6th Grade Class Blog
David, 6th Grade class
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My name is David. I have been working as a teacher for last 9 years. This is my 2nd year at Riverside school. I am specialized in mathematics. I hope that I can change the society through the students. This desire motivated me to become a teacher. I am here at Riverside because of the word and testimony of Jesus Christ at Riverside School. My 6th grade homeroom is quite unique, since 21 of the 30 students are boys! I always make it a priority to always start class with a prayer. Please pray for my class and my family.
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Corporate Startup Summit, Zurich, Switzerland
An international platform was offered to Solomon as the keynote speaker about his work on Smart Villages at the upcoming Corporate Startup Summit in Zurich, Switzerland. Over three hundred senior executives and academics were inspired by Solomon’s message at the conference. His theme was – Moral values should be the foundation for Business Models, otherwise they are bound to fail. He observed this first hand from his grandmother, an entrepreneur who sold her products internationally from her village at a time when there was no power, internet, mobile phones, information, data, resources or platforms. Solomon will lend a voice to the people in the downtrodden underserved markets for whom the global brands ignore. Driven by greed large company make products for the rich as they have deep pockets. At Berkeley, Solomon teaches that low margin business models based on high volume yield the same results. Firms often go after the low-hanging fruit as they lack patience implement the long-term vision which requires commitment to moral values and benevolent leadership.
He was invited by the executives of the conference sponsor (Migros) who read his book. Migros is Switzerland’s largest retail company, its largest supermarket chain and largest employer. It is also one of the forty largest retailers in the world. It is structured in the form of a cooperative society, with more than two million members. Migros is founded in 1925 on moral values they still hold dear to this day. For example they do not sell alcohol in their stores. His book was given away for 99 cents during the conference. “There is no better way to lift up the Name of Jesus to this sophisticated group of executives” Solomon said.
It is hard to believe that more than a decade has past since I last set foot in Mori. My first trip to Mori was in 2006 when I received a scholarship to spend a month working with a visiting medical team at Subbamma Hospital. I quickly fell in love with the people I met, both at hospital and also at Riverside School. I was in medical school at the time and the interactions I had living and serving alongside the medical teams and hospital staff were a powerful and tangible reminder of why I chose to become a doctor. It was these relationships that prompted me to return to Mori in 2007 for a longer 6-month stay.
When I returned to Mori in October I was struck by how some aspects of life seemed so similar to when I had been there before and some had dramatically changed. I was pleased to be greeted by dear friends who have faithfully worked at the school and hospital during my long absence. One of my favorite memories from my time in 2007 was waking up early every morning, sitting on steps outside my room and drinking a cup of chai tea with Martha, the facilities manager. It was a chance to connect and enjoy the stillness before we continued on with our days. Upon my return, I was delighted to find that Martha, the chai, and the conversation were exactly as I remembered them.
I saw God at work in Mori, the shining eyes and smiling faces of the all the children in their school uniforms as they file on and off busses and dart in and out of classroom also brought back a flood of memories. I was encouraged to see that Riverside School is flourishing as it has expanded from a school of a couple hundred students in 2006 to more than 700 students today. Nothing seems to mark the passage of time quite so poignantly as watching children grow up. It is hard for me to believe that children I had played with as toddlers are now in high school, or children who were in high school are now teachers.
The towns of Mori and Malkipuram have also changed a lot since I’ve been gone. New business have sprung up, more cars crowd the street, and concrete houses have replaced many of the thatched roof huts. Back on campus, more buildings have been built, stories have been added, and fruit trees have been cultivated. Despite all these changes the palpable spirit of Project India can be felt just as strongly as when I was there a decade ago. God is really at work in Mori. I just hope it doesn’t take me another decade to find my way back to Mori again.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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
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!
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.
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.