One of the blessings of the last 12 years of our work with Jeevan Sahara Kendra is that we have some amazing people coming along to help out. Lydia Ganta was one of them.
Lydia's parents are Christ-followers who lived in Papua New Guinea and in exotic Chennai - and Lydia attended boarding school at Hebron school before going to the UK to study nursing. After her studies she got a job with the NHS. At the same time, her friendship with her school mate Sam Ganta blossomed into marriage.
So Lydia put her NHS job on hold and came back out to India. After many years in the Gulf, Sam made a foothold in Mumbai - and so after their marriage Sam and Lydia set up their first home in Vasai - a hefty 1 hour bus drive away from Thane.
Eight months ago Lydia joined JSK as a volunteer nurse.
For eight months she has come 4 days a week. By bus. Arriving before the 9 AM prayer time we have. Leaving at 6 for the long bus ride back. Taking night duty when needed.
Eight months have passed in a flash.
Last week we said good-bye to Lydia and Sam. Sam's visa is through and they are off the UK.
In the morning Lydia shared in our prayer time.
As a team we meet each morning from 9 - 9.30 to ground ourselves for the day by a short time of worship, followed by a time of sharing God's word and then prayer for our Positive Friends and for each other as we plunge into the day.
Being Lydia's last day it was appropriate that she shared.
Then at noon we gathered as a team for lunch and a send-off time. Priorities (and Sam being still on the bus) demanded one thing. Lunch first!
But more than food - this time was about thanking. Thanking God for Lydia. Thanking Lydia and Sam for their time with us. Being glad to see one chapter of their lives over and a new one beginning. Expressing our sadness at their going - and gladness at who they have been with us.
And so this chapter ends.
We will remember Lydia for her gentleness and grace. Her willingness to serve. Her hard work at learning Hindi - which she ended up speaking pretty decently. Her never-complain-about-the-long-bus-ride-to-JSK attitude.
We wish we could have seen more of Sam - but that's the way the cookie crumbles. We were blessed to have him along on the JSK staff retreat this year and he won everyone's heart with his fresh candour and love of life.
As our friends take wing on the 19th of this month and head over to 'Blighty' we wish them all God's blessings and joy.
We would love to see you back Sam and Lydia!