I'll be leaving the US for India on Sunday, for an 8-day mission trip. Here's some information about the trip...

The music team from my church has been invited to provide the music for a "festival" (series of revival-type services) in the area of Mysore, India. The five-night series, known as the "Festival for Peace", is held annually in different cities throughout the country of India and other portions of the world. This year the India festival will be held in the Jaganmohan Palace Auditorium, with nightly attendance estimates at around 2,000. We are also scheduled to give concerts on a half-dozen college/university campuses, and in a few churches. We will be busy, performing as many as 3 concerts on some days. Our India music team consists of 10 people, including instrumentalists, singers, and a pastor who will be speaking at the festival.

We have been busy preparing for the trip; it's actually been quite time consuming. We've had three team meetings to plan our trip, and to become familiar with the customs and risks associated with traveling to India. I've made 3 trips to the doctor to get the necessary travel vaccines. I've had to obtain a passport and visa. We've had a number of musical rehearsals. We've worked on the logistics of transporting musical instruments and equipment. I've been charged with figuring out how to transport an older (DTX 2.0) set of digital drums, which has been upgraded quite a bit to handle 2 and 3 zone pads. We've also performed a fund-raising concert to help offset trip costs. All of this activity has consumed many hours, which has unfortunately impacted my work schedule quite a bit.

The time difference is 9.5 hours, with India being ahead (noon here is 9:30 p.m. there). The plane ride is a 24-hour trip each way, with layovers in Frankfurt, Germany. I am not looking forward to sitting on an airplane for such a period of time - what do you do on an airplane for 24 hours? Once in India, we will be met by our trip host, Dr. Sane (pronounced Sau-nee), who is a missionary and medical doctor. He and his staff will be present through the entire trip, helping us to negotiate travel and making sure we avoid potential health and other risks. Much of the food we eat will be prepared by his staff. We will also be eating in several restaurants that have been deemed safe. We will travel the country-side in several vans, driven by our hosts.

This is the second year that our music team has been involved in the India Festival for Peace. Last year, to the dismay of the team, I opted not to go. Instead, we recorded the drum parts onto sound tracks that were used during the live performances. This year I have somehow made the commitment to go on the trip, though I'm not exactly sure how it happened. It's all been somewhat of a blur!

I am quite nervous about this trip to the other side of the world, and into a country where the culture is so different than anything I've ever experienced. I am not looking forward to being away from my family and our business for 8 days - I've never been away for this length of time. Please remember our entire team in your thoughts and prayers. I'm already anxious to return to normal life and we haven't even left yet!