Today was a day of several beginnings. Pastor Gerry and Matt partnered with Solomon Sir and others to begin a conference for local pastors. Pastor Kay and Karly also had the first day of their conference for the pastors’ wives. We were honored and blessed by the attendance of the wife of the Senator of Andhra Pradesh to inaugurate the events. She gave a wonderful testimony about writing the entire Bible twice after God miraculously healed her hand and participated in the women’s conference until noon. 29 pastors and most of their wives are attending. They represent a cross section of denominations and castes. Pastor Gerry and Pastor Kay are blessed to minister to a very diverse group. Almost all of these pastors attended last year’s conference, as well as many new attendees. These conferences will last three days and provide meaningful, enthusiastic, and interactive messages and encouraging words to all who attend. Pastor Vijayam, the pastor of almost 500 churches in the area, is on the board for Project India, and a former professor of Greek and Hebrew attended as a moderator and translator. We are grateful for his honorable, intelligent presence. Many hours of work have been put forth to host and teach these conferences as well as much earnest time in prayer for the Lord to work wonders in the hearts of those involved. We are all grateful for a safe space to host these events and many new friends who attend and provide support. The Lord is doing a great work in these things.
Our team of APU students and Riverside Staff exercised independence in hosting day three of VBS without Matt or the local pastor (as they were both at the conference). Eighty children attended, gleefully sang songs, and participated in crafts. Jenny Miss, a teacher from Riverside, lovingly spoke the messages of the skits to the children in Telegu. Each group of children who attends VBS brings forth energy and immense joy. Today, the boys were captivated by the parachute game. The girls were talkative and kind. Before this VBS I (Tarah) prayed that God might work in the language barrier because it had proven stressful to me. He answered my prayers in the form of two sweet girls who took it upon themselves to teach me simple words in Telegu. We smiled and laughed as I mispronounced words. Yet, they were overjoyed to share their language with me. It was the most beautiful answer to prayer I have ever experienced.
The dental camp was held outside VBS and served the community. There was a long line of sari-clad women waiting to meet with the dentists and receive help. Dr. Anusha and the Interns from Delhi have been incredible in providing helpful care and consultations to people who visit them, either at the camps or in the hospital.
The rest of our day involved decorating classrooms at Riverside School. It is a great adventure to create a beautiful place for children to learn in. We hope to bring creativity and curiosity into these learning spaces. It is the least we can do for this school that helps so many.
Tomorrow, the team of nurses from Simpson will be joining us to help with VBS, work in the hospital, and give hygiene talks. We are waiting for their arrival in anticipation.
We have all fallen in love here; with faces, sights, and kind people. Time passes quickly when every second is so full. We cherish the time we have been given here and are grateful for your prayers.
Praying for strength and grace once again,
Leo, Katie, and the Team