Greetings to you brothers and sisters in Christ. We trust that by the grace of God you had a good Christmas Holiday and New Year. I hope that this time was an opportunity for you to connect with family and friends and to receive some spiritual refreshing from the Lord. We all know that December 25 is not the exact birthday of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ when he came in the flesh. However, it is still a wonderful opportunity to contemplate and recall the goodness of He who has made a way for all the children of Adam to find salvation.
This has been our second time spending Christmas in India. There is a vast difference between Christmas in the US and Christmas in this Hindu land. In fact one would hardly notice that it was the Holiday Season unless you were to check your calendar. The Hindu temples continue their ubiquitous rounds of ceremonies dedicated to the over 2 million gods of India and the frantic pace of life in Tamil Nadu continued in its daily incessant rounds.
By the grace of God we were able to carry out our plans to do good for many widows, orphans, blind, and desperately poor people on this past Holiday season. Through the kindness of friends like yourselves and the Metro New York Mens Prayer Ministry we were able to be a blessing to more than 600 people in India this year. The bible says in . Psa 41:1 Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the LORD will deliver him in time of trouble.
We were able to provide a suit of clothing, a school bag loaded with school supplies and a hot meal to needy boys and girls from many of the surrounding Villages in Villupuram. Many of their families are day laborers who only make between $2 or $3 per day so many were greatly appreciative for these much needed items. It was such a blessing to see the smile on the faces of these beautiful children. The excitement in some places was almost uncontrollable as the kids received their gifts. For some, even though they were in school for years this was their first descent school bag and for others this was their only new dress for the Holidays. We learned experientially what the bible says that it is truly better to give than to receive.
Our friend Gunasekaren in the city of Bangalore invited us to come and celebrate New Year’s day with him and his blind Church. This is an Adventist Church that was started to reach out to many in the blind community. As I shared in a previous blog, many of these individuals are abused and exploited in unspeakable ways. We met and conversed with some of these women and became painfully acquainted with some of their past history. I heard about how some were thrust out into the streets by their families and resorted to begging and even “soliciting” as a way to survive. We came to understand that there is not much available by way of social services to assist these unfortunate individuals, so our heart was moved with compassion to help. Our brother Guna has rented a house that serves the dual function of a Church and a housing place for some of these blind individuals. He is quite a remarkable man who has become father, guardian, counselor and caretaker to many of our blind brothers and Sisters in Bangalore.
We arrived in Bangalore at our bind church and were greeted by enthusiastic singing. We later discovered that many of the men and women who attend this Church were quite talented indeed. Many played musical instruments and were also excellent singers. Many were mothers and fathers and there were even quite a few blind couples. Some even had their own employment and were sustaining themselves and their loved ones. One commonalty among all these individuals however was their love for Christ. Even though they were without physical sight they were not blind spiritually. And they personally knew Him who was king of Kings and Lord Of Lords. Through your donation we were able to provide for them a suit of clothes, a blanket, and braille bibles with some EG White books in braille. It is truly amazing to me that God has provided a way for all to receive his holy word.
The bible gives us some sound counsel which I think it would do well to heed, especially during the holiday season. In Luke 14:12 the bible says : Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee. Luke 14:13 But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: Luke 14:14 And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just. As we do our daily rounds of buying and selling and taking care of our families, let us not forget our Master’s command to us in Luke 14.
We also had the privilege a few weeks ago of dedicating our Adventist Church in Meiyyur. Wow, that was quite an experience for our family. As long as time shall last I will never forget the feeling of standing in that crowded Church on that inauguration day and looking into the faces of the more than 200 who were present. I remembered our struggles in that Village as clearly as it were yesterday. I remembered the persecution that our brothers and sisters faced daily in that Village. We promised the local Pastor that we would put a place of worship there for our people even without the 1st dollar in hand. But with the riches of faith alone, in less than one year we were dedicating that Church which we prayed for. I learned a valuable lesson on that faithful Sabbath as I stood to address that congregation in Meyyur. With tear stained eyes and a thrill of Victory in my voice I learned that my God could truly do anything. Even though we were surrounded on every side by Hindu Temples to false gods, The Lord made a House of worship where his people can worship him in peace. No more worshiping outside in the elements or being crammed into a neighbor’s houses. The people can worship freely in the first Adventist Church for many, many miles around.
Below you will see some of the pictures from the aftermath of the Cyclone (Hurricane) that hit the Pondy Cherry, Cuddlore, and Villupuram district on New Year’s Day. This was a furious storm with torrential rains and wind. As everyone was celebrating the beginning of 2012 the people of this region were hunkering down and doing their best to prepare for the storm that was approaching. We lost power in the early evening of New Year’s Eve and spent the whole night and New Year’s Day itself mopping up water that was spewing through of locked windows. Even though, we are staying in a concrete home the windows and other parts of the house are not built for such high winds and rains. In fact, we have been told by our friends that this is the first Cyclone in many decades. The majority of the people live in thatched roof houses in this district, unfortunately, they were hit the hardest. Their roof literally flew off with them inside. Others who had tin roof houses had to flee to other shelter as the tin peeled back. Our family was without electricity or water for about four days, but others are just now receiving electricity and water. The papers are reporting about 100 hundred deaths and many injured. By the grace of God none of the church members or families that we know sustained any injuries. Please remember these fellow believers in your prayers. Many are still displaced and desperately seeking to rebuild and gain a sense of normalcy.
Thank you for your continuous prayers and support of the 3goingforward Ministry. Please, continue to pray for us and the people of Villupuram. If you are impressed to support you can do so at our home page at 3goingforward.com.
Please forgive us as the wordpress editing software is not cooperating with us at the moment. We wanted to put the pictures in order and place comments with them in order to best tell the story of what has happened here over the past few weeks but were not as successful as we would have liked.
May God bless and keep you in his loving care.