Saturday, September 17, 2011

Beyond Words: INDIA MISSION TRIP 2011

Wow. I don't even really know where to begin except by saying that it has taken almost a week for everything to sink in. Even then, it still blows my mind to reminisce on my time spent in India and seeing God's love at work on the other side of the world. I have spent the last 5 days trying to collect my thoughts so I could tell people, when they asked, all about the girls at the Home of Love, but I still find it frustrating for me because I don't feel like words are enough. Seeing, meeting, and loving these girls was the kind of experience that words hardly do justice to. I can accurately describe all that we did, but the experience, itself, was personal.

I met many wonderful people while on this trip, and grew closer to many that I have known for awhile. The girls at the HOL, however, impacted me the greatest. Seeing their faces, holding their hands, and knowing their stories brought tears to my eyes on several different occasions. These girls are probably the strongest of any I have ever known. While many have been faced with the resentment of society and familial loss, they still have such a passionate love for God and all He does.

I tried my hardest to learn and remember all the different girls' names that i met, but it was no easy task to say the least. There were a few girls in particular that I became extremely close with, but this little girl in the picture, Kaberi, i considered her to be "my girl." From day one of playing with her and her sister on the swingset, she was the first one to grab my hand or jump on me when we would arrive at the HOL. Being only 6 years old, and arriving at the Home from Orissa in May of this year, Kaberi speaks about 2 words of English. It was fun getting to know her without using words, and just playing for the sake of playing. Kaberi could be quiet and reserved, but she could also be just as crazy as some of the other girls. I learned that her and her sister's father remarried at one point and did not want anything to do with the girls. And so when the girls' mother died of TB, the Home of Love was to become their refuge. When the day of goodbyes rolled around, leaving her was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. And not just her, but all the girls I became close with. Sangeetha, Asha, Modina, Presanna, and all the others-- it broke my heart to see them cry the day we left. These girls will always be in my heart, and I will never forget them.

If anyone wants to know more in depth of everything we did, just message me and I would be more than happy to talk about the trip to the best of my abilities.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Return To Our Hearts...India 2011

As the sound of the morning newspaper hitting the pavement wakes me the reality that I’m no longer in India sinks in…

Between this moment & the next time I lay my head down to sleep 12,000 girls in India will have lost their lives because of their gender. By the time I get downstairs to make my morning cup of coffee another 171 will be gone. Between now and when my giddy heart gets to reunite with my girls again, (in 312 days! But who’s counting)  4 million more will have been aborted and 1.5 million under the age of 1 will have been killed.
Hard to picture?

It only takes two years for the intentional death rate of girls in India to surpass the death toll of the entire holocaust.

Sound extreme? Well…It is…
“This is why the Home of Love is so important! Yes it provides the girls with food, clothing, shelter and an education. But it’s more than much more than that - these girls are passionately taught the Gospel. They are equipped with the TRUTH of the Word and as they come to Christ they are filled with the POWER of the Holy Spirit. This is how we change the world - One Girl At A Time Through The Gospel.” –Nirup

This year more than ever I was able to see past the “experience” and what I found has transformed my vision & my heart. I found daughters. Not metaphorically. True, love them more than my life daughters. I found believers. People that so passionately & un-circumstantially love Christ that it’s both encouraged & challenged me to be very honest with myself on where my faith journey is.

It’s hard to put into words all that the Home & India means to us but one by one the girls continue to teach us, love us, pray with & for us, and ultimately change us. Here’s a snapshot of the girls & events that are changing us & India…

When someone asks: “what was your favorite part?” undoubtedly, Bart & I say: “Seeing our girls.” They weren’t huge moments. Just lots of little one’s that catch you by surprise. When they’d genuinely look in your eyes and say: “I’ve prayed for you everyday” or when you make eye contact with a girl and you both just smirk because you’re content & happy. 

An annual highlight for us & the girls is Beach Camp. Are you kidding!? We’re in India. Beach? Yes please! The girls go nuts! They’re crazy excited!

Highlights of Beach Camp:
*Around the dinner table I asked some of the girls what they wanted to be when they grew up. Bharati wants to teach English. (Which she’ll no doubt do and be amazing at it, she’s always my little translator)  Thenmuli wants to be a doctor. Pria wants to be a missionary. (Ironically to the US, which goodness knows we need it!) (: Upon asking Mummy what she wanted to be she said something in Tamil & pointed up. Confused, I asked Bharati to translate & she said the girl doesn't know yet God will tell her. This ten year old is wise beyond her years!

(Bharati on Left Mummy in the middle)

Also during that dinner Bharati (Age 12) giddily turns to me & says: "I love God."' I said: "Me too." (:

*The electricity goes on & off quite bit & during our song time one night the lights went off and it was dark. Like your eyes still won't adjust dark. I totally expected kid chaos to break out but amidst the darkness 80 little voices worshiped the Lord all the more loudly the walls shook. I got goosebumps.

*Bart is known in India for his magic tricks. Even at the end of the trip the warden’s husband asked: “Who’s your husband?” and every time I’d say: “Bart” he’d be so confused. He’d then be like: “Oh! Magic Man!?”

*And speaking of “Magic Man.” We’re at camp, & there was a large group of Christian guys there on a retreat. Before we know it there’s a crowd of probably 30 people around Bart while doing some card tricks. One guy in utter shock of the result of the trick just yells out: “America!” I died…Absolutely died. Hilarious! To top it off…I see behind the crowd (In secret) the warden’s husband literally shaking trying to bend a quarter in half. Bart’s trick quarter was obviously still in his pocket. (:  

*It was incredibly hot one day (ironic statement for India I know) so our Beach Camp group (6th -12th grade) didn't want to play in the sun. So instead we sat under a hut and went around sharing our favorite scriptures. Ask any kid in America what their favorite verse is & your likely to get John 3:16 if anything. One by one whether it be in Tamil or English the girls would recite the most meaningful ones to them. They were obscure passages like psalm 119:79 or something from the middle of Isaiah. You could hear it in their voices as they spoke verse after verse. The words were cherished.

After that they sang songs for us in Tamil. My favorite song translated:
As a boat is not too heavy for the ocean...
As the dew is not too heavy for a flower...
As a child is not too heavy for a mother...
We are not too heavy for our god.
(Our Beach Camp Group)

Later that night we had our as per tradition Campfire with S’mores. A group of maybe 8 of the girls or so (Jr. High age) wanted me to check on a girl who was apparently sitting in the middle of the sand field (Out away from everyone) by herself in the pitch dark. Seriously, dark isn’t even the word. And I pretended to be brave as they all held on to a different part of me to walk as a pack and since it was true for me, I asked: “Aren’t you scared?” And so matter-a-factly without hesitation they: “What’s to fear? God is with us?” Called out! (: We ended up sitting in that pitch dark field so we could have a heart to heart. They shared for well over an hour about the things in their lives and how they turn that fear to prayer knowing they are not alone. I left in awe of their maturity, and encouraged.

These girls are absolutely amazing! Each has a story; mostly tragic yet miraculous how they got to the Home of Love. But where they’re at now, is such a testimony to how God overcomes. Here’s a few “favorite” moments with the girls….

Prianca- (Age 13) While holding onto her I said: “I love you.” & she said…”I love you…” I furrowed my brow and said: “I don’t think you understand. I love you like a daughter.” She looked up at me with tears in her eyes & said: “I love you like my mom.”

Ruby- (Maybe 13 Yrs. Old?) Ruby was someone that quite honestly frustrated me. She didn’t do anything persay but that was exactly what irked me. While all the other girls laughed, smiled, hugged, and played Ruby always appeared angry, distant, and un-enthused. I tried to engage her, affirm her, include her,  but she just wasn’t havin’ it. That was until one day out of the blue she ran up to me and kissed my cheek. I tried to hold in my shock but you have no idea how epic this was! From then on she’d always run to me with hugs & kisses and call me “mom”. 

(Left: Bhavia Right: Ruby)

Rhamia (Age 13) She was a lot like Ruby at first. Very stand-off ish and always had her tough girl squinty face goin’ on. But somehow we had a breakthrough. She wanted me to call her “Missy” so we made up a game. Anytime I greet her I’d say: “Missy 2!” She would then say: “Missy 1!” and we end with both saying: “High-five!” Sounds so trivial but that little “thing” that just her & I had melted the boundaries. Ever since then she was one of “my girls.”

Asha-  (Age 6) Oh little Asha….I swear this girl doesn’t talk. But there was almost always her cute little hand wrapped in mine. It wasn’t until the end of our trip that I found out that she’s from Orissa (a state where Christians are heavily persecuted) and her family to this day is hiding in the jungle.

