Searching For Pearls …loving God and the world.

5Mar/100

state of christianity

A video produced for Urbana 2009 on the state of Christianity in the world... notice how often India comes up... pretty interesting. What's your first response?

The State of Christianity from Urbana 09 on Vimeo.

4Mar/102

sponsor a child at bible faith mission

One way to further the work of Bible Faith Mission and empower a generation of Dalit [untouchable] children is to sponsor a student in the BFM School. The BFM School uses an international curriculum that is of the highest standard in India. So much so that many high caste families are willing to send their children to a school led by Dalit leaders. It is also significant that this is a school founded by Dalits, led by Dalits and focused in on equipping the next generation of Dalit students. It belongs to the Dalits.

We can partner in this move of Jesus in India by sponsoring students. Sponsorship [$25/month] provides for tuition, uniforms and educational material. There are many Dalit children wanting to go this school, but very few can afford it. The demand outweighs the resources. For now.

Prayerfully consider sponsoring a child to attend the BFM School. The program is managed by Partners International which is a US-based Christian missions organization that partners with BFM to reach, empower and equip Dalit and Tribal people throughout India. All donations are tax-deductible.

Directions:

:: Go to this link: Sponsor a Child through Partners
:: Scroll to the bottom and click "Sponsor a Child Today!"
:: Fill out the online form.
:: Under the dropbox "I would like to sponsor a child in...", choose INDIA.

Many thanks for your willingness to be a part of what Jesus is doing in India. You can direct your questions and comments to Partners International or to us at info[at]ihaven.org.

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20Jan/100

kid’s kamp

Here's a video of our Kid's Camp that we led for Bible Faith Mission in India. If you remember reading in earlier posts, we decided to scrap what we had planned for the camp and start from scratch the night before. It was a challenge for our team, but God was good to us and we made it through well and grew closer in the process. Check out the video summary and then get a little glimpse of Lauren midway through the camp... needing to grasp every ounce of strength to make it through... check it out.

Kamp from Elton Lin on Vimeo.

Dealing w/the 3-Legged Sheep from Elton Lin on Vimeo.

15Jan/100

alan in mexico!

Friends - Pray for Alan Hom who will be traveling to Tijuana to be a part of church and home rebuilding project this coming weekend [Jan 15-18]. Alan is in charge of a bunch of college students in a medium scale construction project. Look forward to hearing some stories and seeing some pictures. Go Al!

15Jan/100

india… the final chapter… part 2

As I said in the previous post, this is only the final chapter of 2009. In fact it's better analogized that these last 2 years are the first 2 chapters of a long, thrilling novel. And wondering after each page, "What's going to happen now?" or "What will God do next?" So it's really just the beginning.

As a disclaimer... I believe that God is doing an amazing work among the Dalit people right now and especially through BFM. We've spent a number of posts sharing about God's heart to bring spiritual and social liberation to an oppressed and often silenced people group in India. This continues to be the over-arching narrative of our relationship with Bishop and family and our connection to India. These final stories focus in on what God has been doing in us as we've followed him.

Let me expand on a few that sum up our entire trip:

:: Dave

I don't want to embarrass Dave. But I'm pretty proud of him. Yes, *tear*. He led well, enjoyed the kids, was a total team player. But that's not what I'm most encouraged by.

Dave's a diamond in the rough, a passionate guy with a huge heart and fighter's spirit. But the last few years have been challenging for him for a lot of reasons... juggling the responsibilities of taking care of his family, dealing with the pressure of living the Silicon Valley life and wrestling through things in his past. It's as if he's lived the last few years with a 50lb weight vest. It's hard to fight when you're carrying extra weight.

But India was in many ways a "rebirth" for Dave, if not a turning point. The turning point being Dave discovering that God does in fact know what he's doing, that he is faithful and that his love for him is unquenchable. And when you see that about God, you can't help but to be free. Dave and I have spent many hours talking through what freedom really looks like in Jesus... it's simple, but not easy... to embrace the freedom that Jesus has secured for us on the Cross. Like all of us, it's not hard to understand; it's just hard to live out. But beginning the few months before and then continuing into India, Dave started to "get it"; he began to really understand freedom and living with a reckless abandon for Jesus. He preached powerfully, led with conviction, shared with honesty. But even better... he began to hear God again. I mean really hear him... feel his presence, enjoy his embrace.

