Posted by: janpierce | November 12, 2009

Teacher Heaven

I just wrote an e-mail to our daughter, Sara, telling her that the women here listen to everything I say and soak it all in. Well, everyone but one, who is 16 and long ago decided that she isn’t going to participate too much. There are language barriers, cultural barriers, all kinds of reasons that we might not understand one another, but they are fully engaged and seem to understand nearly everything. Today we talked about prayers of submission, what they are, when we might want to use them, how to teach about them and it was very good. Then we began our study of Philippians, Chapter 2. It is definitely an ego-booster to a person who loves to teach. Dr. Vijayam’s wife, Mary, is their usual teacher but she has been home sick with some sort of virus. She is in a lot of pain, but she showed up today to finish her syllabus and so she took part of the morning. She is a lovely woman who pours herself into these women. After this group leaves there will be another group that stays for only one month. They have a very well-written curriculum that prepares them to go home to evangelize their areas, meet the needs of the people in their home villages and then also begin a “technology” to earn a living. Later on, they share that technology too. They teach sewing, make Bible covers, also with a sewing machine, make candles, soap, laminated pictures and also learn tree grafting, compost making and other things. I am in awe of the work Dr. Vijayam has done here and the success he has. He loves his people and is giving them opportunities to move out of the crushing poverty they have suffered with for so long and become self-sustaining and strong in the Lord. If you are interested in reading about him and his life work, there is a new book out called In the Presence of the Poor by Kay Marshall Strom. I found it on the internet.

We will have a visit from Susie Reddy, who visited our home last spring. She is the daughter of missionaries from Canada, grew up in India not too far from here and has married an Indian man. They have three grown sons and she oversees the Cherial Bible school that we visited last week. She also helps oversee a network of churches that began as a house church in her home some twenty years ago. She is busy with women’s meetings in the nearby town of Ghatkesar. She will ride in on one of those crazy pedicabs this afternoon.

Roger has been going into town sometimes as he doesn’t have as many responsibilities here as I do. Tomorrow we’ll leave for a two day visit to Dayanilayam. Roger has already been there and notes that they are building a lot of new buildings and there are a lot of new students whom we don’t know. Often the guardians of the children move them to another hostel or take them home to work or get married. They come and go.

I am tape recording our interviews with all the women. Asking them about their hopes and dreams after they leave here. Every one of them has plans and the desire to serve God. some are very young and others have family responsibilties to return to as well as their new ministry. Others already have ministries and just came here to learn more Bible, leadership skills, outreach techniques and the like.

I am missing my home and our familiar routine. It is very humbling to be here and have people caring for us. The dhobi woman came and washed our clothes today. She washed for us two times and only asked for 75 rupees, which is less than $2. We gave her more. She is a tiny little thing. She goes and fills big buckets with water and hand washes things and then hauls them up on the roof to dry. Sometimes she hangs them on fences and they come back with little weeds sticking out of them. But they are clean and we are happy. We supplement the meals of rice, curries and hot vegetables with packets of chips and cookies which are very cheap to buy. Sometimes there is an egg or some fruit which we have been diverting to one of the women who is pregnant and sick. We drink Chai at least three times a day and sometimes five. I love it, but always try to estimate how many teaspoons of sugar I am drinking with each cup. Jenny Craig, here we come!

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