Monthly Archives: July 2012

The Power of Prayer

Today has been another day of traveling Andre and praying for the people. Overall we stopped at 10 villages where we prayed at the churches. It’s such a blessing to be able to meet the people and pray for their individual needs. We have also seen a couple actual “villages”. These are impoverished areas where the conditions are not the best. The people live in small cement or stone homes that are located right off the narrow and bumpy roads. There is no running water so the people use plastic containers to carry water home from the public water. Bathrooms are even harder to find and most just use the streets.

In this village we prayed for a man that had recently undergone chest surgery for tuberculosis. This is an amazing story of God’s power and love. The man was the first person that converted from Muslim to Christianity in the village. Since his conversion there has been a revival in the village and many more have come to know God.

We stopped for another service, where we were able to worship with the local people. After the service we were able to pray for the people. The needs are so great, but God is so much bigger than any problems we have. One man had a miraculous story or being dead and coming back alive. He still could not walk well so we prayed for continued healing. One lady had been but by a snake and another person has tuberculosis. It was an amazing experience to life the people’s needs up to God.
We even got the opportunity to pray with Muslim neighbors in the name of Jesus, and they came to us. This may not seem like that big of a deal , but it’s currently Ramadan which is a huge Muslim holiday. Well like we said the Lord was moving through the villages and the Spirit was moving in us ,as well. Since we had decided to drive through the night we also began moving on the road and since Indians are so hospitable we had many large bottles of water , so we had to make some other movements.

“Blue moon, I saw you standing alone”….I certainly hope not. We have become quite native concerning bathrooms. We have conquered the “squatty-potty” as well as the “great outdoors”. Driving all night on the interstate with no bathrooms leads to dodging headlights in the bushes :p.
It’s been quite an adventure.

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The Village People

We started our journey around 6:30 am to head to the village of Andre. After about an hour into the trip, they took us to McDonald’s for breakfast . We both had hash-browns and had a brief bit of nostalgia.
After many curvy roads and hours later, we arrived at the house of a wonderful Indian family. This area is by far the warmest we’ve been to so they took us to the room in the house with a fan. After sitting there a while we realized there was blood all over my hands, shirt, and arm. Now nobody freak out it was just a scratch but the family freaked out and came to rescue with cotton.
After doctoring the scratch , the family began stuffing us with food. Seriously, like giving us delicious food until we could physically not eat another bite. It’s amazing how hospitable the people in Indian are. We are so blessed to be here. After praying for the family, we got to see their local church in the area. Low and behold the church was called New Hope! Churches here are not like most in America. They are simple cement buildings that are one room with windows and fans for ventilation. Restrooms are a rare find anywhere in India, including church buildings.

At each of the villages we visited the church and spoke with the pastors. We prayed for the ministry and the pastors for encouragement. It is an awesome experience to actually pray for the people. It’s no longer a prayer request but a face to face relationship with the person. Here at the center we prayed for the pastors and their ministry, but to actually see the churches in person was fabulous.

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Sunday, saris, soccer

Well today was a wonderful Sunday, but it was anything, but the day of rest. We started off the day by going to service . We had great worship and message! Then we were brought up in front of the church and were prayed over since this is our last Sunday. We absolutely love the church that we are a part of here in India! The members are so welcoming and friendly, it’s like being back home.

Then after the English service , we taught our Sunday school classes and got to spend quality time with our class . After Sunday school, we were taken to downtown and had a market experience :/. It is super overwhelming, and covered with people asking you to buy things, and by asking we mean yelling at you to buy things. When we say covered with people , we really mean black Friday times ten. One gentleman even followed Tess for a block trying to get here to buy a cat box. Needless to say, it will be a long time, before we complain about crowds in malls, stores, anywhere for a while. I think this has showed me that I don’t want to live in a large city.

