Wednesday, 30 December 2015

48 hours left

A brace of days.  48 hours.  That's all that's left of 2015.

It's also all that is left of the 13+ years that we have been working at Jeevan Sahara Kendra here in Thane.

The last day of this year is also our last day 'at work' - officially serving with JSK which we helped birth in mid 2002.

I spent part of this morning putting together a basic work plan for the next three months along with our wonderful successor - bro Jolly - and Giri and Annie.   The next phase of JSK will see it pretty lean.   We will have 12 staff operational and will be focussing on home-based care for people with HIV (esp. looking at helping maintain high ART adherence rates), running our Positive Friends support groups and also doing HIV counselling and testing.

A few weeks ago I had a visitor and told him that we were shifting North.  "Oh, you have finished your work here" he said cheerfully.

"No we have not finished the work here" I replied. 

There is plenty of work still to be done.  In our last week here we are still getting calls from new contacts.  "My sister has HIV.  She is sick.  Can I bring her over?"   We still see the challenges that people with HIV face on a daily basis.  We still have families that are torn apart by alcoholism.  We still have vast areas where women are in various levels of sexual slavery - and are visited by thousands and thousands of men seeking paid gratification.   The ART medications have done wonders in allowing people with HIV to live what most people expect to live - but the govt. system is creaking with the increasing numbers taking the medications, and a new generation of young people living with HIV often switch off hope after some time.

Our churches?  A mixed bag.  A sterling few have poured themselves into caring for people with HIV.  We are so glad to have been a part in some of them making these steps.   But the large majority are indifferent at best.   AIDS?  Hmmm.... is the regular response.   A manager of a small Christian bookstore pointed out to a copy of "AIDS and You" in Malayalam that he had in his store.  "No one has ever touched that book" he told me.  Needless to say, other volumes of spiritual books have been purchased all around it...

The problem with our churches is not so much a hatred of people with HIV... far from it.  It actually is deeper - most churches are just ho-hum places to be.  Spiritual clubs for folks to get married in and buried by, with some feel-good Christmas tunes bunged in.   The fire of the Spirit and the love for the Word of God?  Not present in most places on a Sunday morning.   But for those who do have it, the future is a lot brighter.... and the chances that they are welcoming folks with HIV into their faith family a lot higher.

We leave with very mixed emotions.  Very happy to have had the opportunities to work with so many.

Amazed at what was achieved over these years.

Thankful for the lives that have been touched, and for a generation of folks in various places who we have knit our hearts with.

Sad to be saying good-bye (or God be w' ye) to so many.

Excited about the next steps.

Jan 1st we take an early morning train for a quick trip to see Amma and Appa in Vishakapatnam... and then back on early morning Jan 7th for Asha and Enoch's school to begin (with exams for Asha - poor thing).

And then on Jan 18th I take the train to Lalitpur for the first 2 weeks of work there.  I plan to do this for the first 3 months of 2016 - and prepare the way for the family to shift to Lalitpur in early April.

But before then we have 48 hours to pack in an eternity and a day.

Tomorrow afternoon is our Positive Friends thanksgiving time in the afternoon.   In the evening we have our church prayer meetings at our home.

On Thursday morning (early) we have some guests stopping through on their way from Goa.  And then a final staff meeting in the afternoon.  And after we clock out at 6 PM, we will be hosting our church 'watch-night service' from 9 PM to 12.30 AM in the new year.

A few hours of sleep and then off to the train station.

It's a wonderful life.

We need to see many miracles take place - esp. with Yohan's adoption continuing to hang fire.

But God is taking us by the hand.  And we know that we are safe in His arms as we step forward.  Better yet, as a dear friend of ours said who is currently doing missionary doctor work on the Thai-Myanmar border...   When you were a kid, one of the greatest games was having your Dad tell you to jump and then have him stretch out his big strong arms to catch you.

We are right there right now.  Our heavenly Father is telling us to jump.  We are at the edge looking down with fear and joy.



  1. Thanks for the update! Prayers continue with you! Sorry to hear about the apathy with the churches. We find that here as well. I am volunteering with Love INC (Love in the name of Christ) but it's the same story with most of the sad. Whatever happened to helping the poor, the widowed, the homeless...!

  2. We will miss you Andy and Sheba. Your faith and love for the Lord has always encouraged me. May our Good Lord continue to guide and lead you all in this new journey. Please continue to write blogs. Will keep yohan's adoption process in prayers. Underneath are the Everlasting arms of our Father. Luv and Regards Gibu and Alphy