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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Destiny

These girls may have had a bad start to their life, but they now have a Destiny! This is not a home, but a place girls come to work and it is called Destiny... fitting name, huh? Here they have the oppurtunity to make money for themselves and their families, to get benefits, and also a way to help them fill good about themselves. We all fill good about ourselves after a good hard days work... right?

Sorry the pictures are so tiny... I don't know what is goin' on. :o)


Here is one of the ladies, who runs Destiny. She is standing in front of some of the finished products that the girls have made.



This is a picture of some of the ladies getting a manicure done.



This picture is some of the ladies getting a pedicure.



Cleaning, massaging, and painting finger nail and toe nails was what we were about for a week and a half. :o)



The finished product!


The girls may of thought we were a little crazy, but thats alright. All we cared about was that we were loving on them, that they felt our love for them, and that we brought glory to our Father in heaven.

Monday, January 16, 2012

150+ Blessings

Our second day of serving was spent at the New Hope school (in the morning) and then we traveled to our first after care home (in the afternoon), which we will call SunnySide. We knew that this home was going to have the most girls (150+ girls), but we were ready to love on them. When we got to the SunnySide we were a little early and they were still in class, so we were shown around a bit and got to see where they do their work... some of the girls sew and some stamp. Then we were taken to a room where they kept all their merchandise to shop. Oh yea... 13 women shopping can be dangerous. LOL! I believe we all bought something from SunnySide. When the girls were done with school they all met us out in the courtyard and we were over run by girls ranging in the age of 9 years to 18 years. All these girls had different stories... some were trafficking victims, some were taken from their families because they were not safe there and they had a very high possibility they would be trafficked, and some where in the after care home because they were orphaned or unwanted by their families. All very sad, but these girls had joy and a hopeful future.

Once they came out we began to play games with them. One of the games was musical felt squares. LOL! Instead of musical chairs we put 150 felt squares on the ground and they were to walk around the circle while music played (and we would remove a couple squares) and when the music stopped they were to jump on a square. Well... the instructions given to them was some where lost through translation. LOL! The girls were hopping around from felt square to felt square and some of them would hop from their square to their friends square and then back to their square... it was so very confusing, so we stopped the game. LOL! Then we split the girls up and half of them played a cotton ball spoon game (I don't know the official name of the game)... everyone lines up in 4 equal lines and everyone has a spoon, then the first person in the line gets a cotton ball on her spoon and passes it quickly and smoothly to the person behind her without the cotton ball falling on the ground. The other half play a princess relay game. There were 4 equal lines and the girl in the front had to run and dress up with all the princess gear (heart glasses, headband wig, tiara, and wand) and then run back to the next person in line and take it all off for the next person to put it all on. That was a great game!

I forgot to mention that there were also kids (3-5 years old) there... children to the girls that lived at SunnySide. As we were setting up the princess relay game they were wanting to play and all the girls were telling them to go away. These kids wanted to play so bad. Truthfully we had no idea there was going to be this many children... there was about 8 kids. So Janet and I took these little rascals and played Duck Duck Goose (which we had to explain without a translator) with them and then we played the cotton ball spoon game with them as well. They loved having their own special games. :o) But, wow did I wish like the entire trip I could speak Bengali.

After the games we came back to the middle of the courtyard and all sat smushed and cross legged under these paved pavilion and watched some girls dance. It was so great to watch them dance and laugh and just be giggly girls. After the dancing we all continued to be close and "cozy" to here Barbara share her testimony. It was good and some girls came up to her later and thanked her for sharing her story. Then it was time to do a craft... my wonderful friend, Brenda came up with this really cute hair barrettes to make with the girls. Each girl got a metal hair barrette and 2 ribbons and then they weaved them through the middle of the barrette to make a braid type thing. It might sound easy with me explaining it if you have a clue what I am talking about, but when you have 13 to 15 girls in your group and we can't understand eachother except when they say "Auntie" (that is what they call someone older than them... like a teacher) it gets a little frazzling. On top of the communication barrier and not knowing how to do the craft very well the blood sucking mosquitoes come out with a vengeance. LOL! But, in the end all the girls eventually got their barrettes done and helped eachother and they were so proud to have made it on their very own. But, thanks Brenda!! :o) It was then time to leave and we would see them again the next day.

