Honestly, there are not enough words in the whole English language to describe the last five days… But I’m going to give it a shot!
Saturday morning Dr. Waters conducted a SHORT seminar about World Religions for the teachers. Now, this was not on our schedule at the beginning of the trip; after some of the teachers sat in on one of Dr. Water’s classes they actually requested this seminar because they wanted to learn more! They wanted to learn about their own religions and the religions of their students and other faculty in order to understand each other better! (I am not making this up either, this is what they told us!) How neat are they?! They desire to learn and grow together, and I have a lot of respect for them!
Saturday afternoon at the Children’s Home we climbed the mountain, which was one of our planned activities. This mountain was more along the lines of a tall hill, but since I really haven’t climbed anything before it was a mountain to me!
It Was Beautiful!
Talk about seeing the beautiful creations of God EVERYWHERE you look! Even though I slipped every five seconds, I couldn’t help looking out at the peaceful, green landscape! And the children only made it better! They were so excited to show and explore the mountain with us! Every time I turned around I heard, “Dee Dee look!!! Dee Dee LOOK!” It was wonderful! Might have been more of a workout than I am used to, but I am so glad we went! (Pictures to come later!)
Saturday evening we were invited to have dinner and worship with family of the Dongardives’ and a small congregation! I am continually amazed at the lengths people take to worship Jesus here in India… This church service was held in the porch of the family’s joint home, in which each personal home within it was smaller than my dorm room at McMurry. But rain or shine, for us it was rain, people crammed onto the porch to hear the word of God! I love it!
Sunday morning I had the great pleasure of worshiping at the Children’s Home with the children and the house parents!
I love to hear the children sing!
Hearing those children sing praises to the Lord melts my heart; because I know their songs are how we, adults, should praise God! Their songs are pure and kind! They do not sing to show or to boast, but only to show love! I want to sing like them!
Sunday evening we had dinner at Sanjay’s home! (He is one of our main leaders for this trip and our contact person if we ever need ANYTHING while we are in Aurangabad!) I have to say, that evening was EXACTLY what I needed! All of us at that point had become tired and cranky and we needed a night of just pure fun… And that’s what we had! Between a small devotional, the BEST food I have had here in India by far (thanks to his lovely bride), a neighborhood game of soccer, and playing on a moped I begun to feel more relaxed! It was nice to feel like I was having a family evening for just one night. There was such a homey feeling there, and we were blessed to have him invite us! It may have been one of the best nights I have had here!
Monday was our last day of teaching classes at St. John’s English school. Although it was very sad to tell the children goodbye, I can honestly say I know I was not meant to be a teacher! I have gained a great respect for people who are training to become teachers and teachers of my own! It is not easy to entertain a class for an hour, not even considering you are supposed to teach them something too! So for all the teachers and future teachers reading this, Thank You!
Monday evening we had tea at Solomon’s house! (His son is doing much better by the way!) Solomon and all of his family are very humble and very kind! It was wonderful to have fellowship with them through a small devotional and dinner!
Being invited to so many different homes is only a SMALL example of the hospitality shown here in India!
Tuesday St. John’s had a farewell ceremony for us! Some of the teachers and students got a chance to talk to us about how our coming affected them. Many of the students said things like, “We were very happy to know you were coming,” “We learned lots of new things from you,” and “We hope you all come back to India!” The teachers said, “We like the way you teach our students,” “You are very enthusiastic and patient with the students,” and “We hope you all come back to India!”
Needless to say, I think they would like to see us again!
Yesterday was our last day at the Children’s Home…
Yesterday morning we visited a university here in Aurangabad! It was a very nice university and it was fun too look around and tour a university in a different country!
After going to the university we had a very quick lunch and then we were off to the Children’s Home! Since it was our last day, we (not taking any credit here, we is just meaning a few cooking angels on our team) made them American food! We had garlic bread, mac and cheese with chicken in it, and banana pudding! And boy, did they LOVE the banana pudding! Just like American children!
They also had a going away ceremony for us. This one was much harder than the one at the school though. During these past weeks I have become so attached to my girls that it was hard to even look at them once the ceremony began. Of course I cried the ENTIRE time, but that ceremony was special and something I will never forget!
Tomorrow we will head out to the airport at 3:00 and fly to Mumbai around 6:50!
Something the children continue to tell us is, “Don’t forget us when you go back to America.”
I don’t think these children know how impossible forgetting them would be! They have shown love to me in ways I have not received before! Their little names are imprinted on my heart, and I don’t think they are ever coming off! I have most certainly been blessed by each child at the Children’s Home in multiple ways! Every day when we arrived at the Children’s Home, I was attacked with love! Every day they tried to teach me knew things about India and every day they tried to learn something from me! Their smiles stole my heart each time I looked at them!
And I will NEVER forget them!