Pria (Age 13)- I’ll use what I wrote in my journal as I think it sums up Pria perfectly:
          Right now we’re listening to Mr. Alphonse preach. Pria is so intently listening. Her chin rests upon her fist as she soaks in every word. Only breaking to scurry though the pages of her Tamil Bible. She wants to be a missionary when she grows up. But you know what? She already is one. She shares about her trust in God with everyone she meets. She shares how she desires to bring the Word of God to all people. While most 13 year olds are in a self-absorbent stage of life, she’s grasped what it means to be a follower of Christ in a way that challenges me despite being twice her age. She’s a world-changer. 

Bhavia (12 yrs. Old)- Oh my sweet girl. There’s something about this girl that my heart connects with in the deepest way. It could be that she’s a bit more of a tomboy and wears handkerchiefs Rambo style on her forehead. It could be that she’s sarcastic and absolutely hilarious. It could be that she’s the perfect balance of being silly yet extremely responsible. But I think it’s more than that. I think it’s that I’ve held her when she’s had the flu. I think it’s because I’ve prayed with & for her each day. I think it’s because we have secret handshakes that spell out “I love you” and we give Eskimo kisses before I leave each day. I think it’s in the way that we can just sit in silence, have her head on my shoulder and we can just be. I think it’s that God created her to be my daughter even though we technically live thousands of miles apart. I think it’s for these reasons that I’m left with a broken heart. Bhavia feels like my true daughter. Who leaves their kid behind? On our last night I remember holding her cheeks, resting my forehead upon hers and just sobbing. Gut wrenching, hard to breathe, so sick to my stomach I could puke tears. I honestly haven’t been able to talk about it since because I’ll just lose it. She & I would often would joke about her jumping in my pocket, hiding in my suitcase, tucking under my Sari, plotting any excuse for us to sneak her back home with me.  In many ways I wish that could happen but my heart knows she’s in such a great spot at the Home of Love. People ask if we’ll return to India and my polite answer is “Hope so” but in my heart I’m pleading: “I better! I have a kid there!” I love that girl with all my heart. 
(Bhavia & I) 

The Home got about 8 new girls since last year. All here under tragic circumstances. Some parents died of TB, Malaria, electric shock, just crazy things. A little girl, Debika, (3 years old) She first came to the home a week before we arrived. Her father left the family. It’s not like here where a single mom though difficult can make it. Woman abandoned in India have little to no hope at all. Debika’s mom ended up pouring kerosene over her body, lighting herself on fire, and living! I had an opportunity to see a picture of her mother after the incident. I instantly felt a pit of gag-reflex in my stomach & wanted to cry. I’ve never seen anything like it in my entire life. Not even at the Leprosy Colony. (Which I’ll get to in a second) She didn’t even look human. But what a miracle that she survived because if she hadn’t who knows what would have happened to her daughter. Though emotionally absent at this point Debika has a chance to live with joyful girls that one day she’ll see as her sisters. She has a chance for an education and to have a safe place to call home. And most importantly she gets to live an environment where she can see & learn what it means to have a relationship with the Lord. Though slow progress it was amazing to see her rare smile. (: 
(Debika after getting her face painted)

The girls were for sure our highlight but some of our other experiences are one's we'll carry with us for life.

Leprosy Colony- I think this is the hardest part of the trip to put into words. For most of us, leprosy is something we’ve just read about in Bible stories which was true for me until we visited a leper colony run by an organization CMCT (Christian Missions Charitable Trust).  It’s an experience Bart & I will never forget for the rest of our lives. We were walking hut to hut hearing people’s stories and what we found was not expected. First of all, the physical toll you could physically see was more than I anticipated. Most lepers were missing limbs, had discoloration of skin, many had gone blind. These were at one time, psychologists, parents, professors, educated people and after contracting the disease credentials no longer mattered. They were rejected by society, family, and their bodies. Their lives would never be the same. Just when you begin to see them through the lens of pity you hear them speak. Speak of THEIR God who is so undeniably real. You hear their heart’s longing to be with Christ in this very moment. God & Heaven were not some far off vague idea, it was as real as their wounds.

