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.

Final full day – wow!

We got to the church this morning and wondered how God had answered our prayers and would any children from the village come to church?

20 minutes later we were getting the pews from back store and putting them back into the back of the church. The place was full up as 18 children and a number of parents arrived.

Wow, thank you God.

The team went through the 5 days in a great way telling of their highlights and the highlights of each day.

We then sang the songs from the week with children coming up to front to lead the singing. This brought biggest smiles from all the adults.

After this Simon and Sami spoke about freedom and life and then we had the privilege of distributing Christmas shoe-boxes

At the end of the service an elderly gentleman stood up and questioned Sami as to why we do not pray to Mary. It was great that Sami was able to answer in front of all the guests in a friendly and informative manner. But this man would not stop and kept the discussion going afterwards. An interesting insight into the mind of those from an Orthodox background.

After another marvelous lunch Sami told us of the history of the work in Ukraine and we prayed together. We  then watched the world cup final. After tea we considered how God has gifted each one of us…

We are

  • Royal Priest Steve: Faithful friend to all.
  • Royal Priest Katie: Creative and compassionate
  • Royal Priest Dan: Gentle and enthusiastic
  • Roayl Priest Mick: Humble encourager
  • Royal Priest Ekua: Contemplative seeker
  • Royal Priest Simon: Visionary Innovator with a heart for God
  • Royal Priest Sami: Wise and passionate
  • Royal Priest Cornelia: Kind hearted and passionate for God
  • Royal Priest Seraina: Decisive smiler

One final task was to pack and then finish making our thank you gifts to the family of this home.

We get up in 5 hours to catch the early flight to Kiev. We then will spend 8 hours in Kiev searching for a Chicken Kiev before catching flight back home.

Thank you for your prayers and support – we may be coming back here again too!

And this is a picture of the week’s winning injury…Mick begins a tear of his hamstring; possibly caused by playing drip drip drench!

Final Camp Day

Today’s theme was about following the makers instructions.

Ekua made a cake with dust, leaves, mayonnaise and ketchup.

Simon and Dan played a great game of Ukrainian netball. Although Dan was leading after a throw to something yellow, getting it though Simon’s legs and repeating sitting on a chair Simon had sat on, but he was then sent off by Simon for sitting on a chair with one of his legs in the air!

Instructions and rules are important…!

The day continued with the much requested water games, the ten commandments written on yellow lilos, and a brilliant empty tomb craft… Photos will appear in later posts.

In the evening we travelled to Chernovtsy and enjoyed worship there. Steve gave testimony, Simon shared more about what partnership means and Sami and Cornelia joined with  pastor Andrei and his wife Maria who sang brilliantly. She is not visible in video as she is playing piano behind the largest red rose heart.

 

The evening finished with ice cream in Jolly’s

Today is day off so time to get up bit later, to go to big market, to university where there was at least ten groom & brides, to lunch and evening grill at Pastor Andrew’s.

Please pray for the children and their families to come to church in morning.

Blessings

 

 

 

Freedom

People of God are led by Moses through the Red Sea

Today was a day of freedom. It was also a hot day – only when the sun went behind a cloud was it cold enough to go out into the main open area and play the great variation of duck duck goose, drip drip drench – each person begging to be the victim!

So we told story of Passover and Red Sea crossing and we illustrated with the Sticky Chair sketch and the donut story.

In the afternoon we were surprised when a man arrived to give out candy floss to all the camp. Apparently it is his ministry to go to any Christian camp and give away candy floss for free… And he was called to do this by God!

The day at camp ended with us using the chains made at the start of the day in a powerful illustration.

 

The day continued with plenty of time to engage with many of our team and hosts. Steve and Dan returned to the football pitch whilst the rest of us worked out how to make two lilos look like tablets of stone.

Then it ended with an emotional goodbye to our hosts Mimi, Illyanna, Tania, Damaris and Annamaria as they left us ‘home alone’ to go on holiday to Greece . They are all so keen for us to return next year! This request is mainly from Mimi who we primarily saw briefly driving us around or cooking us marvelous grills… We will all miss Tania too as she had become an important member of our team.

Tomorrow is final day of camp and a church service in evening.

  • Please pray for ongoing strength, energy and health
  • For the children to have great memories from the camp and for God’s spirit to speak into their lives.
  • For families to hear of the great time their children have had at the Baptist church (where the heretics are according to the local Orthodox church)
  • That God will use our week here to break down a bit more of the hold there is over this community.

When Dan shouts ‘vacă’ everyone lie on back with feet in air!

Great to see new faces at the camp today. Just yesterday we were reflecting on the stronghold that Orthodoxy is within this area, and so to see more families coming and engaging even in just a very small way is so uplifting.

Once we had played the normal selection of fresh games we began by making them all slaves and forcing them to make bricks… And they had to be good quality… Although Pharoah Steve became very generous.

The slaves cried out and we heard and demonstrated the first 9 plagues… Remembered by playing the classic game of Plague Coming…a bit like captain’s coming… But with Nile, frogs, cows and storm being among the instructions.

We had a good time of singing then we encouraged the children to write or draw their favourite things. These were placed on the ground and the cross made from handprints was put above then to show that Jesus should be more important…

Jesus is more important

Such a great camp and every member of the team is brilliant… The pastor and his wife and family, The family we are staying with, with their the daughters, and Sami, Cornelia and their children,  brother and his children. The whole team came over to ‘our place’ and or hosts fed the large group with much left over. Such a great family.

