Delhi is a big city. And over the years I have traipsed its varied corners at various times and in various ways.
Most of my journeys have involved stays with friends and loved ones. So it is very strange to be staying at a hotel (something the younger Eichers are clamouring for to experience).
We are here for an amazing 3 days where our main funding partner is building us up and introducing an evaluation tool to help capture what changes take place in our communities - a special desire to map out progress towards seeing 'human flourishing' take place.
Learning about the tool is heady stuff - but what makes the whole experience beautiful is to be with so many of my past and present collagues. The Bombay gang is there - with folks from ACT, Oasis India and Sahara Charitable society. My dear friends from Eficor are here in force - those whom we have been privileged to work with in the Bundelkhand cluster - and new fresh new friends made. A smattering of other friends are there from other organisations from across North India... and then our own dear EHA brigade - my dear co-workers who do some amazing work across our country.
In one of the exercises, we did a quick evaluation of EHA, mapping out how we as an organisation were moving against the 9 areas of growth that the "LIGHT Wheel" approach looks at. It was exciting to see how God has been using EHA to see some real growth in every dimension. We have come a long way from where we were 20 years ago when I first joined EHA - all thanks to Him. And we clearly still have a journey to walk along - on which I am grateful to be sojourning with my dear friends.
And that is just it. Beyond the techniques, our major partner is also knitting our hearts together. Giving us the opportunity to fellowship and draw our bonds of love stronger.
Last night Vasu and I went on an hour's metro ride to the heart of New Delhi - the venerable Connaught Place. Our destination was the kicking Zabardast Kitchen restaurant - and our wonderful host none other than Anand V. Sinha. Over a delectable meal, Anand regaled us with tales of his adventures and gales of laughter. We talked about the amazing medical sleuthing which last month discovered the reason young children were dying in the lichee growing areas of Bihar. We talked about biking and morning walks. We caught up on siblings and trajectories of life. We explored Anand's funding foundation's partner meeting which was themed "talking failure." And so on. All while a kings feast made its way into our innards... As with so many times, we just did not want to part - but that we did taking our separate metros to our warm beds.
This evening I had the joy of meeting up with Jonathan Parmar - who serves with Eficor - and whose parents Himmat and Prema Parmar were so deeply intertwined with our family in the Nana Chowk years. "Johnny" as we used to call him is now happily married to Nalini and they are blessed with three lovely girls: Suzanna and Stephanie are twins and their youngest Shekinah. Uncle and Auntie are living with them and how amazing to see them continue to be active in living and sharing their faith with others. As I was there uncle left to go with a church family who have come back from the US to deliver food and encouragement to some poor families.
We have not met for at least 30 years - but amazing to see the trajectory of love that this family has lived out.
Tomorrow evening we are slated to meet Indrajit and Lydia and Hannah Judith. Another remarkable evening lies in store as I meet up with the only friend from my 3 standard Cathedral and John Connon days. I plan to walk from their home to Nizammuddin station and take the night train back to Lalitpur...
And could I squeeze in another visit to a long-unmet friend. As we walked away from the Zaberdast restaurant, we passed some graffiti. One of pieces caught my eye. It was this stencil: