Tuesday, September 17, 2013



Saturday morning we arrived at the guest house in time to clean up and organize our things before Jenny came to get us at 9:00.  She helped us fill the bags for the girls while we visited about our trip and her plans for our time with the girls and her.  Then we all walked across the street to meet the girls!

Her apartment is on the third floor of the complex...Indian style.  (Americans would call it the fourth floor, but many countries begin counting floors above the ground level.) Eight of the youngest children live on the first floor with a nanny and a nurse.  These are the youngest of the school girls.  On the second floor is the kitchen and eating area for all twenty girls.  Jenny's apartment consists of a large room and two smaller rooms.  Jenny lives in the smaller of the two where she has her personal space.  The nanny and nurse share the other room along with the twelve girls' personal items.  The girls sleep two per bed in one half of the large room.  They are paired by size with an older girl "buddying" with a younger...at least one sighted child in the pair.  They help each other with bathing and dressing as well.

Each has a special condition which her parents interpreted as a reason to abandon her.  Several are blind, some have webbed or misformed hands and feet, one is HIV positive, one has seizures, etc.  All have hearts of gold!  Their smiles will melt your heart, and their hugs and cuddles will dissolve you completely!  They know Christ has sent help to them in the form of His servants here on this Earth.  Their help is manifested in so many forms and people from so many nations.  The intellect in the room is astounding!  The girls began life learning to speak in their local dialect and transferred to Hindi for their school career.  With the arrival of volunteers from the US, they have begun speaking English.  While not all of the girls can speak fluently in English, they all understand and respond to Jenny's love and guidance.  Most of them can carry on a conversation with visitors as well.  We enjoyed spending time in their home and learning of their individual  likes (clothes, food, movies, sweets, outings, etc.) and dislikes (boys, bedtime, being ignored).  Jenny claims all twenty as her girls and would love to see them grow and mature over the years.  They have bonded with Jenny in such a beautiful way!  She has been able to reach into the souls of these girls and help them to stretch to new goals of their own.

After visiting with the children who had a holiday from school on Saturday, we accompanied Jenny and one of the older girls who suffers seizures to another of the ICM buildings where younger children with more severe conditions live with staff and volunteers.  Her goal was to create handprints of each child who has a sponsor overseas.  We wound up doing some hands, some feet and both for the smallest primordial dwarf!  Most were delighted with the attention of so many adults helping to paint feet, hold children, make the prints, wash feet and take pictures!  Some found it overwhelming or confusing and were soon soothed by Jenny's sweet voice singing in the ear and her gentle touch as she stroked the child to a state of peace.  

Our young helper was rewarded for her assistance by a trip to the bakery.  We enjoyed so much meeting the owner who had lived ten years in Houston, Texas.  His experience working in a bakery there led him to want a shop of his own.  When his plans fell through in Texas, he moved back to his hometown.  The young volunteers at ICM enjoy both Indian and American dishes here.  Jenny even has a burger named after herself!  Jonnie and I tried chicken pastries from the shelf and a Limca.  The other two had Jenny burgers and fries.  Of course, we had to try the sweet cakes for dessert!

The "auto" ride was enjoyable as we swerved in and out through the traffic across town.  These three-wheeled vehicles are everywhere and stay busy hustling people along their way.  It is a convenient form of transportation for small groups.  

Back at the home we visited with Setya and his assistant in their office regarding the expenses and accommodations for the weekend.

Then we went back to meet the rest of the girls who were arriving home from school.  What a delight these girls are!  They love communicating in their favorite manner...words, hugs, laps, smiles or simply showing off!  While the majority of the girls had "tuition time" with tutors, Jenny, Jonnie and I slipped out with two of the younger girls from upstairs.  We took an auto to the park to enjoy the swings, the slide, the teeter-totter and a stroll around the park.  We introduced these girls to a frisbee.

Returning the girls to the house for their dinner, we went with Jenny and several of her friends from Oklahoma to a very nice Indian restaurant.  We enjoyed trying our luck at ordering, but found all three to be very spicy choices ... Chicken 56, Garlic Chicken and Cashew Chicken.  The buttered naan helped to cut the burn, and the boys were glad to have parcels to take home.

