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Category Archives: India

Worship at House of Grace

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Tuesday in India

“Break my heart for what breaks Yours.” That was the prayer of one of the teen orphans we visited yesterday, a prayer that resonated with our hearts for sure today. Before breakfast, most of our team hiked to the local Hindu temple. Of note were the many flags with prayers written on them so that as the flags fly the prayers will be carried on the wind to those being remembered.

Following breakfast, it was a half hour bus ride to meet up for a picnic with 45 kids from Rainbow Christian School, the school of choice for the Dar-ul-Fazi orphanage we’ve visited. To say our picnic setting was beautiful would be an understatement. Absolutely breath-taking! This was a rare treat for the kids, and rarer still was our trek with them up the mountain in the gondolas.

After seeing the kids off, we took an hour to shop in the downtown market of Manali and then it was back to the orphanage to hang and play with the kids. We were the guests of honor for a very special outdoor meal of stewed goat (mutton), rice, potatoes with sauteed hard-boiled eggs, and mangoes.

One of the hardest moments we faced came when it was time to say good-bye to the kids. Knowing that visitors are so few and far between only extended the time of our parting. So many hearts were melded together and sealed with hugs and tears, you’d have thought we had known these kids for years. We take comfort in knowing they are in godly care under true servants sent from Heaven, and we take the commitment of praying for them and telling God’s story of His transforming work in their lives.

As a closing note, please pray for Chetan, pronounced CHAY-tuhn (pictured). Just before dinner, Chris met Chetan, a non-practicing Buddhist who’s heard the Gospel but still has questions. Her heart was soft, open and receptive to hearing the Gospel during an intimate conversation over tea. Pray God will give her courage and understanding to receive His Son as the One and Only true Savior.

– Chris Lemke

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God’s Exchange Rate

It’s a week of summer break at the orphanage and so today the team took advantage of it by spending the entire day with the 80+ kids. The morning was full with Vacation Bible school planned by our team, complete with crafts and … line dancing? Sure. Why not? And for having never heard of it, the kids did just fine!

After lunch it was a tip of the hat to London as we hosted our own Olympic games with the kids. Sack relays and ping-pong balls carried in spoon relays, bean bag and water balloon tosses, frisbee throws and jumping rope all combined for two hours of fun, followed by a round of dodgeball mayhem where everyone gets hit (often) and no one is out. Who’d have thought that two dozen small beach balls could bring such a great time? A light rain didn’t dampen the festivities, but we did move them inside and helped the kids create their own sponsor cards.

To round out the afternoon just before dinner, we were privileged to give the orphanage and its staff more than 200 pounds (4 suitcases full) of goods including school/art supplies, toys, personal hygiene items and socks and underwear, collected by the team before we left for India. The team then matched that gift with an impromptu team offering that totaled nearly $1,100 in cash. Thank you team! We finished the night by watching Kung Fu Panda 2 with the kids, or maybe it was we watched the kids watch Kung Fu Panda 2. The latter was probably more enjoyable.

As we look back on the day and what was given in time and gifts, the words from so many team members, “We received so much more than we gave ” was the chorus repeated time and time again. What we gave bore evidence again that God’s idea of financial security is so much different than what we’re used to every day; you truly cannot out-give God. The return in your investment will likely be in a different “currency” than what you started with, even more different than converting dollars to rupees, but you can’t beat God’s exchange rate that’s for sure.

– Chris Lemke

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Audio update from the orphanage

John Balyo was able to call in to Your Family Friendly Morning Show from the orphanage in India this morning.

Please click below to hear the 5-minute audio update.

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(7 year old Sona pictured)

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Sunday in Manali

We left this past Thursday afternoon and arrived late Friday night in Delhi 21 hours later. We were supposed to fly to Manali first thing Saturday morning but that flight was cancelled due to a pilot strike. We unexpectedly spent our first full day in India in a bus driving through thick traffic out of Delhi into the Himalayan mountains.

At least it got dark and the roads narrower and bumpier and filled with hairpin turns overlooking bottomless valleys. We’d have been bored otherwise. And we wouldn’t make such a big deal of it except it was ALL day – 18 hours, the last eight being in the mountains.

We arrived in the village of Pinri/Manali at 4am and were settled in an hour for a short rest.  At 10am Sunday – after taking in long moments of taking in the Himalayas all around us – we got together for breakfast: eggs, pancakes and toast, Indian style (which amazingly was much like back home). A little more settling in and then we were on our way by 1pm for a half hour hike from our guest house to the orphanage.

The orphanage is run by a small, dear lady (probably in her 60s) who’s been there since she started the place 30 years ago. But what she lacks in height she’ll rock your world with her incredible demeanor of grace, humility, respect and service. She has a small staff that’s equally humble, and respected by the 80 kids (ages 5-22) who reside there.

Our team went into action loving on the kids, playing with beach balls and soccer balls. Because the kids spoke English so well (as well as Hindi), we had no trouble carrying on good conversations. We brought new white t-shirts and all kinds of markers, paints and puff paints for the kid to make their own shirts.  When we were done, the outside fence was a phenomenal gallery of artwork that we enjoyed with the kids.

Following pizza for dinner – a rare treat for the kids we had planned for them before getting there – we were treated to an evening program of traditional Indian dance and music and the awesome angelic voices of the kids. I’ll never hear “Here I Am To Worship” the same again. So simple and so beautiful.

We left the orphanage after dark and took a bus back to our guest house. The team is tired but healthy and even more energized for tomorrow (Monday). We have a really good team who have melded well together and have shown great ability to adapt given the many changes we’ve had even since we arrived.

By God’s grace, the seeds being sown will continue to grow good fruit in the lives of those we serve, for us, and for the churches we all call home.  Internet is spotty at best, but we’ll try to upload/update as possible. Thanks for your prayers!  Blessings all, from India!

– Chris Lemke

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