Posted by: nemerson | August 14, 2008

Final days in India

Sorry, this is a long post since I was without an internet connection for 5 days.

Ministry day 15, Friday

Head, shoulders, knees and toes!

Head, shoulders, knees and toes!

We taught at 3 schools today, reaching over 1500 kids in the colony of Kottigiri!  Isn’t that amazing?!  We did basically the same program with each school–although, at the first school, all of the children understood English, so we had time to explain the gospel a little more in depth.

One of the special things about these schools that we visited is that they are also taught by John, Sujit, and Boaz from Youth for Christ India.  These three guys are awesome!  They go into the schools about once a month, teaching the students about Jesus.

The program that we did for each of the schools started, of course, with singing–“Peace like a river,” “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes,” “Jesus is my friend today.”  And Grace even sang “The Lord’s Army” loud and clear into the microphone!  Then we did our Daniel skit, and Rose spoke the gospel.

Daniel skit

Daniel skit

At the first school, we had volunteers come up and blow up balloons in the colors of the wordless book.  At the second school, which was all young kids, 2nd grade and below, we gave out the colored bead necklaces, using the colors to tell the gospel.  At the third school, Rose just spoke what was on her heart–they were a rowdy bunch!

All of the kids loved having their pictures taken, chasing Grace (who hated being caught!), and shaking our hands, asking in English, “What is your name?  Where are you coming from?”  They are so cute!

All in all, it was a great day preaching the gospel!  Grace was very involved in all of the programs and behaved well.  Thanks for all of your prayers!

Ministry day 16, Saturday

We were up early and sadly said our goodbyes to Shirley, Abby and Shirley’s Mom.  They took such good care of us, making lots of un-spicy foods and vegetables that Grace loved. They even gave us banana bread and ice cream for dessert!  They did our laundry and even cleaned our room.  We’re going to miss them–and Grace will surely miss Abby!

It was about a 3-hour drive down the mountain and into the city of Coimbature.  We went directly to Cornerstone Church where a group of about 45 women were singing and praying as we arrived.  It’s an amazing sound…

Passing out the cross necklaces

Passing out the cross necklaces

We sang and prayed with them for a while, and then it was our turn to speak.  I opened up with an introduction on how the Bible–unlike any other religious book–exalts women in their position, work and especially their character.  Rose shared about Hannah from 1 Samuel 1-2.  Like Hannah (and me!), Rose was unable to have children for many years.  She challenged the women to surrender their desires to God, have faith that He has their best in mind and be prepared to send your children out into the world.

I spoke on Hagar from Gen. 15.  She was forced into marriage and motherhood and hated it!  She tried to run away, but God saw her pain.  He met her where she was and promised to rescue her.  My point was that God sees each of us–He hasn’t missed a thing.  He knows where we are and where we’re going.  He has our best in mind.

Jamie then finished up with a message to the women about the power they have–with their tears and with their words.  He challenged them to use their words to tell others about Christ!

We gave each one of the women a silver or gold chain with a cross on it that had been donated by Rose’s friend, David.  What a special blessing for them.

As lunch was being served, Dr. Lydia began a free medical camp for the people of the community.  Dr. Lydia is a Christian who works with Jamie and the CAMT ministry to reach the lost by first meeting their physical needs and then their spiritual needs.  She brings medicine with her and gives it to the people right then.  She’s awesome!  We did a medical camp with her back in 2005 also.

Around 4pm, We found a hotel in Coimbature and crashed.  We went for a short walk to buy a few things and have some ice cream.

Ministry day 17, Sunday

This is it–our final day of ministry.  It’s bittersweet, of course.  We’re happy to be heading home soon, but we’re sad to be leaving Jamie, Ragu and everyone here.  We’re sad that our time of preaching the gospel in India is over.  But we pray that the work we’ve done with have ETERNAL signifigance!

Cornerstone Church

Cornerstone Church

For Sunday worship, we arrived back at Cornerstone Church with Pastor Jay at 9:30am.  There was lots of singing, praying and sharing testimonies.  When it was our turn to speak, we started with a song, “Open the Eyes of my Heart.”  Grace and I sang with the microphones while Rose played the keyboard (though several of the keys didn’t play!).  It still sounded nice!  🙂

After the song, I sent Grace off to play with Ragu while Rose and I spoke.  Rose preached from Heb. 10, encouraging the people to seek Christ personally and stand strong in the truth.  I shared my testimony and my life verse–1 Cor. 10:31.  I challenged them to bring glory to God in everything they did–work, school, home–everything!  They may be the only representation of Jesus that someone may ever see.

