I recently returned from South India, visiting Hanamakonda, Nellore, and Balasore.
At the Banjara Development Trust, in Hanamakonda (north east of Hyderabad), I participated in the Children's Day program at the William Carey School, sponsored by Centenary Baptist Church. I have used pictures of this school in some of my Power Points. The last time I visited them, many of the classrooms were 3 sided rooms, open to monsoon rains. The rest of the classes were held in buildings built around 1910. The new facility is designed that programs can be conducted on the porch, making it possible for the bulk of the construction money to be used for desperately needed class rooms. There are about 400 students from low income families now enrolled in the school, most are Hindu and many are orphans. A great solution to several problems.
Nellore (on the coast near Chennai) is the hub of the area where ABC targeted funds for helping with Tsunami recovery in 2004 . We were able to participate in the dedication of a new church in the area, and also in the baptism of 11 new believers in another village. Both church groups are new since 2004 and have been reached by evangelists supported by ALMA, our partner in Nellore.
Balasore (sometimes spelled Balashwar) is in the area of Orissa ( a state on the coast south west of Kolkata) that continues to have problems with Hindu persecution of Christians. Bengal Orissa Bihar Baptist Churches Association (BOBBCA) is our partner in this area. They have a VERY active women's group and operate medical camps every 3-5 weeks in the jungle surrounding Balasore. I accompanied one group into an "elephant corridor" about 3 hours away from town. Conducted between the evangelist’s home and the church, with tarps stretched between the two buildings for some shade, around 170 people were treated in about 6 hours. Free medications were delivered as prescribed by the doctor. A lunch of rice and boiled vegetable was served to about 300 people that afternoon. The women presented "object lessons" about the love of God to the people, and led praise songs, assisted by some of the children who have become Christian in the area. Free used clothing and shoes were distributed. On other visits, the women will show Christian videos to the people gathered. It is dangerous to stay in the area at dusk and during the night, as the elephants travel through and have no problems upsetting vehicles. The cost of all of this was about $120, including paying the doctor and paying for the meds.
The Banjara Development Trust, Abundant Life Ministry Association, and BOBBCA all receive White Cross funds. Much of the money is earmarked for medical camps like the one I described in Balasore. These partners are able to address at least some of the many needs of their community. White Cross makes a difference here. You make a difference here.
If you are interested in finding out first hand what ministry is like in India, we have several opportunities for short-term volunteers in many locations. Click here and then scroll down to see all the opportunities for volunteers.