Thursday, 28 February 2013

David Halloran Lumsdaine

As a graduate student in the early 90s I was far from home.  New Haven was an odd place - old-world charm and the gritty ghetto were cheek-by-jowl.

After holding out for a year, I gave in and started attending a lively Episcopalian church - and was then invited to join two remarkable men as a house-mate.

Greg Jackson and David Lumsdaine welcomed me into so much more than just the appartment they shared - they welcomed me into their lives and into community.  Greg was at that time a research engineer at a cutting edge tech start-up while David was a professor in the International Relations department at Yale.
It was thus with a kick in the gut to get emails from Greg over the last few days telling about David's heart attack last week and his hospitalisation in a critical condition.  We and many of David's friends around the world participated in a prayer vigil that his church organised.

Then this morning's email - David has left this world to be with Jesus.

To the folks that Greg had sent out the updates I wrote this short note:

Dear Friends,
It has been a bitter-sweet opportunity for us to be part of the company of saints as we remembered and prayed for David in his last hours of this life.
Bitter because death remains a terrible loss and void - the separation of body from soul/spirit, and the separation of a dear person from the community of the living is always hard.
Sweet because we were united in spirit across the continents in prayer.  Our voices rose together as incense before the throne of our loving Lord Jesus.  Sweet because of the memories of dear David.  The intricate almost mandala-like designs he used to make.  His intellectual and spiritual passion.  The depth of his God-given love for so many.  The sheer imposing physical presence of the man. The personal love for me and Sheba - shown when he joined Greg and Karin for a trip out to India to see us.  And so many other facets of David. All these swirled to mind with the news of him being in a restricted state - there in the hospital - on life support. 
But now the sweetness can burst forth into fruit.  We know that he will not return to us - rather we will go to be with him.  And we will go to be with David in the presence of our living Lord Jesus.  What a glorious hope we have.  What joy we have for David who is already tasting the fullness of life in the fullness of time.
Bless the Lord oh my soul.
love from Andi, Sheba, Asha and Enoch


Gordon College - where David was a well-loved professor (how could he not be?) - made the following announcement about David's passing on to glory.

The Gordon College community grieves the loss of Professor David Lumsdaine, who passed away this morning, February 27, from complications following a heart attack.

As a member of the Political Science Department, Dr. Lumsdaine taught a variety of courses with specialization in international relations and foreign policy. His classes emphasized student participation and writing, and students often spoke with deep appreciation for this man who was a beloved professor and mentor to so many.

"David Lumsdaine was dearly beloved by his students and colleagues," says Ruth Melkonian-Hoover, associate professor of political science, and department chair. "He passionately loved God, others, and God’s world, and this came through in everything he did. He had a brilliant mind and elected to invest himself first and foremost in remarkable ways in our student’s lives. We have been richly blessed by him, and his passing represents a tremendous loss to our department and to all of us in the Gordon community."

He was a regular discussant at the Jeruslem and Athens Forum, one of Gordon's honors programs. "For you," writes Ryan Groff, JAF program coordinator, "there was life to be found in ancient texts, and our cohorts kindled their own fascination with the life of the mind and Christian faith by reading at your side such great works as St. Athanasius's 'On the Incarnation.' We will forever miss your evident and deeply felt appreciation for the beauty of Christian thought and life."

Prior to joining the Gordon faculty in 2007, Dr Lumsdaine—who held degrees in political science, engineering and mathematics—taught at Wheaton College, Yale University, Seoul National University and the Korea Development Institute in Seoul, one of the most prominent "think tanks" and educational institutions in that country.
He was also a consultant and lecturer at the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies, where he mentored many graduate students.

His book Evangelical Christianity and Democracy in Asia (Oxford, 2009) continued earlier work on how beliefs and values shape politics. He had been working on a sabbatical project examining the role of ideas in shaping the international political system, and the effect of domestic political values and practice on international politics.
Dr. Lumsdaine was an active and beloved member of Christ the Redeemer Anglican Church in Danvers, Massachusetts. "We will miss him, many of us deeply so," says the Rev. Timothy Clayton, rector of Christ the Redeemer. "He was a dear and enthusiastic brother and a leader in our family of faith, a member of the vestry."

He was predeceased by his parents and is survived by two brothers, John Lumsdaine and Peter Lumsdaine. 
A funeral service, open to the community, will be held at Christ the Redeemer Anglican Church in Danvers, MA, on Saturday, March 2, at 11 a.m.

