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It was another good day here (a little hot but good). My favorite part of the day is the walk to school. We start out in a very long line 2 or 3 wide and walk about a mile or so through town to drop off the kids. We step in the middle of them and they all want you to hold their hands. They try to teach you Telugu (the local language) all the way there. Everything you pass they give you the translation. They even translate the word for poop (they get a kick out of that one). The best part is when all 100 or so of us get to cross a very busy street with no stop signs or anything.

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Hey everyone! Chris here.

It was another fantastic day here on the CEM Campus. The team is really in the groove now and are churning out all sorts of activities for the JEMS and the Grace Children’s Home kids. It was water balloon day on campus and we had all kinds of fun teaching them the water balloon toss! Some got it right away, and some warmed up to it more slowly; but I wonder if we had more fun watching the kids than they did playing the games!

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Jim here. I was planning on waiting to do my blog update until the end of the trip but with what transpired today I changed my mind (or Chris changed it for me).
The mayor of Dowlaiswaram shaking hands with me? What is that about? What it is about is a display of God at work forming relationships and bridging any cultural or religious divides. A meeting was held today with not only the mayor, but the entire city council consisting of 20 members. The purpose of the meeting was to acquire full city approval of both the construction and operation of the CEM Hospital, which will provide free health care to the poor. After some tense moments, we were able to secure a letter signed by the mayor and the council granting full approval. Ask for more details!

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Hey there – Sarah here.

After visiting the market and attending church, the team spent some time playing with the children. I have to say, one child with lots of energy is enough to make you tired. Add to that 199 more and you have CEM. We played games, sang songs and passed out basketballs and kick balls. That went over well! They were so excited! Chris even made bubbles. If you want to grab the attention of 200 children…bubbles will do the trick!

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Hey everyone! It was another fantastic day here in India. I thought about it and I can only imagine that you are getting pretty sick of hearing from me all the time (ha!), so I’ve enlisted Jill and Sarah to give us a fresh perspective on the day’s doings. Before I go, I’ll just ask you to pray for us as we get into the meat of our work tomorrow. The team will be teaching at JEMS, meeting with officials from the City Council and visiting one of the local churches that Jaya has helped plant!

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Hey everyone –

It’s 8 pm here in Rajahmundry and the evening call to pray from the local mosque has just rung through the languid air. Just wanted to drop you a short to let you know that we were all safe and have arrived at the CEM Campus.
Getting here was a little more complicated than we thought it would be. National elections are coming soon and a long time local political dignitary had flown in just before our plane did. Try to imagine what a pain getting around town can be when Air Force One flys into Detroit Metro and you’ll have some idea of what we were dealing. This guy’s plane was quite a bit smaller, but the crowds were truly enormous.

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Chris here just checking in!
We flew into Hyderabad a few hours ago and all is well with the whole team. I am really struck by how things have changed over the past seven years. The new Rajiv Gandhi International Airport – just opened in March – is truly a crown jewel for India and is a testimony to her new found wealth. This massive structure of steel and glass has all sorts of amenities, including a Hard Rock Cafe (gotta get that t-shirt!) and layover lounges where you can relax and freshen up. So for the first time ever, I’ll be coming into the CEM campus having showered and shaved! I gotta tell ya, this missions stuff is suuuuch a burden sometimes! (grin!)

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Hey Gang –

One more thing before we take off:

I wanted to leave you with a prayer calendar so that you have some idea of our plans and what you can specifically pray for:

Thursday the 6th:
– Team departs Detroit Metro at 7:00 p.m. with our first stop in Amsterdam.
– Pray for safe travel and good rest on the plane.
– Pray for Renee!

Friday the 7th:
– Pray for continued safe travel and for quick acclimation, as we begin to experience India and its many differences from our own culture.
Remember that India is 10.5 hours ahead of Detroit Time.
– Pray for Chris!

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Hey everyone –

In 72 hours, your friends and family members will be checking in at the McNamara Terminal at Detroit Metro Airport for the first leg of what will be a grueling travel itinerary: eight hours from Detroit to Amsterdam, nine hours from Amsterdam to Hyderabad with hours of layover in between. But for the first time, we will be foregoing the train or a bus from the Hyderabad airport to the CEM campus and flying to Rajamundry instead. I’ll be interested to see how things go as we will be missing a lot of the grittiness of ground travel, which has both plusses and minuses – more on that later.

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Hey – Chris here

I’m starting this a few hours after our last team meeting and the frantic preparations are continuing. Suitcases full of crafts (and candy!) are being packed and weighed for the endlessly contracting airline regulations. We are each taking two bags that are stuffed mostly with things we are leaving behind in India!

This is my fourth trip and God has assembled a great team of seasoned veterans and a few passionate rookies for this first-time November trip. I still have to get a few photos of the team, so I’ll wait until tomorrow to introduce them. I just wanted you to know that we will be posting entries as often as we can along with a few photos to give you a flavor for the trip and the marvelous people that God puts in our path.

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