Miss E (20) was quite nervous about going to India, the other four members of the team were over 50 years old. She knew from her last trip five years ago that there would be many challenges and she wondered what she would have to offer. She had felt God was prompting her to go and so she said "yes" on the day the tickets had to be booked.
She need not have worried.....she was welcomed with open arms, particularly by the teenage girls who were amongst the dozens of students who stayed in a hostel to be close enough to attend the schools. We didn't even know a hostel existed before the team arrived. The girls "adopted" Miss E and she would love to return again to have more time with them and the younger children also.
The team each had opportunity to speak at a conference for new believers from the region which was held over a long weekend. As is often the way, those who went to help received far more than they were able to give.
There was opportunity for new believers to be baptised on the Sunday morning. It's quite common the world over for new Christians to be baptised, however in India, this public declaration of your faith can have huge implications. India is primarily a Hindu country. Converting to Christianity can bring much persecution from friends, neighbours, authorities and family. It's not uncommon for Christians to be totally disowned by their Hindu families.
Over the following few days the team was included in activities in some of the remote villages. Here we see the children gathered for a special day of teaching and their feeding program.
The team sharing. There is no electricity in most villages. J has a portable battery-powered PA system.
In many of the poorer villages families struggle to provide even one good meal a day for their children. The feeding programs serve the children a healthy lunch as well as some education. This one is rice, dahl (lentil stew) and vegetable curry - served on two banana leaf pieces.
Most Indians eat with their fingers, right hand only, just as these children are doing.
After the meal each child was given a blanket for they are entering their winter. J had the team members distribute the blankets, even though they had been sponsored by one the English-Medium schools which he established and directs. It was an honour for the team to be involved.
Thank you for following this Indian adventure. In creating each blog post with photos from two cameras and a phone camera, I've gradually been able to piece together more of what happened so as to share with others, make a record and also to make sense of the whole experience.
Sharing at Mosaic Monday, Our World Tuesday.