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Our final day of VBS in the villages brought many new smiles and stories. This last church that requested us was actually in th e village where our matriarch Subbamma was born. She was married off at age 6 from this village, Srunga Vara, but later formed the basis for Riverside School (a mud hut served as her classroom). Long story short, she became a Christian by the mercy of God, and shared the Good News with thousands of other “Untouchables” in her area through works of service, including feeding the poorest of the poor, providing jobs, teaching classes, and establishing a clinic. One person she shared the Gospel with was her sister, who founded the church we visited. Chairman Solomon, Subbamma’s grandson, delighted in telling many stories about his childhood in the then destitute village. He continuously tells us the importance of remembering how Christ has worked in a place. Srunga Vara is now a prosperous area, as evidenced by the beautiful homes, thanks only to the presence of Christ and the ministry of Subbamma.
Prayer was once again a theme for our day: we prayed for the elders of the church, who were primarily women, and were asked to one’s home for prayer. We ended up prayer for most of the (large) family: for the healing of jaundice, for the birth of a healthy baby (boy), and once again for an expedited marriage. They were so eager for prayer, and even called the father (who was working in Israel) so that Matt and Jeff could pray for him over the phone. The family was delightful and served as a beacon for their village.
Another exciting development for the day was the arrival of Dr. Gnanaraj, an esteemed urologist, to the Subbamma Memorial Hospital. He had driven from Hyderabad overnight, but was eager to begin his important surgeries, which our very own Matt Sanders and Valerie got to observe. With the backing of the incredible Vellore Christian Medical Hospital in southern India, Dr. Gnanaraj is able to perform surgeries costing $25,000 at a city hospital for only $100 here in the village. This training college, which was founded in 1900 by American missionary Ida Scudder, is another testament to God’s work and provision within India throughout the years.