Monday, September 30, 2013

A Visit to an Indian Village

The last couple of days have been busy and productive. On Saturday, we served lunch to a colony of lepers. IGL serves a banquet lunch to these lepers once a month with all the elements similar to a wedding lunch -- rice, multiple curries, multiple side dishes, all on a banana leaf. Banana leaf plates are used for special occasions, so IGL reinforces that the lepers we served are guests and are worthy of the best as God's children. This is how one of our team members describes her experience: "One of my jobs was to put a banana leaf 'plate' on the ground in front of each person. I am SO bad at banana leaves! They curl up, stick together and there is a protocol as to how they are placed. The lepers, many without fingers, we're helping me position their leaf. What a fiasco!" Another team member mentioned that she went into the experience unsure of what to expect and wondering if it was going to come across to the lepers as if we are gawking at them or something like that. Instead, we had a lot of fun with them. They laughed with us as they taught us how to serve them at this feast.

After they finished lunch, we (along with IGL) gave some of them sandals, a bag of rice and a little money.

Yesterday, we went to church in the village that our church in Mason, Ohio sponsors as part of IGL's adopt-a-village program. After the service we drove to see a sewing center (6 sewing machines in maybe an 8x20 room with two small windows), a tutoring center where after-school help is provided to children, and we were invited to help commission a new computer training center (again, a very small room with four new computers and a printer). It was very special for us to meet the pastor, his family, the congregation, and some of the villagers that Hope Church has been supporting for a few years. They also enjoyed meeting people from their sister church in the US.

We had a chance to debrief with one of the IGL directors today about our trip so far. She gave us further insight into IGL's approach to the adopt-a-village program. The church is called a "life center" and is open all week to provide for various community needs. For example, any medical camps that are conducted are done at the church, so people of all religions and castes in the village become familiar with the building and can start building relationships with the people connected to the building. The sewing centers provide 6-month courses to become certified in making traditional Indian clothing. Once they are certified, the Tamil Nadu state government gives them a free sewing machine. Even after people are certified, they can come to the center to have questions answered and to continue building relationships. Our IGL host talked about how each class over the 6 months begins and ends with prayer. The students really get to know one another and it becomes a place of sharing as the teacher asks for prayer requests. We have been seeing miracles on this trip, so we know God is answering these prayers in a way that is visible to those praying and the villagers. We continue to pray that God will strengthen the faith of those in this village and continue to show Himself in miraculous ways. 

Today was a traveling day -- we drove about 5 hours to Bengaluru in the state of Karnataka. We fly out of here tomorrow morning to Delhi to meet up with our new hosts. Good bye, Tamil Nadu! We will miss you!

1 comment:

  1. I am truly amazed by your posts and activities. Most of us Americans are not even aware that leper colonies still exist much less people so willing to do God's work. The photos are beautiful and convey the contrasts of the country. You are all in my prayers.