What a month April was. I don’t know about you but I have found that April is the busiest and most hectic month out of the whole year. This year even though I was not in university or in the job sector I still have found this to be true. This time however in a great way, in a way that I cannot complain about.
At the end of March I went to Kolkata India. A trip that I talked about in my March update, now I can share what took place. It was a weeklong trip full of new experiences, being in meetings that I had no credential reason to be there, and hope. For the first two days we were there, my ministry leader and I were a part of the national climate change conference for India. My leader had been asked to share about what we have been working on in regards to water filtration. Those in attendance were any where from interested persons to national government leaders, along with national leaders of organizations. Through the two days of the conference we interacted with people from all over the country and surrounding area of Kolkata. After hearing the presentation about the biosand water filter there were a number of organizations interested in hearing more.
Throughout the conference we listened to many speakers share on various topics. Through them all though I noticed a few things. There is a lot of hurt that the people of India feel , but there is also a lot of vision for the nation. It was great to be a part of something that could bring hope to the people of India.
The day after the conference we went three hours north of the city with a leader of an organization and a Father of the local Catholic Church and people from the NGO that this father over sees. We ended up at a village where the leader shred with the village farmers about organic farming. I wish I could share more about what he talked about but the whole talk was in Bengali.
That afternoon my leader and I met up with the contact that we have been working with the past year with training on the water filters. This is the same contact that I worked with when I was leading a DTS outreach there last November. It was great to see him again and to catch up on what has been happening over the past months. It was also a surreal feeling as it felt like home. I knew the people and the area. I knew what shops offered what and for the best price. As we caught up on life we went to look at some of the filters that we helped build last November. They looked great. They were well taken care of and serving three to five families. We then went to look at filters that were built by people who attended training. They too looked great. This was such a satisfying moment for me personally. To me it meant that we as a team instructed and taught clearly and inspired confidence in people to go and build it themself. To see the vision of the ministry being played out before me, training and seeing it multiply. At each filter we took some samples, water going in and water coming out. I had brought an Arsenic field test with me and we were excited to see how the filters were working. In case you don’t remember the area that we have been training and seeing these filters built has the highest Arsenic poisoning in the world. We stayed the night with our contact out in the village and ran some tests on the samples collected.
The following day we drove back into the city but along the way our contact had arranged a meeting with the general manager of a major hospital in the area. For me it was again a feeling of “how in the world are we here talking to this person”. It was a great conversation. The GM explained to us that water born illness is a huge problem and a majority of the illness they see. At the end of our time he stated that he wanted to build six filters through out the hospital with information on what they do and how to build them. While we were there we had another conversation with a lady who had worked in the water treatment department for a number of years, she had lost all hope that they could get clean water to the people. I was again reminded how important what I’m privileged to be a part of is. There is so much more being provided than clean water. I see it as providing hope, showing worth, that there is something that can be done. Ultimately showing that Jesus has not forgotten about them that Jesus has not looked at them as hopeless.
We got back to where were staying late that afternoon and used the rest of the afternoon to relax and prepare for the next day because it was going to be a big one.
The next day we went six hours south to a different state in India. The purpose of our visit was to again teach biosand water filters and to encourage the local church there. As we got there though I realized it was much bigger then that. The area that we went to 15 years ago a group of Hindu extremists had burned a Christian missionary and his sons in a car. He had been working in the area for years and there were very few Christians in the area, for a time after his death there were none. Now however we were going to go and encourage the church. As we got closer I began to understand that not only were we going to encourage a church but those in attendance were pastors. There ended up being 15 pastors there each representing their church of at least 30 people. So in an area where there was great persecution there are now at least 450 people fully aware of the price to follow Christ, and we were asked to bring a message to those experiencing this. That sense of who am I came back yet again. It was so encouraging though at the end to hear the pastors vision who had been working there and encouraging these people for a number of years. His desire is to use Biosand filters and Biogas to go into villages in the area and to share and show love, the love of our creator, the love of the Father, the love of GOD.
We left that afternoon to make the six – eight hour journey back with a lot to think about.
The next day it was time to leave. The week went by so fast and so much happened that I truly had no idea where to begin to start processing.
Funny thing happened though. My leader and I were supposed to be on the same flight back to Perth, “supposed to” being the key phrase in that sentence. It turned out that he booked a different flight but didn’t realize until the day we were to leave. He just had to wait an extra day.
Remember how I said April is the busiest month out of the year. While in Kolkata I was invited to help with an Aboriginal youth camp. I was so excited, the Aboriginal culture is vastly different then a western culture and over the past year I have been privileged to be a part of working with Aboriginal people and leaders. I agreed to help out with the camp. There was another thing, it was the week Leanne was arriving in Australia. I went for four days so I could be back in time to pick her up.
It was another great week. Elders from the Noongar people came and shared with the youth some of the background of their people and family lineage. There was a family tree that covered just about everyone at the camp (25 kids) that went back five generations. Everyday we would have teaching in the mornings followed by small groups where we discuss the teaching and what the students picked up on. In the afternoon we would have a workshop varying from painting to song writing and dance. Each workshop was focused on an aspect of their culture. Night time we would relax play some games and just chat. It was a week to really let the students know that they were valued, that what they had to say mattered, and to provide a safe place for them to be themselves and relax.
All of this took place before the 15th of April. The 15th however was a great day! It was the day Leanne arrived! It was the day that I knew we were going to be together for more than two weeks at a time. For the first time in six months we would be in the same country, same time zone for the foreseeable feature. It has been great having her here we have had some great times catching up and exploring the city together.
Thank you for taking the time to read this update. I hope that it gives you a picture of what I do here in Perth. If you would like to ask questions about anything feel free to send an email, just click the contact link.