Treesamma Joseph,
10th Grade class

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XMy name is Treesamma Joseph. Since moving from another state, Kerala, I have 26 years of teaching experience. It’s my pleasure to say that I have been working at Riverside school for the last 3 years. My unquenchable ambition for helping children create their future has motivated me to be a teacher. I joined Riverside school because it is a Missionary institution and I can feel God’s presence here. However, physically I am often weak. Please pray for my health, so that I can continue teaching my precious 10th grade students. I get very excited to see the 20 of them graduate this year. I did not get married, but love my wonderful nieces and nephews and have a passion for children.

Read My Blog Here:

Becoming A Man Of Character

According to his teachers, Unmesh used to be a troublemaker in the classroom. They describe him as “rough” and difficult to handle. Now, Ms. Indira says that she has noticed a change in character. Unmesh says that his goal is to get good grades, graduate, and obtain a...

A Caring Heart

    For a lot of tenth graders, graduation and the excitement of college is the focus, but for Mounisha, the basic needs of her family are all she can think about. She wants to be a doctor and serve people, but she isn't sure if she can do it with all her...

A Lifetime at Riverside

       Looking from the outside, J. Nishi of 10th class looks like she has a structured life. Living on campus at the hostel since she was a 4-year-old in lower Kindergarten, in many ways Riverside is all she knows. However, there is a dark shadow that weighs down on...

Beloved Children of God

In India, tenth grade is the last year of studies before students move on to colleges away from home, so the pressure on my students is very extreme. The exams taken at the end of the year determine which school they can matriculate to and are taken very seriously. We...

2018 Riverside Teacher’s Conference

Matt Sanders

On June 7th – 9th we conducted our 7th annual three-day teacher training conference for the teachers at Riverside School. Each year, this conference is held just before the start of the new school year to inspire them in their own walk with the Lord, to help build their unity as a teaching team, and to assist them to be more effective as teachers and disciplers in the classroom.

Our dual themes this year were, “Seek First the Kingdom of God”, and “Love God, Love People”. Pastors Gerry and Kay, Carly and Annela, Karissa, and I took turns presenting various lectures, discussions, and activities centered around these themes. The teachers are eager learners – this is the only training they receive all year long, and they participate enthusiastically in the conference.

It has been wonderful to see the Lord at work at Riverside school and particularly in this teaching staff. In any Christian school, the teachers are the ones that have the opportunity to bring the reality of Christ into the classroom, and thus impact the students for eternity through their own faith, words, and actions. I’m excited that the current teachers at Riverside school comprise the strongest staff we have ever had! We have several older teachers who are the “pillars” of faith, and many new, younger teachers who love the Lord, and are energetic and enthusiastic about teaching.

As the teaching staff has grown in spiritual strength, the fruit has been obvious. The school has grown from only 238 students in 2011, to over 600 students today. During the three weeks we were there, we had over 100 new admissions! Our principal and headmaster, Kishore, tells me that he and the school enjoy great respect and an excellent reputation in the community. A few years ago, several large corporations set up competing schools nearby, with large budgets and high-tech, digital classrooms. They have drawn away many students from other private schools, but ours is the only one which has continued to grow!

One of our teachers, Smiley, is a personal example of our academic and spiritual strength. As a Riverside student for 12 years, Smiley dreamed of becoming a teacher at her own school. Last year, she completed her Bachelors degree in technology, and returned to teach with us. We are so thrilled to have her, along with a growing number of committed, well-trained young teachers.

The Hard Realities of Life in India

On the third and final day of our Pastor’s Conference, we noticed that two Pastors, father and son, were missing. About an hour into the day we received word that both Pastors were responding to a tragic accident involving two female members of their church.
As the story came to light we were shocked to here that earlier that morning, a 52 year old mother and her 22 year old daughter-in-law were working outside when they came into contact with a live electrical wire and were both electrocuted, killing both women instantly.

 

Feeling deeply for the grieving family members of these two women, my wife and I decided to attempt to call on the family the morning after this tragedy. With the help of Pastor Shalem and his gift as a translator, we went to the family home and were welcomed into their midst. We sought to bring the presence  and comfort of Jesus Christ to this hurting family. Sharing God’s Word, expressing our sympathy, offering prayers for comfort, peace, hope and healing, was greatly appreciated and graciously received by the family.

Before we said good-bye we asked the family that when we returned to Mori one year from now, would it be possible for us to come and visit them to see how they are doing so that we could continue to build a relationship now that we have grieved together. Without hesitation they said yes, please come.