Back at the apartment, we were finally able to have all the girls home and seated to receive their treats.  You would think we had brought them Coach bags!  They were so delighted with the bags and gifts from their friends in Texas!  Jenny labeled each bag and special item with the name as they pranced around showing everyone their bag, sporting their butterfly clips, comparing gifts and sharing the Smarties from inside.  This is the sweetest, most caring group of girls I have ever seen.  They want to be sure each friend is pleased with their treats...to the point of giving up their own to get a smile in return.  The oldest seven girls will use their bags to carry their Bibles to church on Sunday mornings!  They had been asking Jenny to get them Bible bags.  Never have these special bags been more eagerly received or treasured!  This was the perfect way to draw our first day to a close.

Sunday started calmly as we tried to catch up from the overnight ride from Hyderabad Friday night.  There was no need for an alarm as the hustle and bustle of the city calls everyone to begin the day at sunup.  We joined the girls after their breakfast as they were making their final preparations for the day.  Seven joined us for the first hour of worship in a church across from their home.  As we waited for church to begin, the girls were drawn to a young teen who came in with her mother.  They told me, "She has no eyes.  She is alone.  She should sit with us."  So they went over to invite her on their own.  Several volunteers from other buildings brought a child or two with them to worship as well.  It is so good of these young people to bring the Sarah's Covenant children into the mainstream of life in so many ways.  

After church we took six of these girls to lunch...back to the bakery!  We were too many for one auto, so Jenny sent us with two girls on ahead after giving the driver directions.  we were side tracked by another passenger and Jenny and four girls passed us by, so by the time we arrived, they were clapping for our safe arrival.  The girls are so eager to try different tastes and especially things from Jenny's home.  They ordered Jenny burgers, pizzas, club sandwiches and sodas.  It was interesting as they experienced eating sandwiches.  The owner is a Jenny fan and brought a bag of cookies to the table for the girls.  True to form, these girls suggested that the cookies be taken home to the girls who did not get to come.   We went home the fastly way--on a loop bypassing traffic.  The auto drivers had fun bringing laughter and joy to the girls as they played leap frog through the streets.  

Back home we hurried to prepare for an outing to the beach!  Three of Jenny's girls...each with an adult...piled into the ICM car.  Hannah and her cousin Miles brought one of Hannah's boys as well.  We drove out winding through the groups of Hindus celebrating the final day of holidays worshipping G'nsh the god with human body and elephant head.  Floats with ten foot statues followed by large trucks of musicians and celebrants headed out to the beaches as well...stopping in each village to draw attention and lure followers to join their parade.  They would end the celebrations by throwing the god into the water of the bay in hopes it will reunite with his mother.  We found the trail to a private beach far from the throngs of celebrants.  Our littlest angel awoke quickly at the sound of the car doors opening.  Her nap had refreshed her for the action ahead!  Dressed in full street attire, we waded out into the waves.  Imagine, if you can, the sensations experienced by these children.  Two are blind (one quiet, reserved introvert and one bouncy extrovert).  The waves came in pulling the sand from below our feet.  We jumped and giggled with glee.  Then a wave knocked us down.  There we sat and allowed the coming waves to fill our clothes with sand, building our own castles in our lap until we were loaded down and could barely lift the skirt!  Then digging holes in the sand for big waves to fill with water so we could dig deeper!  Imagine having only one digit instead of a hand.  Then imagine each foot and hand being one lone digit.  This little one built her own sand castle grain by grain.  Then she slipped her little feet right up when I filled the hole where she had placed them!  Imagine their joy as they let the water swoop over them and hear the sounds around them echo the power and majesty of our Father.  Two little girls slept in the back of the vehicle while our littlest angel told jokes and teased with everyone who gave her attention...and who wouldn't?!?

After trying our best to get the sand out of our hair and off of our bodies, we attempted a ziplock washer for the clothes.  Cup after cup of sand hit the dust bin as pocket after pocket of the cargo pants was emptied.  There was not enough time to dry these clothes for packing, but we tried leaving them on the line all night.

Our last dinner with Jenny and her friends was at another very nice restaurant downtown. We enjoyed being with these twenty somethings this weekend and catching the joy they have in serving!  Jenny came by the guest house to say goodbyes before we laid down for a few winks.  At four we woke to pack and be ready for our 5:00 departure to Hyderabad...winding through the city in an attempt to find the ICM offices, a meeting with Sarah and Julie, a rush out to the airport, a flight to Chennai, overnight connections to Colombo, a taxi out to the Hicks Hacienda and Resort equals a very long day and another night of no sleep!

We arrived in Sri Lanka safely and are enjoying a lazy day today as rain refreshes the earth!

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