Final Day/The Goodbye’s have begun

Our time here has come to an end and it seems like all we are doing is saying goodbye.  Last night we had our final meal with the team we were working with and the guys have become apart of our lives. Charles…I don’t even know how to explain Charles. He loves God with all his heart, leads Worship for the children and the youth and is just simply amazing.  He is the one that I personally connected with. It seemed like any time we got together, we did not laughing the talking.

Then there is Deepak. Deepak is 19 and works with this ministry and has helped all of us understand more and fit it. If we got confused, Deepak would give us a look to and through facial expressions, let us know what to do.  Then there is Bennie Franklin (yes I said Bennie Franklin), and so many other that we will miss deeply.  Yesterday, Charles and Deepak made a homeade cake for us. and last night we ate our final dinner with them.  It was very difficult for all of us to drive off watching them wave goodbye and knowing we would not see them again unit…”God knows when”.  They have made a huge huge impact on our lives.

 

It is 7:30 a.m. and all of us our outside playing and saying goodbye to the children from the home.  I have to keep coming inside to stop my tears from falling so that I don’t make them sad.  The one regret we all have, is not having enough time to spend with these children.

We will be packed and leaving at 9:00 a.m. so please pray for the girls. Last night was difficult for them, and today will be much harder.

Thank you for all your love, support and prayers.

Laurie

Advertisements

Day ?????

Confession time:

I am completely lost of what day and time it is here.  I think because I LIVE by my google calendar day by day, that when I can’t use it on my phone, I am lost.

Either way, I know that today is our last full day here at the Children’s Home. So I will make this short and sweet…please pray, pray, pray, pray, pray and pray some more for the girls and I. Not to sound selfish, but it is going to be heart breaking for us to leave. All of us know that we cannot help or save every child or person we come into contact with, but it is still difficult to compartmentalize our emotions.

There is ONE little boy that I have attached to (or better yet, he has attached to me) and each time I am out in the play area, he is by my side playing, reading and loving on my.  Yesterday evening, as I was trying to hold in my tears because I was realizing we only have one more day with each other) I began to cry.  He grabbed my face and said Auntie Laurie, no sad, no sad…and began to wipe my tears away with his little hands and cup my face and repeat “Don’t cry Auntie’ everything will be ok”. And as he wiped my tears away, I imaged JESUS…and reach time he has done that for me.

Laurie

From Zoe

Being in India so far has been so incredible. All the different sights, sounds, smells, and tastes have been so awesome to experience. I love learning the differences in our cultures and observing these beautiful people.

I’m not going to lie, this week has been exhausting. Getting adjusted to the time here, waking up early, going to bed late… But I would not change anything. The driving is insane. I’m pretty positive the amount of dirt bikes probably exceed the population. The other day I saw a man driving a dirt bike with a small child asleep in front of him. Talk about talent. The food here is very spicy, and some of us have been struggling with it. You can catch a few of us sneaking goldfish and beef jerky when no one is watching. We are pretty spoiled where we are staying, air conditioning, hot water, and wonderful hospitality.

All the little details aside, I want to tell you all about some things that have really impacted me. One of the first days we were here we went to a meeting with some leaders from this community. Their worship took me completely off-guard. Imagine seeing a bunch of grown men doing the hokey pokey and other VBS-like songs and praising God with all their hearts. Their humility and passion for God was amazing. It  gave me such a new perspective. The girls on this team have also impacted me in such an amazing way. I started out on this trip with them, already friends with all of them, but India has brought us all so close to one another. It makes me so proud to see each of them growing spiritually and in maturity. Seeing Allie singing to a group of little kids who adore her, seeing Lexi playing and dancing with the kids, seeing Amber learning how to tell them her favorite color in their language, seeing Taylor make the silliest faces to make them all laugh… It’s little things like that that make me so proud to be with them here.

