India - Bangalore 2013

India - Bangalore

Dates:  October 3-16
Ministry Partner:
  GBC Global Partners Timothy and Julie P.
Ministry Focus:
  Children's ministry, partner encouragement

We have the privilege of again returning to Bangalore, India, which is home to Grace Global Partners Timothy and Julie P. This year Timothy and Julie have requested a children's ministry component to the team, which will include Vacation Bible School, helping with devotions, homework, mentoring, teaching songs, and playing games with the children at the the Living Word Children's Home.

Updated Saturday, October 19
Sunday evening things changed slightly as we reconsidered our initial plan to visit Mysore on Monday. (first day of the Dasara festival)  The taxi driver could not be talked into taking us to Mysore - even with additional Rupees!  Five hours coming and going in packed stop and go India traffic didn’t appeal to him and on second thought it didn’t appeal to us much either.  So we stayed in town, enjoyed a fabulous Indian lunch and did some shopping in the afternoon and evening.   

Tuesday evening we had devotions with the kids and dinner with Timothy and Julie.  We enjoyed home made cookies as an illustration for our devotion and celebrated Pryanka’s birthday as well.  It was a special surprise to find at each of our place settings around the dinner table a stack of home made cards from each of the children to each one of us on the team thanking us for the time we spent together and for the VBS.  Everyone was touched and we shared many hugs and tears saying good bye as they went off to bed.   

A few hours later, around 10:30pm we loaded up our taxi with luggage and headed off to the airport… about a 2 hour drive.  Our boarding time was around 3:30am so we planned to just hang out in the airport until then.  It was a little tight and bumpy as the driver sped down the road weaving around potholes and cars.  A little over halfway there, we had an emergency call to stop on the side of the road (a little motion sickness to relieve) but then continued on to the airport.  Our team fared well although a couple of us seemed to take turns with motion sickness even after landing in LAX.  But by God’s grace, we’re back now and so grateful for the time we were able to spend with Timothy and Julie and the children. 

Thank you for your continued prayers and faithful encouragement.  The Lord is doing a great work in Bangalore and it was a gift to be part of it – if even for such a short time.    As the Lord brings to your mind the stories we’ve shared and the work of Timothy and Julie, please continue to earnestly pray for them, the land which they need to pay off by next month, and for their vision to care for orphans and reach the lost throughout India. 

From all of us, Timothy & Julie, and the children – thank you!  

Updated Friday, October 18
Our Bangalore team returned home on Wednesday, excited to have had the chance to share the love of Christ with the children at Living Word and to encourage our friends Tim and Julie.  A couple of team members had health issues on the way home - please pray for health for all as they adjust back to life Stateside.  And thank you for entering into this ministry through your prayers.

Updated Saturday, October 12
E-mail from Sheri
Well, Friday we slept in and started VBS a couple hours later in the day.  We had a great time picking up where we left off and the kids loved having their faces painted that afternoon when they came back from their rest time.  Today was our last day together in the book of James.  Their enthusiasm to learn has remained a highlight.  Seeing how each of them have been able to grasp and apply the things we've been discussing has been rewarding.  Jasmine, the caretaker who lives with the children and helps them with all of their daily activities, was sharing on the way back from our picnic how the VBS was an answer to prayer for them.  They had been praying for the right timing and the right theme for the VBS and really asking the Lord to provide them with just what he would have them learn.  When she saw that it was the book of James and the theme's purpose was to address the testing of our faith she said she knew immediately God had answered her prayers.  She was so encouraged that it was not just fun songs and activities but that it was solid teaching which she feels so burdened for the kids to have.  She shared that teaching about testing and perseverance could not have come at a better time for them and the kids will have gained something they can hold onto for a lifetime.  We've had such a great week with the kids and we're so glad there are still a few more days remaining.  Yesterday evening as well as this evening Kate led the children's time in devotions.  Timothy and Julie were excited for her to share and model for the children what they have been working to teach them about devotions as they ask the older kids to lead from time to time.   

Tomorrow we'll be spending the morning together having our worship service followed by lunch and time together doing crafts, playing games and giving haircuts.  Monday we're planning to visit Mysore and take in the sights with Timothy and Julie as a team.  Pray for safe travels and good health in the days to come as we get ready to return.  As one might expect when making a trip like this we have had a few travel related health issues...  but by God's grace our team is well and has shown good team work and flexibility filling in for each other when needed throughout our various activities each day.  As for pictures - still working on that!  We have so many great pictures (the new land, milking cows, devotions together, face painting, monkey, the open market, puppet shows and our day at the picnic) and would love to share them but we're having some difficulty with that process.  Thanks for bearing with us on this and for your continued prayers for our remaining time here.   

Updated Saturday, October 12
Cyclone Update
You may have seen on the news that a cylcone (the Pacific version of a hurricane) is approaching the north-east coast of India.  With Bangalore located in southern India, we don't expect our team to be affected.  However, some of the children at Living Word come from the state that will be hit hardest, and will have family members in the path of the storm.  Thank you for praying for what will be a major weather crisis in a very poor part of the country.

