All posts tagged "India"

Young Monks. Northern India



Well, if you’re not attached to my facebook page or Paula Watts Photography blog, you may not have had the chance to see these images yet. If you are connected in those areas, I know you’ve seen these images at least once but I hope you can enjoy them again.
You might also check out the previous post as I have become aware that the “subscriber” notifications did not get sent for the last post. I apologize for any confusion. We’re still here, thriving and enjoying not only our beautiful surroundings of the Himalayan Mountains, but also the new friendships that are being built and the lives we have the extreme privilege of loving and serving. Just this morning, as Nick and I were talking over breakfast, we were realizing how privileged we actually feel to get to live life amongst the Tibetan people, who we are growing to love more and more each day. There is something so profound about the connection you feel with an entire people group after praying for them, loving on them, and serving them. They are quickly becoming friends, and people we cherish. We celebrate with them, we take on their struggles, we listen, and most importantly, we just try to be here and be present for them. See them and love them. For who they are. Who they were created to be, and encourage them however we can. Jesus did that when He lived here on earth, and He is our example. The ultimate example of servanthood, love, and sacrifice, but also speaking life and truth into the very lives of those he encountered. This is our prayer.
young smiling Tibetan buddhist monk boy portrait of young buddhist monk against interesting wall

young tibetan buddhist monk in classroom with alphabet

portrait tibetan buddhist monk poses with serious face

serious young tibetan buddhist monk in group

The Watts are back in India…



Tibetan Dancer Dalai Lama's Monastery

Tibetan culture Northern India photography

Well, here we are again. Blogging. From a world away. Far from all our comfort zones. Far from all our family and close friendships. We have recently arrived back in Northern India amongst the Tibetan refugees and local Indians. We spent the summer months in the states searching and praying for God’s heart in our next direction in life, and felt like we were to return to Dharamsala, India, the beautiful city in the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains. (where we stayed for 2 months last year) If there’s one major lesson we learned last year, it’s to hold all your plans loosely in front of God and to remain obedient if God directs you somewhere new. I had no idea our paths would lead us to living in Northern India, rather than Africa, but we keep our hearts open to where God directs.

So now, I sit here, tucked under a blanket, warming my hands by my mug of tea and the laptop that is warming my legs from Northern India’s winter. We are settling in. And as much mundane “business” as that required for us this last week, it’s been important to get our bearings and start the journey of making this country our new home. We have re-connected with some beautiful friends that we made here from our last trip and have unpacked all our worldly possessions into our new lil’ flat that will be our home. I am re-learning the art of washing laundry and dishes by hand, grocery shopping from small markets rather than mega-stores, and walking to all our destinations. It’s a wonderful, slow paced life that is as gracious to us as we allow it and is certainly a different approach than the fast-paced, result driven life we are accustomed to in the western world.

We are learning more than teaching and desiring to serve more than to be served. We are humbled by the relationships this community has already afforded us and we pray that we are able to love and serve the Tibetan refugees and Indians here just as Jesus would if He were standing in their midst.

{Above are two images I took from the Dalai Lama’s monastery yesterday, during a beautiful Tibetan celebration of the anniversary of the Dalai Lama’s Nobel Peace Prize. These young children were clothed in their traditional Tibetan dress and performed their time-honored dances and songs. It was a great cultural orientation as well as a serene moment of reflection as we celebrated a culture that is being oppressed and stifled in its homeland. Please continue to pray for the Tibetan people and the Dalai Lama.}

Quick Update



Quick update on our beautiful friend “Ann”… for those of you who weren’t able to read our last blog post “Settling In | Northern India”, I mentioned a newfound friend named “Ann” (name changed for privacy). We’ve continued talking almost every day, but today was actually the first of many that I didn’t get to see her.

Fortunately, on our way to dinner, I ran into her, and she said “Paula, I wanted to see you today and tell you that I think your prayers worked. I felt very angry today with a family issue, and I prayed to God, and I immediately felt peace all over. It was like I asked, and then received.”

