After a one day delay in London due to icy, snowy weather, Crystal, Rachel and I were finally on our way to INDIA, only to discover at the port-of-entry city, that our baggage was left behind in London. Finally arriving at our destination, we were warmly greeted by the Children's Home with beautiful garlands of flowers, and then literally "hit the ground running." A 3-day, 9 AM-6 PM, VBS for several hundred children had been advertised and scheduled to begin the very next morning.
Although we were a bit bewildered at the loss of our bags and all the wonderful items we packed for this VBS event, we determined to keep our eyes on Jesus, and trust Him to help us in this set back. After a nap and a good INDIAN meal, we met to see just what we had to work with. Thank God I had packed many Answers in Genesis teaching posters and my VBS manual in my carry-on. Rachel and Crystal have worked in AWANA for years, as well as other children's ministries, so we brainstormed together for creative ideas. God helped us pull so many things together...even with the extremely limited resources available to us. (I regularly thank God for sending Rachel and Crystal with me. They are PERFECT for the jobs God is placing before us!)
Our INDIA friends stormed around and decorated with a jungle theme, pulling in real banana trees, vines from banyan trees (imagine that!), and lovely plants. The girls from the Children's Home sat up late making butterflies to suspend from the ceiling, and coloring animals for the walls. A Christmas tree kept in the church (a previous gift from America) was decorated with our flower garlands and used for the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil...complete with a plastic snake peeking out from the branches. Local pastors were contacted, and helped us with props as well. Excitement was running high as everyone contributed toward the preparations.
Time and the excruciatingly slow internet connection prevents me from adding many details or pictures. However...this must be said. I THANK GOD FOR NOT HAVING OUR SUITCASES!!!! We were forced to cry out to God...the national workers did not lean on us, but pulled with us...and God met with us in an incredible way!
The following pictures will give you a glimpse into our VBS event.
VBS Director, Sudheer, said he has attended countless VBS's, but none to compare with this one. The children were asked if they wanted a 5-day VBS next year, and they screamed that they most certainly did. It is not such a bad thing when you have almost nothing at your disposal...but GOD. HE and HE alone gets the glory!
Thank you for your continued prayers. One day shy of a week, we received 5 of our 6 missing bags. They were pilfered through and random items are missing, but we are thankful to have what we do. The last missing bag is the one I wanted the most, containing my vitamins, medicine...and MAKE-UP! Do you know how humbling that is? But...I'm trying to learn what God has to teach me through all of this. And I am SO HAPPY to be here in INDIA, in the perfect center of God's will.
Hopefully I can post some amazing pictures from village evangelism soon...and our time at the beach with the orphans. And I will try to show a video clip of the VBS children singing...something you want to see!