Enoch finishes a decade - the people rejoice!

Yesterday I was talking with Enoch about his birthday.  He turned the ripe age of 10 on the 19th of this month.  "It feels like it was ages ago" said Enoch.  It does.  A week can seem like an eon at times - or like an asteroid flashing by with a bright light and a loud crash.

So lets travel back a week in time to see Enoch on his birthday.  Enoch shares his B-day with the great Maratha warrior king Shivaji - so he - and all his friends - always have a holiday from school.  Perfect for an afternoon party (and brutal on the parents who are up most of the night before).

The day started in time honoured Eicher fashion of a treasure hunt to find hidden gifts.  The king of the gifts this year was a tool box from Oma and Opa - which had been given to me a good 35 years ago - and now was refurbished, repainted with Enoch's name on it, and restocked with brand-new 'real' tools!

After a day of banging in nails into wood - the neighbour below came up in a horribly grouchy mood late in the night with a statement that we need to 'keep some discipline!'

Maybe we can help him with his home repairs the next time he has a need.

But on to happier things...

The cake had finally been finished just before the party started.  But in time for a picture with our birthday boy in his new threads:

And then the guests started to come.

Those who came on time were rewarded with a rousing starting game of blow-football.   Enoch had made a stadium with lego the day before - and a full fledged match was soon underway - complete with shoving and calls for the referee to give free shots.  And even a small bout of tears after feet got stamped on under the table!

But by and large - it was a clos'e fought match where straws were blown with ferocious strength to get the football to roll into the opponents' goal.

People coming to a party are always hungry - that's why its good to feed them chocolate!  But you need to make our friends work a bit.  Especially having them roll the die for a '6' and then working on getting off the gift wrapping and packaging using a blunt knife and fork - and trying to eat - before the next person in the round is able to roll a '6'!

We all love lego (at least I hope we do) - but can we build while wearing a blind-fold?  We split up into two teams and had the team members give instructions to the builder about what to do.  Hilarity ensued.  "Take that one! No that one!" were some of the 'helpful' comments.

But soon the groups got the grips of it and with a bit of verbal help from their team-mates, simple shapes were fashioned.

These are games that we could not have played 4 years ago.  Times change and our kids are stretching out in so many wonderful ways!

Some demands are insistent!   One is for the "hunter" game where the children get words on pieces of paper and then hear a story being read.  On hearing their word - or a 'wildcard word' - they can run to a place of safety.  Last person there is out!  It makes more fun when the 'safety place' is a couch where you can all get squashed on!

A time of reflection from the Bible - with this year's verse for Enoch about 'Running the race... to get a crown that lasts' rounded off our time together.

We are so glad to have amazing children like Enoch - and for the joy that God gives us from His word.

How much of our lives we spend chasing after things that just don't last.  Who remembers the silver medalist in the 400 m Olympic finals from 2012?  And that was just last year!  For competitors at the time of St. Paul - their prize was a laurel wreath - which would definitely dry out pretty soon after it was won.  How much more valuable to live our lives for something that lasts beyond this world!  How much we want Enoch to be living his life for eternity.

It was wonderful to have Enoch's Oma and Opa with us too - and have Opa pray for Enoch on this special day.

And there were candles to blow out and a cake to be cut too!

Later in the evening - a meal with our dear dear friends John and Nalini Gabriel and their amazing daughters Nikita and Jasper.  We celebrated the fact that we have now been at each others birthdays for 12 years!  How amazingly good God is to us all.

Birthdays are so much fun.

Don't you wish you can have more than one a year?

We are so grateful for the joy of having Enoch with us for a decade now.

At the end of his next decade - on 19th Feb 2023 - we will have (God willing) an amazing 20 year old!

Let's see what joys we experience over these next 10 years of life together....

Monday, 25 February 2013

Carbon Copy

"You're a chimp off the old block" was one of the many corny things that Dad said about me in our growing up years.

Once as an 8 year old, while on summer holiday in Kodaikanal, I was wandering about on my own after church - when a lady who was a stranger to me asked me a question.  Would I by any chance be Ray Eicher's son?  Because I looked so much like he used to when he was a student there.

But being like your parents is not just a matter of looks.  Its also mannerisms.  And now it seems that its even a deeply engrained style of fashion (or lack of it).

We all burst out laughing last week when at the dinner table we realised that Dad and I were dressed exactly alike.   

Take a look!

