Hello family and friends, greetings to you from India where we have been laboring for the Lord for the past several months. We can tell you without exaggeration that it has truly been a life changing experience for our Family to be in India. God gave our Family the vision to come to the Country of India and work as Missionaries and for the past four months we have been in the State of Tamilnadu seeking to preach the Everlasting Gospel.
This past Christmas Season was the first that our Family spent away from home in the US. I must admit that it was quite different for us to spend the Christmas Holidays in a Hindu Country where the majority of people are not Christians and hence the Holiday did not have much significance to them .
We on the other hand embarked upon a Christmas project to provide clothes to some of the most needy children here in the Villupurum region where we are stationed. Truly we thought, what better way to spend the Christmas holiday than to spend it giving to others. In the US we often times look forward to receiving gifts, but what better way to truly spend the Holiday than to give to others who can give you nothing in return. This gift giving idea was originally the brainchild of Sister Felicia Chelliah of the Seabrook SDA Church. Sister Felicia came to India last November and visited us in Villupurum for a short time where she received a first hand opportunity to see some of the need that exists in this Region and thus this project idea was born. In the US we have to search to find needy Children at Christmas time to give gifts to, but in this part of India that is not the case at all . In fact things are quite the opposite, in every Village that we go to it seems that there are only needy children. We decided then to identify 100 of the most needy Children from the all the Villages that we have visited so far and provide them with Christmas gifts.
We prayed to God to send supporters for this project because even though we were sure that this was a good idea we knew that it would also be a costly one. We made an appeal on one of our blogs and several people responded to the call. Sister Felicia Chelliah also worked tirelessly to raise much of the needed funds by appealing to many of the Sabbath schools at the Seabrook SDA Church on our behalf. Because of your support we were able to purchase clothes for 130 Children plus several widows. From the bottom of our hearts we are truly grateful and thankful to all who supported the Christmas project and allowed themselves to be instruments in the hand of the Lord to minister to many who are in great need here in India.
The day for the Christmas project finally came, the distribution program was held at a nearby SDA School on Christmas Day. I am usually not emotional person in public but I remember distinctly as I approached the School room where the program was to be held and saw over 100 Children, many of them with their parents singing Tamil songs and awaiting our arrival. I was almost overcome with emotion. I knew that for many, their parents were daily wage workers making only $3 per day and that this was the only gift that many would receive for the Holiday Season and for some this was the only gift for the Year. I was just thankful to God that we were obedient to His voice and that we came to this Country in faith and obeyed his voice and were able to make so many people happy.
As we mentioned the Christmas Season was a particularly busy time for us because while we were planning the Christmas program we were also conducting some meetings in a Village called Edethu Portan Colony.
Of all the Villages that we have worked in this Region, this was the poorest one. The name in Tamil actually means to take and throw away, this Village is totally isolated from any other Villages, business or shops, also there are no government or any other buses that run close to this Village. The members all have to walk many miles to town to even get essential supplies. There are no buses to even carry the Children to School and so even they too have to walk rain or shine . Many of these people don’t even own a bicycle and so if there is any emergency it is next to impossible to get to Town for help. On the first night of our Meeting we were lost and so we sought to get directions to this village but many in the main Town had never even heard of this Village or could even tell us how to get there. Finally we received directions and made it to our destination after travelling many minutes down long winding bumpy roads with swamps and rice fields and thick vegetation on both sides of us. It honestly seemed to me that this Village was thrown away. The members of this Village are considered a Dalit Colony and are considered India’s lowest caste. Their ancestors were once considered by the Indian society to be untouchable and so the Colony was established far away from any Village or business so that no one would be contaminated by them.
The people were very happy to see us as no foreigners had been to this Colony prior to our arrival. The Ancestors of these people were relegated to doing the lowest most menial jobs in the Indian society. These people were assigned this small Colony to live in and many had been there for generations as the bottom of Indian Society and these were their descendants, still living in exile on this Colony.
We found the people to be very warm, friendly and very receptive to our nightly messages most of them were overwhelmed with gratitude that foreigners, of all people had come to see them. After seeing the conditions here in EP Colony we decided that since these people were considered to be the lowest of the low, that we would do our best for them and be as Christ who came to minister to the needs of even the very lowest among us. At the close of our Meeting we ordered food from a local Restaurant as a treat for all the people of this Colony and Noah donated many of his Hot wheels matchbox cars to all the young boys , as well as we provided hair accessories and books to many of the girls in EP Colony. The people were visibly pleased with the time that we spent with them and the Children asked us to promise them that we would not forget about them as everyone else had. We assured them that we would always remember them and most importantly God will never forget them.
We again want to thank everyone for their support of our work here in India, especially we are grateful to all who gave their support to the land purchasing project for our Brothers and Sisters in the Village of Meyur. We have not yet met our goal for this project but we are confident in God’s ability to provide so please pray for us as we seek to do our part to hasten His coming.