This time of year, while hot, is very beautiful in Kerala. Gardenia and bougainvillea bloom, mango and jack fruit are ripening, and there’s all the beauty of a nearly 50 acre property that is used for agriculture to support the orphanage.
I started the week by attending the East Fort Assembly which is in English. The congregation is a little smaller in May before the RTI (Rehoboth Theological Students) all arrive back for the beginning of term. Since they receive their instruction in English and many don’t speak Malayalam as they come from other parts of India, they usually attend here. This Sunday I gave the Message at the English service.
RTI is also very active in church planting. This Sunday following the early morning English service at East Fort, I went to the Hindi service held in the Ebeneezer printing factory. The factory is owned by a Christian family. Many factories in Kerala get workers from all over India that stay in a residence. The numbers in the church have grown and they now have about half a dozen men from Assam. Sadanan, one of the RTI students who is from Bihar, gave his first sermon in English and translated to Hindi! He told as part of it his experience going home to his Hindu family and telling them he was a Christian now as it was a risky thing to do. He was speaking from the book of Daniel. Happily, his family have accepted his decision, and they see the difference Christ has made in his life.
Hindi is the common language of North India, but since many in the North do not get the educational opportunities there are in Kerala, the labourers don’t come here knowing English. Obviously they are not Malayalam speakers, which makes life difficult for them as they are away from home and family. In the evening we took another bus trip out to a small church where they hold a Bible study in Hindi. We picked up about eight men from a steel pipe factory on the way. These men were from all over India. Four of them are now Christians and are wanting to be baptised, a big step for someone from a Hindu family.
The week consisted of workshops with the staff at RIS, and preparing for school to start. Excitement of the week was a scorpion which began running around the hall when the cleaners moved some mats. It was captured and swiftly met it’s end! (Their bite is very painful, and their venom is strong enough to kill a young child.) Also we finally got the lab of ten computers and the teacher resource room with the two computers running and actually connecting to the Internet (Yay!). So this week I’m hoping to get the on-line ESL program started before I leave on Wednesday.
So here are a sampling of videos to give a little flavour of Kerala and Rehoboth.
Driving down the main highway from Kochi Airport to Thrissur.
An auto rickshaw drive from Rehoboth in town.
A street scene from town along Post Office Road.
A market in town where you can see the blue tarps to give shade and some of the produce available.
A few of the agricultural scenes at Rehoboth – planting arrowroot and one of the cows that’s milked every day.
Some girls come from destitute families while others are true orphans. These are the kids that don’t have any family so one of the holiday treats was a trip to the waterpark. This is a happy scene as they get and greet “Mummy” (Phyllis Treasure).