This was the oldest woman in the village. (She had 5 children before getting leprosy) She didn't know how old she was but what she did know was that God is real and she wanted to meet him today. I wish you could hear the sincerity in her voice as she lifted her arms to say (Translated) "I cannot wait to celebrate with you in heaven." Are you kidding me!? She has no hands! No feet! Is blind! But SHE can see God's promises? SHE still longs for Him? We had tears in our eyes. She has nothing. But has absolutely EVERYTHING!

Before getting on the bus we met the most amazing man. Just as David danced madly in the king's courts this guy just could not contain his excitement for Jesus. After much singing, and putting his fingerless arm upon our foreheads blessing us he got all the more excited as he loudly exclaimed: “When you die & go to Heaven you’ll be in the presence of JESUS!” He'd then grab your hand and say (Translated) "Do you believe it!?" And when we'd nod yes he'd be overjoyed! Screaming & shouting out praise. He did this to just about all of us. Pretty phenominal!!

We again visited IJM which I love!!
IJM- (International Justice Mission) The stuff this organization does is straight out of a spy movie! Their mission is to stop injustices around the world. India…Has a ton of injustice. Slavery being a huge issue. Right now there’s 40 million bonded laborers in India (Human Rights Watch). That’s 500 less than last year as IJM went undercover at a Rice Mill & saved five-hundred people from continuing on in generations of forced slavery. The ways in which they secretly go about this mission is super intense & unsafe. Once, their undercover mission was blown and like a movie, were chased throughout the city, jumping train car to train car. Crazy! They not only free the slaves, but they have a team of lawyers to fight the judicial system. They are literally changing the culture of India, one mission & court case at a time.

Fishing Village- This community was built in efforts to recover from the 2004 Tsunami. CMCT provides each family with a small home, and a boat to share. Last year we heard from IJM that slave labor in the fishing industry is common. Slave “owners” would make people fish & make nets without paying them. This is community where they can now on their own free will fish, and sell in the local market. 

Sigh… Have you heard yet that we love India? (: It really is impossible to abbreviate life-long lessons that we experience in our time there. Both Bart & I can testify to both the little & great ways that we’ve personally been changed by the girls. So we have no doubt that they will grow into woman of influence; They are today, & will continue to be: Open hearted, Gospel giving, Jesus loving, Culture changing woman. And we love them with all our heart.

Thank you for joining us as we continue to work with the Home of Love.  Thank you for praying over us & our girls. Thank you for your donations of many kinds. Thank you for being a part of our lives. We love you.

Gratefully Yours-
Bart & Missy

I’ll be posting more India pictures on Facebook soon. (:

If you’d like to learn more about the Home of Love you can check out their website at:

Friday, July 8, 2011

Last Day...

As the sound of the morning traffic thunders in the streets below, we awake to the reality  of this being our last day in India. Although many are tired and long for the days familiar ground once more, emotions are, as always more complicated than that. While our realities consist of daily adventures to Starbucks on orderly paved streets, enjoying laughter with friends and family, digging back in to the grind of 24/7, fast food and fast paced, the reality for many of those here in India is not the same. 
Today is going to be a long day. We are leaving our hotel in about 3 hours to take the familiar bus ride to the Home of Love, which is on the outskirts of Chennai. The solitude of the surrounding village is quiet in comparison to the noisy city. The Home is a perfect oasis, and behind the newly painted gate rests the contagious hope and laughter that has infected each of us. Many of the girls have decided to dress in the native Indian sari for women. After we arrive at the Home we are having lunch then we are going to be a part of a baptism service. After the service will be our last time to hang out with the girls - this inevitably ends with tears in the goodbyes. 
Though our sadness is because of our known distance we rejoice in this:
The Kingdom of God is alive in India. The Holy Spirit is active and there is a coming revival. Today we will all be witnesses to that. In a culture that has all together deemed four girls worthless - in just a few hours they will publicly declare that they are NOT of this world, but they are of Christ. 
Four girls have waited several years for this moment. It is tough for us to understand this, because in the United States we have the freedom to be baptized at any moment. Yet, in India this is not the reality. At the age of 18, one can step outside of their families inherited religion of Hinduism and make their own decision to follow any faith the desire. Often this new desire is met with harsh resistance which includes persecution both emotionally and physically. 
Four girls today, although disregarded by their earthly fathers will find security in their Heavenly Father.
Four girls today will make a promise to advance the Gospel of Jesus Christ in India. 
Four girls today will make it their mission to love the poor and downcast. 
Four girls today choose the Kingdom of God over this world. 
And we are witnesses to this!
This is why the Home of Love is so important. Yes it provides the girls with food, clothing, shelter and an eduction. But more than much more than that - these girls are passionately taught the Gospel. They are equipped with the TRUTH of the Word and as they come to Christ they are filled with the POWER of the Holy Spirit. 
This is how we change the world - One Girl At A Time Through The Gospel. 
As we finish packing our bags tonight and head to the airport to board our flight home we will never forget “the HOME”. It is truly amazing the impact that just a few weeks can  have in our lives. But as we sit on the flight and fight to get comfortable enough to watch any inflight movie, we do so remembering this truth.....
By the time we lay our heads down to sleep tonight over 13,000 girls will have lost their lives simply because they are girls. 
The disturbing statistic is not the number of girls who will take their last breath today, but rather the number of those who know this truth and yet do nothing. 
How do you change a culture?  One girl at a time.  Do something.......