There's something about trips like these where you wake up and your goal is just to listen to God and do what he says. And when you start listening to God, you discover he's not an abusive disciplinarian, he's not the distant/uninvolved father-failure, he's not an ultra soft teddy bear. You discover that he deeply and passionately loves you and that he wants you to run with him on an adventure that'll stretch every part of your being. You'll experience God and life in such a way where you'll never want to turn back. It's not easy, but there's a truly intoxicating feeling of trusting and following Jesus.

There were many moments where I thought Dave wasn't going to make it on this trip. A few times where I thought his fear might do him in. But Dave's journey reminds me that God is constantly at work in us to root out the things that keep us back and help us take hold of the things that will give us life. I'm reminded that God doesn't give up on us, that he doesn't lose sight of our potential and that he's excited for each step we take towards him and his purpose for our lives.

I considered not returning to India earlier in the year - because I really didn't know why we were supposed to be there. Not that there aren't great reasons to be in India. But I just didn't know why WE were supposed to be there. If Dave was the reason... than that was reason enough. I'm excited to see what God has in store for him and this truly is just the beginning of his book. Keep reading.

BTW - I could share a story like this about each person on our team. Maybe I'll do that on anther post.

:: Puzzle Pieces - Sarah and Keren

We were on the mini-bus to Kanyakumari and I was sitting next to Promoth, Keren and Sarah. And Sarah asked Keren about this building on the BFM campus with a sign that reads, "Women in Rural Development." [WIRD] Keren shared that about five years back, she felt like God was giving her this vision of training and employing Dalit women in hopes of developing a people group that's long been marginalized in India. She bought several sewing machines and began employing local Dalit women to make clothing to sell in the local market. The problem was that they were able to produce, but had trouble distributing and selling. After about two years, the project came to an end and now the machines and building are largely unused and unoccupied.

After hearing that, Sarah then shares how she has had this long held dream of starting a baby clothing business. But she wanted to run it as a social enterprise where she'd employ people in distressed areas and a portion of the profit margin would be reinvested back into the local community. Sarah shared that she wants to do the design, will work on the marketing and distribution, but has never really known where to produce the items. And after Keren shared about the WIRD project, Sarah thought that maybe we could produce the items with Dalit women.

Keren shared that when the WIRD project came to end, she got a lot of criticism for investing in the machines and she personally experienced a lot of grief for her failed endeavor. She knew however that God told her to buy the machines, but she just didn't know what was to come of it. But God repeatedly told her to "wait". And so when Sarah began talking about her vision and the idea of producing the products in India, God reminded Keren right then, "This is why I was telling you to 'wait'."

As I said before, after the first trip, I still wasn't sure why we were supposed to be there. I gave a lot of thought to not going back. But God has been teaching me a lot in recent months about perseverance, about the value of "slow and steady". That often the real fruit comes only after seeing something to completion even when you're not assured of the results. In an "ADD" culture, it's really hard to live out.

I remember listening to Keren and Sarah's conversation and thinking to myself, "Man, I'm really glad we came." That even if we didn't do the medical clinic, the kid's camp, the pastor's training, that this was reason enough. We could not have orchestrated this; this had been in the plan all along. I had no idea... but God knew all along.

And again it was a sober reminder that my role is to follow. It's God's role to make things happen.

:: Not Here For You

I was slotted to give the opening message at the EMOS training gathering. I was actually quite honored that Dr. Selvaraj would ask me. When we got there, he gave me a very ceremonial yet warm and humorous welcome and I then went up to speak to a very select gathering of pastors and Christian leaders.

When I got up, two other men got up along side of me to translate into two different Indian languages. It didn't seem odd in anyway since we had everything translated for us whenever we spoke. But as we got started the rhythm [or lack thereof] of having what I was saying translated twice was throwing me off. It's hard to describe - all I can say was that I was flustered. And I ended up giving a very disjointed message and didn't really say what I felt like God was leading me to say.

On our way back to the BFM campus, I had to confess that I was feeling pretty down on myself. I was even thinking that I messed up a connection with a very innovative and intriguing organization that would have boosted Haven's mojo by just being connected with them. That's how pathetic and self-seeking I think sometimes.

