Wednesday, July 18, 2007

It's Like a Flight Simulator... But for Culture...


Usually, before you stick a pilot in the cockpit of anything, you give them a chance to try out their skills in a "friendly" environment where they can spread their wings (bah-dum-bum!) without worrying about falling out of the sky. We'll be doing the same thing (but with Indian culture instead of behind the stick of a jet) on our trip to Little India in Chicago on Saturday morning (7/21) at 7:30 a.m. Please be here no later than 7:15 a.m. so that we can make sure we're all set to go and can be on time for our day's activities.

If you're curious about what will take place, here is a quick schedule:

7:30 (EST) - 9:30 (CST) - Travel to Chicago
Note: Chicago is an hour behind time-wise, so all times are listed denote their zone. EST = Indiana Time (Eastern Standard Time) or CST = Chicago Time (Central Standard Time).

9:30 (CST) - 10:00 (CST) - Arrive at SAFC and orientation
The SAFC operates right in the middle of "Little India" on Devon Ave, and opens doors of discussion about Jesus through love, service and compassion to both Indian and Pakistani people who have migrated to the United States. We'll get a tour of their facility, as well as some information on their mission, vision and values. Mark Engel will be our primary contact there, and has arranged to spend a good bit of time with us for the day.

10:00 (CST) - 11:45 (CST) - Time with Sunita
Sunita is an amazing lady and most of our past teams have verbalized a high degree of gratitude after spending any length of time with her. She is an on-staff pastor with the SAFC, grew up in a Muslim environment, and has a helpful perspective on the beauty and complexity of Indian culture. We'll have lots of time for Q&A as well, and we'll want to be able to maximize our time with her.

11:45 (CST) - 1:00 (CST) - Lunch!
Now that you're all pro's at eating Indian food and doing so with your hands rather than forks and spoons, you'll have the opportunity to get a little more practice as we eat lunch at an authentic Indian food restaurant in Little India. It'll be fun for you to notice the differences in spices and flavors (we'll be eating South Indian cuisine rather than the more Northern Indian food we at at Star of India), so pay special attention to the taste as well as the consistency.

1:00 (CST) - 2:30 (CST) - Scavenger Hunt!
SAFC is great at giving "hands on" cultural training, and one of the things we have historically enjoyed is the opportunity to do a "Cultural Scavenger Hunt". Basically, we will break into teams and then they will give each team a list of things to do or find on Devon Ave.

2:30 - 3:30 - Debrief
Mark will spend the final hour with us debriefing what we've seen and done during the day, and will help us to answer any cultural questions we might have.

3:30 (CST) - Leave for GCC
While the team is debriefing with Mark, i'll be picking up pizza to eat on the return home. Yes, it's not the best "road food", but the options are a little limited restaurant-wise, and we'll want to eat on the go so as to avoid Chicago 5 pm traffic if we can.

7:30 (EST) - Arrive Home
At this point, we anticipate being home around 7:30, but that will also depend greatly on how much time and effort it takes to negotiate traffic on the way.

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