It was a sad farewell at Vijiyawada airport yesterday. Earlier in the day we sat together and talked about the future. This has been a helpful and informative visit. Brad, Jan, and Ken have made a wonderful contribution bringing lots of fun and a great attitude with them. There have been no complaints at hard beds and cold showers… same food every day, and long uncomfortable journeys over bumpy roads. Instead they’ve been enthusiastically involved with the children, considering ideas about the future and sharing testimonies – you will hear from them on our return the impact it’s made.
The children are happy and very much a large family, secure in their relationships and strongly nurtured and supported by Sanjeeva and the extended family. There is discipline and lots of room for play but the resources are extremely limited. While it’s encouraging to make these visits the long-term benefit to the children is minimal if it does not lead to a more radical engagement.
I saw at the pastor’s conference just how effectively Sanjeeva and his sons have networked with these pastors scattered over many villages. They’ve earned respect and it is no mean feat to gather over three hundred men to an event.
Consequently in our discussion it was obvious that the acquisition of land is the next crucial step. I believe we should look and pray for 5 acres within a radius of 20 kilometers from Kotipali village. That would enable land to be farmed for sustenance and income and provide the possibility for building an orphanage facility. We also discussed the need and potential of developing a training center for pastors. Teaching ESL courses would be a great asset to the children and others so that’s worth exploring.
We agreed that we should dream big and begin to pray for God to release the resources. Rau prayed a strong prayer of faith and as we embraced afterwards Sanjeeva held me for a long time and wept. They have worked so hard over the past seven years and it’s all hand to mouth – no holidays, no benefits, no time off, no security…. a day at a time trusting in Jesus. This is the room where he and Esther live…… with Sanjeeva standing proud… there are few more humbling sights I have ever witnessed in my life.
So that’s what we are coming back with – a vision and a declaration…. 5 acres, the resources to be released, contacts to be made with people who know the property market in India, and direction and wisdom for the next tangible step forward.
We believe God has opened a door for us to make a difference here with this particular family and in the lives of these children. It’s easy to find reasons to avoid the challenge or be overwhelmed by the universal need… but I take hold of the belief that we do what we can with where we have an opportunity. I came across a word of encouragement from Bill Johnson about praying in faith being a process during which God builds character as we journey. We ask for an oak tree and he gives us an acorn…. if we plant and nurture the acorn with persistence and faithfulness the tree will grow….. sometimes we give up if the oak tree isn’t delivered fully formed.
Here are the children… when we see their faces and hear their voices they are no longer abstract concepts and statistics… they are alive with personality and we risk building emotional ties that change us forever….. just as it does when we receive our own children into the world. Of course their are challenges, not every one will work out, but it’s God’s heart that we care and serve, and love, and journey into the unknown with him and them.
Brad asked the children to introduce themselves…. 🙂
And here they are again….
The fields are full of men and women harvesting the rice and building huge haystacks afterwards…. reminds of scenes from Von Gogh paintings and could be 200 years ago….. Their bodies are tired and their backs ache….