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Arriving at Shalom home we were warmly welcomed with a live band and a full program including singing, dancing, and reciting of scripture.
After we taught a music lesson, the girls pressed in all talking at once. “Seeeeester, what is my name??” They were so disappointed when we couldn’t remember every one of their Tamil names after 45 minutes.
Hannah took pictures of each girl holding a white board with her name on it. Hopefully by the time we go back next month we will have them learned!
One girl asked me (Annaliese) if I had a skin problem as she stroked my white arms and pinched my checks. I tried to reply “no” but another little girl standing there folded her hands and said, “I will PRAY for you!”
Day 2 – The women of Bethania’s Women Empowerment Program (WEP) had a retreat and we were asked to share with them. These women are learning about Jesus as well as seamstress skills to help support their families.
During the afternoon session us “sisters” slipped downstairs to Mabel daycare center. We watched the children scoop rice up in their tiny hands and into their mouths with absolute precision.
It was nap time so we helped settle them on the floor, five under one blanket.
At the end of the week we took a train from Kodai to Nagercoil. We are now safely settled at Grace home and will stay here for 3 weeks. Our stay in India has already been a whirlwind of eye opening adventures, and it has only been one week. We both feel great and have not experienced any sickness! Thank you for all your prayers, they are working! Watch out for more updates as we will continue to post regularly.
Hannah & Annaliese
We were greeted at Bethel Boys Home with fanfare.
The boys welcomed us by playing a song on their instruments.
We then spent the afternoon singing songs, doing crafts, and playing fun, high energy games with them. What a treat, at both the Bethel and Shalom homes, to see kids just being kids… smiling…laughing…singing…dancing.
There’s joy in abundance!
New Year’s Eve in India
The More of Jesus mission team is already making deep relationships with our Indian friends. In the spirit of “Auld Lang Syne,” they are making friends who will not be forgotten.
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
And auld lang syne
For auld lang syne, my dear
For auld lang syne
We’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet
For auld lang syne
Check out these pictures from New Year’s Eve in Kodiakanal and the celebration at the Bethania Kids Shalom Girls Home.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
1 Peter 1:3
Editor’s Note: On December 28, 2014 Dia De Haan and a mission team of four people left on a trip to Kodaikanal. They will spend their time one-on-one with the children at both the Bethel and Shalom Children’s Homes as well as the Bethania Rehabilitation Center. Please keep Dia and the team in our prayers. They return to the United States on January 9, 2015. In the meantime, keep up to date with their adventures via the Bethania blog!
We Made It to India: Weary, Yet Rested
15 hour flight to DoHa airport
4 hour flight to Chennai India
1 broken flight to Madurai
4 hour bus ride to Kodaikanal.
35 smiling, joyful girls from Shalom home. . .
We made it to India. We are extremely jet lagged but the beauty of India is helping us to be rested.
There is also an overwhelming beauty at the Bethania homes of Shalom and Bethel. The children are truly aware of the presence of Christ.
Their lives are for Christ and they let you know that. They let you know of all of the blessing our Heavenly Father has bestowed upon them.
The staff of Bethania Kids is overwhelmed with thanksgiving as we share our new video ‘You Are My Treasure, O Jesus.’ With reverence and sincere faith, we offer this special Thanksgiving liturgy for you to share with your families.
As we enter into this short program together, let us thank our most gracious God for all of His manifold blessings to us!
-Your friends at Bethania Kids
This Thanksgiving, as Christians who have been called to care for the
poor through the ministries of Bethania Kids, let’s join together to
participate in a special Thanksgiving Liturgy.
Scripture Reading: Psalm 103:1-5
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and do not forget all his benefits—
who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the Pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good as long as you live,
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Let’s take a trip to India, by watching a short video,
You Are My Treasure, O Jesus!
We thank you, Lord, for bringing our family members together. Please bless all
those members of our family who are not with us today.
We are truly thankful for the abundant life we have,
especially knowing the eternal and redeeming love of our Savior, Jesus.
We pray for all children who are hungry and in need of basic care.
Bless the Bethania children, supporters, staff and children,
and lead us into an ever deepening experience of your love.
Knit us together as a team and bless our efforts to bring children to Christ.
Thank you for the privilege to be involved in your great, creative
and redeeming work in the world.
Be with our family as we celebrate Thanksgiving!
Dear Jesus, we praise you and we bless you.
We worship and adore you, our precious Lord and Savior.