Workin' at the Home


Today we started our projects at the Home of Love. Over the course of the next week and a half the team will be painting one of the school's building and the front gate, as well as preparing the property for the new wall that will be built over the next few months.
The sun was bright today as we all put on our paint shirts and work gloves. Most of us are becoming accustomed to the heat; the key has been staying hydrated. We primed most of the building today and painted the front gate. Everyone worked hard for the Lord and some of His wonderful daughter's today. The before and after pictures of the building, gate, and wall are sure to be shocking.
The team works really well together. We laugh and joke together knowing that the bonds we form here are truly unique and life-long. We pushed through our fatigue with kind words of encouragement from one another. God has been faithful with answering our prayers for team unity.


We broke out the paint and were pleased with the color combination chosen by our more artistic team members. What was once a flaking dirty pastel yellow will be replaced by an olive green base with white and red accents. Approximately half of the building was painted just today! We were all more productive than anticipated.
We were faced with the difficulty of the leaking water tank on the roof. The water has caused a lot of damage to the wall and the tank. A thick layer of residue kept us from priming and painting a large section of one of the walls. The leaders decided to call a contractor to see what could be done about the water damage.
Aside from that minor set back, the team tackled the day's tasks with gumption. We were a well oiled body of Christ! The wall that had yet to be primed was scraped and sanded to remove the flaking coat of the previous paint. Hopefully the process will allow for the new paint to last longer and look better.
The gate received a second coat today and the Home of Love logo was painted on the adjacent wall. It is really shaping up! Those who worked on the fence/wall today were exceptionally brave. The fence that is currently protecting the property has to be moved back so the wall can go in its place. A few team members sustained minor cuts from the barbed wire that was moved. The cuts were cleaned and the team members were diligent and went right back to work.
After we finished work for the day, we spent some quality time with the girls. Bart and Missy taught the girls how to play Sardines today; they got a kick out of it! The older girls really enjoy visiting with us. They like to ask about our homes and our families, and tell us about their dreams and where they've come from. Some of my most extraordinary moments from this trip have come from talking with these girls.
The day left all of us wiped out. Some of the team went out to dinner and some chose to stay in, snack, and rest. There will be lots of work to do tomorrow.


The team has been doing devotions together every morning when we get to the Home of Love (HOL). After we spend some time worshiping we dive into the Word and discuss how it impacts not only our time here in India, but also back in the States. We are currently studying James and really appreciate how straight-forward it is while also trying to implement the challenges of 'faith with action' from the text.
The team continued to paint the building and the smaller fixtures (signs, railings, doors, windows). The colors have come together so well! The front of the building is nearly done, but the putty on all of the window sills has rotted out, so we are scraping it and replacing it.
Today in particular was a little harder than the two previous days, mostly because the team was really worn out from work and playing with the girls. We have really come to appreciate those who do manual labor as their trade! The fatigue caused spirits to be low and some tensions and frustrations. At the end of the day, each of us could recognize the factors at play, and come to an understanding and peace.
After we were done with work for the day, there was an incredible thunderstorm today that pushed us into the big pavilion. We made the best of it and sang worship songs and danced around. A lot of the little girls fell asleep during the storm. They are such precious gifts!
We are excited to see the finished product and hope to serve the girls in anyway we can with the time we have left.



