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Impact India 360
A Word From Jim
Hello from Dowlaiswaram, India!! I have been attempting to post the first blog but the unstable Internet environment has made it difficult. Now that I seem to have few minutes of connection time I am excited to share some things with all of you. Before I get ahead of myself the photo to the left is of Keerthi Grace, Jaya’s youngest adopted daughter. This is the little angel that Craig dedicated in February of 2008 after her mother abandoned her, post delivery. She is a spark and a joy to be around.
For those of you that are not aware, this trip is not a “team trip” but rather one of the interim trips that I make in order to accomplish several things, most importantly continuing to develop an already amazing relationship with Jaya, his family, the CEM staff, the Children and GCH, and several Dowlaiswarians (my word). As there are several things to blog about this week I think it best to choose a topic or two for each blog, rather than attempting to shove a ton of information into one or two entries. One point of interest is that we arrived here to learn (or remember) that this week the Hindus are celebrating the festival of ganesh and the Muslims, Ramadan. For those of you that have been here, imaging the prayers from both groups over the loud speakers that take place throughout the day (and night) and multiply it times 6……Ambien is my friend 🙂
Let me first say that Sal and I are fully appreciative of the prayer and support of all who have been involved and aware of our trip. We have felt a covering and a peace about everything we have encountered to date. Moreover, we have been able to witness some amazing things that God is doing here through the faithful, diligent efforts of Jaya Sankar and the many committed staff members. Over the last couple of years they have become family to me and I feel (and am) so welcome here to the point where I almost don’t understand it. After all I am no one special but these people certainly have a way of making you feel that you are…….
Of the many items to cover, I will first begin with the STS (Sewing Training School) program. As many of you know for years there has been a program available to widows and single women where for one year they are trained in the vocation of sewing/tailoring. Upon completion of the program they are given a new sewing machine in order that they can both make clothes for themselves and their families, and have the opportunity to earn an income to support themselves. There is much I could say about how widowed women are marginalized in society but suffice it to say that the opportunities to support themselves are few and far between and the need for programs such as this is great.
At any given time there are around 25 women enrolled in the program. Now the really cool stuff….presently there are around 60!!!!!!! In the ever visionary mind of Jaya, he has opted to open up the school to women outside the village and to offer those traveling from greater distances to take up residency on the campus and attend the school during the day. This has caused exponential growth in enrollment for very little cost, but that’s not all. The program is now bi-vocational in that half of the day they are trained in sewing and the other half they are in a Bible program. The most amazing part about this is that all of these women are of Hindu upbringing yet because of the generosity of the program (no cost to them at all) they are open, willing, and wondering what this whole Jesus thing is all about. Way to go Jaya! I asked Jaya to have them line up for a photo today so that I could share with all of you this amazing thing that is happening here. As you look at this picture, imagine a nation of beautiful people (1.2 billion expected to reach 2 billion by 2020), and some of the most gracious people I know, a majority of which are suffering from a multitude of diseases, hunger, homelessness, prostitution, child abuse, and many other atrocities that make most of us uncomfortable to even talk about. As followers of Jesus we are commanded to honor some very specific directives if we are to call ourselves disciples of his; to love God and love others. Jesus, by example, gave us many ways in which we can love others. In particular Jesus had a special sense of mission to poor and oppressed people of which there is no shortage here.
Thank you for taking the time to read my rant and please continue to check for new entries each day until I return. (9-20)
Jim Mayes
Things to come in the next few entries: Hospital update, MTS, Some new ideas, etc…..

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