Greetings from Suryapet. On dial-up - remember that? Visited an interesting foundation in Hyderabad; Hugo loved the MBA speak - the 6 P's and 5 R's! Drive to Suryapet was spicey, and we have guards at our hotel from the local police. Today we have spent with Samson. Visited his project, which was wonderful. Lots of fantatsic smiling faces and opportunities to tell them "Jesus loves you". We also visited the "field of dreams", and travelled to a village church where God showed up big time, and several people were prayed for -- please pray for one lady in particular who seemed to experience deliverance, and made so much noise she grabed a large teenage group on bikes... enter a fantastic youth event, sharing about how Jesus can deliver us... BRILLIANT!
Please pray tomorrow as we meet as a team and propose some new ideas... we need to discern where God's next step is.
Our turn. Back in the hotel after a long drive out to the dalit villages 70km or so down the coast. A bit of tourism on the way at a big rocky lump called 'krishna's butterball' but more resembling one of king kongs droppings.
We arrived at the village to see a large croud of 50 or so people by the side of the road on the plot next to the church. Seemingly just for us, the local witch doctor spirt dude had turned up and was about to slaughter a goat and summon spritis and demons and goodness knows what else. Kevin was not peturbed as he said the presecne of praying christians means their side show would not work. The atmospehere was dark and unplesasant, detectable, even by someone like me not much given to feelings, as lump in the throat, a bad taste in the chest.
We sat in the small church and prayed with the wife of the pastor and her young child. On the 27th of December, one month before, her fit healthy husband of 38 years of age had dropped dead, apparently from a heart attack. The un-welcome presence of the christian church in the mostly hindu village and the beating of the spiritists drums were a reminder that perhaps physical symptoms can have spiritual causes. It was very sobering.
Soon the leaf clad wild man and his accomplice stomped off minus goat and we begun to visit the local homes, praying with the people. The houses were small, mostly of wood and straw with tiny low doors that allowed entry only to toddlers or bent triple adults.
The atmosphere lifted as the 40 or so children of the vilage came home fofrom school and joined our caravan, shouting and laughing behind us wherever we went. It was like a march for Jesus lead by giants. We also managed a woirld record in the 'how many children can you fit into a very small hut' competition. (27 if you are interested, plus 8 adults and a baby.)
We prayed for health and support. the people work long hours in the fields planting rice or tending cattle. They get up at 4am, go to the field at first light, come home when it is dark and go to sleep on the mud floors.
At least 2 families who had converted from Hinduism to Christianity and were leaders in the church had receieved remarkable provision in their work which had enabled them to build much better brick houses, still little more than tenements by our standards but remarkable in such a village.
We drank the hot sweet tea they call chai with milk that I had filmed coming out of the cow 5 minutes before. Sam and Stuart, much to the other's slight disappointment , have discovered they are both closet Twitchers and every so often there would be a shout of 'look at that!' and 'what on earth is that bird?'. Birds became a theme as we saw the village ducks being herded back to the huts for the night.
The stuggles of the Dalit in a society that rejects them and tries to simply ignore their existance were highlighted again as was the shadow of alcohol destroying the heads of the houshold.
Tomorrow, pleaae pray for Sam as he goes to see the Bishop of Madras ( a very important man ) to look at their Dalit education program , for Hugo and Phil as they travel the spicey road once more and for the rest as we attend the church prayer meeting, interview the rest of the children and return to the slums to do a bit more filming.
Day 3 photos