Saturday, April 3, 2010

Day 8 Leaving Pune

Early this morning Linda & Mona headed to Mumbai to catch their flight back to Norway. Kelly Jo & I leave in a few minutes for a friends house and then early in the morning we fly to Delhi where we will visit House of Peace.

Don't know if we'll be able to get on the internet, but check back just in case!

We land in Dallas early Tuesday morning Texas time. We'd sure appreciate your prayers...

This has been such a terrific time. Lots accomplished! More later..


Day 7 - Fun day - Part 2

In the evening Kelly Jo went back to Hope of Glory and had another time to teach a craft to the kids there! They enjoyed making things and putting up the first wall art they created at the beginning of the week.

Check out the pictures from tonight!


Day 7 - Fun day - Part 1

Today we had a great time relaxing, shopping and packing up to leave Pune. We have a friend who does Mendhi with Henna, so we decorated our arms with the traditional Indian decoration.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Dreams Come True....

Yesterday the four of us spent some time at Rescue House here in Pune, which is home to 14 victims of trafficking & exploitation. Teena's story is all too familiar. When she was 12 years old, she wanted to be a doctor. She was the middle child of 3 kids. Her uncle had a terrible gambling debt to repay. One day he asked her parents if he could take her to a carnival, but instead of taking her to the carnival he sold her for $250 into prostitution so he could repay the debt he owed. She was shuffled around from city to city, abused, trapped. When her uncle returned without her, he told her parents that she ran away. Teena was eventually rescued from slavery and made her way back home. When she arrived home her parents finally learned the truth of what had happened, but instead of embracing her, they rejected her. They said "Teena is no longer our daughter. We don't know who you are".

Rescue house is a place that welcomes girls like Teena who have been rescued from a life of exploitation. It's not just a place to live but it is a place of hope....a place where these girls are encouraged to dream.

On the wall in the main living area of one of the rooms is a huge framed wall hanging. Right in the middle are the words "Dreams come true". There are little yellow sticky notes stuck all around those three little words. I asked the director what the sign was all about, so he told us the story. Last year the girls had a time when they wrote on sticky notes what they hoped to be or do one day. One girl wrote "I want to be a teacher", one wrote "I want to be a police woman".

Then they had career fair where people in Pune that work in those professions came in and talked about their work -- the pros and cons. It was a great time for the girls to learn & ask questions.

At the end of the week the girls laid their hopes and dreams at the foot of the cross and committed their dreams to God.

One of the things that impacted me the most was walking through their sleeping quarters and seeing little pillows on the beds with gold stitched letters embroidered on them. On each pillow is the girls name & who they want to become one day (*see the pictures).

For security reasons we can't post any other pictures or info about this home, but I have to tell you it is an amazing place. Before we left the director asked if we could pray for the girls and then sing a song or two together. Imagine sitting in a group of young women who have been through so much and starting to sing the song "Because He lives, I can face tomorrow, because He lives, all fear is gone, because I know, He holds the future, and life is worth the living just because He lives".

Tears poured out of my eyes. It was hard but beautiful to sit there and weep & weep. Wow. That's all I can say. I am marked forever. "Because He Lives" will never just be another hymn to me.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Day 5- Good Shepherd Transit Home

I didn't think this week could get any better, but today was the icing on the cake. We spent a good part of the day at Good Shepherd Homes "transit" home, which is the first stop for kids coming into Good Shepherd. GSS is home to 10 of the most wonderful kids I've ever met. I choked back tears a lot today. Tears of thankfulness that these kids are not only safe, but growing up being taught about God, His love, how to live, and how to love others. I've heard all their stories before. They were hungry, sleeping on the streets, abused, neglected, and many other terrible things before they came into this home. Today they shared their dreams with us. Dreams of becoming a doctor, a teacher for kids living on the streets, an army officer, a pastor. I love kids with dreams....especially when THESE kids dream.

Today they shared their Bible memory verses with us. They put us to shame with how many they know. The kids sang some beautiful songs for us. Their English is better than the last time I came. The Director told us that every one of the kids has a 90 or above average in school. They are thriving. That fact alone makes me smile! Smile so wide I can hardly contain myself.

We brought a fun craft to make together. We brought Tshirts for them to paint. It was terrific to see their creativity unleashed. They were careful. Each shirt was unique and special. Sunday they are going to all wear them to church...boy, I'd love to see that. Thank you Barbara and David Goss at New Hope. The kids loved the shirts!

Our team donated enough money to buy personal Bibles for each child & thanks to the ladies in my Steppin' Up Bible class in McKinney the kids will each have a new MUCH needed Sunday dress outfit for church. Thank you!

Check out the pictures from today and check back for tomorrow's blog....