As I was working through all those thoughts, the rest of the team was talking about Dave's last few months and his story of how he got here [India]. And Dave mentioned that his wife had shared a prophetic word with him but he couldn't remember it. And of course I remembered it. So I interjected and told them what Rachel said... that Dave would eventually have enormous influence and that the work that God was doing in him now would yield amazing fruit in the future.

And right then God whispered in my ear, "Remember... you're not here for you. You're not here to build the 'Kingdom of Elton' or the 'Kingdom of Haven'. You're here to build my kingdom." I immediately felt a bit of shame for having felt so bad. But the shame eased out quickly and I felt free from the pressure of building my own empire and exhilarated again to be a part of what God is doing in the world. Maybe my role was just to bring Dave or Sarah or anybody on our team to India. Maybe I'm just the bus driver. If so, that's more than OK. If that's what's needed for God to accomplish what he wants, then I'm happy to do it.

And again, I realize... I'm glad we came. I needed to understand my proper place - I follow him, he doesn't follow me. To understand that he is God and I am not. I'm glad we came so God could do a work in the lives of our team members. I'm glad we came to hear the testimonies of those women missionaries being sent back into hardest areas of India. I'm glad we came to see how much God has already done at BFM in just one year's time.  I'm glad we came just to be with Bishop, Keren and Promoth again; to hear from their heart again and be inspired by their passion and commitment.

Any one of those reasons is reason enough. But really the best reason over and above the rest is that God told us to come... and when he leads we'll get to see what our imaginations couldn't even dream. And we'll get to be the son or daughter that marvels at the grand work of the father and recognize all along his way is always better than ours.

To finish this monster post... I just want to say that I'm very proud of our team. Trips like these push at all the wrong [or right?] buttons, it reveals our character and it forces us to understand the Gospel once again. I sense also that we are playing a small role in God's move to bring revival and liberation among the Dalit people. God is doing a grand work through Bishop Moses, Keren and Promoth and I'm glad we can be a small encouragement to them. We learn SO MUCH from them. I feel very blessed to call them our family.

Thank you so much for praying and supporting us in innumerable ways. Your prayers were heard, your funds well utilized, your encouragement well received. Thank you.

So we look forward to the coming years... we've only finished two chapters in a long novel and we're asking, "What will happen now?" and  "What will God do next?" And I believe those are the right questions. We'll follow this post with more info on BFM and how you can partner with them in the near future.

Thanks again and on to chapter 3.

14Jan/100

india… the final chapter…

...for 2009 that is.

Sorry this has been delayed for so long. But let me wrap up what our team has so eloquently documented with regards to our time in India. Our first trip to India [last year] was indeed a first trip. We didn't know what to expect, we were learning from scratch and developing new friendships.

But this year God seems to opening the door wider, showing more of what it's inside. Shedding more light on why we're there, why God kept subtly pointing us towards India.

A quick rundown of our last few days in this post... and then some reflections on another post:

:: Shopping > Monday

We finally got to buy a few things; Keren and Promoth graciously took us into Trivandrum even though Jenis was sick. They have been AMAZING hosts and love us as family. We made 3 stops: tiffins, fabric and jewelry. And if we're honest, it was the Sarah and Heather shopping show with Christine tagging along. Faint interest from Amanda; none from Lauren. And Dave and I were just happy to have air conditioning. We ate lunch at a nice hotel... Dave and I had a Coke. It was gooooooood.

:: EMOS > Monday Evening

In the evening, we participated in a training event hosted by Evangelical Missions Outreach Service that equips Dalits to plant churches in some of the most hostile and unreached areas of India. Every year they host a training intensive to train and then deploy their workers into the field. We weren't sure what to expect, but we were welcomed very ceremoniously and lovingly by Dr. Selvaraj and Rev. Sudhakaran.

This year's class was entirely women from the most highly persecuted areas of India. It broke our hearts to hear stories of how many of the women lost family members, friends and homes to Hindu militant persecution. But it was truly inspirational to hear how these women found greater passion to continue their work to share about Jesus to a dying world. These women showed us the real cost of following Jesus. But also that Jesus is worth giving everything for.

