Bright and Early once again at 5:30 am. I am not an early riser so this has been rather hard. Today will be a quiet day as all the girls will be at school. We started our assembly with them at 6:00 am and it was fruitful. I love talking to the girls one-on-one about their lives and their hearts. There are so many stories to share.
We went to the children’s school today at 9:30 am and spoke at their assembly and sang songs with them as well as saw where they attended classes (Boys and Girls Schools). After attending school for a short bit, we spent a good bit of the morning taking a tour of the city in Auto-Rickshaw. What fun that was for Neha to be zooming around the city. We took some time to go to the street/fish markets, saw the Godavari river channels, and experienced a bit of city life. We were able to see the difference between the government schools our kids attended versus the private schools in town (this was quite a contrast.)
We spent some time in the village at the conference during the day learning about people’s lives. We met a group of women that have been rescued from trafficking by one of our village pastors and his family. It was amazing to see the light shining on their faces, but you could see the hurt their eyes and that they had many stories o tell.
We also met this beautiful little girl that was in 5th grade like Neha. She spoke a good amount of English and Neha and her had a great time. Her mom’s story was a tragic one. Her mother was employed as a servant to one of the Arab countries and left this little girl’s older sister behind with the grandmother in the village. Many women are employed from the villages of India as servants in the Arab countries. The little girl’s older sister left behind drowned and passed away. She was not able to get back as she was on a contract for 5 years. While she was there during this time she realized she was pregnant and had another beautiful little girl that Neha played with. It was sad to hear these stories of families being separated. Life for many of these women as servants was not a pleasant one abroad.
We ended our day back at the children’s homes where we sang songs, danced, handed out bibles and other new toiletries. This was a fun last night of spending time in fellowship with the children before we had to leave the next day.
I want to take some time and share a little about the children. The kids are so well taken care of at the Lifesong home with their emotional, spiritual and physical needs. We praise God for the funds that have been coming to support Lifesong for some 30 plus years and need to pray hard for the next group of sponsors that come along side to be lifeline partners for the Lifesong India Program. Lifeline partners come along side monthly to take a little sacrifice from their lives to make a big impact in the lives of these kids in India. I encourage you as you read this blog to reach out to our family if you feel led to come along side Lifesong India.
Our missionaries and Bob and Siromani Stoll are in their late 80’s and have fervently given their lives to the program for 37 years. We are not only looking to continue to fund the program from families like yourselves, but also to have a sustainable model that works in India to self-fund the orphanages and children.
My aunt in India was looking at our pictures online and said that the girls and boys look so well taken care-of. That is the heart of Lifesong to provide quality care that can be sustained for years to come. The kids are not only well taken care of but they help them get into college and job-placement to secure their economic future.
Thank you for your prayers and love for our family while we were on this trip. We are in Dubai now and resting. Below are our last two blog updates from the trip. We had a fun ride in Mumbai through the airport where we got to see the slums of bombay (as pictured in many movies) and also got to experience the Muslim pilgrimage to mecca in the long lines in security. Interesting day for all of us.
We have had an incredible journey. I have one of the most amazing daughters. She has been such a trooper on this trip and God is going to use her for his purposes in an amazing way someday. It was such a blessing to watch my 10 year old have no barriers from the moment she walked into the orphanage. Her name “Neha” means friendship and it really showed on this trip. She is the better half of Kelvin and myself. I am so thankful for God giving us this opportunity together.
Neha’s Epilogue…This was my first trip to India and I was very excited. We were staying at Jyothi Nivas children’s home for 5 days. Five days was not enough time to get to know every girl very well. Five days, however, was just enough time to make friends with a few girls. Although I only had five days, I made tightly packed friendships. When I left the girls and I were sad to part. There were lots of hugs and kisses and the words “Happy Journey” echoed through the crowd. Some of the girls made a nice drawing that said “Jesus Loves your Family.” Although that’s what it said on the outside, on the inside it spelled “My friend.” I knew that in my heart. I have decided to keep in touch with my friends by e-mail, so we can remember each other. I am so glad that I came to India and that my first trip was with the girls in the orphanage
Neha's friend in the same grade as her. Beautiful little girl.
Each kid has one trunk to fit all of their stuff in. They have two changes of clothing and their uniform. They often share each others cloths to get a little variety. What is amazing is that they all look so put together in the morning with ribbons in their hair, braided and combed well.
Neha and her friends saying goodbye...