We also bought the material for our saris, so before too long we will be proper Indian women. We have to wait for the blouse to be tailored but we are very excited to learn how to wear them. After shopping we came back to the center and decided to play futball with the boys. They took us to a local field and we showed them our amazing skills :p. Really though we had an amazing time and it’s a great way to connect with the boys. Girls are rarely invited to play sports, so we were very excited they wanted us to play with them. We will be leaving for Andre in the morning. This is a rural village and we will be having services for the people. We are very excited about seeing this part of India and teaching others about God. We won’t have wifi until Wednesday so until then friends :).

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Boy’s Night Out

We are back where we belong on campus with the children. Kodai was an amazing experience but there is nothing quite like being back with “our” kids. It brings us so much joy to be around the children and all their love. There is never a dull moment with the kids and they always have us hopping. As soon as, we got home the kids ran to get our bags , give us hugs, and see their aunties :)!

Tonight was the boy’s special night since the girls had a sleepover last week. We decided to have a bonfire, because as usual the boys are pyromaniacs. We had to scold a couple of boys for jumping over the flames, but other than that the fire department didn’t need to be called so it was a success. We then watched a movie with the boys and just spent quality time with them. It is so easy to love the kids and its crazy how much we missed them, just few days we were gone! It is great to be “home” and will be so hard to leave on Thursday.

Please just keep the kids in your prayers. They have all had a rough start but God has a plan for each of them, so please just pray for healing :).

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Watch out for that cliff

Today we visited some of the local tourist spots around Kodai. Our first stop was a pine forest. They have some of the most random “tourists” spots over here. The pine forest was gorgeous with trees very close together, however, the backwoods of West Virginia are just as stunning. Another stop was a memorial for where they first began a road, as I said the reasons for tourist destinations seems very strange over here. We did see quite a lot of monkeys at this location. Monkeys are everywhere over here and almost as common as seeing birds. They are very cute but we have to remind ourselves not to get too close to them.

“Watch out for that hole where that man fell” another hotspot. This was the location where a man fell into a cavern and died. Not the best circumstances for a memorial but the scenery was amazing. The ground literally opens up and forms deep crevices in the side of the mountain. There are gorgeous trees with roots that seem to go on forever. We climbed some of the roots up a hill to see the view of the mountain. The mountain just stops suddenly and there is an instant drop off. It was very foggy today, so we couldn’t see all the way down but I can just imagine how far to the bottom.

Another sight seeing opportunity was Pillar Rock. Here we were also able to see a waterfall that cascades down the mountain. It has truly been wonderful to see some of the splendor of God’s creations. It is awe inspiring to see how small we are in comparison to God, yet He loves us so much.

Then we decided to do Noah’s ark backwards and came off the beautiful mountain and took a boat ride :).

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Our trip to the mountains

The past two days have allowed us to recharge our batteries in God’s nature and do a little retail therapy.We went to downtown Kodai , and began shopping and exploring. It is a lake town on a mountain, so it is definitely an interesting atmosphere.
We went into side shops and handmade craft shops ,as we looked for souvenirs. This is our first time getting to shop on our own, so we were a little unsure what to expect. Here in India they use the currency, called a rupee . One US dollar is worth 55 rupees , but since we are spending rupees, it’s hard to budget and wrap our mind around a new currency.

Anyway the shops had tons of unique and handmade goods. Carvings, fabrics, and jewelry covers shops and stands galore. There are many other items too, there are so many different stands that it’s a bit overwhelming at times. Besides just shopping we decided to eat at a restaurant called HFC , hilltop fried chicken. To our surprise , it ended up being delicious ! Easily our favorite restaurant so far!
Something else that’s hard to get used to is the concept of “public restrooms”. In India , to have an American Style toilet cost money, and are only in select places. Most people just go over the drain or along the road, the word public is used quite literally here. We did conquer the native “squatty potty” which is sometimes the only option.

We decided to call it a day after a few hours and come home. The next morning we learned that a wild bison gored two of the landowner’s cows. So we won’t be going out by ourselves. Also word on the streets is there may be a leopard in the neighborhood.

