2 villages same amazing welcome from all ages

Yesterday a new children’s home location – led by a wonderful pastor and his family…

Today, a new children’s home next to an elderly home – led by a wonderful pastor and his family… this pastor was the older brother of the one we met yesterday!

Amazing Women

We loved spending today with a group of local women in a project helping them to find work as well as discover hope and dignity.

We shared stories about our different lives, sang songs and joined together in some creative activities. We all had fun!

As ever we are so grateful to our lovely hosts and friends

Yay, we’ve started!

Praise God we are all safely arrived in Peddapuram, it was certainly a long journey.

Triple bunk beds safely negotiated, some got more sleep/food/drink than others. A once in a lifetime experience that we all want to do once and never again!

So at 9am (on Monday – apparently this was an Express Train!) we arrived and were delighted to be met by David, Suresh and Christina’s eldest son.

After an exciting tuk-tuk ride we arrived at the house and enjoyed the first of our three curries of the day (potato curry with chapati and boiled egg, beef curry with rice and then spicy chicken noodles). We are already amazed and so thankful for how wonderfully we are being looked after.

Treated as a novelty on the Bay of Bengal beach

It was a privilege to be taken to the beach and step into a part of the Indian Ocean (sort of, we think) but the really important part of the day began when we arrived at a children’s home close to where we are staying.

Using the story of Zacchaeus we shared with the children how important and precious they are. God knows each of their names and because they are valuable to Him he will take care of them and protect them.

This was followed with a few games and songs – we especially liked the song of praise and loud hallelujahs sung to us by the children.

We are now all ready for bed and looking forward to sharing good news, encouragement and prayer with different groups tomorrow.

A long journey… Not half way yet…

Great the team arrive and immediately gel together. We get through all the necessary checks and enjoy an early lunch.

Flight at 2:10 is just about on time…we land 10 hours later (5:40am local time). By 8am we are chilling in a hotel room before enjoying our second breakfast of the day.

It is 11am (Sunday) and we leave here in 5 hours to travel to the station for a 15-16 hour overnight train journey…

God is good…

Together As One Team

Harvest India Trip 2020 – Together As One Team

Prayer Letter

Dear Friends,

7 people, three from Minchinhampton Baptist Church (Alun, Diane & Sue F), two from Cosham Baptist Church (Simon and Sue B) and two from Banbury Community Church (Kate and Bethan) are heading off to India on January 25th to see the amazing work undertaken by the Christian NGO – Harvest India (HI). We go under the banner of being the Together As One team. As yet we have not received the itinerary for our time in India, so this prayer letter is written in the expectation of events that may happen.

January 25th: Please pray for safe journeys to the airport and that we gel as a team in the three hours before the flight leaves, as several of the team have not met each other before. Pray for a safe and uneventful flight.

January 26th: We arrive in Chennai India in the early hours of the morning and will be met by HI representatives. We then have a long train journey to a town called Peddapuram. None of us have been on the trains in India before. Please pray for a good and restful journey and that we settle into our accommodation swiftly.

January 27th – Jan 29th:  Hopefully we will have had a good night’s sleep and will be recovered from our travels. Each morning we will be spending a short time in devotional studies, sharing the leading between us, as we feel lead by the Spirit before we start our day. Please pray that the Lord will lay appropriate messages on the heart of each leader to complement the activities we undertake in the days we spend in Peddapuram. These could include:

  • visiting the Freedom Centre for women rescued out of prostitution,
  • visiting a smaller children’s home,
  • seeing how the teak tree plantation is growing since some of us first saw it in 2011 – not long after it had been established,
  • a village outreach event.
  • Visiting an elderly home

Each evening we will be preparing for the next day and any messages, drama or craft activities that may be required.