The next day we went to Destiny in the morning, but I will blog about them in a different post... right now I am going to blog again about SunnySide. This time the girls were going to come out in 3 groups because we were doing manicures and pedicures... we couldn't have all 150+ girls out at the same time. Let me tell you all we were doing with their hands and feet... with their hands we were, soaking their fingers, removing their cuticles, lotioning and massaging their hands, filing/cutting their nails, and then painting their nails and added a decorative flower on them if they wanted. With their feet we had buckets and we would wash, clean, and scrub their feet, file/cut their toe nails, lotion and massage their feet and legs, and paint their nails and add a decorative flower if they wanted. Let me just say... Feet our a HUGE deal in their culture... especially an older person washing the feet of a young person. HUGE! Every single foot that we washed was a HUGE deal. They would make a sound or gesture everytime we would start someone new. On top of the feet washing being such a HUGE deal we didn't have any towels to dry their feet with after being washed so some of us used our shirts that we were wearing... and that my friends about did it!! They were very uncomfortable... but we then explained it is okay... and that we wanted to do this and it was our honor... they then relaxed.

I was at the feet washing station the entire time at SunnySide and it was completely humbling. To even get a little glimpse at what Jesus did as He washed His disciples feet was so over the top. After each girl got her feet washed we went and dumped the dirty water out and refilled it with clean water and new soap, but let me just say the that water refill station was not close by. We walked to dump the water where the water pump was... this water pump was like what they had in the 1800's, and then we carried it back. The Lord truly was with me while I became tired. He rejuvenated me with strength to continue to love on these girls. By washing 300 feet and painting 1500 toes while at SunnySide I think I can speak for the entire feet washing crew (which was 4 of us) that it was a blessing to have the honor to love on them in a way they have never experienced in their entire lives.

I know this is a very long post, but I tried to make it to where you felt like you were there. I may not of done a very good job at that, but there was no other way. We were unable to take pictures at SunnySide, so that is also why it was so hard to explain. I hope you understand and got something out of this post because really washing this many feet at this one home has changed my life forever!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Poverty We Don't Know

I have so much to process, but the thing I am really trying to wrap my mind around is the poverty in Kolkata. We are so privileged here in America (even the poor)... we have freedom... they say there is no cast system in India but there is, we have clean water... they do not unless it is filtered, we have food (even the poor have somewhere to go here in America)... a lot of the people in India don't know where their next meal will come from, we have roofs over our head (not any kind of roof, but a roof where everyone has their own room)... a lot of the poor are living on the side of the road in a tent with tarps as their walls, we have hot water... most homes in India do not have hot water heaters and if they do it is only like 10 gallons (trust me it is not enough by our standards). My list can go on and on and on... we are so privileged to live in this country! Words will never be able to describe how privileged we are.



This is very common to see bags of potatoes on the back of a bike. Bikes are a very important type of transportation.

These children were just sitting outside of a business with no adult. This was another common thing to see... children running around on the streets with no adult, parent, or grown up.


There is no law in Kolkata that says you can't pitch a tent and live on the side of the street on the sidewalk. So without that law people do just that.... they pitch their tent or gather boards to make their walls. They cook, sleep, and do life on the side of the road.


With people living everywhere and anywhere there is no trash service, so naturally the trash would just go anywhere and everywhere. Behind the trash pile is the roofs of a little more permanent slum homes.


Here this family doesn't really have a tent or boarded walls... they just live and do life on the side walk. They wash their clothes in city water and dry their clothes on the city rail. This is normal. Normal for the poor and normal for the not poor as they walk by.



