Posted by: janpierce | November 16, 2009

Dedication of the Ark

Well, believe it or not, as I speak there are about fifty workers building an ark. It is a one-third model of the real ark as described in Genesis and is being built as a retreat center for the TENT campus. It’s pretty cool. Right now it consists of hundreds of upright poles which is the way they build here. On top of the poles is a layer of wood and the concrete is mixed, lifted up by big buckets on some sort of lift and then dumped and spread. It is one step up from mixing it by hand and lifting it up in small pans like they still do in some places. You should see the people work. They will work constantly for about twelve hours until the entire pour is finished. Women and men work side by side shoveling up gravel, pouring in the cement and water, moving the large buckets to the proper place and then dumping the cement in the right place, where other workers spread it out. There was a little prayer service this morning in honor of the pouring of the cement and all the workers were treated to a small piece of candy. By the way, Dr. Vijayam told me that the women workers working right alongside of the men receive less pay—nothing new under the sun!

Last night I took paper, markers, scissors and tape over to the meeting room and we made finger puppets and pop-up books like crazy. Many of these women will have children’s ministries, or teach Sunday School or VBS so they need simple ideas. My motto is “never throw anything away– it can be used in children’s ministry” and so I took over tp rolls and random paper and we had a good time together. Today Roger and the Nurses’s husband Suvendra, went into the nearby market and bought some more yarn, so tonight is crochet time once again. I can’t believe how quickly they learned, most of them just by looking at the samples I had made before the trip. Many of these women come from the northeast of the country, Assam, Manipur, Nagaland, and these areas were introduced to Christianity earlier than other parts of the country. Thus, they have greater Western influence.

No T.V. here. We spend time each evening watching Halfback and his friend, Fullback catch bugs. We even try to send some in their direction, but we are afraid that Halfback may have some mental challenges. He is quite slow to intercept free food.

Today Auntie Vijayam met with the women and refreshed their memories on some teaching she had done earlier in the training. It was all about starting a women’s group in their chosen villages when they get home. They are being trained in how to start micro-banks amongst the women. They begin by making friends with one family, getting to know them and then inviting them and neighboring women to come to a meeting. It costs one rupee to attend the meeting, and the money goes into a “bank”. When the group of between 15-20 women has gathered 2,000 rupees (by meeting weekly)  the president (chosen by the group) accepts requests for small loans. The loans may be for small businesses such as selling vegetables, or some project such as making soap or shampoo and then selling it, or even something such as a childcare center. By concensus the group selects the applications found worthy and the loans are made. They are charged 1% interest per month which goes back into the bank along with monthly payments which then enables other applications to be filled. Careful records are kept because when the government inspects their records and finds them in good order the group can apply for government grants to really get the program rolling. It is all very interesting because all of this is done before sharing the Gospel. Interestingly, the same idea has been tried with men, but the government stopped their grants as the men didn’t repay the loans.

I am doing my teaching on inductive Bible Study. I have only given about one third of the lessons and the women are worried by this. I keep telling them they can do many of them on their own, but they have a sense of wanting to complete things together. I’ll do what I can.

We can’t wait to come home and see all of you, but we will be leaving a whole group of new friends that we’ll miss as well. Next time I’ll tell you about a young woman from Orissa and her proposal for a children’s home for 30 children affected by the atrocities in Orissa—homes, churches, pastors, family members all gone. I wish I had video equipment to tape some of their stories. We do have a tape recorder, and I am taking lots of notes. That will have to do for this trip.

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Responses

  1. You guys sound like you’re really enjoying yourselves now that you have all your aches and pains behind you. I hope so. We’re looking forward to hearing all about it when you return.
    Too bad there were so few of the children at the orphanage that you recognized. Those women going back into those areas of persecution are in my prayers. Thank God for His work through them.

  2. Thinking of you and praying for your strength and safety.


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