Christmas Eve 2012, Chillakallu, India
Water buffalo, dirt roads, trash smoldering in piles next to black and polluted ponds, colorful trucks with equally colorful horn blasts, sari-wearing women balancing water pitchers on their shoulders, tuk tuks weaving their way around motorcycles, dump trucks, buses, goats, people, and potholes that could swallow them up; this is the scene surrounding the New Hope children's home here in Chillakallu, which is a very small village near Jaggayyapet in the southeastern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.
My friends from back home, Chelsea and Kristin, have been teaching English and serving the kids here since early September, and my new friend and roommate, and Pastor Prabhudas' nephew, Ben has been here since October. Ben was raised in the States and has come over to live in India as he takes online college courses for the next few years. Another American from my same hometown area, named Kate, arrived a day after I landed, so it was convenient for her and I to rendezvous with Ben and Chelsea at the Hyderabad Airport to then travel by van the remaining 120 miles to the home.
|New Hope Church in Chillakallu.|
Pastor Prabhudas and his wife Ruth run New Hope Ministries, which is a family ministry that includes a children's home, school, and nearby church. They were generous enough to allow me to stay and visit here without even knowing me beforehand. He and his wife prayerfully considered allowing me to stay after I mentioned my interest in visiting to my friends here.
My previous plans to begin my volunteer position in Indonesia with World Relief has been postponed until after the New Year because of, what I'm learning to be, cultural differences in making plans and keeping them. The delay has been an unexpected gift, a blessing in disguise, if you will, and I'm being taught, once again, to be flexible to go where God opens doors for me. I honestly don't know what door will open next--after this month here at the children's home--but my approach to whatever's next is much more relaxed than it has been in the past. What will be, will be, and God's going to take care of the details. Amen.
|Older boys practicing a stick dance.|
In the meantime, I'm bent on playing as much with the kids here as I possibly can. There's football (soccer) matches, volleyball, cricket, and Muay Thai boxing to keep us busy during this holiday season--not to mention lots of "bombs" (fireworks) to detonate. It's a great blessing for me to spend Christmas and New Year's with 100 plus children, some Americans, and truly inspirational Indian people that have dedicated their lives to serving orphaned children.
This time right now has been yet another prime example of how "the heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps." Prov. 16:9.
God's guiding has been so much more meaningful and fulfilling than any trip I could have ever planned for myself. He is worthy of trust.