It's unfortunate that we only got to spend a short time with them. We'll see if God would open up more doors in the future to support the ministry of ICRO/EMOS.

:: Tip of India! > Tuesday

We took a day trip with Keren and Promoth to Kanyakumari which is the southern most tip of India. It's a really interesting place because Hindu men must make their pilgrimage there at least once in their life. When we arrived there were tons of young men dressed in black and orange wandering the streets. There's something religiously significant about this location where three seas converge to one point... suffice it to say, the place was beautiful, the water warm and clean and it was a needed respite for the team.

We got to visit the two main sites in Kanyakumari, Vivekananda Rock Memorial and Thiruvalluvar Statue. Throughout our trip we'd discover interesting tidbits about each other... ie. Amanda LOVES killing insects, Heather is completely up to date on Fergie gossip, Christine loves jumping on random busses with kids. During our time in Kanyakumari we found out that Dave and Lauren don't like boats. After a little convincing and weighing the options, Dave and Lauren got on the creaky boat to take the short ride to both the memorial and the statue.

Left: Our beautiful hosts and partners, Keren and Promoth.
Right: At the beach in Kanyakumari.

Left: On the road to Kanyakumari through Tamil Nadu state... "Looks like Hawaii," says Sarah.
Right: We found the real location of the island on LOST. At  Thiruvalluvar Statue.

Left: Posing at Vivekananda Rock Memorial.
Middle: Ordered a Pepsi at brunch... needed straws though...  Dave keeping his lips away from the rusty bottles.
Right: India style brunch... delicious.

All in all it was a great day to see some really beautiful parts of India. Keren and Promoth were really informative and hospitable tour guides. And our little day trip was helpful just to expand our vision of India, gain a greater sense of the people and their journey. It was a good day.

:: Flight Out to SNG > Tuesday Evening

We got back to BFM mid afternoon tired and ready for a nap. But our day wasn't close to being over. We finished up packing, bathed and got ready to go to the airport to board our late night flight to Singapore. I think we were ready to go home... though not in the "pedal to the metal, don't look back" sense. At least not for most of us! We knew that God had done a work in us and our time in India had become way more than just "bearing with the elements." We knew we wouldn't leave the same and we were thankful for that. I was pleasantly surprised that most of our team wouldn't think twice about coming back. More on this in the next post.

We arrived in Singapore early Wednesday morning... way early, like 5am. We said goodbye to Dave who wouldn't do the debriefing in Singapore with us. It was a genuinely sad moment. As we walked out of the airport to board our transfer to the city, Lauren muttered, "I miss my twin." Amanda said, "That Dev is a very unique person." We all missed him... including myself! Whenever we were out and about, with 5 women, 2 men, we'd always walk in a line  - me at the head, Dave at the rear. I felt pretty secure and trusted Dave to make sure all our valuables [the 5 ladies] didn't wander off. We had a good time in Singapore, but it wasn't the same without Dave.

We spent the 2.5 days in Singapore eating heartily, enjoying ultra clean bathrooms and taking time to process our experience. I was encouraged to hear what God had been saying to each of our team members as we ate meticulously baked Asian pastries and McDonald's breakfast. I knew that God had a reason for each person to be there and it became abundantly clear during our debriefing time.

When we arrived back in SF, we were glad to see Dave and Rachel who graciously picked us up. We feasted at Dave's family's restaurant and reminisced the grandeur of the last two weeks. There was a joy of having lived through an adventure together and because of that we would share a special connection with each other.

I'll share a few post trip meditations on the next post - but here's the rundown of our last few days. We're glad to be home, but looking forward to how God will continue to expand our vision not just for India for what he's doing here and all over the world. Amen.

- Elton

6Jan/100

new home

We'll be transitioning over from our old blog searchingforpearls.xanga.com, migrating all the stories from previous escapades and using this as the new home for documenting missions endeavors for Haven. Check back for soon for more stuff. Thanks.

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30Nov/090

Sarees All Day Long – by Christine Kim – Day 8

Our last Sunday in India. Three churches visited.

This morning like last Sunday we split up into two groups to visit two different churches. This time Dave, Lauren, and I went with Bishop to one of the churches. Elton, Sarah, Amanda and Heather followed Keren and Promoth to their church where it also happened to be the church's anniversary.