Note the close cropped hair (I am leading in the baldness stakes - something that I get from Mum in this case - her dad was completely bald by 30).

Observe the pen in the pocket.

Note the shade of the shirt. 

This particular shirt is one that I wear in high rotation.  Almost as soon as it has been washed and is back in the cupboard, it finds its way back on me.

I noticed that Dad's version has a similar tendency to show up often.  After the photo was taken, we already had another day when both of us were sporting the same colour shirt.

But here is the clincher.  When I looked down, I found out that we were wearing the same colour pants too.  And that our shirts seem habitually out of the pants instead of being primly tucked in.

So here for your viewing pleasure - our version of a carbon copy!  Like father, like son...

Water Babies

What a blessing grand-parents are.

How we wish they were with us all the time.

But in the last 10 days our wishes have come true - at least for a 3 week period!

Our beloved Oma and Opa are with us. 

And Oma – determined German lady that she is – had a plan.  She was determined that Enoch and Asha learn to swim.  

This was to be this year’s birthday present – and what a present it is turning out to be.  Almost as soon as Oma arrived she was scouting around.  The nearest swimming pool was investigated and found to be giving swimming lessons for a fee.  The fees were paid and the lessons began!

When Oma had called up before she came and told us of her plan, she was asked whether another person could also learn.  Yes!  Was Oma’s enthusiastic response when Sheba wanted to learn to swim too. 

And so every morning from 9-10 am Oma goes with Enoch to the pool  - and then in the afternoon from 3-4 PM she goes with Asha and Sheba for their lessons.

The results are wonderful.

The initial days were limited to holding the bar on the side and kicking – and the practicing kicking while holding a floatation board in the front – while having a float strapped around the waist.

After 4 days of practice, we have 3 bona fide water babies.  Asha was the first to graduate from the board to swimming with just a float on her back – and finally- with a mighty splash she has started swimming without any flotation device. 

Enoch has followed suit and late last week  swam without the aid of floats.    

Sheba is coming close behind and has managed to swim without the board on the same afternoon – and looks forward to kissing the waist float goodbye soon too!

Having grown up with the blessing of being a member of a swimming pool - it is such a joy to know that I will no longer be the 'know-swimming' minority in my family!

You also have to hand it to our determined Oma.  Seeing the progress that her wards are making - she also is taking lessons in learning the 'crawl' since all her life she only knew how to swim 'breast-stroke' (which in German is wonderfully called 'frog-style').  You have to hand it to our 75 year old learner!

And so we leave this post with a final pic of one of our newly minted water-babies!

Triumph!  Enoch swimming without board or floats! 

Sunday, 24 February 2013

A Beetle is (re)born

About 30 years ago my Dad made me a cake that I will never forget.

A birthday cake in the shape of a Volkswagen Beetle. 

A 3 dimensional cake with foil for its bumpers and windows. 

Last week it was Enoch's 10th birthday - and my amazing parents are with us to celebrate.  I realised that I had to make a tribute cake.  So Enoch got his own Beetle.

I asked Enoch whether he wanted an original model or the 2005 one - he chose the modern one.

So from the Eicher motorwerken - here is the Volkswagen Beetle - Enoch Eicher Birthday model!

We start with the raw materials:  6 pans of Good plain butter cake from the hills - recipe sourced from the Landour Cookbook.

The base is a large duplo base-mat covered in silver foil.

Icing is the simplest butter icing possible:  1 tbsp butter, 1.5 cups powered sugar, a few drops of milk to keep it smooth. 

For the colours, we add a few drops of food colouring as needed.   Cocoa powder mixed in when you want brown.   I started with an icing made 6 batches to start with and another 2 later.

The basic shape is made by stacking up the cakes and cutting away.  Hooray for the internet which has line drawings of the 2005 Beetle!  Inspiration is just a click away!

Once the basic cutting is over, its time to transfer it over to the base.

This was already fairly late at night, with the kids soundly asleep.  But since the birthday was the next day, necessity meant the midnight oil had to burn!

What would it end up looking like is the question that occasionally popped up in my mind.  But mercifully the joy of just trying to get it done swamped out any doubts.  Plus there is always the side perk of nibbling on the many small pieces of cake that were cut off.   This is one of the few times I have done a 3 dimensional cake, and I found myself cutting off far more than I thought I would.  Very glad that I had 6 cakes to work with!

We decided that the basic colour would be a bright green.   For a brief moment orange was the front-runner, but then we thought that our own Nano is a papaya colour - and this was to be a VW Beetle, not a Tata Nano - so a completely different colour was chosen.