Sunday, July 3, 2011

India Blog - IJM

This Blog Was Written Last Week And Is Being Posted Now Due To The Internet (or lack-of) Situation

June 28th, 2011

Today we had the privilege of being invited into the Chennai headquarters of IJM (International Justice Mission).  We had an excellent time of worship with the staff and then Nirup preached a brief message to the entire group.  The message was very applicable to exactly what IJM’s mission is: rescue and restoration to those that are victims of slavery (forced labor, illegal detention, police brutality, sexual violence, sex trafficking, or illegal property seizure).  

The Chennai office focuses on bonded labor, which is forced labor for long hours a day with little to no payment given for an entire family.  We heard some stories about the process that the staff goes through when they are brought information regarding a potential issue regarding bonded labor.  They were gracious enough to let us in on the details that are involved with each case they handle.  We were informed specifically about a case this year (which made worldwide news and tomorrow will be on CNN) in which 520 people were rescued from a brick kiln.  The stories they told were absolutely indescribable with words.  The oppressive conditions that people are forced to work in, with little to no food to feed their families; all with the impression that they are working to pay off a debt which continues to climb by the owner’s choosing.  These people believe that they are eventually going to be freed, which many times is not the case unless someone intervenes.  Besides the rescue of these bonded laborers, the other important thing that IJM works at is making sure the owners are prosecuted legally.  

They have lawyers who work on staff to study the Indian laws and prosecute the owners so they are unable to do the same thing again.  They also have social workers on staff that then work with the laborers for 2 years following their rescue to make sure that they are able to make a smooth transition back into everyday life of freedom:  through hygiene discussions, helping them get skills to get a decent job, etc.  All of this is done by IJM with the foundation of Christ.  They many times have to be secretive about their physical address of their headquarters and make sure security is alongside them wherever they go, but they do it because Christ has called us to help those that are less fortunate.  

Christ wants justice brought to these people, and the staff (worldwide) at IJM is the vessel on this earth that brings justice to these heinous situations.  It was a privilege and honor to be able to speak to this staff of people.  Their hearts for God are evident through their work and their everyday lives.  The rest of the day mainly involved shopping and then spending some time at the Home Of Love with the girls for a little bit, both of which were fun in their own ways.  The one thing that I have consistently been learning throughout this trip so far is the idea of the Kingdom of God.  Many times we surround ourselves with like-minded people with the same ethnicity and same worship styles, etc.  

The thing that has opened my eyes while in India is that heaven will not be secluded like this. There will not be sections of people that like gospel worship, sections of people that are Indian, or sections of people who are white.  We will ALL be worshiping God TOGETHER for eternity.  That is why I think seeking justice, through organizations like IJM, and caring for the hungry, widowed and orphans is so extremely important!! 

I praise God for opening my eyes to these things and I am excited to see what else He has to teach me the rest of the trip!!


Thursday, June 30, 2011

"... as real as their wounds"

When you hear leper what comes to mind? For real…Take a sec & think about it….

Maybe it’s suffering…Maybe it’s wounds…Maybe it’s merely a term that reminds you of Bible stories you’ve heard…For me, my first thought was rejection.  And in some ways that word is accurate but upon leaving the colony I’ve replaced that word with a new one…REJOICE! Our group’s eyes welled up with tears as we went hut to hut hearing people’s stories…

One man was very well educated, a Psychologist prior to catching the disease. One was a missionary & came back to see his daughter marry & got it. The woman pictured below had 4 children before she contracted it at the age of 25. One couple’s 5 year old daughter now lives at a hostel because they now cannot work & care for her And this is just to list a few.

Despite all these tragedies the believing lepers all rejoiced knowing that some day they would physically be renewed & standing in the presence of God for eternity. I wish you could hear the sincerity in their voices. Heaven for them wasn’t this far off hopeful idea, but it was as real as their wounds.

This woman was the oldest in the village (She doesn’t know how old she is) Her frail little body curled up upon her door step livened as she raised her fingerless fists in the air saying: “I look forward to the day I rejoice in Heaven with you!” In the world’s eye’s she has nothing but in my heart I envy her because her faith is everything.

We came across this man just before getting back on the bus. I think for many of us these last moments were some of our favorite of the day. As David danced in the King’s courts this man could not contain the joy that was in his heart for the Lord. After much singing, and putting his handless arm upon our foreheads blessing us he got all the more excited as he loudly exclaimed: “When you die & go to Heaven you’ll be in the presence of JESUS!”