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July 17, 2012

For those of you with weak constitutions or prone to motion sickness use caution as you read. Today has been a day of travel. We left Mysore at 8 am and about 9 1/2 hours later we reached our destination of Kodaikanal. We rented a taxi and driver until Saturday.

The trip here has amazing scenery ranging from wide open flatlands to soaring mountains. The variety of living conditions is also amazing. We would travel through a large city, small towns, and villages. Some of the homes looked like little more than a shack and the doors are made of hardened paper.

The town of Kodai is actually near the top of a mountain. And yes I know West Virginia has some mountains but these are just as intense. It took 2 hours to drive from the bottom of he mountain to the town. This was quite a drive with barely a two lane road overlooking a cliff on one side. The road has several hairpin bends where you have to honk the horn to alert other drivers. Basically you go from facing north to south in a couple feet. This trip made West Virginia back roads look like interstates.

Although the ride was rough, the place we are staying at is gorgeous !! It looks like we stepped into a Grim Fairy Tale ! It’s a little cottage , that looks like it could be in Ireland or part of an old English countryside. The weather change is kinda crazy we went from 80s to 60s and the heater isn’t working in the house. Hot chocolate has become our new best friend, who would have thought in the middle of July.

None the less , we are so excited about the rest of trip! We hope some mediation and rest can help us refuel for our last week of ministry 😦 .

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Birthday Bash

Today has been amazingly fun and active. We started out with devotionals with the center girls. They are so precious and loving. Then Katie and I tag teamed the second standard tuitions. We taught more multiplication and spelling words. Today we went for 20 kids so we had our hands full, but the children did a good job. Today is sadly our last day that we will be teaching in the school. On the up side God has continued to answer our prayers and it rained for a couple minutes today.

This was a very special day for the kids, because the pastors wife came home from the States today. She is called mommy by most of the kids and is a wonderful woman! The kids threw her a welcome home celebration and decorated the hope center. They are so sweet :).

Today is Nano’s (Nathaniel, the pastor’s son) birthday. Today has been a day of celebration and activities. Katie and I were in charge of planning some of the games for the party. Nano ended up having three birthday parties and three cakes. His first party was for all his friends, the center kids, and neighborhood kids. Altogether there were about 30 people. Our first game was a scavenger hunt, where the children had to find certain objects or people and have their picture taken doing the activity. Then we had a balloon toss for the older boys and played king of the castle.

The next party was in the Shamala’s home and was for family and staff. We cut the cake and Nano fed his grandfather and we gave him his presents! We actually had Chinese food which is awesome since we are in Asia. Then we played a game called shenanigans and had a wonderful evening! Then the center boys threw Nano a party in their room. They used their pocket money to buy him a birthday cake :).

We are packing to leave for a trip to Kote tomorrow through Saturday. We had to tell the children we are leaving for a couple days and some of them got upset. I don’t know how we are going to leave in 11 days. I think we will be leaving a little piece of our hearts here with the kids. Just in case we don’t have wifi, we will be traveling , but we will still be safe. None the less, we appreciate the prayer for a safe journey because it is a very long and grueling drive !

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Let it Rain, open the floodgates of heaven

It’s amazing how the Lord works! Back in November, the Lord began speaking to us about India through the book of Haggai. I called for a drought on the fields and the mountains, on the grain, the new wine, the olive oil and everything else the ground produces, on people and livestock, and on all the labor of your hands.” (Haggai 1:11 NIV). Low and behold , we have been experiencing a drought here the last couple weeks. We have have also been experiencing the demon worship festivals of our neighbors and corrupt government officials. However, the most amazing thing happened early this morning, the singing of the festival ceases and the rain fell almost like the Lord was saying I am God and everything was still.

Today has just been a day of worship for us. We had our church service this morning, and sang contemporary songs like be my everything, as a congregation. Three of us from the staff preformed , the song hallelujah Jesus for the offering. It was amazing just to get to sing and praise the Lord.
Then after the preaching we began teaching the Kannada kids for Sunday school.