Updated Thursday, October 10
E-mail from Sheri
It's Thursday and we've come to the end of a very full and adventurous day!  We took today off from VBS and headed out early morning on a two hour drive to have a picnic in the mountains at a place where two main rivers merge.  The bus ride was filled with singing, conversation and the India countryside.  Cattle, goats and sheep were all using the road nearly as much as we were and as we neared the mountains the landscape opened up and the view was beautiful.  It was a perfect day out together.  When we arrived, the guys took a small round woven boat across the river in order to find a good place to set up for the day.  All 33 of us would have been ferried across the river on these little boats... if it weren't for some minor concerns like water seeping up through the bottom and poor balance over deep water.  And yes, the boats only went half way across the river at which point you were to climb out onto a large rock and wade the rest of the way across.  It was decided that we were better off simply wading across the river at a shallow crossing. (...and the whirlpool/crocodile warning sign??)  So each of us, along with the kids paired up with their buddies, waded into the water about waste deep and took everything we had brought with us across the river.  Backpacks, pots, wooden stakes, tarps, games, water and food to cook - even a very large propane stove - all crossed the river!  We set up camp for the day a little further down river and had such a great time.  Here, the water was only about a foot deep and the current was slow.  The kids just played their hearts out!  There were jobs for everyone and together we made curried chicken.   After lunch we rode in a little blue bus down river a short distance and hiked to see waterfalls and fascinating rock formations.   

When we returned, Abby shared her story of being orphaned at age 4 in Bulgaria and how God used that experience to draw her to himself.  They quietly listened, completely unsuspecting of her story.  Pray for the children over these remaining days and the weeks to follow our leaving.  Their losses are great and many have blocked out the memory of their experiences leading to their time now at the Living Word Children's Home with Timothy and Julie.  Pray for wisdom and discernment for Timothy and Julie as they continue to nurture and love them through their pain and healing.  

Updated Tuesday, October 8 - Two updates from Sheri
Sent Tuesday:

.......VBS has begun!  We've been having a great time getting to know the kids as we've begun teaching the book of James.  Today was only our second day.  Dave and Gerry are teaching the older ones who are mostly boys.  Dave's emphasis is on abiding in Christ and what that looks like as they study James together.  Gerry has really enjoyed the enthusiasm of the boys he's teaching and their eagerness to learn and to please.  All of the children are like sponges!   

We were pleasantly surprised to have a good friend from Timothy and Julie's church here in Bangalore be able to join us this week and help out with the team.  Her name is Shirley and it's been a joy to have her join us.  She'll be leading alongside Abby, Kate and Sheri as they teach the younger children.   

Abby has been encouraged by the good understanding of the material that the younger children are showing.  It will be especially meaningful to hear from each of the children in a couple days after they have completed a special homework assignment she gave them today.  Each child is to write down their story... tell about their family, where they came from and how they came to be with Timothy and Julie. 

On Thursday we're taking a day off from VBS in order to take the children on an all day picnic outing.  At that time Abby will be sharing her own story about her adoption from Bulgaria, how she came to the States and now to India to be with the children.  Pray especially for our time together that day.  We'll continue VBS after that finishing on Saturday. 

Kate has been having a great time with the kids.  Yesterday evening was a special time for her as she was able to give each of them a sock monster.  She hand made and named each of them with a specific child in mind.  It was a treat!  

Our days are full, starting early with breakfast, team devotions and VBS prep.  VBS begins when the children arrive... around 9:30 or so and finish up around 1:00 so they can have lunch and rest/nap.  A few hours later they rejoin us and we're able to play games, sing and do crafts, followed by devotions and dinner anytime after 8:00.   

Today, in addition to VBS, we experienced the adventure of the open market, the fun of home made cookies, crafts, devotions and prayer together, and good conversations with Timothy and Julie.  Continue to pray for them as they move forward with their vision for the land.  Pray for each of the 20 children as they process the things they're being taught as well as their stories which they'll be sharing with us.  Pray also that we'll continue to make the most of our days, enjoying the moments God is providing for us to encourage one other as we're together for this short while.

Sent Sunday:

Thank you so much for your prayers and encouragement as our team headed out just a few days ago. It's been so good to see Timothy and Julie again, to pass on greetings and love from our Grace family and supporters, and to meet the children.  We are enjoying getting to know them as we settle in to life together.   

Today we had church together with Dave speaking in the morning and Gerry in the evening.  In the afternoon we were able to drive out to see the new property that Timothy and Julie are in the process of purchasing.  God has opened a great door of opportunity for them and it was a special time to walk the property and see the vision they have for their ministry. 

While we were there, the current land owner invited us to have tea together.  When we accepted he said he would be right back.  He needed to go get his cows so that he could milk them and make us fresh tea.  He was happy to give Abby and Kate the lessons they requested on how to milk a cow!  Abby thought he made it look way too easy!  But the tea was great and his hospitality even greater.   

Tomorrow begins our week of VBS and everyone is excited!  Pray for us as we teach the book of James and just love the kids through all of the things we'll be doing together. 

This week we'll be doing VBS Monday through Saturday with Thursday as a special outing day taking the kids on a picnic.  It'll go fast!  So pray that we make the most of it and do not miss the opportunities God gives us to slow down and see him at work in the moments.  

We're still recovering from jet lag but hopeful that tomorrow brings us closer to our new normal.  Last night Kate said... I really need to go sleep.  My body is feeling all bizurko.  (She may speak for all of us more than she knows!) 

And with that, we'll say good night.  Picture to come!

Updated Friday, October 4
We got word this afternoon that our team arrived without incident in Bangalore.  Thank you for praying for their ministry this week.  Come back often for news of their progress.

Updated Thursday, October 3
Our Bangalore team was prayed off the parking lot by friends and family and headed to India.