Green it was - and so the bulk of the icing had green food colour mixed in till the creamy white was a parrot green.  This took me well into the wee hours of the morning - and having done a complete once-over icing I decided that the details would have to come on the morrow.

So after doing a half-day at JSK it was back to the cake.

The previous nights icing was smoothed out and silver foil cut out for the windows and other high-lights.   A batch of chocolate icing was rustled up for the wheels and the racing number - and also for part of the birthday wish. 

Should I go for another colour?  A basic white....  no, lets go for yellow. 

And so the final lines are put into place.   Time is running out with the guests expected in just under an hour.  But somehow, it all gets done.

Birthday cakes are wonderfully ephemeral.   The exist and then they are eaten.  Afterwards they linger in the memory.

Over three decades ago, Dad making me a Volkswagen Beetle is something I still cherish.   Who knows whether around 2045 or so we may see Enoch Eicher making a cake in the shape of a bulbous car for a 10 year-old son of his own...

In the mean-time,  Happy Birthday Enoch!

Saturday, 16 February 2013


At the edges of shining India are the large shanty towns of sludge where untold thousands drift in and out of.

Over time some of these waste-lands end up with certain amenities and the hunger for land and veniality of various levels of power-brokers end up 'developing' these areas into defacto living spaces.

I wish we did not have to talk about these places.  O Freunde, nicht diese Toene, sondern angenehmere...  But though they are banished to the periphery of many a middle and upper class Indian - they very much still exist.  

And the people who live in these hellish spots are very much people.

Earlier this month a local church in Airoli organised an HIV testing and counselling camp in one such place.  We will not name the church or the area - as they could be any place on the margins.

But walk with the JSK team as they move in for an unforgettable day.

This is a church which has a number of cell groups in some of the most challenging communities.  Places where crime and poverty overlap - but also where hope is born.  Most of the church members are from such areas themselves and have seen radical changes in their lives.  Parents healed.  Freedom from alcohol addiction.  A new hope in life.  A freedom from sin.  A rejoicing in the person of Jesus.  The cell group leaders are mostly young and give a major portion of their time outside of work to the church.  Two of them have been trained in simple HIV care and have started reaching out to people with HIV in their areas in addition to their organising of prayer times and Bible studies.  The church has begun supporting these two with a very modest faith-based stipend.  The bulk of the church work continues to be voluntary - ordinary people giving of their time - with joy.

Our team was brought to a shack.  Cleaned up, with bright red screens on the outside.   The local people had been told about the HIV counselling and testing camp.  Young church volunteers went door to door reminding people.  We set up a desk outside to register those who wanted to get tested.  When asking for addresses some of the responses were almost comically vague - 'next to the flag' said some.  We are dealing with people whose whole identity is the shifting temporary tarpaulins, bamboo poles and the occasional metal sheet.

Inside the shack the church people have curtained off cubicles for counselling and a space for blood to be taken.

The people start coming.  Young men.  Younger women.  People of all faiths.  Widows. People who have never seen the inside of a hospital.  Some dishevelled.  Some dressed immaculately despite the rotten surroundings.  Some with harrowing tales.  Many women just cried.  No one had ever heard their stories before.  Our counsellors focussed on the HIV issues - but life and the miseries of many intruded.

Sunita, a volunteer nurse who works at Bethany Hospital joined us for the day.  After the counsellors had talked with the person and got a voluntary consent to do the test, the volunteers took the person to Sunita who carefully took the blood samples.        

Some people told her anxiously not to take too much blood.   Not everyone who initially registered ended up giving a blood sample.   A few opted out after they had received the counselling.   We registered over 160 people.  A total of 136 ended up giving their blood to be tested for HIV.
The vials were taken back that evening to Jeevan Sahara for testing.  Our part time lab tech came in and worked hard and carefully to make sure each sample was correctly tested.

We ended up with 3 samples testing positive for HIV.  3 people.  All women.

On Monday afternoon our counsellors returned.   Giri - one our main counsellors had lost his father the morning after the camp - and had gone back to his village in Orissa.  Sheba stepped in and walked through the dust bowl to the counselling hut.

What stories she heard.  The women could not stop crying.  Just to have someone listen to them was a blessing.  The cruelty that so many live in is unbelievable.  Alcoholic husbands.  Beatings.  Loneliness.  By God's grace most of them were negative.  A small mercy.