I started to cry right there on the street. It was beautiful.

May you experience God today in a real, tangible way, just like our friend Ann.

“Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” Luke 11:9-10

Settling In | Northern India



Nick and I have made it safely to Northern India and are settling in nicely to new cultures, peoples, and adventures. The diversity here is outstanding. From the time we walk out our flat, down our little corridor to our street, to the main square, we have passed Tibetan refugees, Hindus, Bhutanese, Nepalese… etc.  (Not to mention the westerners who have come in search of spiritual enlightenment from all over the world.) We are so excited to be here for the next two months to interact with, love on, and share life with all the many peoples we now find ourselves amongst.

The view from our little flat.

The view from our little flat.

Himalayan Mountains Dharamshala India Photography

The Himalayan Mountains are the backdrop of our new home for the next two months.

The first day we came, we went to a little chai stand down the main road for one of the best chais you can imagine (and for only 6rupees = $0.12). There, I had the lovely opportunity to meet an English woman named “Ann” (named changed for privacy). We started talking over this beautiful cup of chai and she began to tell me that she was feeling “jaded” towards people and more skeptical than ever. I could easily see the hurt in her eyes and disappointment she felt as she shared this intimate detail with me. At that moment, I felt saddened, but at the same time, very hopeful. I recalled to her that at the darkest time of my life, feeling hopeless and confused, I had a real experience with Jesus. This experience changed my life forever and I will live the rest of my days loving people because I am receiving first, love from God. I am full of peace, love and joy because of my experience with God and I am able to serve others out of that. With tears in her eyes and a soft hand on my arm, she said, “That’s what I’ve been missing. I have been searching for 15 years for that kind of experience. I want that.”

Okay, so maybe not all of my days will be filled with beautiful encounters and stories like this, but I pray they are. I pray that God is truly encountered by those searching for Him, and that His love will fulfill their deepest longings.

“Let God love you and let others watch”

Tibetan refugees India photographer

Our Tibetan neighbor, doing his daily recitations.

 

Where in the world?



I can hardly believe we’ve been in Cape Town for six weeks already. In some ways we’ve experienced a lifetime worth, and on the other hand, it feels like yesterday we were waving our (temporary) goodbyes to our Zambian family for this next season. Cape Town is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, if you ask me. The mountains tower high over the land as the ocean shores crash in all its wildness. We’ve been enjoying it’s countryside immensely all while journeying a heart’s path that will make these moments truly last forever.

Table Mountain Photographer South Africa

We’ve enjoying the life of a Jesus community that we happened upon in South Africa. This community has been grappling with things like: how to do life in an African setting while serving and empowering the Africans, how to celebrate the love of Jesus with people without changing their cultural context, and how to effectively serve the oppressed and walk a journey with them in contrast with the foal to “convert” people. Loving and serving people simply for the love of people. Imparting a vision of a valued and cared for humanity. God has really been in the midst of all this, shaping our hearts, bringing beautiful relationships to surround us with, and showing us His love and grace in this process.

Walter Wink wrote a book called Jesus and Non-violence, one that Nick and I are currently reading together. Some of you might have already seen this quote on my facebook. “What does God require of me in response to the needs of others?” It’s not, “How can I be virtuous?” But, “How can I participate in the struggle of the oppressed for a more just world?” That’s where we are. At the very core of who Nick and I are, we are seeking God’s heart to participate in this struggle. How to live out Isaiah 58 and “loose the chains of injustice, untie the cords of the yoke, and set the oppressed free… share your food with the hungry, to provide the poor wanderer with shelter- when you see the naked, clothe them.”
How it looks and where that takes us in the future is an open book.

 

But where is that taking us right now?

Nick and I are headed on yet another wild adventure, and heading to India. We will be there for approximately two months, staying at the base of the Himalayan Mountains, sharing life with the Tibetan people residing there.

The Sovereign LORD is my strength;
He makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
He enables me to tread on the heights.