Life can be hard. Especially in India. It is because of this reality that Hope for People is committed to continue to bring teams of caring believers who simply want to bring Jesus Christ into the lives of people who our Father in Heaven loves. My wife and I are blessed to be able to be a part of such a caring and committed group of Christ-Followers.

Below are photos from our visits to some of the local pastors’ churches and homes. Amidst great sorrow, we experienced joy to fellowship and deepen our relationships with these communities.

Pastors and Wives Conference 2018: A Growing Partnership

Three years ago Pastors Gerry and Kay Wilson, of Arcadia Friends Community Church, in Arcadia, California, came to Riverside School in Mori, India to begin a special partnership with the local Indian Pastors and their wives. The vision they were given by Matt Sanders, Hope for People Board Chairman and Summer Team Leader,  and Solomon Darwin, President of Hope for People and Project India,  was to commit to five years of ministry, coming once a year to develop and grow a viable and engaging Pastor’s Training Conference.  Now having just completed year four, Pastors Gerry and Kay are celebrating the amazing growth and partnership they have been witnessing.

This year there were 90 Pastors and wives that spent three days together, thinking about ‘The Power of Prayer’ and the ‘Power of Truth’. On the final day an Indian Pastoral couple, Andrew and Sarah, were called upon to report their sense of what transpired in both the Pastors and Wives conference. Their heartfelt observations, personal lessons learned, and grasp of the teaching received was an inspiring and encouraging testimony that God is on the move in Mori among the Pastors and wives serving His Kingdom.

Every Conference since 2015 has seen growth in numbers, in leadership among the Indian Pastors, and in relationships with Pastors Gerry and Kay that are being nurtured long distance between conferences, and with each other locally throughout the year. One special blessing that is bearing fruit is the Indian Pastors great support of Riverside School that gets stronger every year as they have  seen their own involvement and partnership in the Conferences with Pastors Gerry and Kay grow deeper.

As this years Conference came to a close, the special partnership between Pastors Gerry and Kay and all of the Indian Pastors and Wives was celebrated in song, thanksgiving, gift giving, and prayers of blessings and prayers of commitment to live in ‘The Power of Prayer’ and ‘The Power of Truth’ in order to be a light and witness for Jesus Christ in Mori, India. Even in all of the hugs and good-byes, there was a sense of anticipation and expectation to come together a year from now in 2019, so that everyone might continue growing in this unique partnership that Christ has formed, all for the Glory of our Great God and King!

Medical Camp Update

On Monday, we provided medical care to a rural village, Chintalamori. The camp was located at a Christian Church and we provided care to approximately 70 patients. The Lord was evident in this camp through the patients we saw. It was incredible to see the joy of the patients as we assessed them, prayed for them and provided medications. One patient was a middle-aged woman who was deaf and non-verbal, and communicated with signs and facial expressions. Despite her limitations in communications, we were still able to effectively provide care and share the gospel. She was beaming with gratitude when we provided her with a brand new Bible.

In the afternoon we returned to Riverside School and provided a second medical camp for the wonderful staff. The campus staff works very hard despite any physical ailments. It was a blessing to serve the ones who are hosting us and taking care of us daily. Although this was a long day, we are truly blessed to have the opportunity to serve the people of India.

On Tuesday, we had the unique opportunity to visit KIMS Hospital and attend a political event for the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh. We were able to tour the hospital and see their brand new catheter lab. It was amazing to see contrast between being out in the village and being in the hospital. After our tour we were provided with a warm welcome, VIP passes and VERY spicy food.

My team and I have been beyond blessed through this experience and are excited for what the week holds as we continue our medical camps.

Equipping and Serving

“I will bless the Lord who guides me; even at night my heart instructs me. I will not be shaken, for He is right beside me.” 
Medical Team. As we loaded the bus with medical supplies, vitamins and protein powder, we were equipped with the reminder that “the Lord is right beside us.” We left Riverside School around 9am and arrived at our medical camp site soon after.  We had the privelage of working with skilled physicians as well as local nurses and nursing students.
Today, we saw a total of 61 patients. Although our patient load was small, the impact was huge because today, for the first time, we were able to give out Bibles translated in Telugu.  Bibles were only given to those who asked, or to those whom upon being asked if they wanted a Bible replied “Yes”.
Although we were met with some opposition regarding giving out Bibles, there was such gratitude and thankfulness by those who received them. Many patients allowed us to pray for them and even though they did not understand exactly what we were praying, they showed a lot of gratitude and were appreciative.
What an honor and a privilege to be able to not only provide our patients with medical care but also, and more importantly, the Word of God in their own language. Please continue to pray for more opportunities to share the love of Jesus Christ as we provide medical care to those we serve.