I will have to say... with so much poverty and hunger... there is so much smiles. The Lord is there in Kolkata just as He is here in America with me and you. We just have to sit and listen to Him and not let our distractions take over our God. I am not blessed... I am overly privileged. So as I contemplate all of this and try to make sense of it all... I am thinking about all I have... how can I give it to my new friends, who need it desperately for their ministries.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

New Hope for a Slum Village

The New Hope School is the place we visited our first 2 days in Kolkata. No words could ever come close to describing what this school is all about or how God is working there. The school is in the middle of a slum village that practices Hinduism and these two people below were called to change this village for God's glory. They both have faith I have never experienced... faith that God will provide for it all. They both are very smart and have gone to school for different career paths then they are leading now. Pastor Rudra was an Engineer and has his Masters and Mita has just finished Law school. They have given up their worldly lives and worldly success to follow the One who truly only matters. They both have envisioned this school and that the Lord will overcome this village with all His authority and love. This is who and what these to wonderful people are about... I have been changed because of their story of faithfulness and I pray to have faith like them. I was privileged to serve along side of them as we helped them these 2 days. May the Lord bless Pastor Rudra and Mita. May His face shine upon them and bring them much peace.


Pastor Rudra and his wife, Mita, who is the teacher of the school.


Walking through the village.


Walking through the village.



Here are some of the kids greeting us as we walked down the road of their village. It was so awesome to be greeted with smiles and laughter.


I know this is not the best picture of the school sign, but get the idea. All by faith in God's plan and His guidance.


This is how they do school with the morning group. They sit in rows and do their work on the floor. They are happy little kids and so happy for what they have... and these kids don't have much, but they soak up in anything and everything you show them and teach them. Lord bless these kids and may they all come to know You.


These kids did so awesome taking the paper off the back of these stickers. They did it all pretty much on their own... some did need help but they were determined to do it on their own. They loved all the different stickers and soaked it all up.


Here is Lauren, one of our teen girls that came with her mom.


Working on writing.


Praise and worship time during chapel.


Here is my knew DeeDee (big sister), Jill, who telling the Bible story on David and Goliath. Jill was so awesome and she blessed Pastor Rudra and Mita by sharing ways to help the kids better.


One of the kids praying the Lord's Prayer. Everyday they prayer the Lord's Prayer... complete reverence to His holiness.


Working hard on coloring a sheet talking about washing hands to keep germs away.


My DeeDee, Brenda watching these kids and loving them.


Working to hard! She was a great colorer!


Here they are reviewing a Bible verse we taught them... "I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength." Philippians 4:13


This was one of the two crafts we had for them to do. No one complained about what color they got... they just were so grateful to get a hat to decorate and keep for their very own.


They were all so proud of these hats.


Aren't they so cute?


Our driver, Shavik (I probably messed up is name bad), he was a huge blessing to us. He was an awesome driver, translated a bit for us, bought henna for us (an got a deal), we felt so safe with him, he walked us to our destinations, and protected us in unsafe places. May God bless Shavik and his beautiful family.


The New Hope school has also begun a program for the women of the village, a sewing trade. Here in this picture Mita is sitting with a few women (more came later) and sharing a story about God. I am not sure what she was saying, but I can be sure it was to bring our Savior glory.


Here a beautiful Indian women who is working on her lines and learning.


This young lady in this picture is 19 years old and not married yet, but I believe God has big things in store. Another reason Pastor Rudra and Mita started this sewing school was 1. teach them a trade and to make their own money (eventually) but, 2. To teach them the Truth because once the wife of the house learns about Jesus' love then she will teach her kids and live it out to be an example for her husband and then by God's grace the husband may come to know his Savior as well.

Aren't these ladies beautiful? The lady on the left was very happy and full of smiles and laughter. She was the life of the group and very talkative.

This was day 2 and the craft for this day was making pillows. These pillows were fleece and had a rainbow pattern to help them remember the the promise of the Lord that He would never flood the earth again. They loved that this was made by their own two hands and that they got to take this home and keep.

Everyday we were there they had a dance for us. This day they had a swing dance prepared for us. We were so impressed!




Aren't they cute?