Games and chat followed this until the teams came out. One thing to be thankful for: on Ukrainian TV there is 15 minutes of adverts during half time!

The rest of the team are fascinated to see the look on our faces in the morning… We are teaching about freedom – how can we not be joyful?

PS Ekua ‘pill in bottle’ won a game this evening!

 

 

We cry out

Katie

Today was another great day. All the children who came yesterday came back today and we had 3 new faces!

The theme today was how do we cry out to God and how we  listen to him. The children seemed to really understand and engage in the sessions especially when making string telephones and taking the opportunity to make a personal response! Our relationships with the children are growing and communication barriers are being broken, even with some them trying to speak English to me.

This evening all members of the joint mission team  had the opportunity to go to a Ukrainian Castle! We then shared a meal together at pizza restaurant. The scenery, food and company were all amazing! I feel blessed to be a part of a brilliant mission team who are passionate about sharing the word of God.

We are prepared for another busy, exciting day tomorrow when we will look at how God is a ‘Great Big God!’

Please continue to pray that we can continue to build relationships with the children and that we are able to rest well in the evenings and be prepared for the next coming days.

Steve

Today was a great day. The sun wasn’t in “destroy” mode, so we managed to survive all the games.

I made a new friend today, called Misa. He was new to the whole group, but after all the activities, specifically asked Tanya to translate that he “will come back tomorrow”.

We also played Russian Pool, which consists of MASSIVE BALLS and tiny pockets, and had the most amazing home-made drink, which consisted of mint, lemon (need I say more?).

The castle (Khotyn Fortress) was quite thought-provoking, mainly due to the horrors downstairs!! It consisted of extreme torture devices that must have been used to either interrogate prisoners or for some twisted form of “entertainment”.

It made us wonder if Christians were ever persecuted in devices like these…. 🙁

And how would we face such extreme torture? Our prayers go to those crying out to God today as they are tortured.

Finding our feet

What a long day. Left this morning at 8.20 (6:20am UK time which it still felt like!) for the first of three services. Ekua, Mick and Dan gave great testimonies, Simon spoke and everyone else sang well. Sami also spoke at each church. These were churches where he and Cornelia worshipped at for 4 years – they left 17 years ago.

After the first two services (over before CBC started) we had a great fellowship lunch.

Final service was at 3 then another fellowship meal, with massive layered cake (see below)

We got home and pizza arrived soon after! My we ate well today.

Then 4 hours of prep to get ready for the morning. But we think we are ready to introduce the life of Moses – from birth to murder! Thinking of how we are all significant and that each person continues to be valued and loved even when they make mistakes. Really grateful to Tanya and Damaris for their help in preparation and translation.

Tomorrow I will get others in the team to blog and share their feelings and thoughts.

Tired but a great team.

PS we love the outside baptistries

 

Day 1 – so good to be a part of God’s family

When you don’t know what to expect you know you will have surprises.

First surprise was that Steve was waiting for us at the correct airport and the correct terminal.

Upon arriving in Kiev the first thing we noticed was the smell of garlic (not really) but we were keen to see the phones in the hands of the Ukrainians. Once social media had been checked the phone I could see, as I peered over his shoulder said 2-0 with just a few minutes to go.

A short wait in Kiev airport then we were back in the air with UIA on our way to Chernovtsy.

Upon landing we got our next surprise as the terminal looked and seemed like a village hall. No one was going in to the building though… why we thought.

Then came our luggage, climb onto the truck and retrieve your own!

We met Sami and travelled the short journey to Molnytsa.

The final surprise was our arrival at the place where we will stay. ‘This is an answer to prayer’ someone commented. No, none  of us had prayed for fine accomodation, this is simply a blessing from God given by a great family.

It’s now past midnight and we have an early start as we travel 40km to the place where Sami and Cornelia lived 15 years ago, then to two other churches. Simon may be preaching at some of these (in addition to Sami) and others will be sharing testimony.

God is good

Ukraine Mission with Teliu Partner Church, 7-16 July 2018

This Saturday, 7th July, a team from Cosham Baptist Church (UK), and Teliu Baptist Church (Romania) will be going on a joint mission trip to Ukraine.

The 6 from UK are Simon Ford, Mick Hamorak, Ekua Mills-Robertson, Steve Jacob and Katie & Dan Barnes

Some of the team were asked to give their hopes and fears:

Ekua
• We effectively communicate the gospel to the children that they can pass the message on to their family and friends
• We connect as a partnership between the two churches and are able to work together well

• The children enjoy themselves while doing the activities but understand what God is telling them through each activity
• Not being able to speak Romanian very well will prevent us from understand what the children want to learn from us
• That the children will feel patronised and therefore rebel

Katie
• I am worried about my chronic fatigue and really hoping that I do not become too tired and I can manage it with the travelling
• I hope to be able to form relationships with the children and people we come into contact with quickly
• Even though I am excited to be going to Ukraine it is ‘out of my comfort zone’ so I hope for peace as we continue to prep and when out there
• Hope that I am able to speak clearly and speak what God wants me to speak

Dan
• Worried about the getting enough sleep and having enough energy to give everything to the kids camp
• Hope to be able to use my skills and talents effectively for the team
• Hope to be able to rely on God and spend time listening to him in prayer, with the team and alone