January 30th – February 6th: Please pray for a safe journey by road to Tenali and the HI Campus, where we will settle into the new accommodation block on campus. While in Tenali we expect to undertake the following activities:

  • Safeguarding training: Please pray for Simon Ford, Co-Pastor at Cosham Baptist Church who will be leading the training sessions with key member of the HI leadership team. The training will take place over two days, day one setting out the biblical mandate to keep God’s people safe and day two the signs, symptoms of and the mechanisms for dealing with safeguarding issues, Please pray that the training will address the cultural issues and will be received well, and for those tasked with helping interpret the words Simon speaks, for those whose comprehension of the English language is not as good as others.
  • Leprosy was declared eradicated in India in 2005, but it is still there and India now has the highest number of new leprosy cases in the world. In the past two and a half years, India has accounted for 60% of the global total of new cases.(Source www.downtoearth.org.ind). Pray for us as we visit a leper colony set up by HI and support feeding and the ministry to them. Pray for the medical teams who treat their wounds and for the pastor (who also has leprosy) living with them.
  • On the HI campus is the Rockharbour Orphanage where we will spend time playing games with the children and being entertained by them. Pray for Kate and Bethan as they take part in learning their dance routines, and teaching some ‘western ballet, contemporary and tap dance’ routines to them. We may also visit the smaller children’s homes, often based in the homes of HI staff members.  We often do craft based activities, play games, sing songs and bring a message from the bible.
  • On the campus is also a school where we hope Bethan will spend a day alongside children of her own age (10) as a pupil for a day. Pray that she will find the experience challenging and rewarding in conversation with her peers who want to learn more conversational English. We may also visit the Quarry College and the KSK College and other educational establishments.
  • Pray for the women in the Ashryah Centre, where women who have been rescued out of prostitution are given back their dignity, taught new skills from which they can make a living, and their children supported by HI.  Pray we would have comforting and wise words for them.
  • Pray for our visits to the homes for the elderly and widows. So many Dalit elderly are abandoned to beg on the streets when the family has to make the choice ‘feed the children or the elderly relative’. Pray that we can bring comfort and a word that shows them they are loved and matter to God.
  • On Sunday we will either be in the 3000 seat church (Kings Temple) on campus bringing a message or we will be in a small village church somewhere near Tenali. Pray for wisdom in bringing Gods word and for our translators who faithfully work alongside us translating everything into Telagu, as many in the villages do not speak any English.
  • Pray for Sue B as she spends some time teaching in the Nursing Collage in Tenali. Pray that she will be a blessing bringing her expertise to complement the amazing work undertaken by the Educational staff there.
  • At some point we will undertake a village outreach, often in an evening, where many will come to hear the Gospel preached, sing and be prayed for. They truly are wonderful to be at. Pray that we would bring the right message through drama, song and spoken word and that many will give their lives to Christ.
  • Pray for the women who make use of the HI night shelter for their children, as they ply their trade in the red light areas. Pray that God will impact their lives and that they will take the step out of prostitution and allow HI to support them while they learn a new way of making a living. Pray for us as we visit (during the day) and meet the HI staff who work with these families.
  • We may visit a community hospital and AIDs hospice. Pray for the medical staff who serve and for the free medical camps that are held regularly.
  • Pray for fortitude as we undertake a mercy mission, where we participate in the regular distribution of food to the marginalized Dalit. It can become very intimidating when there is a fear from those at the end of the lines that food may run out.
  • Pray for Sue F as she gives testimony at any opportunity we have to bring a message.
  • Pray for Diane and I as we lead the team and pray that no one will become ill, too fatigued or emotionally drained as a result of seeing the plight of the Dalit and other oppressed groups.

We will travel back to Chennai either during the day on the 6th Feb or through the night for our early morning flight back to the UK on the 7th. Please pray for these arrangements and for safe journeys by whatever method is used to get us back to Chennai from Tenali. We arrive back in the UK at around 1pm on the 7th to the cold and damp!

Thank you for your support. Knowing people in the UK are praying for us and for the team at HI is very reassuring.

We will be posting some pictures on FaceBook – Harvest India Visit – January 2020 ( ask to join the group) and writing a daily blog at www.coshambaptist.org/blog where you can follow our activities. Technology permitting!

 Our God is good and he is doing wonderful works through HI and we will only be too happy to tell you about our trip on our return.

Every Blessing

Together As One Team

Alun & Diane Davies, Sue Fairley,  Simon Ford, Sue Brooks, Kate Davies, Bethan Davies.