Teacher Training. This year, the Lord called us and challenged us to try something new. For the past few years, we have been conducting Vacation Bible School for children in local villages with the intent of spreading the gospel to youth. The kids look forward to the exciting, action-packed day every year! Unfortunately, we can only provide this once in a year. We want the youth of this community to have the same joy and excitement when they come to Sunday School every week.

Rather than conducting a week long program for children, we chose to conduct a training for 25 Sunday School teachers from surrounding church communities. We equipped them with knowledge of the foundations of faith, strategies for teaching, and tools to help them develop their personal relationship with the Lord.

The 3-day training was highly successful for our first time. The teachers left feeling inspired and motivated to make the gospel come alive in their own churches. We look forward to seeing this program continue in the future

A Story of Healing and Hope

by Pastor Gerry Wilson

Two years ago tragedy struck with the loss of life. A woman who underwent surgery at the Hospital at Riverside  School died from an infection that was a direct result of the surgery. This middle-aged woman left behind a grieving husband, adult children, and a number of grandchildren. In addition, she also left behind a community of friends and neighbors that were angry and at one point up in arms towards the Doctor who performed the surgery and the Hospital.

Upon hearing of this tragedy, my congregation took up a love offering and commissioned my wife and I to deliver the gift, as an expression of the Love of Christ.  On the day that the Simpson University Medical Team held a camp on the very property of the family that suffered the loss of their loved one, I went along with my interpreter, Pastor Shalem. With his help I was able to present the Gospel to those in the village attending the medical camp, followed by a personal and intimate visit with the husband and two adult sons of the woman who died.

 

The woman’s family, who were not Christians, were utterly amazed, even dumb founded that I came to see them, bearing a sizable money gift, knowing I had nothing to do with their loss. I’ll always remember the precious time we shared crying and praying together, as I shared promises from God’s Word for healing and hope for their future. As I was saying good-bye that day, I promised that every time I returned to Mori I would come and visit.

Fast forward one year to June 2017 when my wife and I and Pastor Shalem took an auto out to see the husband and family. When we arrived the husband had tears in his eyes and one adult son, with his own tears, said to us, ‘last year when you promised to visit I thought you would forget about us.’ To which I said again, ‘I have returned as promised because of the Love of God through His Son Jesus Christ, and I plan to continue to return for as long as I come to India.’


Fast forward to today, 2018. Matt Sanders our Team Leader, Pastor Shalem, Jill Maclaren from our congregation and my wife and I went out into the village to visit the family. Once again they were amazed to see us, receiving us with joy and open arms. God continues to do a work of healing in the midst of their loss, as they see the Love of Christ lived out through some very simple acts of caring.

Jesus said to the weary and broken-hearted, ‘Come unto Me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.’ I have found that sometimes those that need to be comforted need someone to first bring Jesus to them. In my experience with this husband and family that lost their wife, mother and grandmother, I am seeing the Lord bring healing and hope to their broken hearts. For this I count it all joy and give thanks to the Lord that my church and my wife and I, along with Pastor Shalem, the Simpson University Medical Team and others, have been privileged to be a part of this transforming encounter that God has orchestrated, and is without a doubt not finished with yet. To God be the glory for the great things He has done and continues to do for this woman’s family!

Presence and Provision

by Senae Yoshihara, Simpson University
Today the team and I had the wonderful privilege of visiting the village of Thurupalem to set up for our first medical camp of the trip. I woke up that day knowing that the Lord had been faithful in providing everything for our trip down to the last detail. His favor kept pouring out on us even though it had only been a couple days. To give some examples of God’s provision for this trip, we had been given a whole bunch of extra medications the day before, and we also received news that we were able to get 100 Bibles that were translated in the language of Telegu (the native language of the area we were in). This was the first year the team was able to have access to the word of God in their language, and we are blessed to have the opportunity to give people access to it.
We packed up the bus with loads of medications and the legit, God orchestrated team comprised of different cultures. The bus ride in itself could only be described and compared to the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland. Of course, since Disneyland is my favorite place, I was more than happy to experience this wonderful, joy ride. We arrived at the camp and started setting up. We also had the privilege of working with doctors, a pharmacist, a couple of students nurses from Kim’s Hospital and translators and teachers from Riverside school. What an honor to work with such an incredible group of people. I felt humbled to work with people who were so full of joy and a desire to help us with the medical camps.