-Missy & Bart


Monday, June 27, 2011

India - VBS @ The Beach

It would take more words than I have in my vocabulary to describe the 3 and a half days at the beach. The waves were stronger but not as strong as the lifelong bonds of friendship built in just these few days. The heat was at record levels, but the beautiful ocean was the backdrop for what turned out to be a great start to the trip this year.

Wednesday Night
We arrived at the camp on Wednesday night and as always spirits were high and laughter was in no short supply. Late afternoon chai with the girls is more than just a simple delight but something we have truly embraced. The night was spent is organized chaos as we all spent the evening laughing, dancing and playing any games the girls wanted. They love to sing so of course we did! We gathered in the Chapel and sang songs at the top of our lungs. It was a great night to start off VBS.

Thursday - Saturday VBS
....VBS. We start the day off with breakfast and then straight to the first chapel service. Music is always a must as these girls love to sing to Our Lord. We taught them a new song...well new for them..

I will dance I will sing to be mad for my King
Nothing Lord is hindering this passion in my soul

And I'll become even more undignified than this
Some may say its foolishness

They absolutely loved the tune and it became the anthem for the next few days. The chapel service had skits, songs and teaching....but more than anything it had the love of God and the Spirit of God flowing powerfully!

VBS also included craft time (making photo frames, music shakers, and bracelets), activities (face painting, balloon animals and shapes), snacks (delicious ones!) and of course teaching. Once again we instilled in these young girls the Love, Grace, Mercy, Compassion, Hope and Freedom found in Jesus Christ.

But let's not forget something here....we were at the BEACH!!! So swimming was the grand highlight of the day. These girls are fearless and attack the punishing waves with reckless for them much fun, but for us much a good way. We as a team had to make sure that every single one of these girls was well protected. By the grace of God no one was hurt and nothing happened....God was once again covering us with His Presence. All in all VBS was an amazing time. We all got to know the girls more and more and hear about their dreams and passions.

There is something very special when you sit across the table from a child who has been abandoned by her family, oppressed by her society and deemed worthless by her culture - and yet there we sit.....worlds apart in terms geography but united by the Cross. There is something moving in the hearts of all of we laughed, danced, drank lots of chai - we realized this....we came to be a blessing to them, but so far it seems that they are a blessing to us.

More to come...stay tuned...stay in prayer!


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Home of Love 2011 - Day 1

Much like the trips of previous years, this years trip began with much excitement and anticipation. While the excitement is continuing to build we are eagerly expecting God to move in mighty ways.

We arrived into Chennai around 330am and were at the Home of Love (about an hours drive) around noon. Lunch was served on a banana leaf and we all shared smiles and stories of the past as we waited to begin our adventures with the girls of the Home.

The girls greeted all of us with smiles once again. Immediately they ran to all of us, clinging to those they have known for years and just as fast making new friends with the new members of the team. Their laughter is one that cannot be explained except to say that the Spirit of God is here and alive....while unexplainable they may be, nonetheless they are contagious!

We taught them new games and they showed us what they like to do. But most of all on this first day it was the re-uniting of old friends.....loved family. They call us "brother, sister, uncle and auntie....even father.."....loving them is easy.....the way they love us is undemanding, but yet demands a response from our hearts - and that is to love them as well.

While many of us battled the weather and being tired no one complained. It was all smiles and I said, their laughter is contagious.

In about an hours time we will be heading to the beach for Vacation Bible School. Please pray for all of our safety. In addition, pray that the love we have for one another would grow and that the Spirit of God remains active in each and every one of us for these next few days!

You will definitely get some video of the beach in the next few days!!


Friday, June 17, 2011

Almost There....

In just a few days a group of about 25, representing 9 different churches will land in Chennai. The anticipation has been building for a few months now and the excitement to invest into the lives of several young girls is continuing to grow.

Over the course of the next 3 weeks our hope is to keep everyone up to date on what this team will be doing. We will share stories, photographs and short films...

We hope you follow what is happening and as you do keep this in mind: How do we change a culture of 1.2 Billion??

Answer - One Girl At A Time.....Live The Gospel, Share The Gospel.

This Is The Movement...This Is How We Change The World!

Nirup Alphonse

Saturday, June 11, 2011

New Website

We just launched our BRAND NEW website for The Home of Love India. We would love for you to come check it out and tell us what you think!!

Home of Love India