Keren and her family had presented the women with beautiful sarees and for church we decided to wear them to be in our "best". The day before it seemed to be a hit with the kids when we wore it for the last day of VBS. This time we decided to be brave and try to attempt to put on the sarees ourselves without our professionals from the day before. The other girls did fairly well with the help of Lauren's lead. I tried to bring it back with previous saved folds but utterly failed after 30 minutes and just started all over; thankfully we all passed when the pros saw us.

Last time I went with Promoth and didn't have to share at the worship service, but legend has it, if you go with Bishop, be prepared to share something. Although we thought we had 45 minutes to prepare on the drive, maybe 20 minutes had passed and we had arrived. I jot down a few bullet points and had an idea of what to share. I was a bit nervous having never shared in front of church formally before. Lauren and Dave were pros at this point.

There was a surprise welcome when I felt a few pinches on my toes from some tiny red ants, but a warm welcome when we recognized some of the kids from VBS and coincidentally, they were also on the bus ride that Amanda and I went on the previous week. We followed the Bishop in and sat humbly in the front of the church trying to look formal in our sarees and necktie ready.

The kids shared what they learned from camp, with a summary of S.O.A.P. using the verse "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, soul, and mind. Lean not on your own understanding..." Then a boy who was maybe 3 years old recited about 50 verses in 2 minutes! I thought he was going to say a verse or two and then it kept going! Very impressive.

The Bishop prompted that the ladies would share first, then Dave. Luckily, Lauren went first and shared about her life this past year and the struggles she's been going through and how Jesus heals. Then I shared some of my testimony on how God spoke to me one night about missions and how I ended up in India. The kids shared earlier the same verse that I used about trusting in the Lord and seeing where he'd take me in this life. Thankfully for the translation time, I was able to gather some thoughts to figure out how I would transition part of the story together. It wasn't as bad as I thought it'd be (except for the guy falling asleep in the back) and it actually felt really good to share. It was Dave's turn next and he talked about his journey and how he made it to India. He also shared something new about a fear he had and had a similar message of trusting in the Lord and his future. The Bishop then summed up all our messages and then they blessed us with a yummy chilled green coconut to drink. Nobody got up to leave until we finished our drinks and left the building. I would have liked to stay and talk a little to everyone, but it was our time to go. They walked us out and stood by the gate while they bid us farewell.

Our group was the first to arrive home and had some extra time so we learned about Dave and how he wooed his wife. Very interesting stuff, but I'll let him tell you the details. It was about an hour or so until the other group arrived tired and drained. Everyone had shared and Promoth had to keep sharing until the food for the anniversary was ready. Since we had to leave for the evening church service at 5, three of us decided to stay in our sarees through lunch and the afternoon to not attempt to wrap, fold, and pin the outfits all over again. Thus, sarees all day. Lauren would say, "Yes, my Christmas ribbon," because of the stiff and plaid material. Heather had "extra" material because she was so petite and it was another challenge because hers was so soft it was bunching up and poofing out under her. We managed.

It was a long, dark bus ride to the church that met in the evening but we arrived safely to the sound of drums and singing. It was the first time our whole group was able to attend a service together. The church welcomed us with open arms and even had a few well-prepared performances. The young girls had beautiful white dresses with scarves over their heads and even glitter makeup on their eyes and cheeks. They danced gracefully in a circle around a boy who was portraying Jesus. Then the boys danced to a local song cheerfully shaking their hips with their hands on their waists and stomping their bare feet. Everyone was very impressed. Elton spoke his message about God remembering His people in India, and how He'll never forget them even when He doesn't seem to be around. We were able to talk to some people afterward and one lady came up to me gladly sharing how she was a teacher too at a local school. The girls giggled after their pictures were taken and we shook hands with a few of them. As we got on the bus, a few boys ran up to us to say a few last words, and everyone smiled and waved goodbye as we waited for the bus to leave.

All in all, it was a lot of church to have in one Sunday, but it was an honor to be accepted the way that each person did. Our sarees made it through the day temporarily, but the memory of the warm smiles and handshakes from these people will remain forever.