Do you like Indian food? I have a heart for the people of India, and I really enjoy good food of all types, but I have a confession to make: Indian food is not my favorite. I will eat it (and indeed like some things), but I guess my palette just prefers other flavors that are more common in the United States. However, as I sought inspiration for this blog post, it occurred to me that maybe readers would be interested to know what the Bethania kids eat. So this is my feeble attempt to give you a “taste journey” to South India, courtesy of the Mysore Cafe in Rochester, Minnesota (please excuse my amateur photography).
While I am certainly not an expert, I think I can make a few general comments about South Indian food. First, like many other cultures of the world, rice is a staple ingredient. Many dishes are vegetarian and based on dried lentils, chickpeas, beans, and potatoes. You may find chicken and lamb, occasionally beef, but many practicing Hindus do not eat meat because cows are sacred in their religion. When I visited India I did not find much variety in the foods, and I’m sure this is due to the availability of ingredients in the region. It certainly made me more appreciative of all that I can enjoy in the States. So here is a short introduction* to some of the food that the Bethania kids are likely eating:
Idli and Sambar: This is a popular breakfast dish. Idlis are steamed cakes made of rice and fermented black lentils. Sambar is a vegetable stew made of pigeon peas.
Dosai: This is very similar to a crepe. They are thin, crispy, rolled up, and taste slightly sour. Sometimes they can be really long! Fresh off the stove and served on a banana leaf, these are really good.
Dahl and Rice: My guess is that the Bethania kids eat this on a daily basis. I ate this quite often when I visited India. Dahl is another vegetable stew (similar to sambar) made of lentils or beans. It is a meatless form of protein that can be prepared in multiple ways, depending on the base ingredient.
I can tell you with confidence that the children are well-nourished, and the cooks are good stewards of their grocery budgets. I recall eating lunch with a day care center on my last visit, and it was explained to me that the children are all given small portions at first. If they are still hungry after finishing their food, they may have seconds. But they are very careful not to waste any food. This was a good, humbling reminder when I consider the enormous plates served at many American restaurants.
So the next time you find yourself at an Indian buffet, or picking up frozen Chicken Biriyani at Trader Joe’s, I hope you’ll be reminded of the Bethania Kids. It is due to the generosity of so many donors that these children are healthy and thriving, even if what they eat daily isn’t necessarily what stocks my refrigerator.
*Wikipedia.org was helpful to me in preparing this blog piece.
Have you taken a look at Bethania’s gift catalog? What an awesome opportunity to give to others at a time when we are reminded of the blessings in our lives – family near, good food on our tables, gifts under the tree, and a God who gave Himself to restore a relationship with us. During this season especially, I am overwhelmed by God’s goodness in my life and am all the more eager to use the resources He’s given me to be an extension of His love to those in need.
Crackling fireplaces, snowflakes, decorated houses, gingerbread cookies, ornaments, and candy canes – all the indicators of the holiday season are coming to life as December finally arrives. While you and your family start your Christmas traditions, we want to tell you about some of the traditions of the children in our Bethania Kids homes. We invite you to incorporate some of the Bethania Christmas traditions into your own Christmas celebrations! Read more…
Religion. It’s me and God, right? Go to church, read the Bible, say a prayer, give some money – is that Christianity?
Maybe I truly and sincerely invest in each of these endeavors. Church is not an obligation, but a welcome opportunity to worship God with fellow believers. I read Scripture with a heart and mind seeking to hear God’s voice through the pages of His word. My prayers are heartfelt and expect, in faith, to be answered. Giving financially is a joyful response of gratitude to all that God has given me. Is this Christianity? Is this true religion? Read more…
Earlier this year, I began a new “read the Bible in a year” plan. I’m only in Numbers, so I have a ways to go! After making it through a lot of Old Testament laws and specifications for the building of the tabernacle, I came across a cool passage in Numbers 10 that reminded me of Bethania. God had a plan to move the nation of Israel. They had been camped just outside the Promised Land after their slavery in Egypt. God’s presence with them is in the form of a cloud that covers the tabernacle, and when that cloud moves, so moves the nation of Israel. I’m not just talking about a few large families. There were hundreds of thousands of Israelites on the journey.
This imagery reminded me of Bethania’s new developments in Orissa. I think God decided that our existing ministries are really well established, and it is now time to pick up and move out of our comfort zone. Orissa is an area of India that is very unlike the other regions that we are familiar with – Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. I hope you’ve looked around our website and seen the raw video footage of this impoverished area in East Central India. To give you just a taste of the social and economic issues: There is no internet access (except in town), and even if it were available, many people cannot read. Alcohol and other chemical addictions are common. There exist strong beliefs rooted in witchcraft, influencing medical care and directly impacting community health. You see, the poverty in this area involves multiple contributing socio-economic factors.