I came into this trip expecting to hang out with some awesome kids. I expected to love on them and have some great times, and be very sad to have such a short time with them. But I NEVER expected them to break my heart like they have. The children here at the home are beautiful. They love to play rock-paper-scissors, have thumb wars, sing songs, and teach me how to speak their language. They have beautiful smiles and beautiful hearts. Listening to them sing praises to Jesus and laugh with joy when they have nothing breaks me into a million pieces. One little girl in particular named Deepika has captured my heart. She is five years old and is the size of a three year old. She speaks little English, but has the biggest smile, and loves to climb all over the place. I will be singing with one child and I’ll catch her trying to climb up on my shoulders. They all wanted us to give them “pet names” and hers was undoubtedly “monkey”. Tonight we were outside, and one girl named Danna was teaching me how to write the alphabet in Tamil. A group of the children brought “monkey” over to me and told me that she was asking for me. She was crying her eyes out. As I held her as she bawled her eyes out, my heart was breaking. As I held her and comforted her, I couldn’t help but think of how blessed I was to have people to hold me when I needed it. She didn’t have anyone to do that. How unfair is that? A little boy who lives with her here at the home came over to ask her what was wrong. He offered her his chocolate to make her feel better. At that point, I broke down. This little boy had nothing. He had no family, he lived in an orphanage, and he probably didn’t get candy very often. And he gave it to her, just so she could feel better. As soon as I got inside tonight, I cried my eyes out. These children are so incredible, and I am so very blessed to be here with them. I am so grateful that they have the people at the home sharing the love of Jesus with them, and giving them hope.

I am so sad to be leaving in a couple days, but I do miss all of you very much! Keep us in your prayers and thank you all for your support!

WOW WOW WOW Day 4/5

WOW, WOW, WOW!!

First off I would like to apologize for not posting for the past couple of days. Everyone is well and having an awesome time, but our days have been very long and when we return back to the Compound it is very late and the internet is not connected after 10:00 p.m.
 
The team has been so busy going from 3 village churches to an all girls hostile over the past 2 days.  Each time the girls have done amazing!!! You would not believe what a transformation they have made in sharing their testimony’s in public. From the first time (where we had tears, shaky hands and a couple that needed my help to finish) to last night where they each got through their story without missing a beat!  Praise GOD!!!
 
These 5 ladies thought they were signing up to go to a children’s home and play with the kids all day long, but this trip has turned into…how can I describe it so you can understand….a 5 Day CIY MOVE conference where we were the worship band, the drama team, the entertainment (skits) and speakers.   Do to a fail on my part (not realizing how much of a commitment we had with this group) these women has stepped put to the plate and SHINED here in India!
 
The team that we are working with when we leave the compound are great. The girls have really gotten to know then and have enjoyed teaming up with them to do Kingdom Work!
 
AND two nights ago, we went out to dinner with Malliga and the restaurant had some american food. (To be honest, we are all struggling a little with the food, but are trying to be polite and eat what we can.)  Bill talked Malliga into ordering one (small) plate of french fries and they were AMAZING!!!! If you could picture 5 teenage american girls DESTROYING a small fry from McDonalds within seconds…welll that’s what they did.  It was so fun to watch.
Even thought we have been running from village to village working sometimes 10 to 12 hours a day, EVERY time we come back to the children’s home (No matter how exhausted they may be) they are outside every change they can get play with the children!! They have learned their names, their favorite colors, played 100’s of matches of thumb wars and have sung worship song after worship song to them.  Not once has one of YOUR GIRLS whined and complained.  I have to say that HOME (Here at the compound) around the children is where their hearts truly are.  
 
We only have 2 days left but really just 1 because tomorrow we leave at 12:00 p.m. to head to the Chennai. We will be doing some shopping and then heading to the airport at about 9:00 p.m. We are all so sad that we will not have more time with the children.
 
Because we will be here most of the day (We still have one more commitment with the team we are working with tonight) I will make sure I post lost of pictures on Facebook so that you can see what we have been up to for the past 2 days.
 
Please keep us in your prayers. We love and miss you all.
Laurie
 
 

Day 3

Good Morning Everyone!

Sorry I did not post again yesterday, but we did not return home until well past 1:30 a.m. 

Our day yesterday started with spending some much needed time with the children at our home.  Each of us sat in classes, played with them on the play ground, shook many hands, gave lots of hugs and just loved them.  I have to say, this is the hardest part for a couple of us.  Each one of the children deserve a mother and father, a home of their own and as much love as that can be lavished upon them. We sleep in two beautiful rooms that are upstairs in the house, while they sleep on a concert floor with just a small mat as bedding.  Every time the girls walk outside, they are surrounded by these children and the love that they are showing them, brings tears to my eyes. (I have spent the past 3 nights crying myself to sleep). To watch Lexi get up early every morning to go out and sit with them, or Alli and Zoe huddled together with a group of them all laughing is such a wonderful site.  Taylor can not stay away from them. She spent most of the morning watching them do their “PE” classes and Amber, well, lets just say she is where GOD called her to be in ministry, right in the middle of children.