Near the end of the time the three women had still not come.  The church volunteers tracked them down and Sheba counselled them.  One woman knew about her status and has even been taking ART medication.   The other two took it hard.  One is an elderly lady.  The other is a widow.  They now know they have HIV.  But at least they are not alone.  The church volunteers commit to bring them to JSK and to follow up locally.

In the midst of all of this Sheba meets an old friend.  Shalini (names changed of course) had attended an HIV positive friends retreat with us last year.  We as a family had been paired with Shalini and her husband Arun and their 4 kids.  It was just a two-day camp, but we were so blessed to get to know them.

And now Shalini stood there, beaming.  'You have come to my village' she told Sheba, 'you must come to my house.'  Sheba did.  They came to a large shack.  It had been demolished more than 6 times already.  This family has no alternative.  Shalini was crying.  Joy and sadness at once.  Sheba sat with her and talked and prayed.

As a family, Shalini and Arun have come a long way from their native district of Bhagalpur in Bihar.  They have continued to be at the margins of society and are both HIV positive to boot.  But a change took place when Shalini started going to a local prayer meeting.  Though her economic situation is still dire, her relationship with Arun improved dramatically.  Arun works on Sundays and so does not normally make it to the prayers, but has stopped drinking and now brings his salary straight back and puts it in Shalini's hand.

To see them was a bitter sweet surprise.  Sweet as even in a hell-hole are people who we know.   Bitter as we continue to live in such luxury while others continue to be in such misery.

Would that our 2 kids and their 4 kids grow up in a time when such shanty-towns are just a memory.   Judging by what we see, however, it looks like the margins are going to be with us for quite some time yet.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Speaking up

Ten years ago when we started working with people living with HIV in Thane we did not know of a single HIV positive person who was attending a local church.  Today we know of many.  Almost every local church that has some life in it has at least one if not more members who are HIV positive.

Not every church is at a point where people with HIV are openly speaking about their status.  But some are.

This Sunday we travelled to the other side of the city to participate in a Sunday morning worship of the Harvest of Grace Fellowship.  They have been involved with reaching out to people with HIV for a number of years through Nelson and Pamella DeSouza and their 'Asha' project.  We were in a main meeting hall of a school - worship was lively with plenty of dancing.

Then it was our turn to share.  The church has been deeply touched to reach out to the poor this year.  We talked about how Jesus touched the man suffering from leprosy.  How he was moved with compassion.  How he brought about complete healing.  How he publicly showed his love.

Then our friends Ram and Sheela stood up.  They worship with a church here in Thane.  Ram told his story of discovering Christ while he was brought to the doorstep of death by his HIV.  He talked about how he was able to overcome addiction and brokeness in his home through the love of Christ.  He shared about the tremendous joy of finding out that his children did not have HIV.  Sheela stood up and prayed, thanking God for helping her and her husband find Him.  Ram ended by saying that he was thankful that he is living with HIV because through the suffering he had met the living God.

We still have a long way to go - but hats off to the amazing courage of our dear friends.  We are so touched to see real changes taking place in people's lives.

After the service we drank coffee and talked.  Nelson introduced us to a group of Positive Friends who are helping at the government ART centre.  They were so happy with the church service they attended - as we had shared about how the church needs to come alongside and help people with HIV take their medications.  "A number of people who go to church stop their medications" our new friends told us "because their churches teach them that they have been healed."

The message that AIDS = Death has spread far and wide.  Its time now for people to stand up and tell a different tale.  We need men and women like Ram and Sheela who are able to tell the world what their experience is like.  For all of us to be cut to the heart about the real needs - and the real opportunities for change.

We are blessed that India is a largely low-prevalence country with regards to HIV.  The US has a higher prevalence of HIV than we do.  But the suffering that those who do have the illness is colossal.  And the sheer numbers are greater.  HIV continues to be a hidden catastrophe - where families affected largely suffer in silence. 

Statistics - as poignant as they may be - will rarely change hearts.  But a courageous voice can.  We want to see so many more people with HIV telling their story.  Challenging all of us to change.  And including all of us in the celebration of lives that are being shaped for glory!

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Pictures for transformation

Open any newspaper on any given day and you will read story after story about sexual assault.

Its not that we suddenly have more brutality against women in India.  We live in a society where the average women is constantly and continually leered at.  Often groped.  Treated like dirt.  And has had to go through this with the whole issue being called 'eve teasing.'

