Wandanalu and greetings again from Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, India!
This is probably the last email update I will be sending from Guntur (where I've been for the last two weeks) as we are leaving tomorrow (Sunday) evening to meet up with the rest of the group in Chennai. I'm really looking forward to seeing them and to swapping stories! After arriving in Chennai, Monday and Tuesday will be spent sightseeing and shopping. We depart the Chennai airport Wednesday morning, have about a day of sightseeing in London, and arrive in Chicago on Thursday afternoon. If that sounds like too much to fit into that short amount of time, it's because there's a 10.5 hour time change. :)
Our time in India has been an incredible blessing, and I've so enjoyed getting to know the Benjamins and others -- they are wonderful people full of Christian love and hospitality. It's also been wonderful interacting with the orphans and all the children. I'm really going to miss those from the CLCI compound! And although I'm looking forward to coming home, I know it will be sad to leave them all on Sunday!
More about the CLCI Bible College
In my last email, I had talked about the CLCI seminary. I wanted to share a little more information with you. I had previously indicated that there were 17 students, but it turns out I was wrong. There actually are 32 students enrolled! There were 17 in class that day because of a bus strike and working in the fields. The maximum number of students they can take is 32, and there are actually nine on the waiting list! The students attend the seminary for three years, and in spring of 2008, there will be 14 students graduating -- the 10th graduation of the CLCI Bible Institute. The students range in age from 18 to 40.
I also learned more about the orphanage. The orphanage has a capacity of about 30 children. They range in age from 5 up to about 15. For various reasons, the children can not stay at the orphanage past about age 15. Fortunately, the government has a program that pays for childrens' schooling, higher education, and dowry, and also gives them a job! Students can qualify for this by performing well on a particular test, and from my understanding, many of the children at the orphanage do this. Even though the children leave the orphanage, they have been brought up in biblical teaching and with the knowledge of their Savior, so when they leave, they still stay in the church and continue in faith. Praise the Lord for this blessing!
Shout His Praises from the Rooftops
We have only two more VBS sessions left. Brother Jyothi reported a couple days ago that we have reached more than 900 children already, plus adults -- wow! But Brother Nireekshana also shared something that I hadn't thought of.... In addition to the children and adults who are present at the VBS and prayer meetings (some CLCI members, some other Christians, some unbelievers), there also are people sitting in their houses nearby hearing the message projected over the loud speakers! We are reaching even more people than we realized! What a blessing! May God's Spirit work saving faith in their hearts.
Thank you, as always, for your continued prayers and support. May God fill our final days with good memories and productive work through His Spirit!
To Him be the glory!