After lunch, we had our own little adventure and it was a blast!!! Bill rented rickshaws  and we were driven around the city, taking in all the sites. We visited a Hospital (that was build by a christian missionary) and went to the Fort area, where once the Kings and Queens lived before they were overtaken by Great Britain.  While at the fort, we all got to ride in a horse carriage and the girls were so excited.  Lexi and Zoe even goto to drive for a little while.  But, nothing compared to when those ladies notices that the area was full of Monkeys!!!!  Adult and babies alike and so many of them. They must have stood there and took pictures for 20 minutes.  (Malliga promised to find the an Elephant to see before we leave!) During our trip we met up with the gentlemen that we are partnering in ministry with and decided to go to a wonderful pastry store…but the best part of MY DAY (up till then) was see Bill Mack get on the back of a Motorcycle while Charles drove him to the shop. BILL IS HUGE and to see him hanging on that bike while they navigated through the insane traffic was priceless.  After filling our faces with cake (I had a Mount Dew Praise the Lord), we went off shopping. They bought gifts for other, necklaces for themselves, and had a great time trying to communicate with the store workers.  

We returned back to the house at around 6:30 pm and changed and ate dinner because we were heading to a village church to lead worship, do a skit, and preach.

When we first all got into the van (8:30 pm) I have to admit we were exhausted.  I had been fighting with my message all day and the girls were working on their skits, but as we began to drive…it was very difficult to watch.  We were attending a Village Church, which meant it was at least one hour away and at times we were driving on roads that were just dirt, filled with holes and just very difficult to get through. I most moving part of the evening for me was Taylor. Taylor has such a huge heart (if you don’t know her very well) and I was sitting next to her in the back of the van and she had her head down on her knees.  I asked if she was not feeling well and she shook her head and said no. But then she looked up at me with tears in her eyes and said, “How do they get here every day? It’s such a difficult walk and some of the are so old”  That was it for me guys! I my heart began to break for these people as well.  

We arrived at around 9:30 p.m. to BEGIN our night of Prayer, Worship and the Word, just like the children at the school, just like the people at the leaders meeting training day, we were met out side with a cookie and tea and everyone that was already in the church, were waiting patiently (9:30 p.m.) for us to finish.  What hospitality!

Once we enter this small village church, we were escorted on stage and they has seats waiting for us. They welcomed us and again, each of us were given beautiful flowers and honored.  

The congregation consisted of small children (a baby under 1 year old was there) teens, and women and men of all ages.  And each one of them were there to Worship and CRY out to GOD at 9:30 p.m. on a Friday night! The dedication they have to GOD is wonderful. They work hard all day, yet would not miss come late in the evening, to worship!

Amber and Zoe is an incredible job on their skit. They are 2 talented girls!! And all 5 of them lead them in 2 songs and they all seems to enjoy it.

I preached (which was definitely out of my comfort zone).  I’m not sure how it went. The only thing Malliga said when we got in the car was “nice short message Laurie” lol. So, I’m not thinking it was one of my better ones. Sad thing is, I have to preach again this morning and twice tomorrow and one more time on Monday.  So, Please Please Please pray for me! The last thing I want to do is be a distraction or a source of confusion. 

Well, the service did not end until 1:30 a.m.!!!! Crazy huh? We said goodbye to our new friends and thanked them for staying up so late to allow us to come and they said…Please stay another 30 minutes!!!!! Needless to say, we had to decline so  we all packed back into our van and to head back to hour home.  Once again, I find our beautiful, caring and loving Taylor with her head on her knees as I sat beside her, and all I could do what hug her.  It is so difficult for us to witness people who are living in such poverty.  The only reaction that any of us should have when we encounter hurting people, is Taylor’s reaction. It should break our hearts to the point of tears. It should make us empathize and feel their pain. And all that should force us to act on their behalf. 

Please pray pray pray pray pray pray pray pray and then pray so more for us.  We are in back at it again today because there is a youth rally here at the compound from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. That means another long day, with very little sleep. Pray for the girls that they can continue in the difficult schedule. That we will remain focused on our purpose here, to love people and that GOD will give us the strength to accomplish all these things to bring HONOR AND GLORY TO HIM!

Laurie

Day 2 Retreat

Sorry for not posting last night.  By the time we got back from our 6 hour conference, we were pretty tired.

I really don’t know where to start because everything about yesterday was so awesome.  We traveled about 1 hour away from the compound to the retreat center where they were holding the event and let me tell you, our journey there was insane!  We drove through town in our van then headed up into  the mountains. The roads are very narrow and it seemed like we drove forever, circling around and around.  It was simply beautiful, but at the same time it made a lot of us dizzy.  By the time we reached the top of the mountain, we had  traveled through a village that was poverty stricken and it was heart breaking.  Seeing these people, their homes and their lack of things that we think our “basics” to our existence in the USA was difficult to experience.  