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Day 4 - Good Shepherd Homes

What an awesome day we had today meeting the kids at Good Shepherd Home. GSH has a total of 116 kids in 3 different facilities right now, but they are in the process of building one larger home that will enable them to take up to 400 children when it's completed. We got to see the property that is the future site.

I love hearing the heart of the director of this home. Their vision (and how they operate now on a smaller scale) is to have smaller "foster homes" all together with a communal kitchen that cooks for all the homes so the house parents can devote their time and energy to the kids. They operate family style.

Mung & Ching are house parents to a group of boys. We sat and had tea with them and talked with the kids for a while. Most of them have been at GSH for 8 or more years, and they feel blessed to be safe now & getting a good education & the love & support that will help them transition into adulthood.

The boys have been working on a photography project. A young man donated cameras and is teaching them basic photography. The boys love learning, and several have proven to be naturals with the camera. Who knows, maybe there are some up & coming photographers in the group!

The beautiful setting that they live in now is a stark contrast from the life they lived on the streets of Mumbai. There they struggled to survive and protect themselves from abusers on every side. It's so good to see them living in a part of the countryside that is peaceful, and away from the crowded city. They are safe now.

We also heard stories of the kids who first came to GSH 10 years ago. One of the first girls is now a nurse, and she wants to get her masters next.

All around, it was a great day. I've had some trouble with swollen feet (still from flying) and a pain in one of my legs. Please pray for me if you have a moment. I'd like to make the most of every day, and not spend any time in an Indian hospital!

Check back Wednesday for a report on the transition home of GSH...Tshirts & more....


Monday, March 29, 2010

Day 3 Part 2 - the beautiful children of Santvana

In the afternoon we loaded up in the vehicle and headed out of the city to Santvana (the Comforter) Children's home. Santvana is home to 30 kids, and about half are HIV+. Many of the kids who are HIV+ are true orphans, with no living parent, since their parents have died of AIDS.

Some of the kids are children of prostitutes, and now they are living away from the Red Light area, and in a safe, loving environment, free from sexual abuse.

We did a craft project with the kids. The theme was "You are children of the King". Teaching this concept is so significant because in this society they have very little value. The children with HIV are untouchable, even by their own families. You should've seen the smiles on their faces as they proudly wore their crowns. Check out the pictures and see their beautiful faces.

Our team donated $650 (the first installment) toward a desperately needed vehicle for Santvana.

I'd also like to say a big thank you to the ladies in my Steppin' Up Bible class in McKinney. You just paid the school tuition for Rhani to go to computer school for 3 months, and you paid for Leena to learn how to drive. They are both teenage girls, and these skills will make their future more hopeful! Thanks, Ladies. Can't wait to tell you about it in person. The kids at Santvana are getting Kids' Bibles and some books from you too!!

Check back tomorrow to hear about our time at Good Shepherd Homes....

Day 3 Part 1 - One of the faces of human trafficking

Today was emotional. There is no other way to describe meeting a young eunich in the red light area this afternoon. He is an orphan. A number of years ago he came to the city looking to find a job. He never knew the cruel and awful pain he would go through when he came here. Gangs of eunichs here are on the look out for young boys that are new in the city, runaways. Then they befriend them and often drug them and make them into eunichs without their knowledge. We don't know Anand's exact story of how he became a eunich, but his original intent in coming here was to find a job.

Now he is an orphan, and a eunich. He is not a he anymore. He dresses as a young woman, but really he has no gender. When they did the surgery they botched it, leaving him maimed & without the ability to urinate properly. His stomach is so bloated, and he is in terrible pain. We all shed tears as we listened to the story.

Anand came to see our friend who works among these people asking for her help. We surrounded Anand and prayed. Prayed for healing, prayed for the Lord to intervene. We all cried.

Psalms 10:17-18 " LORD, You know the hopes of the helpless. Surely you will listen to their cries and comfort them. You will bring justice to the orphans and the oppressed, so people can no longer terrify them."

Lord help us to do our part.

For this particular blog post I will not post any pictures of faces to protect the identity of those working in this area.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Day 2 at Hope of Glory

Today our team was with the kids & staff of Hope of Glory Home, which is home to 30 bright kids, most of whom have been rescued from horrible situations on the streets of this city. We heard from a little boy named Mark who is 11. He came into this childrens' home a number of years ago, and since that time he has new hope for his future. He goes to school, has a warm bed and people who care about him. He was thanking God for giving him this life, and for answering his prayers.

Kelly is great! She had an art project prepared for the kids. Each child had an individual square that they designed, and when we put them all together they make a beautiful landscape scene. Kelly is working on completing the piece while I'm blogging. She did a great job of drawing out the kids' creativity. Later this week we'll take the completed wall art back to hang up in their home.

Join us tomorrow as we go into the Red Light Area & to visit the "Comforter Childrens Home".... It's going to be great! You won't want to miss it.....