Thursday, March 18, 2010

Harvest India

Laura and I are now in a more rural area of India with Harvest India, a large ministry here that partners with IPP. If you want to know how rural this is compared to the huge city of Mumbai where we came from last, just check out the local airport:

After we flew into this airport on a jet-prop plane, we took a car another hour and a half out of the airport's town to get to the home of Suresh and Christina. Suresh is the head pastor of a ministry called Harvest India. They are doing so much work to spread the gospel here, it's almost hard to even keep track of all of it: an orphan home, medical clinic, AIDS/HIV relief, a leper community, six Bible colleges, a home for women who are rescued or escaped from forced prositution (this is Ashraya Home that IPP works with!), a medical clinic to help prostitutes in the red light district, and other ministries that I don't even know about, I'm sure. They are truly ministering to the poorest of the poor and reaching some of the least privileged people on the planet with the hope of the Gospel.

Suresh and Christina are the type of people who immediately draw you in with their warmth and their joy, and their love for the Lord is never more than a few words away in any given conversation. This is the busiest week of the year at Harvest India, as they are hosting a huge youth conference, pastor's conference and graduation from Harvest India's Bible colleges (more on all of this later!). Even with so much going on, they welcomed us as family with open arms. Their amazing family includes their three children, 19 foster children (really!), an orphaned 6-year-old girl they've basically adopted when both her parents died a few months ago, and scores of other Indians and Americans who are here helping with all of the various ministries of Harvest India. We found out after we went to sleep in our comfortable room last night, that over 40 people slept in their home last night. They are hospitality personified. I am learning so much just from watching them minister in their home and in their community.

This morning we were ushered into a bus that took us down the road to Harvest India's Mercy Medical Clinic. Hundreds of children were lined up, seated on the ground in long rows, waiting for our arrival. A few of the children were selected to greet us with the gift of flowers. We are here for a couple of days with a team of pastors from ROCKHARBOR church in Southern California.

We are here for a couple of days with a team of pastors from ROCKHARBOR church in Southern California. One of the pastors gave a short translated message to the children, telling them that we are here in the name of Jesus Christ, and the Jesus loved all children and told the adults to let all the little children come to Him. Then we handed out one egg, one banana and one piece of bread to each child. They beamed back at us with huge grins that seemed even brighter against their beautiful dark skin.

Tomorrow we will be at the Ashraya home doing some training and meeting with the girls who are sewing with IPP. I can't wait to see IPP in action and meet these girls!

Before I go, I'll leave you with this one sweet picture from yesterday:

Nancy, Suresh and Christina's 3-year-old daughter, LOVES Laura's red hair. As soon as we arrived yesterday, she came up to Laura, plopped her thumb in her mouth and started rubbing a strand of Laura's hair in her other hand. She removed her thumb just long enough to tell us that Laura's hair is her "silky." What a little sweetie!


Kristen said...

I've been expecting India and Punjammies posts in my reader from your blog. Maybe your parents blog. But I had to do a double take... This morning, Pioneer Woman's blog had a blog about Punjammies!

If you didn't know -- here's the link!

Jonna said...

Yes, I was getting on here to tell you about PW's post as well!

John and Janel Breitenstein said...

Loving the photos and the posts!! Brings tears to my eyes to see God's hands reaching out to these beautiful people. Keep going!!

christine said...

So wonderful to keep up with what you guys are doing! And speaking of hair, when did you cut yours off?? Enjoying your wonderful children!! :)