While we’ve been blessed with far less rain than forecast, there was still enough downpour in the hill country to cause a major chunk of a main highway to slide down the mountain. Thus, we could not travel to Kalimpong on Sunday as scheduled. The plan was to leave 6 AM on Sunday morning to join in the local church service, and stay through Monday to hold an eye clinic. Since "missions work" is often synonymous with "subject to change", we instead participated in worship, teaching, and prayer with the Siliguri church family's Sunday morning service, then after lunch drove a bit over 2 hours east to Nagrakata (along a modified route as the main road also was damaged by rain) to join the church family there in a late afternoon service, driving home to arrive in time for a late snack just before bedtime. It was a full day, but now I know I'll never pass up the chance to join in worship with believers in India. I know Jesus doesn't play favourites, but the full participation in joyful and unfettered outpouring of thanks to God is sure to make His heart overflow with delight.
|Stopping at the tyre shop for air|
|Efficient family travel en route to Nagrakata|
|Nagrakata street view from above the church|
|Nagrakata church service|
We did stay on schedule for Friday evening's Family Encouragement meeting and Saturday's participation at two Community Development Centres (CDC) sponsored by our host church. These provide a safe place for children and young adults to receive qualified, no-cost educational and life-skill lessons - school tutoring, sewing, music lessons, marketable crafts - and also the opportunity to attend Bible classes. Morning classes were in CDC rooms on an upper floor of an apartment block, and we then drove to a neighborhood closer to the tea gardens for afternoon meetings in the courtyard of the host family’s compound. Most of the parents of children at the afternoon CDC work long days in the tea gardens, and the children are left on their own much of the time and often do not attend school regularly. They receive weekly tutoring and instruction, as well as encouragement to pursue their schooling. But more importantly, they receive love and attention, and tangible reminders that Jesus sees them and loves them.
|Community Development Centre (CDC) 1a|
|CDC 1a: Sarah teaches bracelet making|
|CDC 1a: Guitar instruction|
|CDC 1a: Sewing instruction|
Tomorrow morning, we're off to Darjeeling. (Let there be tea, glorious tea!) Skies are forecast as clearing, so we'll follow up with scenic photos!
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