Posted by: janpierce | January 2, 2011

Flashbacks

Our time in India is coming to an end and I’m thinking about all the things we’ve seen and done. As always the time flies by and the pictures don’t really tell the whole story. This trip has been unique with it’s two-fold purposes: ministry and family and wedding. And at times the two overlapped–some of our dearest friends were able to attend the wedding. It was a dream come true to have both of our children in India with us. There were many times on this trip when I had to shake myself and remind myself that I wasn’t dreaming. There will be a lot to process when we get home.

We began our trip in Calcutta where a lovely couple, Sarah and Rakesh, sister and brother in law to David Phillips hosted us. Since we left them Rakesh’s mother who lived with them has gone into the hospital with a stroke so we’re praying for them. Here is a picture of them (please just ignore the horrible photo of me) and one of a street in Calcutta.

  

From Calcutta we took the night train to Allahabad for several weeks with our good friends David and Diana Phillips and their son Ben. They have a cute young servant boy named Rohit who took good care of us. Here is a picture with some of our friends at the Good Shepherd Church where David and Diana are members. We enjoyed being with all of them so much and see all the potential for David and Diana’s ministry in the city and surrounding villages. I spent some time teaching young women how to read the Bible for understanding. They are women who were Hindu and are now Christian and they’re very serious about learning. They made us thank you cards and bought a cake for our last session. I taught in English, David translated into Hindi and we had their notes printed in Hindi. I visited several of the women in their homes–they’re very poor, but have jobs and are able to live simply.

        

     

Shalini is a Christian girl who has finished 10th standard. She would like to get more education or be trained in some way to make a living. She lives with her sister and mother in a one room home with no running water. She works part time as a cook for David and Diana and attends the same church, Good Shepherd.  Shalini has a winning smile and a sweet way. She hopes to marry a Christian man.  Here are a few scenes from her home and neighborhood.

        

We visited two villages outside of Allahabad. The first one is the larger and has no school at all. The people are day laborers. It was harvest time when we were visiting so most of the working-age men are gone. The second village is smaller, but has a government school in it. Notice the two albino sisters in the group. The young man speaking is a new Christian. He tells the people how he beat his mother, drank alcohol until he was drunk and how his life was without purpose or kindness before he met Jesus. He was healed of mouth cancer and tells the people that his God can make the sick well again.

        

  

Education is different in India. There are the government schools which don’t do much instruction but are free. Even extremely poor families try to pay for their children to go to a private school where the teachers will actually show up and teach. Then there are English Medium schools for those who can afford them. On top of regular school most children go for “tuitions” before or after school. We would call it tutoring. Since so much of the educational program is based on memorization, these tuitions help kids determine what is most important and what they will see on exams at the end of each term. There are myriads of other schools. Everyone wants to make a little extra money and families want the best opportunities for their kids. So here is one school capitalizing on the one day when there is no regular school: Abacus N Brain–catchy don’t you think?

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