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