Saturday, January 31, 2009

The First Meetings!

Sunday, January 3oth--We have had 2 meetings already! The "road" to Narayanagudem, the village where we are holding the meetings, is a very loose term. Think the worst road you've ever travelled! Think an hour's worth of continuous potholes, and washboard made more interesting by the constant swerving to avoid 40,000 pound trucks, autocabs, bull carts, goats, pigs, cattle, water buffalo, motorcycles, and pedestrians, and a challenging short stretch of narrow dirt road that has a 10 foot drop-off into a huge canal on one side, and an 8 foot drop into a ditch on the other! Last night on the way home, we were stopped on a bridge under construction where 2 huge trucks going the opposite direction were in the middle where neither could pass, and neither wanted to back up! Finally one gave in!
Our meeting site is next to the church the Whiting, Maine congregation built 3 years ago! It was wonderful to see many of our village friends from our meetings in 2005, and to see how they have grown in the Lord! We were welcomed with the customary garlands of jasmine and marigolds. So far Phil and Brenda have preached, Krista and Judy have told the children's story, and Nancy and Brian the Health Talk. A crowd of about 200 were there the 2nd night. The kids are just as enthusiastic and full of life as usual. It is great to sing and pray with them. Keep praying more and more will come. Our pastors and Bible workers are doing a good job.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The New School!

Thursday, January 29th--I have to tell you about the wonderful new school that is being built in our area because of the churches that have been developed in the Miryalguda area. Our team from Northern New England built 10 in 2005, thanks to the generosity of many of you. A wealthy SDA Korean man donated $100,000 for the land for a school that was the vision of Pastor Bob Robinson and the Conference President here, Pastor P.J. It is great to have churches and Bible workers in the villages, but it is very important to have a place where the children can grow up in a Christian educational system. With further donations the building of the school began in October of 2007. It is amazing to see the progress already,and even though it is unfinished, classes began for lower and upper Kindergarden, and grades 1-4 this year with 6 teachers! They meet in the ist floor of the 3 story educational building-- the 2nd story is under construction now. The cafeteria/ girls' dorm is almost finished, and a 4-plex to house faculty is also under construction. The principal is a Godly, humble man we have met before. You should see the kids sing and pray, and they are so well behaved! They are living in several of the classrooms, and are sleeping on a concrete floor! We took lots of pictures (maybe I can learn how to add photos to the blog next year!) Brian helped the boys put new playground equipment in place! We brought 2 huge stalks of bananas (180 bananas to a stalk!), and gave each of the children a toothbrush, and plan to give Beanie Babies and Matchbox cars in later visits. They are learning English and are eager to test it out on us! We are committed to helping out in this wonderful endeavor, to see the school grow and prosper. If anyone is interested in sponsoring a child from one of our 5 villages, please let is know, and we will give you the details. It would be a great blessing to them- this is an opportunity most would never get.

We Have Arrived!

Hello to family and friends! It is Wednesday, January 28th, and we are getting settled in our rooms in Miryalguda, Andhra Pradesh, and are mostly over jet lag. We are in the same hotel and town as 2005, and not a lot has changed! The memories are coming back--only cold showers--if you want hot water, it's the bucket bath; frequent power outages; the pigs rooting in the garbage across the street; the little Ganesh (elephant god) shrine in the hotel lobby; not a lot of choices of places to eat (where we won't get sick!); lots of dust; we are a spectacle where ever we go--very few Americans in this town! There are blessings, though--haven't seen a cockroach yet; the hotel is relatively clean; we have air conditioning in our rooms (sometimes); and the hotel managers are very cordial.
The most exciting thing is that we have the 2 pastors we requested that we have worked with before, and love very much! We are going to be in the same 5 villages as 2005, so will see a lot of old friends, and are told there are many studying with the Bible workers. We begin our meetings tomorrow night, so please pray for us that God can use us to rightly represent Him and show His love.