy it brought to people. They seemed to accept it as a special gesture of cultural affirmation and as an act of solidarity with the common man. People honked and waved, the young and old alike. Some stopped us to take photos. Other rickshaw wallas cheered us on. Even the police applauded. As my legs grew tired and the temperature rose above 40 degrees Celsius, the encouragement from onlookers gave us strength and motivation.
As we came down Janpath and approached Rajpath in between India Gate and the parliament buildings, we took a break in the shade to enjoy some ice cream from a street vendor. People gathered around us. A police officer came from across the street and began questioning me in a purely friendly and curious tone. After a few minutes, we set out again across Janpath only to have the ice cream walla chase after us down the road. In all the commotion, I had forgotten to pay him! Fortunately, his face was the only angry one on the entire ride.
By noon, we reached Khan Market near Lodi Gardens and were sitting comfortably at The Big Chill, enjoying our pasta and salad and fresh lime sodas. After a good rest there, we set out into more familiar territory through Lodi Colony and into Nizamuddin. There, the wider streets of Central Delhi give way to the congestion of South Delhi. With that, the space between vehicles becomes less and the battle grows more intense. I began to use the bell on my handlebars more frequently and found myself brushing up against at least two city buses (with paint scrapes to prove it, according to my daughter, Alexis). On Mathura Road, the chain came off twice, leaving us wondering a little. But both times we were able to fix it quickly and move on. By Ashram Chowk, everything felt heavier and I was beginning to feel dehydrated. However, as we pushed our way through the massive intersection, two rickshaw wallas from a couple lanes over began to cheer loudly over the noise of the traffic and to raise their hands in approval. I received their commendation gratefully and kept peddling. Taking the short-cut through the more serene streets of Maharani Bagh, we came across another rickshaw walla who trundled up beside us and started up a conversation. Of course, among other questions, he asked how much we had paid for the cycle. In India, we’ve become accustomed to paying more for things as foreigners and, on this purchase, I had only asked two different shops for a price comparison. So I was pleasantly surprised when the rickshaw walla told us that his rickshaw had cost the same amount as we had just paid for ours, further solidifying the feelings of concord and camaraderie between us.
By 1 p.m. we entered the gates of A-Block in New Friends Colony to the sunny smiles of our neighborhood security guards. After a few photos with them, we rounded the last corner and rolled onto our lane. Alexis, my eldest daughter, had asked if she could ride it the last few meters to our building, and so I hopped off and walked alongside as she brought us home, completing a journey that we will not soon forget.
Next month, in Canada, another journey begins and I suppose we will feel special again as we set out down the country roads of British Columbia on our shiny new cycle rickshaw. I expect we will be noticed there too, but it is hard to believe that the smiles will be as bright or as numerous as yesterday in New Delhi.

**For anyone who’s interested, I purchased my rickshaw from Durga Cycle Mart (Shop #93A) in the Jhandewalan Cycle Market, New Delhi. I don’t mind saying that I paid 7500 Indian Rupees for it, which is the equivalent to about $165 Canadian/US. I dealt with a guy named Sudhir and his co-worker, Ranjit, who threw in the bell and a few other extras for free. If you want to buy your own and need some help, let me know.

Follow this link below to view the long-awaited video version of “The Rickshaw Ride.”