India Children’s Ministry 2007
Brighty, Grace, Salomi, Isaac, Mary, Ishwant, Jyothi….. the names and faces go on and on! They are the children of India- roughly 700 million of them in a country one third the size of the USA! My heart has joyfully carried their smiles, bright eyes and burdens every day of every year since we started the India Children’s Bible Schools (CBS) seven years ago!
Let me try and describe to you my little India friends!
Eager– On the third day of our second CBS Pastor Suresh is awakened early one morning by the cheerful chattering of boys outside his church gate. He walks outside his little one room home to the front gate of the church. “Boys, what are you doing here?” he asks. “We are here for the CBS” they answer. Confused, he looks at his watch. “But its only 5:30 in the morning!” “Yes, we know”, they reply, “but we want to be the first ones here so we can sit on the front row!” Pastor Suresh is encouraged by their eagerness but sends them home to wait for the appointed time- 8am!
Let me remind you, these eager boys weren’t in line waiting for the release of a new computer game, Spiderman 3 or a sports event. They were lining up early to hear the teaching of God’s Word! The eagerness of the children to listen and learn is like a spring of refreshment to a teacher’s heart!
Teachable- In the course of our two and a half weeks in India we taught over 2000 children. In the first CBS alone we finished the four day course with 1250 children from toddlers to teens. In a crowd like that there are always a few troublemakers but for the most part the children quietly sat on hard dirt or cement floors for 3 hours in temperatures around 110 degrees! They reminded me of a pack of sweaty little sardines with smiles!
All of us as teachers were astounded at how they learned. The teaching has to be done through a translator and we do our best to teach with colorful visual aids, skits and object lessons in order to grab their attention and make the principles stick in their minds. My senior class studied 24 names for The Lord Jesus Christ in order to better understand Who He is and the calling He has on our life. At the end of the four days this class of 600 could recite the 24 names along with an understanding of their meaning!
Similar stories can be told from the junior teachers of young children reciting the memory verses, the bible lessons and the all important content of the gospel of grace! What a joy to teach the teachable! Many are from unbelieving homes and we pray that they take this message back into their homes to reach hindu and muslim parents with the love of Jesus Christ.
Thankful- If I had a rupee for every time I heard the words "Thank you, Auntie!" I would be a very rich woman! Well, I didn’t come home rich with rupees but I did come home enriched in my soul by the grateful attitude of the Indian children. They literally cheered when they saw the crafts they were going to get to make and take home! They reached out with hands of greeting, looked into our eyes with smiles of appreciation and often voiced the beautiful words of thank you! One of my senior students wrote a note to some of the ladies that helped supply crafts, in part it reads like this…"I am CBS student, I will pray for you and your family everyday. And I like to thanks you because you sent the beutiful glifts for CBS students. The shehperd and the lamb are too beutiful! Jesus may help you to come to India and to CBS. Thank you!"
Those precious "thank yous" were often ringing in our ears but they belong first to The Lord Jesus Christ and then to all of you- the "sending team" who prayed, gave, laminated, cut, sorted, packed, drew, colored and prayed some more. We were daily aware of your part in the mission and in our prayer times together we often thanked God for those back home that made it possible for us to be in India to serve Him!
This report would not be complete without adding one more thing. The team of 5 ladies that accompanied me this year were definitely God’s hand picked team of women ready and willing to go forth with the joy of a servant’s heart. I couldn’t have asked for a more able and available group of women than these five. They arrived in India with one purpose- to reflect the love and grace of Jesus Christ to the Indian people and they filled that purpose with amazing grace and beauty! They endured spicy food, smeltering temperatures, crazy taxi rides, chaotic streets and a constant barrage of noise and smells- and they loved it! The fellowship among the team was sweet and friendships were formed that will last far beyond the limits of the mission trip! Thanks Elizabeth, Des, Kim, Annemarie and Janet- you are the best "aunties" in the whole world!
From left to right- Elizabeth Preston (Fairview Bible Church, Eerie PA) Desiree Carnell (Amador Bible Church- Pine Grove CA) Nancy Cunningham (Basic Training Bible Ministries), our host pastor in India, Kim Maguire (Westside Bible Church- Glendale AZ), Annemarie Holman (Cross Road Bible Church, Perth Australia) and Janet Preston (Fairview Bible Church, Eerie PA).
Please continue to pray for the people of India. I have not mentioned our location or the pastor’s name as the persecution amongst Christians in India is increasing daily. They greatly need our prayers for safety, courage, wisdom and love in order to continue spreading the gospel through this needy land.
In His love,