27Nov/091

Last Day! – by Dave King – Day 7

>> Children's Camp: Day 3 of 3

Our last day at kids camp! The kids actually got some sleep from the night before; unlike the previous night where they stayed up all night. I was actually kind of disappointed that they couldn’t pull another all nighter, because I was planning on joining them for some cricket. The kids told me how much fun it was from the night before and wanted me to join them, but for them to be awake for 48hrs straight was pushing it. Part of me didn’t mind getting some sleep because I wasn’t sure how I would function at camp after staying up all night.

Kid’s camp started off with Elton leading the group in a devotional. After the devotional, Bishop got to spend some time talking to the kids and testing them on what they learned throughout the camp. One thing I will point out is that whenever Bishop is talking, people listen. This just shows you how much Bishop has done for the community there and how much the people respect him. I was lucky enough to go to church with Bishop on both Sundays and had the honor of having Bishop as my translator. I figured if my preaching sucked, Bishop would use his power and make it meaningful to the congregation.

After Bishop was done sharing with the kids, we went into our last lesson of the camp. This lesson was led by Christine who shared the story of Jesus walking on water. Christine and Amanda stayed up late from the night before writing a script so they can use the puppets to teach the story. The puppets were well received by the kids as I’m sure this is not something they see every day. We ended the lesson with some self reflection time by using the SOAP method. (Scripture, observation, application, and prayer; this was a favorite method of some of our leaders =)


After the lesson, it was TEA TIME! Tea time is something I wish we had in America. Twice a day, the kids must stop everything that they are doing and go get their milk tea. At first I wasn’t used to the idea of stopping everything to have tea, but toward the end of the week, I was loving the idea!

After the kids loaded up on their tea, it was time for some good old piñata time! Earlier at camp, each group spent some time decorating their piñatas so we could fill it with candy only for them to later destroy their lovely creation. We broke the kids into four groups, 3rd & 4th graders, 5th & 6th graders, 7th & 8th graders, and 9th & 10th graders. Each group gets their own piñata to destroy. As you can probably imagine, a game where the kids can use a stick to hit a box as hard as they can in hopes to get some candy can get pretty crazy. I believe most of the 3rd & 4th graders each got a chance to hit the piñata since it took the whole group to break the piñata. By the time we got to the 9th & 10th graders, you could feel the excitement and energy in the room. The kids were not only loaded on tea, but now they are loaded up on sugar as well. When a 10th grader finally broke the last piñata, someone told all the kids that everyone (all 93 of them) could go up and fight for the candy. I was standing in the front and all I saw were a sea of kids charging up to the candy pile as if someone had just discovered a gold mine. It was NUTS! Sending all the kids up is definitely not something I would recommend we do again in the future, but since no one got hurt, it was pretty awesome to see kids diving into the pile in search of candy. Another thing I noticed was that all the older kids would share their candy with the younger kids who weren’t able to get any candy. I’m just thinking to myself, man how do I teach that to the kids (or even some adults) back home!


Pinata Time! from Elton Lin on Vimeo.

Every fun camp must come to an end. As we finished cleaning up the piñata debris, it was time to sing our theme song one last time. After the song, we got together to take one big group picture. As we began saying our goodbyes to the kids, it was a bittersweet moment. We were all worn out from camp but being able to hang out with the kids really brought a lot of joy to my heart. The kids would come up to us and ask if we would come back again next year. A few days ago, my answer would have been “I’m not sure”. But now I can confidently say that “YES, I would come back if God allows me to”.

I want to wrap up the kids camp with one of my favorite moments. On Saturday night, after we finished watching the movie, we had about 30 minutes to burn before dinner. Karen and Promoth brought out these Christmas cards for the kids to decorate. At first I wasn’t sure what the cards were for, but after looking at them closely, I realized that these are the Christmas cards that the kids mail to their sponsors back in US. It finally hit me, I realized that these are the kids that you see on people’s refrigerators when they sponsor a child through Partner International! I don’t know why, but that hit me pretty hard as I never thought I would meet any of those kids that my friends sponsor from back home. It also made me realize that it is because of the sponsorship from back home that these kids even have a chance to get an education. I was watching the kids decorate the cards and I could tell that they are very thankful for their sponsors to give them the chance at getting an education. I know these kids work very hard at school to take advantage of the opportunity that they are receiving. My message back to the sponsors is that, you ARE making a difference in these kids’ lives.