But something has happened.

The unbelievably brutal assault on a young woman in Delhi, which ended in her death late last year has opened the eyes of the nation.   Its been a long time coming.

Now the papers are falling over themselves to announce that this watchman has been accused of molesting that girl, and that a further rape took place in so-and-so town.  You almost wonder whether all that happens in our country is molestation - there are so many reports.

It makes you sick to think that this is what has been going on for years - but that the public guardians have not thought it 'fit to print.'

There is also probably a slightly higher willingness of the police to take 'complaints' more seriously now.

How much longer the current climate of awareness will last is anyone's guess.  Two years ago Anna Hazare took the nation by storm with his anti-corruption campaign.   For most of us its business as usual again after he faded from the scene.

The pictures above are painted as a mural on the wall of our housing society.  A local group organised school children in a competition and the winners had their pictures painted on our wall on Republic Day last month.

Everyday as I walk Asha to and fro from school, again when I walk with Enoch, and in-between on my own walk to work I pass these images.  They are powerful statements of truth.

The press is demanding that new laws be passed - and that rapists be hanged.   But then who is making these laws.  Its easy to be cynical about our parliament.  Many of the men who are elected have criminal records themselves - 6 have been accused of rape themselves.   But at least we have a nation who desperately wants something to be done about the horrors that women go through.

Rather than sink into the slough of cynicism, there are those who are painting for change.  May our thoughts and prayers and actions also follow.

We know that there are no short-cuts out there - we have had laws in hand for years, but very little enforcement.  We have a society that claims to be conservative and chaste and yet every single Bollywood film has a mandatory sleaze sequence when an aspiring (or nowadays established) female star flaunts her stuff, and where as you ride a train into a city you see the large letters painted on walls advertising Doctors who treat Venereal Diseases.

The road to change starts in our heart.  In our hearts.  In a true and lasting reform of our character.  In a reorienting of our inner man with the heart of a man who came into this world 2 millenia ago.  He was able to reach out to women in prostitution without exploiting them.  He had mercy on a woman with a 12 year long menstrual problem.  He looked after his mother while hanging naked and bleeding on the cross.  And though he died a criminal's death, I know that he rose anew and lives that all may be restored and changed....

What amazing art will be created on the day when all things are put right!

In the meantime... lets start with creating pictures and images that express truth for change!  Let a thousand flowers bloom.  Let a million images tell truth and beauty - and ugliness when needed.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

A weight is lifted

On a day like any other, while the city roared in the background around him, a man took a nylon rope and tested it.

Lets call him "Dilip."  He was married with grown children.  Siblings abroad.  A man with an acceptable income.  A church-goer.

But Dilip knew he had HIV.

And he was ready to end it all.  It was too much.  'Life is not worth living' was the thought that drove Dilip to this act.  He worked methodically.   The chandelier was removed.  The rope slung over the hook.  Having written letters to his near and dear (including those abroad), he wrote a letter to the police, explaining what he was going to do and telling them not to blame his family.  Everything done with the same methodical purpose that Dilip had always shown. 

He had rigged everything up when his eyes fell on a small box of 'promise verses.'

Dilip was a church-goer - but had never read the Bible.  Religion was for others.  He did his duty, but didn't allow any 'emotionalism' into his life.  His siblings abroad had had some kind of 'Jesus encounter' - but all of that was not for Dilip.

Somehow, at this moment he felt drawn to read these 'promise verses.'  He read one.  Then another. Then another.  He had never read this before - but it warmed his heart.

After reading four Bible verses he took down the rope and tore up the letters.  He would not undergo this act after all.

It wasn't like Dilip saw a white light and heard a voice, but something had changed.

Last month we met Dilip at Jeevan Sahara.   It has been some time since that dramatic (and till now hidden) day.  Dilip told Sheba his story and the great burden of guilt he was carrying about his HIV status.   With the help of Sister Chinnamma's counsel Dilip left our premises a changed man.  He had realised that he needed to ask forgiveness from God - and that Jesus is so willing to cleanse us of our inner wickedness. 

"I feel so light" Dilip said after he had prayed a simple prayer asking forgiveness.  "In never knew that I could be free of my guilt."

Dilip still has a road to follow.  But a huge first step has been taken.   Living with HIV is not easy - but taking our lives is a big lie that the enemy of our souls loves to plant in our minds.  Each life, each person is so very precious. We are so glad Dilip did not take his life on that day - and that we still have him with us.