Thursday, February 14, 2013

After visiting another children's home on Saturday morning we found ourselves 30 minutes from the beach. Of course we knew this would be the case so we brought along "our" children's home (the one located in Guntur) and the appropriate swim wear. For women that is what you wear everyday so a punjab and for the men shorts or even their underwear if they see fit. We piled into two jeeps which then became our posts for our tent (shade from the sun). After setting up we dove in… the water was perfectly warm and extra salty. It was a treat for us and for the kids. To spend that time with them is so much fun. We found some crabs and 3 starfish which I had the privilege of capturing for you! I am proud to say no one got burned or even red (as in me), we were all sun screened up for the 3 hours we were out in the sun! Heading home (2-3 hours) in a wet Punjab wasn't the greatest… but it was worth it.

- Carissa

Saturday, February 9, 2013

We found ourselves yet again at this Mud Hut Village. During my first visit to India we headed down here for a Medical camp. A medical camp is a bus type vehicle and several amazing doctors who head into the slums and do work for a day. They were checking peoples eyes, pulling peoples teeth (with no pain meds) and giving people check ups. Since our last visit here there has been quite a change. There are still tons of mud huts but now you see lots of one room brick buildings being built up. This means that the area is "thriving." Still no electricity but there are 3 pumping wells that are giving off good drinking water. There is little to no green, the plants that are there only thrive nearest the wells or if the people water them. It is dusty and hot, and dry as can be.

This year we found ourselves walking from hut to hut to witness a feeding at one of Redemption Ministry's church plants.  Before the feeding, the children sing songs in the church, and learn a little about Jesus. Today I got to share a bible story and Courtney shared a little too. They sang beautifully and listened carefully. They get so distracted and excited to see American and there smiles light up the room. It will never get old!

The feeding happens at 6/7 and is available for the children. It happens 6 days out of the week and they get a huge pile of rice with some chicken curry. Many of the small children didn't eat the chicken they would just eat their 3 or so cups of rice (about enough to feed me for like 4 meals, at least). We then dug into the same food, chicken and rice, said a prayer of blessing over the people, the children, and the land then into the car we went to a bumpy ride home.

It was a warm evening, spent in a dirty, poor, poor place but when you leave you walk away with a new perspective. Your spirit turns into a spirit of thanksgiving, and every time I am here I feel like they teach me, more then I can ever teach or share with them. And it is always in ten fold when you go to the least of them, when you go to the place that is dirty and poor.

- Carissa

Thursday, February 7, 2013

This morning we got to relax. I had an opportunity to reply to some emails and get a gallery up for a perfectly patient client. I so appreciate everyone patience as we are far away. It is a challenge to be working here and then to try and remember everything about home and business. Yesterday we hit our 4 week mark… 4 more weeks and we'll be home. I'm not quite ready yet. I will be honest though and tell you I have been dreaming of my feather bed comforter at home…

When the afternoon hit we got in the cars and headed for a hut village. A hut village is a large piece of land that the communist party has given to the people of India to make their homes on. This was a small one and a newer one. It was full of little huts made of leaves, and scraps, they have a small amount of electricity and they had quite a few green plants and vines which adds life to the area. 

Today's entertainment was the children's team. This team of 3-5 men travel to different villages and put on quite the show. The program consists of songs (today's was in English), magic tricks with a biblical lesson, games, a puppet show and even a movie at the end about how Jesus died for our sins. At the end they all get little chocolates. The kids love it and sit for over an hour watching and listening. 

We arrived an hour or so before the sun set and our presence there caused quite the distraction. Everyone gets excited to see Americans and always want to try out their English on us. Most of them only know "what is your name", "how are you" or "I am fine". But the Pastors reigned them in and the show began. We walked around and took pictures, and video of their activities. There were about 50 adults standing and sitting watching eagerly. They seemed to enjoy it and laugh as much as the kids did. The village is mostly Hindu, I did see a Muslim man watching for a time and then he left, only to return with his two children to watch the finally of the show. Typically when we go in to these poor communities they welcome anyone who will do something for them so it is a wonderful ministry opportunity. I have to admit even though I understand no Telegu the show had me laughing, and even just watching the pure amusement on the kids faces is enough to bring a smile to your face. 

- Carissa

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

I write again from the comfort of my bed. Fan blowing and smokey air, from the cooking fire below, blowing into the window. We just got home from a full day spent with two out of the many of children's home Redemption Ministry supports. A children's home is typically a three bedroom building with a kitchen nook outside. It is (typically) filled with up to 6 girls on one side, a pastor, his wife and kids in the middle and up to 6 boys on the other side. These children's are orphans, for most their parents have both died or abandoned them and they have no family who would take them in. Without these homes these children would be left to fend for themselves.
In these homes these children's get fed, get new clothing, go to school, have daily duties, learn about Jesus and if they want to go to college, fully paid for. When we visit they stand, tell us their name, school year, favorite subject and favorite activity. Then they sing us a song and will recite the Bible verses they know by heart (in Telegu) one at a time. They do so good. Some even know them in English.
Today we visited a home that I visited my first year here. The kids have grown SO much and it was such a blessing to see them. The young girl above I had  taken a photo of when I was here last and have had it on my bulletin board at my desk since. She stole my heart then and again today. The two girls below are sisters and they had just been taken in by the home the first year. They were all smiles and hugs today. We got to watch them skip rope and play their favorite activities. 
After lunch we headed to our second home and got a second welcome. Both homes welcomed us by singing as we walked through the tunnel of them throwing flowers. They offered us a delicious platter of fruit : bananas, grapes, pomegranate, apples and oranges along with soda. Just to spend time with the kids is enough to make it a good day and it is my favorite kind of day. 
- Carissa

Monday, February 4, 2013

This is a church that is being built for a young pastor and his wife. The church is being funded by one of Redemption Ministries partners. The building so far is beautiful and they hope to have it finished before we leave. So hopefully we can sneak back to take some finished images of the church building! The couple pictured below is the pastor and his wife, they have two young boys. They are located in a small rural village and hope to add one room off of the left side of the church to live in. But for now they will stay in a rented hut.


All images and text copyright of Redemption Ministries. 2012