The camp ended around 1pm and we were supposed to head out to the southern tip of India that afternoon; however, due to the heavy rain we proponed the trip to another day. Since we were stuck indoors, we got to hear more team members share their stories. I really enjoyed the time where our team would open up and share their stories with each other. The stories were very encouraging as I was able to hear about how God is faithful and how God never left us. For me, this turned into a common theme. Seeing how God was there for everyone and how we just needed to obey Him. I’m also very thankful that the team allowed me to ask them the hard questions and not just giving me the dirty look or shutting me off. I’m thankful that I was able to be part of this team and I look forward to working with them again in the future.

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21Nov/090

Gum! Gum! Please! – By Heather Kwong – Day 6

>> Children's Camp: Day 2 of 3

Dear Readers,

The week is coming to an end and I am proud to say that we have survived numerous mosquito attacks and 12 straight hours of kids camp. Though it was long, tiring, and some parts brutal, it was still an awesome and enriching experience. Which parts were brutal you ask? The ARTS AND CRAFTS! Don't get me wrong – I love arts and crafts. I actually crafted all of Russell's badges from UP out of felt for a friend's Halloween costume. I also give Sarah props for her creativity in putting all the arts and crafts together. It was more the chaos and lack of control that I didn't like, which I admit was my fault.

The first craft was making a piñata (yes, we're bringing a little Mexican culture to the kids in India). I basically just dumped all the material into the middle of about 20 kids and let then go at it. Let's just say it wasn't the best idea since kids don't really understand the concept of sharing. The second craft consisted of creating a puppet sheep out of a white paper bag and gluing photocopied sheep parts (the face, ears, arms, legs...) cotton balls, and googly eyes to it. Since we only had one bottle of glue and I needed to gain more control, I decided it would be best to hold onto the glue and give it to the kids as needed.

- "Ma'am! Gum! Gum!" (They call glue gum)
- "Ma'am! Please! I beg you!"
- "Ma'am! Eyes! Eyes!"
- “Ma’am! I only have three legs!”

Now just repeat that for an hour straight and that sums up all of our experiences making the sheep puppets.

For those of you who know me and know of my “special” speaking skills, you would be pleased/surprised to know that through God's empowerment and with Elton's help, I delivered my first ever teeny-weeny mini sermon about Jesus feeding the five thousand and being the bread of life. Lauren gave hers on Jesus healing the sick. Speaking only for myself, it actually wasn't nearly as terrifying as I thought it would be and felt good in the end. Although, I'm not sure if I would jump at the next chance to preach given the opportunity.

As kids have much more energy than the old geezers that we are, we took them outside to play amoeba and sharks and minnows. You would think that after running around so much they would be pooped and tired, right? They actually came back in with more than enough energy left to put on a talent show for a full hour. I was pretty amazed by some of the performances, especially by the kids in my group (coming from a biased view of course). Two of my girls who would always giggle and hide their faces every time I ask them questions actually volunteered to sing! Another performance that really surprised me was the Michael Jackson performance led by Jibin, also part of my group [see video below]. This boy had all the Michael Jackson moves and totally melted my heart when he started to moon walk across the concrete floor. I want to take Jibin home with me.


We ended the night by watching Chicken Run on the projector and drawing thank you pictures for each kid's sponsor. Watching Chicken Run with the kids was great. Even though they didn't understand all the words, they still understood the movie and cheered when the villain fell into the pot pie machine and got a taste of her own gravy. I was also a little worried that some might turn into vegetarians because of the movie, but all fears were subsided when I saw them eat chicken for dinner later that night.

All in all, it was a fun day and it was such a blessing to be with them for 12 hours out of the day. They are always so joyful and happy to see us that it really touches our hearts. There are about 93 kids total and whenever we split into our small groups, my kids always rush into our meeting corner shouting, “Ma’am! Sit here! I got a chair for you!” while placing the chair next to theirs. It’s also really cute when they try to scoot in their chairs from behind to sit next to me. Elton was right: even though I don’t have a whole lot of knowledge to offer these kids, just the simple fact that I am here is enough.

That's all for now!

- Heather

>> Day 2 Video

Children's Camp 2 from Elton Lin on Vimeo.