Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Looks Like We Made It

We've been in India a week so far and it's strange how fast time can go when you're so busy taking everything in. Access to internet has been rare but we're looking into possibilities and hoping it works out in the next few days.

We're safe and we have lots of pictures to share so please be patient until we can get those uploaded. For now here a few from the places we've been so far:

This picture was taken after the closing ceremony of a village VBS. All the children are first generation Christians and were sad the Bible School was over. They recited all the verses they memorized in the past 10 days, sang hymns and performed skits. Then they asked Chris and I to tell a Bible story--which we had to look up. The best part was at 2:30 that afternoon an anonymous donor dropped off a box of Bibles. In a village that has never seen a Bible now all 50 of the kids attedning the VBS took home a New Testament. We've never seen so many excited kids, you would think Getsi brought out the cake at a birthday party. When the kids who already left heard there were Bibles they ran back to the thatch porch and asked for Bibles to take to their families.

Jessica with Richard and Annie's older girls--Alicia, Lydia and Christina. We've been having so much fun staying with them. They've enjoyed the card games we brought and have an ongoing game of Rummy that will be played up to the moment we leave.
Chris' new best friend. One of the 13 HIV positive orphans from the Lydia Home. We visited for a short time last week and played games--lock and key, duck duck juice--took a tour of the home and played ball in the yard for a bit. We're hoping to find out if they need anything such as school books, balls, or dolls and return in the evening next week. Unbelievable to think all these children were abondoned and living with HIV. They were all so happy and seemingly healthy.
Our visit to the Sahayam home for destitute women has been the most humbling by far. These women were all abandoned by their families. After their husbands dies some of their families allowed them to stay in their homes but forced them to sleep on the front steps, denied them food, absolutely no medical care and were verbally if not physically abusive. Through different ways God has brought them all to this home where they are cared for and live together as Akkas (sisters). The hardest part of their stories to listen to is how heartbroken they are. Not that their families rejected them but that their children don't know the Lord. They pray that God would save their families and that they will be forgiven. In spite of all they hardship these women have encountered they sang hymns with joy and danced and prayed with us. Can't wait to tell the rest of the team arriving on June 12th the plans we have for our return to Sahayam!

And last a picture from our anniversary. It only took two years of marriage to get Chris to India. God is so good! I am so blessed to have such a wonderful, supportive husband willing to go the extra (thousand) miles.

With Love
Jessica & Chris

Friday, May 20, 2011

"So when do you leave?"

So this Monday (May 23) is it. Jessica and I leave for India. I’m still not quite sure what I expect. Jessica must be bursting at the seams to tell me all about India but she’s done well not to say too much. I want to be able to see and experience everything with a perspective that is as clear and open as possible. Not that I want to be ignorant – I don’t want to be the “ugly American” – but it’s so easy to create my own version of what India is based on very little information.
I’m excited to have this opportunity to go to India. There has been a lot of support, both financially and emotionally, from a lot of people. I’d like to say thank you. It means a lot to me (and Jessica) to know so many people who are so willing to give. For Jessica, if you’ve been reading this blog, it means that all the work and preparation she has put into this trip actualizes into making a real difference instead of remaining untapped potential. For me, your support means that I get a chance to experience and share the same passion Jessica has for India. As I mentioned earlier, I’m not sure what to expect. Along the way, though, I plan on sharing my experiences with you. I hope through my sharing that you can gain a better picture of India and create your own experience.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Going Away Party

Yesterday we braved the storms and had our going away party out at Dad and Leslie's house. The clouds broke from 4-8 for a beautiful sunny party in the country! We had such a great time with friends and family. There was delicious food of all sorts and lots of fun exploring the woods and creek. And I'm sure the kids slept very well. In these last days full of packing, flight confirmations, crossing t's and dotting i's, yesterday was a really great reminder of the love and support we have from so many. Here are some pictures of the beautiful day!

Grill Master Mohammed--who didn't mention this was his first time grilling until after dinner. NOw worries, we all survived and it was quite delicious!

Friends for everywhere

Pretty Family

Pretty Family

Pretty Girl

Another Pretty Family

And yet another :)

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Ripple Effect

1 Missions Team trains,
200 Village Health Workers who reach,
5,000 Villagers in rural communities surrounding Madurai.

Last weekend the missions team at Vineyard had an info table demonstrating our health education materials and fundraiser. On Sunday alone we raised $720! Only $6,280 left to raise. I believe God can make it happen, after all everything belongs to Him.
The team did an amazing job taking our vision and sharing it with others in the church! I can't wait to get everyone to India someday to see the ripple effect of their efforts.

When we tell people that our main ministry is training the trainers they get intimidated. The beauty is how simple our materials are, anyone can teach them! For example here's the hand washing station we demonstrated and plan to teach this summer. 1,000 kids die from diarrhea everyday in India, half of those deaths could be prevented by washing their hands with soap. The Tippy-Tapy modeled by Justin Rhorer
We're also teaching the natural refrigerator and solar water purification systems
Low cost, easy to use tools that can save thousands! Can't wait to get to India and see how the health workers respond!

The best part is all of the scriptures we found to back up our materials. Who knew there were instructions from God on how to build a latrine! Check it out Deuteronomy 23:12-14.

Here's a few more pictures: