2017 India Mission Update 1

Imagine this... Each day the sun rises and peeks through the gaps in your handmade makeshift roof. You try to roll over but realise your younger brother has already rolled onto your side of the mat. The coolness of the hard ground is kind to you in comparison to the stale air that has warmed through the night from your family's body heat. As you lie there considering the day ahead of you, you feel the stabbing pain in your stomach, the remnants of the last meal you had yesterday morning reminding you that you get to eat again soon. But before that you need to get the water.

You slowly get up so as to not disturb your brother and slip outside into the cool of the morning. Knowing the sun will get hot soon, you enjoy the coolness of dawn. Picking up the plastic water container you make your way through the 700 residences similar to your own. Constructed with pieces of wood, plastic, canvas. If you're lucky you have a cement wall built on hard ground. The brightly coloured chalk on the pavement a reminder to the New Years celebration the week prior. Arriving at the water tap. The only tap amongst the 700 homes that gives clean water. Your third and final fill of the container for the week for your families portion. Passing your neighbours with the water, your parents are glad to have you return before you go to the program run by the Christian man. You look up to the apartments across the road and wonder about the differences between life there and here.

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Whilst half of our team has been to India before, we are still continually struck by the poverty in parts of this diverse country. We never feel fully prepared to walk through some of the places we go, and no doubt those on the team whose first time it is here are experiencing a whole different world.

After a long journey we spent the morning resting but in the afternoon we visited a slum and some local programs run by Christian Workers. The above paints some of the picture of the slum we visited. Hyderabad is a city where the poor live side by side with the wealthy. This slum has about 700 residences in it, of which about 30 are Christian families. The Christian Worker spends time running Bible programs for children and English classes as well as pastorally supporting the people who live there.

Following this we drove through a Muslim area in the city. We were told of the vision by a Pastor for a Christian Worker to have a fellowship here. To offer support, classes, love and opportunities to hear the Gospel. We stopped and prayed for this vision in this part of the city. For a city where there is a very strong Muslim population it is often difficult for Christians to minister to people freely. Especially in areas such as this where it is hard to settle and be accepted as a foreigner.

Whilst we battle with the mixed emotions of frustration, pain, guilt, sadness, excitement, joy and hope we are refreshed by hearing of the growing church. 'Local churches are growing' we are told, 'and people are coming to know Christ'. We spent time at a church with an outwards mission focus. Where prayer and making disciples are priorities in their ministry in this city and further afield. It was encouraging to meet with Pastors and workers and spend time in prayer for their ministry.

We spent some time at a local ministry which provides medical care for people with HIV/AIDS. Walking through the wards and spending time praying for patients and talking with them whilst often is difficult, is a precious time. We were moved to tears by what we saw and experienced. Some patients were in the last moments of their lives but clung onto the hope of Jesus.

Since arriving in India we have done so many different things. Visited the above places, a boys home, spent time with local Christians in fellowship, gave financial gifts, prayed with others and spent time together as a team meeting for devotions. Soon we will travel from Hyderabad via train to Narsapur where we will no doubt have more experiences to share the love of Christ in fellowship.

Please pray for continuing safe travel and health for our team, for the Christian Pastors and workers who spend time on the ground each day serving in ministry, pray for those who are ill, lonely and poor in lots of different settings. Pray particularly as well for our train trip, for the slum, orphanage, hospital and churches we have visited.

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