After church, we were invited for lunch to Jane Mary’s home.  She’s an older woman whose husband has died and is very lonely.  One of her sons lives in Philadelphia, and she desperately wants to see him.  She speaks English and shared her testimony with us–amazing!  She gave me her son’s address, phone number and a picture of him so I can go visit…next time I’m in Philly, right?  🙂

Children's Program

Children

Next, we had a children’s program at a rented hall in the slums of Coimbature.  Pastor Jay and some folks from his church had passed out invitations in the area the week before, and almost 150 kids came!  We expected maybe 50 or so–what a wonderful surprise!  We had 3 hours with them–but very little space.  There was certainly no room for the parachute!

We started off with some songs, of course.  Then Rose explained the gospel using the colors of the wordless book while Grace and I blew up balloons for the colors.  We had a different translator, and Jamie wasn’t exactly pleased with his translation apparently.  Jamie then went through the whole thing again himself with the balloons!

The kids needed a stretch after that, so I taught them to play “simon says.”  I likened it to the green of the wordless book where we need to grow by doing what Jesus says.  They were so funny–none of them wanted to sit down when they made a mistake!

Next, we did our Daniel skit, which is always a lot of fun.  Again, they needed a stretch break, so we taught them to do the motions while we sang, “If you’re happy and you know it.”  Then they settled down for me to tell the story of Peter and the great haul of fish.  We didn’t have enough of our special boxes for so many children, so we took out one gimp string and one fish for each of them to help them remember the story of Peter.

Jamie led them in prayer before the program finished.  It’s awesome to see them all on their knees, hands together, praying to God!

Their snack wasn’t ready yet, so several of the kids from the church came up and sang songs about Jesus.  Grace even sang “The Lord’s Army” after I bribed her with some candy.  🙂  Finally, the snack arrived.  Rose and I stood at the door as they came out.  I gave each a gift (different depending on their age), and Rose gave them candy.  Some other helpers gave them their snack and tea.  Their hands were full–and their hearts were full of the love of Jesus!

At 6:30pm, we made it to Dr. Lydia’s house for dinner.  It was very relaxing, but we were exhausted!  Lydia’s kids, Karen (13) and Jacob (11) tried to entertain Grace, but all she wanted to do was tickle them!

It was a full day of ministry and a great way to close up our time here.

Day 18, our last day…

It was a day without a schedule!  We had a few things we wanted to buy–Indian clothes, jewelry for the kids, toys, some carved wood pieces and Rose wanted a clock.  Shopping in India isn’t quite the same as America, though.  You can’t just look around–someone is always right on top of you, showing you something you’re not really interested in!  It’s especially difficult in the clothing store where someone is attached to you from the moment you walk into their department!  I spent most of my time with Grace, letting her try on a bunch of outfits.  We gave all but one of her Indian outfits to Abby because they were getting small.  Since GRace gets all of her clothes as hand-me-downs, this was the first time she had ever been to a store and tried things on.  It was exhausting for me, but she seemed to be having fun!

After a delicious lunch at Domino’s Pizza, we went to the Coimbature Zoo.  It was small and most of the large animals (lions, tigers, bears) had been moved to the big zoo in Chennai.  Things in the Indian zoo are a little different, too.  One of their main exhibits was snakes (I skipped that one!).  As guests come up to the exhibit, the man who works there actually goes into the cage with the snakes, picks them up and throws them around!  Grace loved it!  After we’d seen the snakes, we went over the alligators, and the same man went in and started hitting the alligators to make them more active.  Yikes!  They also had lots of beautiful, tropical birds and some enourmous pelicans.  There were, of course, monkeys, and a guest was handing them rice puffs through the fence.  Hee, hee!  That same man shared some of the puffs with Grace to throw into to some of the other animals, like the hundreds of guinea pigs.  🙂

After a little more shopping, we went to the fair.  It was early afternoon, and no one was there yet.  None of rides were running yet, but we did get to ride a camel!  They also had this special exhibit called the Snowball, which was a dome-shaped creation made to look like a giant snowball.  Inside they had a snow machine shooting out snow from 10-ft up in one corner.  The Indian rock music was booming, and it was dark with a laser light show.  The floor was all covered in icy snow.  Grace and I wasted no time in making snowballs and throwing them at Ragu, Jamie and Rose.  Of course, this turned into an all-out ice war with the highlight being stuffing handfuls of ice down each other’s backs!  If you’ve ever been out in a snowstorm in a sleeveless dress, you can imagine what this might have been like.  We were all soaking wet by the time we left–which was fine, since it was 80 degrees outside.  What a blast!

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