This young man (whose name I can not remember... no matter if a name is in another language or not I can never remember names. This is something I need to work on) in this picture is one of two of the teacher's helpers and he is a blessing. He does not get paid for helping at the school, but he is a follower of Jesus Christ. His parents give him a hard time at home because they want him to work and make money and forget about his Jesus, but he continues to stay faithful. This is one of Pastor Rudra's disciples.


Here Barb is working with the kids with the folder games. These kids could not get enough... they wanted more and more...


We were supposed to visit the village again and show the Jesus Film in the school for all who wanted to come and see it, but God had different plans. When we arrived they tested the film and it was not working correctly. So our team leader, Kay kept trying. We prayed and had so many others praying for this Jesus Film and asked to Lord to give us clarity and wisdom on what we should do. The morning of the day we were going to show it Kay called Pastor Rudra and shared the problem we were having and he made the call to cancel the showing of the Jesus Film. We believe the timing was just not right... maybe the field is just not ready for harvesting yet, but I believe with everything in me that God has great things planned for this village and the school. I can't wait to hear and see the great mighty works the Lord will do. Until I return I will be praying for all His glory and might to shine through strongly.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Stimulation

Yesterday, was the longest Thursday of my life. LOL! When I got home from the airport I was tired but not so tired I needed to sleep. I knew I needed to stay up as long as I could... well Heidi's nap came around and I thought this would be a perfect time to get some rest. So I went and took a nap... that was probably a HUGE mistake! LOL! Bob came upstairs to wake me up and I could not wake up... my eyes would not stay open. I finally got up and went down stairs... I went straight to the couch and laid down. LOL! It was such a blur after that and I was not very nice. Sorry Bob. I did wake up after dinner and as soon as the kids went to bed my eyes were shut. I slept until around 5:30 a.m. this morning... not to bad, right? I am still tired but nothing like yesterday. Enough about my sleepiness... let me tell you about the first day in Kolkata.

Kolkata, India is so stimulating! There is so much to look at... I wished at times I had 4 eyes to see on both sides of the road. There are really no strict road laws... just suggestions and most of the time (if not all of the time) that is all it is... suggestions.

I took a lot of pictures, but they aren't very good because the city of Kolkata is so busy and fast and there are so many people. Pictures will never be able to explain the life these people live or the way this city runs.




Here is all our luggage. We all checked 2 bags... 1 for us and the other cram packed with supplies. We did leave one bag behind, but God graciously was with us as one DeeDee (big sister) had to go back and get it (along with Omar and Don, who was the one that made all of our travel and visits possible).




This picture is taken outside of the airport. Motorbikes are the way to get around in Kolkata. They could weave in and out of traffic so easily while traffic was always backed up.



Traffic. Need I say more? LOL!



Trash. Kolkata had trash everywhere! I guess if we were cram packed in a city full of 4 million
people we would have trash everywhere as well.




Bus, motorbike, trolley, rickshaw, and taxi are the way to travel.



Staring was huge thing. 13 white women in a huge city... of course they were going to stare at us, but if you looked back them and smiled or waved 98% of the time they would smile and wave back at you. Here in the America if you were to smile and wave at someone staring at you they would look away instantly.



This was the first person we saw in India carrying something on his head, but as the trip went on this is the way they do things.



Our first "dinner" in India. Yummy Fanta with a long straw. I had the most delicious Indian style chicken fried rice and garlic naan bread.



We went and saw a few of Mother Teresa's house. This one is the one where she lived and died. She lived in a tiny room and the room was one of the hottest in the compound because the suns rays were constantly beaming on that room, but she never had a fan. I wasn't supposed to take pictures beyond a certain point going up the stairs to her room and I was not supposed to get this picture... but there were Nuns washing.



I know this picture is blurry and bad, but to me it says so much. We were in the back of a rickshaw for the first time and we were laughing so hard.



A picture of the busyness.


Again, these pictures will never capture what Kolkata really was... no words will ever describe it. Kolkata to me will not be about the smog, the trash, the busyness, or the poverty, but it will be about the love of the people and the faith of the believers. I can say it has a piece of my heart forever. By God's grace I will return soon to the City of Joy.