India

India 2015 - Brittany's Story

Are the 48 Hours of Travel Worth It?

 

As a traveler, I have become accustomed to sacrificing comfort for the sake of adventure.  Sleeping on the floor of a ferry terminal or in a car parked on the side of the road, running through a train station with your backpack that feels like it weighs 100 lbs - are all just a part of the experience.  However, when your travel includes 21 other people and approximately 19 hours of flight time, a 4 hour train ride that actually takes 6 because the track needs to be repaired and a 2.5 hour bus ride through the Himalayas complete with middle of the night passing on blind corners, there are points when you cannot help but wonder if the final destination is worth it.  Despite extreme fatigue and the fact that I didn’t get to change my clothes for days, this week I was reminded that the travel and the hard work are ALWAYS worth it.  

 

In a nation that can most aptly be described as chaotic, Shanti Niketan is a place, where upon arrival, one feels absolute peace.  It is a peace that can only be explained by the fact that both the staff and children deeply love and diligently serve our King. I think I speak for everyone on the team when I say that hours of breathing in paint fumes or paving in the 30 degree sun are all made worth it by the simple phrase “Didi (big sister), your work is done, come play.”  The children and staff of this home love so genuinely.  They truly desire to build a relationship with you and immediately welcome you in as family.  This means that during your day, they help you.  There is nothing like seeing an assembly line of kids racing to move the paving stones as quickly as possible down to the small boys dorm.  Or trying to be so precise while “cutting in” the paint along the ceiling in the girls dorm, only to have the girls come in and make a mess of it.  It is both a giant test of your patience and the greatest relief, doing things the Indian way would make us all far less stressed in North America!  

 

Being a part of one big family also means that we get to party together.  These kids party well. They can dance, they can sing, they can act and they LOVE to perform.  There are two medium boys (15 year olds) who I have had the privilege of meeting during my time here.  Both of them are musicians and immediately wanted to play for me.  We sat in the chapel together and they began to play me some worship songs on the guitar and their brand new drum kit.  As they played, I began to sing along.  It was amazing to be able to connect with these boys because we had something in common.  It sounds cheesy but music truly does break down barriers.  After we played together, the boys joked about us making a band .. or at least I thought they were joking.  They were serious.  They “voluntold” me that I would be singing at their Saturday October birthday celebration, they even chose the song for me.  When Saturday night came, I sang “The Stand” by Hillsong while one of the boys played guitar for me.  It was great to be able to sing for them but words cannot adequately describe how it felt when I invited the children, staff and team to sing along with me.  To hear a room full of kids, many of whom have been abandoned, singing - well more yelling, the lyrics “I’ll stand my soul Lord to you surrendered, all I am is Yours”, was by far one of the most moving experiences I have ever had.  I was fighting back tears as I continued to lead them in worship.  

 

Week One is finished.  Our bodies are tired.  The projects around the home have not been without challenge and there is still a daunting list of tasks to complete in the next seven days.  However, God has been so faithful to us and we have certainly felt the prayers of everyone back home.  Please continue to pray for safety, unity and that we would truly be able to love the children and staff of this home well.  We are all looking forward to telling you many more stories when we are home. See you soon!

 

— Brittany Judas     

Hello from India! A Teresa Klassen Story

SunRidge Community Church, along with several other churches in BC, have the privilege of doing life with two Children's Homes in Northern India. Child of Mine has certainly become family over the years and we are so excited for what God has in store for our partnership!

This fall the leadership team of Child of Mine adventured over to India to visit and encourage the homes as well as to explore opportunities for the future!

Here are some awesome photos, riddled with good stories, from the lens of Teresa Klassen.

2013 Construction Team Child Of Mine – Shanti Niketan Children’s Home, Sabathu, India

2013 Construction Team Child Of Mine – Shanti Niketan Children’s Home, Sabathu, India

This year’s team included Scott, Tracy, and Lane Horovatin, Rachael Archondous, Mikaela Klassen, and Erin Macintosh.

They spent three weeks at the Shanti Niketan Children’s home working hard on various construction projects needed for upkeep of the property.

Below are some stories from some of the team who went, as well as a link to Mike’s video message to SunRidge from India.



TRACY HOROVATIN


We were blessed enough to have the opportunity to serve in Northern India. The Staff welcomed us into their home with open arms and we were able to serve in a verity of ways. We painted almost everything we saw, thanks to a large and hard working painting crew, which included Erin and Rachael and myself. We had the chance to do things we were afraid of on a daily basis, like paint with lizards, hunt for spiders and climb up high on ladders. Scott worked almost the whole time on the Water system. They put in a new water tank, and increased the PSI for all the kids living there. The new water system is not only going to make life there now so much better, as they will have good water all year long, but it will also make it so that if they need to expand the resources that are there, they can – at least on the Water end of thing. Scott spend his weeks working on that.