I had a great experience with my middle school class today! I had 30 middle school kids, so of course we had loads of screaming and interactive activities! Although they are a rambunctious bunch they are so much fun! Many of them said they may bring friends next week,which is great, except we may need a bigger room or at least an extra helper.

I (Tessa) am teaching the preschool class. It’s a little confusing at times because they don’t understand any English but they get the message of the lesson through a translator. Last week went a little bit smoother for my Sunday school class. We are teaching them about creation and starting at e beginning of the children’s Bible and working our way back. However, today was a little bit different. A man was supposed to observe me teaching the class because he may want to teach it when we leave, but instead he took over the class completely. He was a bit overbearing and just started talking to the kids in Kannada. I think he will be a good teacher at some point but I hope he will learn more tact.
Also, one cultural difference that I find stifling happened in my class today. Even though they are only in preschool he made them color their pictures a certain way. The boy had to have black hair, orange skin, green top, and red shorts. This is the same way that they teach in school in drawing class that there is only one way to draw/color. Creativity is discouraged over here instead of encouraged like in America. Overall though, the children learned more about God and that He made each of them special.

Tonight we went to a praise, prayer, and worship service at church. The band led us in contemporary music that just lifts you up and really gets you in the right mindset for worship. It’s just amazing to see the passion of the musicians as well as the congregation. Everyone sings along, claps, and lifts their hands in worship. We broke into small groups and prayed about several subjects. We prayed for the country of India and that the love of Jesus will spread. We prayed for the government, because many officials are corrupt. I think we need to have the same attitude in America and pray for our nation as well as our leaders every day. We also prayed for the ministries at the center as well as the local community. Also due to the drought we have been praying for rain.

I was in a small group with 3 younger girls and an older woman. The girls range from 7th standard to 4th standard. I was just so amazed at their reverence as they prayed and their passion as they spoke with God. We are just so proud of all the children here. “I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it” – Luke 18:17. We can learn so much from children about faith and truly surrendering every part of our lives to God.

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Sleepover and a hospital visit …

The question is: where to even start? Today has been a happening day. Our first adventure was a trip to the hospital. No, don’t be alarmed we were just visiting patients. This is one of the weekly ministries of the staff pastors here at the church. Once a week they hand out fruit to patients. We went to the Mysore Central Hospital which is a government run hospital. The hospital is located in a mostly Muslim neighborhood so visiting the patients is a good way to spread the love of God. The hospital would by no means meet the standards of American hospitals. Although I think this hospital has not been renovated and is older than others. The overall appearance was slightly dirty and the wards are large rooms with several beds along the wall. There were no rooms with individual beds. So although it is never good to be a patient, be thankful for the care and comforts of American hospitals.

After we returned from the hospital we decided to try our hands at being Betty Crocker again. Let’s just say nothing turned out exactly how we wanted it to, but it was all edible. We made homemade doughnuts and by homemade I mean we made the dough from scratch. Of course during this time the electricity went out on our wall, so we had the hot plate on the floor frying doughnuts. We felt it was kind of like camping. We also made a glaze for our cookies. Yes, at first it had butter islands all throughout it but the overall taste was delicious. I am pleased to say that the girls enjoyed all the food. We aren’t sure if they have ever had real sugar cookies before :). As long as all the food was doused in sugar they ate it.

The cookies were one of many first for the girls. For some of the girls ,it was their first sleepover! We started the evening with painting nails. We had dots, and stripes and even toes :). Then we did the ever popular sleepover activity , of beauty shop! We did the girls hair and some of them, returned the favor. Then we did arts and crafts and made pretty bands,( hair ties with ribbons), and friendship bracelets! Since the girls were loaded up with sugar and screaming “auntie auntie”, from eating ours cookies and donuts, we decided to work off some of that energy with games! We started off with a game, known as the cookie game! In this game you put a cookie on your forehead and have to get it to your mouth without touching it with your hands! Needless to say it was hilarious! We then played limbo and slowed the evening down with a movie!

We are awful sleepy from the sleepover!

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