Saturday, 18 May 2013


Each day brings a new set of challenges.

Some of these are exciting.  Others slip in unknown.  Many are in the league of the slow drip-drip-drip that takes away so much of our joy.  Working with people - many of whome are in such shambles wears you down - dries up the inner you.

As a team, we make sure that we go away each year to some place for a staff retreat.  Last month was our time.   The fact that this post is being written almost a month later tells you a bit about the pace of our lives...

But back to the retreat.  After spending a Friday all together at the Jeevan Sahara Kendra centre (partly so that out-patients coming to the centre could be catered to) - we bundled into a hired school bus and drove out to the Blessed Sacrament Ashram in Vasai.  

The Ashram is a retreat centre tucked away in a coastal village - well off the beaten track.  An hour and a half by bus took us into a different world.

But more than the out-ward change of scenery - the retreat helped us to look inwards - and together in reflection and song and prayer.

What a blessing to have superb teaching from the Bible by our dear friend Phil.  He had flown in especially to spend this weekend with us.  Our hearts were 'strangely warmed' as Phil walked us through 5 sessions looking at God's grace in our lives - and our responses to Him.

The times of teaching were interspersed with small group discussions and times of individual reflection and prayer.   On the first day we charted out our lives so far - and were amazed to share with each other the amazing grace each one of us have received over the years.

It's vital to be thankful - especially when we work day-in-and-day out with people in so much brokenness.

And there were games too!

How to build a tower.  One that actually stands.  Using newspaper and tape.  And competing with other teams.

We saw how quickly we most of us look at others and are spurred into doing things because we don't want to lose - rather than actually working together as a team with a plan.

A lot of laughter went along with these learnings!  Here's to education by games.   Another day we were beside ourselves trying to make 'rockets' out of baloons and string.

An evening 'talent show' had each one of us participate in some way - with plenty of acting on show - perhaps some Bollywood agents were around?  The Eichers put on a 'round' of a song which has become a family favourite: "I will sing unto the Lord for He has done gloriously..."
 But more than anything - our time of retreat was meant to be a time of families being together.  Of spending time in a non-pressure environment. Of living out our fellowship together.

The tea-breaks and meals in the Retreat centre dining room, the morning Emmaus prayer walk, the times in the bus singing and talking together.  All of these are worth their weight in gold.

We need each other very much.  In our day to day lives we often seen each other's rough edges.  There is so much to be done in appreciating and celebrating each other.  Its all part of being a family.  At Jeevan Sahara, we are a pretty big one that has been growing over the last few years.  With all the strains and challenges that any large clan has.

Add in the black sands of Arnala Beach - a mere 2 kms away from us and you have a real winner.

Where else can you go on a camel ride

Or bathe in the warm Arabian sea at the end of the day?

If there is a place to get sick - like Enoch did on the last day - what better place when everyone you love is around you! 

Mercifully, his illness was not too long.  A viral fever that started to fade once we got back home to Thane.

The retreat reminded us again how much we need to be constantly renewed.  How much of the time we are living on the capital of the past - times which are now slipping well behind us.  When actually we need to be renewed day by day.

The old hackneyed saying has a powerful truth - a family that prays together, stays together.

How very true for us at Jeevan Sahara.  We do pray, but how much more we need to come before our loving Lord.

Its been a month now since our blessed retreat.  Its not that everything is perfect.  But we know that this time away was worth its weight in gold.

On the last day, after having communion together and thinking about where we are going as a movement, we had one last beautiful experience as a family.

Following the example of our Lord we washed each other's feet.

As we have experienced a number of times in the past - this simple but deep act of love and service
- makes a world of a difference.  There were many moist eyes - and even more thankful hearts. We were blessed.  We are blessed.  All glory and honour to Him who is past change.

in addition to the Eichers - a number photos were taken by Suneeta and Phil.  Thanks for letting us use them!

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