The conference was incredible.  All of the girls were nervous about sharing their testimony, but each one of the rose to the occasion and did a fabulous job.  The team that was attending the conference were 3 beautiful women who served in their village as children’s ministers and youth minister, and several men that came were teams of prayer warriors and men who traveled from church to church, village to village doing everything from youth camps, to youth conferences.  We were all inspired by the Kingdom Work they are doing each and every day here in India! Bill did a fantastic job preaching also.  GOD’S presence was defiantly with us through our long day.  These people loved to worship, play games and just be silly. It was nice to see 15-30 year olds being silly.  I’m sure the girls will have crazy stories to tell you about the Banana Song. There is a man on the team called Charles and if I could, I would move him to Charlottesville and have him join us in the Student Movement!!!  He is hilarious!

Once we arrived home, everyone was extremely exhausted and some were not feeling well, but we all determined that it was a combination of jet lag, lack of sleep and just adjusting to the food.  So, all of us went to bed early, but not before the girls received one (of two) outfits that Malliga had made for them.  She had a tailor come and measure each of us and he made the outfits by hand. I wish you all could have seen the girls response!  They were so excited and came running up stairs to put them on and then had a fashion show!!

Make sure you are looking online for the pictures I post.  And please keep me in your prayers.  Tonight we are attending a prayer service and I will be preaching the word.

Laurie

Beginning of Day 2

GOOD MORNING Everyone!

What a beautiful day it is in India.  Each one of our team members got a good night sleep (My apologies it Amber and Lexi who had to hear me snore all night).  We woke up to the sound of children running and playing outside with such sweet smiles on their faces. It’s just incredible that we are staying at a place that we can walk out our front door and receive hugs, handshakes and Hello’s from the beautiful little ones.

Needless to say, every free moments our girls get I can find them out and about the compound getting beat in “thumb wars”.

We had a wonderful breakfast after spending time outside and them began our preparation for the long day ahead of us. We will be participating in a “leader’s meeting” of the young adults today. (from 10 a.m. – 4:00 pm.)  Can you image the moaning  and complaining we would do if asked to spend 6 hours being discipled and taught on how to multiply and make more Kingdom Workers!!! Let along travel hours to get to the meeting place.

We will be doing worship, a skit, giving our testimony’s and Bill will be preaching!

I have to say, I have been on the verge of tears all morning watching these 5 ladies prepare. They have recited their testimony’s to each, journaled (constantly), practices our worship set several times and prayed for each other.  All of this before 9:30 a.m. To witness them facing their fears and conquering them with GOD’S power is inspiring. These moments are why I am a youth pastor.

Pray constantly today for us! I will update again once we return home

Laurie

Galatians 5:6  “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.”

Travel/Day 1

Hello Everyone!

Well we arrived  at 12:00 a.m. this morning after 3 flights and 23 hours in the air. I have to say, our team did amazing. You don’t realize how hard it can be going from one flight to the other and adjusting to a new time zone, but these ladies are tough cookies! After going through customs and getting our luggage we boarded a bus and traveled 2 1/2 hours back to the school.  I have to say, I thought China had crazy drivers, but India is just as insane. Thank goodness it was dark out lol.

I think the most touching moment of our journey to get here was when we arrived at the school, all the sleepy children were waiting outside for us. It was 4:00 a.m. in the morning for these babies, and they were so excited to greet us.  It brought tears to my eyes.  

The rooms we are staying in are wonderful. The A/C is cooler then the one in my house.  We are 3 to a room and all of us took an India shower, and I have to say…this was our first time using a bucket, but we are squeaky clean. 

We all decided to try and get a little sleep, but Malliga wanted us to be up at 8:30 a.m. to see the kids. Little did we know, that we came outside to a parade. We’re talking drums, flowers, trumpets and garland/gold necklaces.  They preformed a ceremony that was mind blowing. If you can picture all of The 7 on a stage, with our necklaces and the children sang songs, preformed math, reading and bible verses.  They were so adorable, but to be honest, it wasn’t us who needed to be honored, it was them. These children are incredible. 

We have had two amazing meals and now we are resting until it is time to ride along with the children on the bus to drop off the ones the come each day to school.

Please continue to pray for us.  We are tired, but so humbled to be here. Tomorrow we will be speaking to a group of 15-30 year olds who are ministry leaders. Pray that we will get good rest, that GOD will give us all the words to speak tomorrow to impact and further is Kingdom.

Laurie