16th August, 2013 to 30th August, 2013.     
I started my journey from Nassau, the Bahamas on 16th Friday, August, 2013 after two and half years of my life in Nassau, The Bahamas. My employer visited me by 10.30 PM in the previous night and he prayed for me. After the prayer he felt burdened that he did not had anything to give me as I am moving out of the country after two and half years of working with him to do my doctoral studies. He said he will come back and see me again in the morning.

Mr. Babu and family promised to help me even though I wanted to stay back in my house for another night at Kemp Road, but he insisted that I will stay with him because of the easy transportation to the airport in the morning. I shared some nice time with Mr. Babu and his family because he was also a great help for me throughout my stay in Nassau, The Bahamas. He helped me in different ways especially a as a means of transportation to move around in Nassau. As I was expecting,  I received a call by 5.30 AM and it was my employer who came to see me to give me a faith seed. My old friend Anitha from London's financial support also helped me to say good bye to Nassau in a peaceful way and to start my new life in US. 

Started my journey to US by early 6.00 AM and reached the Airport by 6.20 AM. Went to the counter and the Delta airways said that they are not going to accept any luggage and I paid around 140 US $ to bring along with me two of my over weighted luggage. Then I also had two fishing rod but they did not accept that due to paying additional luggage cost 80 US $ for the third luggage for which I was not ready or worth it.
Then went to the interview and had the US immigration in the Bahamas. Can you imagine that you could have a US Immigration while you are in a foreign country? Yes you can in the Bahamas. Reached the Atlanta airport after two and half hours of journey and moved around in the airport around two hours while I was waiting for the connection flight to Dayton. First time in my life I experienced the underground metro within an airport to go from one air terminal to another.

When I reached Dayton, there was Prof. Andy Wood from the college waiting for me at the airport. I enjoyed the fun he shared to make me comfortable in my initial hours in Dayton. We had our dinner together at Cracker Barrel (Old Country Store) one of the US native restaurant having more than 600 locations and claim to serve over 950 thousand biscuits fresh every day. It was nice to eat some fish and I enjoyed my first American native food.
Later in the evening Prof. Andy wood located the hotel where I will be staying for another whole week during my first intensive. First week in US, I lived in hotel Marriot, Dayton (having more than 2,700 locations around the world) room number 476. It was nice to start my life in such a nice place and enjoyed my stay at the hotel.

During my first doctoral intensive, mind blowing information coming from different sections. It was more of networking, and an attempt to understand what my Doctoral study is all about. Even though we had more than 300 students for the different programs (The largest doctoral study center in the US) but then it had this small group sections and first year introductory sections which helped me to understand things from a broader perspective. Everything was arranged in a detailed manner and at the same time all the mentors were very informal.

Few of my initial American experience were mind blowing as I experienced the hospitality and expression of love and concerns of the American society. During my intensive,  some days I was in need of eating my dinner outside. Dayton University campus was next to the hotel I lived. Once I walked to Dayton downtown and another evening when I was hungry and felt happy when I saw the McDonalds at a far distance. I ordered my normal Ice-Tea and chicken burger and gave them 20 US $ bill. The girl at the counter said I don’t have change for the 20 US $ bill and we only accept Credit/Visa card. The is the first time in my life someone saying me that they will only accept visa/credit card and not cash and all the time it was the other way around.    

Two days back, I was walking in the path way. There was a car which wanted to cross the road and was waiting in front of me. When I approached near the car, by then the car did not had a chance to cross so they put the reverse gear and backed off from the pedestrians walkway. This helped me to walk straight on the path way. My experience of fighting with the machinery on the Indian road down through the years and this experience was something different. Showing respect for pedestrians on the road may be a common thing for a US mindset but an unusual experience for an Indian mindset. I also see on the highway on a six line road when the school bus stopped on a particular point all the traffic stopped behind 40 feet from the school bus anticipating that children might have the chance to cross the road. I believe that is a good practice for any country to follow.

The Seminary played a major role in showing their hospitality and generosity.  There was one thing that made me thank the Lord, when Administrative Assistant who shared about me to her family and her children shared some of their toys for Karen who will be joining me in Dayton. She gave me many toys for Karen, but one of those packets was raped in a plastic bag. She found time in the busy schedule to communicate about the plastic bag in our personal conversation as well as found time to email me about that. I was so fascinated about their love and concerns for me and for Karen even going after the technicalities and minute details. There are some International friends who are sharing the apartment near to mine are also showed their hospitality by providing some food and grocery for the night I arrived in Dayton.
Anil and his family also showed their love and concerns in a special way with two boxes full of gifts for my necessary things to start my life in a different context.  He empathized and identified all what I will be in need of and I am sure the Lord will continue to bless him and his family. He was a good friend of mine from the day one when I met him in FTS as a roommate and he even paid my monthly college fees at different times while I was in FTS without even letting me know who paid it on my behalf while we shared our life in FTS in way back in 1998. 

America is also a land of credit card and all about life move in this country with credit card. Your credit status is more important than your bank balance, starting with internet, cell phone, buying a car, renting a house and even buying your grocery credit status matters. I had a discussion with a US bank staff, said it to me you will become soon or later get into it as this is the way of life in this part of the world. By the way on the other side for the students all the bank transactions are free and I pay nothing to enjoy my banking deals. This is something to be appreciated especially when I come from the Bahamas where we pay 1.25 $ for every ATM transactions. As I got my first phone we call it here “Tracfone” paying for the incoming and outgoing call reminds me of when cell phones got introduced in India in way back and now when we enjoy the freedom as way of getting a free SIM card and free roaming all over India along with maintaining a same phone number even if we change the service provider is distant to me available only in my home land.

As I was shuttling between the comfort of the native land and the struggles of promised land I am sure my experience will be a blessing to you and to all the fellow sojourners and faith walkers in the kingdom building.

Presently I am praying that the Lord to continue to meet all our needs according to His riches in Glory in Christ Jesus. We are praying for the financial opening for my family to travel, find a means of transpiration, money for the insurance coverage and more over to find a context for ministry. I am sure the Lord will continue to help us to fulfill the Lord given dream and the vision to establish the native missionary movement.  

Lord promise that His blessing will over power the one who follow and obey the Lord .

Binu Peniel
2013 (C)


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