Lane was the honorary “Gofer” and did all the important jobs like running for tools and getting the camera when someone was climbing in a dangerous spot so we could get a picture of it. Lane also got a chance to go to school at the school house there. He spend a few days doing Hindi Class, which he is pretty sure he will never get the hang of. Mikaela was on the ditch digging crew. There were many ditches needed to be dug and she worked so hard making those happen. Her help was invaluable and she was part of a very hard working female ditch digging crew that made the whole project doable.

Everyone of us jumped around and helped out in whatever needed to be done, that is the best part of a team. We were blessed to be able to spend the time together, seeking Gods face and what he was trying to tell us. Not sure why but it seems as if in the Himalayas you can hear His voice better.

We got to enjoy Indian Trains, Taj Mahal, and a whole day in Delhi, rickshaws and lots of rice and Dal.

We are changed forever and our hearts will always be a bit broken by what we saw, and as for myself, I feel as if I have left a part of me in India. They are my Family on the other side of the world.

 

MIKAELA KLASSEN


India was an amazing experience. The kids at Shanti Niketan truly gripped my heart, especially the older girls. I really connected with them. As much as it was very hard to say goodbye to the kids, I think the hardest part was seeing how difficult it was for the kids to say good-bye to us. Having the group come is the highlight of their year, and is such an amazing encouragement to them. One of the girls was crying in my arms right up until I walked onto the bus…its pretty hard to not want to come back and give them a great big hug after that!

It is hard to sum up what I learnt, and experienced at Shanti Niketan. All I know is I have a family across the world, and if I have a chance to go back I will hop on that plane without a doubt. Everyone their is truly amazing, filled with so much love and joy, even in their struggles. Shanti Niketan will always be in my thoughts and prayers.




RACHAEL ARCHONDOUS


On October 5, 2013 I had the privilege of going to India with the Child of Mine construction team. Anyone who knows me well knows how out of character this trip is for me. I like routine. I like sanitation. Something changed for me after watching the “Girl in the Yellow Dress” YouTube video shown during a service last year (showing a young girl all alone making herself a place to sleep on a sidewalk in India…and people stepping around her).

God used my life experiences as kindling and ignited something in me that led to Shanti Niketan.

India was a crazy experience in itself but that was not the focus. I was not there for an adventure or for personal growth but there to serve Jesus and any adventure or growth that came out of this trip was an awesome bonus. As soon as we landed in Delhi and got a chance to walk around, the system and heart brokenness was apparent and overwhelming.

I had all these ideas of efficiency in the work we would be doing at the home. I wanted to work hard and get as much done as I could because that is how I assumed we would be serving best—especially after seeing how much needed to be done. Once the kids start helping I realized how different efficiency can look when done for the right reasons. Yes—we may have been able to do things quicker without the help of our sweet little friends but the relationships we built in the process are worth far more than a clean paint job. Although the kids certainly need a roof over their heads, clean water, and food, they really need to know and feel that Jesus loves them and that we love Jesus so much that we would come to India to support them and to help them continue to improve their home. The staff of the homes who have dedicated their lives to Jesus and to these children in such a huge way bless us by their example of selflessness. We need to be praying for the staff as much as the children as they have a very difficult calling. I have changed how I pray for the children and the staff after being in India. They have a very difficult road ahead and I am grateful to be a part of a community dedicated in supporting them in loving people and making disciples.

SunRidge, thank you for your prayers and support. I am so blessed by all of you.

October 2014 I will be heading to back to India—no doubt in my mind.

Love, Rachael

 

ERIN MACINTOSH


The footprint of Jesus is everywhere at Shanti Niketan, in the stories of the staff, in the songs of the children, which they sing loudly and completely out of unison, in their 3 hour long church services. Prayer and Bible reading are as much a part of their lives as breathing.

I loved the children. The older ones specifically stole my heart. I loved them calling me “Didi” or “Erin Didi” (Didi is big sister). They showed me such love and affection, holding my hand or hugging me and loving me with such a purity and innocence, like that of a small child, such a humbling and beautiful experience.

I loved my experience in India, I loved the relationships I was able to build, I loved the team that He brought together, I loved Shanti and the Himalayan mountains. I loved seeing His presence even in the most unexpected of places. I loved being obedient to Him and seeing where He placed me and where He took me.

I loved what Jesus showed me and taught me while in India. He taught me to trust in Him completely. To step out of where I normally feel comfortable, secure and in control and to truly ‘taste and see that the Lord is good.’ He gave me a peace and an excitement to be open to opportunities placed before me. He allowed me to embrace my fears and just go with it. Jesus blessed me and broke me in unexpected and beautiful ways.

India has broken and stolen my heart. The children and the staff at Shanti Niketan have become family to me and I will never be the same…

Erin


Mike’s video to SunRidge while the team was in India

 

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