After setting up, patients started coming in as a steady stream throughout the day. I was given the job as “gatekeeper,” which meant that I helped people get to the stations that they needed to go and helped with keeping the camp somewhat organized. We got to see about 80-100 patients today, and were able to administer medications they needed for pain, nausea, diabetes, etc. The Lord definitely showed up today with His presence and helped keep the flow of the first day go smoothly. I felt His presence as I watched my teammates pray for their patients and tell them about Jesus. The body of Christ was exemplified in the unity that seeped between the team members and the love that radiated at the campsite. In that moment, I knew we didn’t need fancy medical equipment or nice tables and chairs. All we needed was God’s provision, presence, and most importantly love. I was amazed by the merging of two totally different cultures coming together to fulfill the calling and purpose found in Jesus Christ. Even with insufficient knowledge of each other’s languages, one thing that was present at the camp that everyone and anyone could understand was the love of Jesus.

Joyful Fellowship

The Project India campus happily welcomes a 16-member action team from America, who are here to serve the Lord in a variety of ways. On their day of arrival, there was a feeling of great joy as old friends were reunited, and new friendships were being made. A nursing team from Simpson University is partnering with a medical team from Konaseema Inst. of Medical Sciences in Amalapuram and Smart Village partner MedTel to provide free medical camps for villages surrounding Mori. The team is reaching out to hundreds of villagers in 9 locations, sharing the love of God through medical care.

 

Pastor Gerry Wilson and Dr. Kay Wilson from Arcadia Friends Community Church along with Jill MacLaren, Matt Sanders, Annela Flores, and Carly Hansen are working together to conduct a brand new outreach program. We are training Sunday School teachers from churches in the community, so that they can disciple and impact the lives of hundreds of young believers. The pastors will also be hosting a 3-day conference for 50 local pastors and their wives. Finally, Matt Sanders will lead our annual teachers conference for the Riverside School staff.

We have a summer full of activity and service! Pray that the Lord’s name would be lifted up in all these endeavors.

10th Class Farewell

The 10th Class Farewell was a bittersweet gathering of commemoration and celebration. On February 17, the Riverside staff, faculty, and 9th class students attended a ceremony to honor the beloved students who will soon graduate. The event was filled with joyous song and dance, as well as heartfelt words from teachers Mr. Rambabu,  Ms. Tresamma, Ms. Susan, Mr. Sasi, and CEO Judah Darwin.

Many of our graduates have grown up in the loving arms of the Riverside family, some from as early as Kindergarten. We have watched them grow from children into confident and skilled young men and women, ready to take their next step in life. Others who joined in more recent years quickly became an integral member of the Riverside community.

Just as our former graduates reminisce on the sweet memories of their school days, we hope that this batch will also treasure this time in their hearts. These young adults are preparing to leap into a new phase, and we pray that they will hold the wisdom they gained at Riverside with them their whole life.

10th Class Deepthi invites guest speakers to the stage.

When asked about her experience, class captain Deepthi said this: “I used to study in a Telugu-medium school and I joined Riverside in 3rd class. I learned so much from this school. I learned how to speak English well, which will help me in my future. The teachers are so great and they didn’t just teach us what to study, they taught us how to study. Even through the discipline, we learned how to go in a right path. To me, Riverside is a big house of love.”

Please continue to pray for our graduating students, and for the incoming 10th class that God will lead them on a path to success.

10th Class girls with Miss Annela and Miss Carly.

Launching Off The New Year

Here at Project India, we ended 2017 and began 2018 with thoughtful reflections and praise for what God has done in our lives. We enjoyed beautiful holiday celebrations with the Riverside Staff, Smart Village team, and special guests. Randy Thompson (co-founder & visionary), Melinda Laun-Flores (Annela’s mother), and Smart Village team member Werner’s family joined the campus for Christmas and New Years. It was a blessing to celebrate with them.

The year commenced with something we have never done before! From January 1-12, we hosted our first ever music therapy outreach program. Seven volunteers from Resounding Joy Inc. stayed on our campus during this new program. The student Music Therapists, under the leadership of Annela, conducted clinical sessions in the community with three schools for children with special needs and one home for older adults. Their mission was to advocate for music therapy, improve professional skills, and educate about the benefits of music

In addition to the therapy sessions, they also gave two presentations. At a large hospital and medical college, Annela and her team provided a lecture to 150 students and faculty about music therapy. She also provided two demonstration sessions. On January 11, the team conducted a day-long training to 30 Special Education teachers from around the district. The trainees learned how to implement interactive musical activities in their classroom.

Overall, the program was exciting and innovative, and we look forward to hopefully hosting Resounding Joy again in the future.