The evening of March 7th, two Caucasian couples sitting in a seedy restaurant in Andhra Pradesh India.
“Are you going to wear a turban?”
” I don’t know Dave, it’s not like I’ve ever had a wedding reception before.”
Ironically and how many people can say this, at this point I had already had two wedding receptions and was about to venture into my third, though only a single wedding. The surprising thing, however, isn’t that I would say something so obviously wrong without thinking it through. The surprising thing is that my wife didn’t correct me. I would have. But then maybe that just proves that she is a much nicer person.
In any case this happened the night before our third wedding reception. Having arrived safely in India with my new bride, our Indian brothers were quite excited to welcome her and participate at least postnuptially with us in this wonderful blessing. And so, not one, but two wedding receptions were planned. One was in the south with the BELC, and the other in the north with CLCI. I might add at this point that none of this was my idea. Although, Dave Koenig certainly has his hands dirty. And thank you as well to the Mission Board who egged the Indians on by helping to pay.
The first reception was on March 1st. Vanessa and I had no idea what to expect. We showed up and were given a pair of thrones to sit in. There were prayers and a short blessing service. There was a lot of singing and dancing. More than one of Indian pastors sang to us, giving evidence of some excellent singing talent. A number of children’s groups from various churches danced. And then the Indian pastors demanded that Dave Koenig sing. So finally he hailed us with a rendition of what I think was “hoch soll’n sie leben.”
After all the singing and dancing they had a cake for us, which they made us cut and stuff in each other’s mouths. Since we never actually got around to cutting the cake at our first reception this was a second chance. After this many of the pastors came up to greet us and congratulate us in person. Than we feasted, chicken briyani, ice cream, fruits, and mango juice.
The next week it was the CLCI’s turn. And they did put a turban on me, or at least they tried to put some type of Indian hat on my head. Ude’s however have massive heads and we had to do some finagling to get it on there. They actually had full Indian outfits for us. We had come with our own nice formal clothes, but when we arrived they took us into separate rooms and gave us traditional Indian outfits. This was really nice of them and a lot of fun. I can’t speak for Vanessa but my outfit was far more comfortable than a suit would have been. Again there was a lot of singing and dancing. The pastors all wanted to greet us with garlands so they piled the garlands on one after the other. When the garlands were piled up to our necks they would take them off and then more pastors would pile them on again. They also had bowls of flower petals that they were continually throwing over us, so that there were flower petals everywhere.
Both parties were a lot of fun and Vanessa and I extend our sincere thanks to everyone who was involved. It was a very heartwarming to experience.